It's an exciting time to be working in the publishing industry; there are more options for authors than ever before. So how do you know what publishing route (and company) is best for you?
Know this: there is not a one-size-fits-all model. Individual publishing houses and imprint companies operate very differently. There are pros and cons to each of the two main publishing models. To determine which route is best for you, spend a little time defining your goals, creating your budget and sales projections, as well as your break-even analysis and marketing plans. Laying out a clear action plan, and business plan for your book will help you discern which model is best for you.
Consider your book's audience, message, and the scope of your marketing plan. Do you have a niche book that only a certain audience will purchase? My regional cookbooks are a great example of this because they focus on the food of a particular city or county. These are the types of books that do well under a small, local publisher or as a self-published work with a localized marketing effort. As...more
Marketing your book can easily become a full-time job, but with the proper plan, you’ll be able to execute your launch efficiently and successfully.
1. Establish the connection: follow bookstores, colleagues, media outlets, and influencers on social media. Set up a spreadsheet with all of your marketing leads on various tabs. These are people you are going to reach out to and offer a free ebook, or connect with them on how they can interview/feature you during your launch week:
Podcasts - Set a goal of contacting 10/day. Be sure you have followed them on social media and been engaged in their online platforms (liking/sharing content) - that way they might recognize your name when you reach out.
Instagram - Find the 'bookstagrammers' that review books in your field and inquire about their affiliate programs to feature your book. Look up which hashtags people are using in your industry through all-hashtags.com / you can also use later.com to schedule...
Guest Post by Beth Lottig
You know your cover needs to be engaging enough to stop someone walking by in a bookstore or get them to stop scrolling through the Goodreads or Amazon listings, but what is it exactly in a cover that makes someone stop in their tracks and pick up a book? It’s a combination of things, actually, and a good designer knows how to maximize these selling points. Let’s take a look at a few of the basic building blocks for a show-stopping cover.
#1 Great typography
The typography, or font style used, tells volumes about a book’s genre. Bolder, san serif fonts make a statement for non-fiction, while more stylized fonts work well for fiction genres such as romance, YA, thrillers, and westerns. Whatever font is used, the both the title and subtitle, if applicable, should be easily readable. Sometimes the typography alone is all that is needed to convey the proper tone and mood for a cover. Get creative, but stick to one feature font for the title and one supporting font for...more
Getting on the bestseller list is every author’s dream, but how does it work? I’ve deconstructed the mystery behind getting a spot on the top three most sought after bestseller lists: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Amazon. First, you need to understand the two critical factors that create the perfect environment for a book to make it on a bestseller list: how sales get counted and which sales get counted.
Sales are recorded weekly, from Monday to Sunday. All sales during this seven-day period are added up and compared against other sales that week to determine who has sold the most, and therefore the ranking of the bestseller list. This is why your first week is so important to launching you on the list—and why all authors seeking bestselling placement should have a strong pre-order plan.
Unique sales matter—bulk sales do not count. You cannot simply have a friend order thousands of books on your launch date and hope to make it to the bestseller list. Also, the timing of sales has to do with when your...more
What is a trim size?
Trim size refers to the size of your book. Whether you are creating a paperback or hardback book, your book team will need to know what size cover files and interior files to produce. It’s important to establish your trim size early on, so everyone working on your project stays within the same guidelines.
Avoid this mistake.
When I printed my first book, I chose a non-traditional size because I thought it was cute. When the book sold well (over 5k copies) and I wanted to move it from self-publishing to traditional publishing, we had to resize all of the files to fit what would work with my publisher’s printer. The lesson here is that if you want to leave the doors of opportunity open for your book to potentially move to a traditional publisher or print a large scale print run, you can pave the way for success by opting for a traditional trim size.
Recently, one of our favorite author-bloggers wrote a comprehensive post about word counts. You may not think word counts matter, or you may be unsure of your word count because you're still writing your book. But we encourage you to think of the bigger picture: your finished book. Depending on your genre, your final word count matters to your audience!
Readers in your genre have an expected book-length. If you go outside of the guidelines listed below, you are putting readers outside of their comfort zone, and they will have a tough time buying your book. Even self-published books must stay within a predictable word count range.
While you're outlining your book, think about your final word count. Consider where you want to be when you're mid-way through your writing. Plan out your word count for each chapter. For example, if you’re writing a mystery novel that is nine chapters, and then your word count should be roughly 90,000 words, and each chapter should be approximately 10,000 words. Halfway through the book, you...more
It’s an exciting time when you’re ready to launch your new book. From setting up signing events at bookstores, to emailing your newsletter list to let them know the big day has finally come, there are several things you can do to help market your book. One approach to spreading the word is to write a press release.
Before you write your press release, consider the audience. Are you sending this to the media to let them know about an interesting/entertaining launch party? Are you sending this to a network of bookstores and podcasters to announce your title is available and you’d like to speak on their platforms? Are you sending this to your newsletter mailing list that is more of a warm market? It’s always important to remember who you’re writing to and why, to help tailor your message.
The purpose of a press release is to promote something special and significant, such as your book release. In sending a press release to the media, you are hopeful they will feature you on a personal interest story or share your...more
Marketing your book is critical to getting sales, so it’s important for authors to have an understanding of the process. Even when you're in the beginning stages of writing your book, you'll want to identify your audience demographic and get some traffic (attention) in order to ultimately sell books. Your publisher may have marketing programs available, but all authors can—and should—take every opportunity to help promote and sell their book. Below is a simple, three-step process that you can follow.
1. Know your audience.
A writing coach once told me to pick a certain person and write to him or her. Defining your audience through a singular “avatar” has its benefits:
Know what problem you are solving for your audience.
Clearly define your storyline.
Clearly define sales or speaking points.
Write your elevator pitch with your audience in mind.
Define your demographic.
Create a sales page that speaks to your audience and post it on your website with a link...
Guest Post by Beth Lottig
When you first start writing a book, it’s possible that you are carried away with inspiration and eager to get the book “out of you,” buoyed by the thrill of creating. You willingly spend late nights typing at your computer when everyone else is asleep. You wake early, gripping your coffee mug for dear life as the sun rises, writing furiously before the great idea you dreamed about disappears with the daylight.
You edit and rewrite the same sentence twenty-two times, and revise whole chapters, all with the final destination of authorship in mind. But what happens when you finally finish that last sentence and figuratively, or literally, type the words “The End”?
What’s next after writing your book?
Whether you plan to go the traditional route and secure an agent who will shop your book around to publishers or pursue the self-publishing route, it’s a good idea to give some thought to what you want to get out of your writing...more
Guest Post by Beth Lottig
What is your voice as a writer? And what exactly does a certain tough-as-nails British vocal judge have to say about it? According to Julie Wildhaber, your voice “the distinct personality, style, or point of view of a piece of writing or any other creative work. Voice is what Simon Cowell is talking about when he tells American Idol contestants to make a song their own.”
Your voice should be strong, consistently used, and tell the reader exactly who you are as a writer. In addition, it should fit the type of work where it is featured. For example, you would have a significantly different voice when writing an academic piece for a highly respected journal than you would have as a lifestyle blogger. Your voice needs to grab the reader’s attention and engage them in relationship with you as the writer.
Where do you start with creating your voice?
Start first with how YOU want to be perceived: What do you want your readers to know about you? Are you...more