Readers don’t buy by publisher*. Nobody goes into a bookshop and asks for the latest Pan McMillan title. Instead, they ask for the new Nora Roberts or, if the series becomes so well known that the character eclipses the author, the most recent Jack Reacher novel. So, even if you’re traditionally published you’re going to need an identifiable brand to distinguish yourself from your competition.
Now that I’m an author as well as a publicist, I know why everybody groans when the word ‘marketing’ comes up. It’s a hungry monster with a never-ending appetite. How do you know what to feed it? And how do you plan meal times so that it doesn’t take up every minute of your writing, leisure and family time? The key is to not give in to demand feeding.
Or should that read sales cycleS? Because traditional and indie sales cycles are very, very different.
Welcome back to my two-part post on query letters ☺ Of course, every season is the season to be querying, as long as you know what you’re doing. Hopefully, this and my last post will help you on your way to gaining the requests you’re after.
I’m not certain there is a particular season for querying an editor or agent, but I thought this a fitting title given that Christmas has just been and gone, and who wouldn’t want a contract tied up with a pretty green, red and gold bow? When submitting a manuscript to an editor or agent, there are so many things we have to not only remember, but get right. How should we structure our query? What must we include and what must we leave out? And what factors should we take into consideration as we word that wonderful yet critical covering …
This month I define some common but little understood terms that frequently cause confusion for people who don’t work in a publisher’s office.
Many traditionally published authors are unaware of how early the sales team is involved in the publishing process. For starters, the sales department is always represented in acquisitions meetings. If sales say they can’t see a market for a book, it will rarely get across the line and earn a publishing contract for the author, no matter how much the acquiring publisher loves it. This is different from earlier times when publishing departments were totally autonomous. Nowadays every department has input into the buying process, but the need to turn a profit and stay in business means it is vital …
Last month we looked at the traditional publishing houses and the advantages and disadvantages they offer authors. Before we move on to digital only publishing, I want to make a last comment about publishers that offer self-publishing services and hybrid publishers.
For aspiring writers, finding a publisher can be a confusing process. Do you approach an agent or a publisher first? Should you self-publish? The who, what, where, when and how of the business can be as clear as a nice cold glass of Guinness.
I’ve been fortunate to work for publishing houses big and small during my career. I’ve worked in a variety of positions, but mainly as a book publicist. It’s a wonderful job that introduced me to the inner workings of publishing while at the same time giving me access to my favourite people – authors.