PROGRAM:Writers’ workshop. DATE:Wednesday, May 7, 2008.
SPONSOR/LOCATION: Eagle Creek Branch Library–Lexington.
PRESENTER:Linda S. Prather, local author.
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
TWO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS THAT EVERY WRITER MUST ASK:
1. Do I believe in myself?
2. Do I believe in my work?
THERE ARE ONLY TWO WAYS TO FAIL AS A WRITER:
1. You quit before finishing your book.
2. You finish and publish your book,it doesn’t sell real well, and then you quit.
LET’S PUT THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE:
In 2004,1.2 million titles were published. Of these…
● 950,000 sold fewer than 99 copies in a year.
● 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000.
● Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000.
● Only 5,000 sold more than 100,000.
● Only 10 sold more than a million.
The average book in America only sells about 500 copies in its entire lifetime.
Before you can sell your book to a publisher, you have to sell yourself.
Publishers are in business to make money and they are looking for books that will help them do it. Anything can and will get published if the publisher thinks there’s money to be made–even crap.
Getting a book published and then marketing it is like being self-employed. You start slow, work hard, and make a modest amount of money. NOTE: Presenter said she only made 39 cents on each copy sold (while she was under contract with publisher).
Do you know your competition? Go into any major book-store and look around. Many authors will do little or nothing to help a struggling writer get published because they only see you as another competitor.
Research your market. You probably know your probable market far better than the potential publisher. Mention who your market is in the first paragraph of your query letter to a publisher.
Don’t sign away your book’s cover design rights. The cover can make or break a book’s appeal to potential buyers. It has to make them want to pick it up and read the back cover. People do judge a book by its cover.
Amazon.com is trying to push all writers who want them to carry their books to publish through BookSurge (one of their subsidiaries).
You have to make your name a household word–one person, one book signing, one speech at a time.
Include a good b/w photo with a brief bio with your query letter. Let the publisher know who you are, what connections you have, and how much impact you have made or can make in the marketplace.
Opportunity to pitch yourself and your book one-on-one is excellent way to connect with a potential publisher.
It generally takes 12-18 months (even up to 24 months) from signing a book contract until you see it in print.
Publishers do not have the big budgets for publicizing books that they used to–not even for well-known, best-selling, established authors.
If a publisher thinks they can sell at least 500 copies of a book, they know they will recoup their investment.
WARNING: Regular publishers will never ask you for money up front. If they do, they are a vanity publisher or a self publisher.
Never be too quick to sign a book contract–publishers need authors. If your book is good, don’t sell it short. Hold out for what you really want.
TIP: Advertising your book in local television markets is a better use of your personal marketing money than running all over the country going to book fairs and conferences and only selling a handful of books.
TV advertising must capture viewer’s attention via humor, pathos, or a gimmick of some kind to be effective.
Your fiction must be authentic and realistic. Do any research required to make it so.
McGraw-Hill and most other large publishers are owned by other companies–often ones in foreign countries.
Adhere exactly to submission policies of publishers or your manuscript will end up unread.
These smaller publishers welcome new authors:
●Echelon. ●Poison Press. ●Magellan.
Write who you are. Don’t use big fancy words your readers won’t understand.
You’ve got to have a good story to tell that people will want to read–and be willing to pay for the privilege.
After writing your book, have five people read it and give you feedback. Don’t just have your friends and relatives do this. You need honest feedback.
There’s big money right now in the foreign rights for books–especially in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Never sign away your foreign rights.
You need an agent to help you get into foreign markets.
Take advantage of using press releases to tout your book signings, appearances, etc. Newspapers will run them free–if they have space available.
Think “outside the box” to find new ways to market and sell your book yourself. After all, you believe in it far more than any agent or publisher ever will.
A GOOD/INEXPENSIVE BOOK PRINTER (known by presenter): Print Creations in Columbia, KY. Phone: (270)384-4495.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU SIGN A BOOK CONTRACT:
● Is your publisher a true publisher or a POD publisher?
● Has your publisher ever been known as a POD publisher or a self-publishing company in the past?
● Can/will your publisher obtain book reviews from both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly? If not, libraries and book reviewers will not have anything to do with your book. Authors can submit their own books to these two before they hits the marketplace.
● What type book will be published (trade paperback/hard cover/mass market) and how much will it sell for? NOTE: Joseph Beth bookstores are reportedly going to quit handling trade paperbacks (how soon is unknown).
● What type of editing do they perform and if a mistake is made in the book will publisher correct it?
● Can/will your publisher distribute through Ingram and Baker & Taylor (two major wholesale book distributors to bookstores).