What would it be like to finally realize your dream of being a successful author?
The path to publication can be lonely. Often the only resource writers have is to Google their publishing questions. Have you ever used Google to help you solve a publishing mystery? It’s okay, everyone has. Where would we be without Google? It’s a great tool, but a lousy partner. You have questions, you want answers. What would it be like if you could sit down with a publishing professional and get all of your questions answered? No more going it alone. No more searching for answers.
What if we told you you don’t have to go it alone on your publishing journey?
That’s why we created the Author Audit.
We wanted to give you real, personal advice from experienced publishing experts during a one-on-one consultation. We’ll send you a questionnaire to fill out beforehand to ensure our time is highly productive and informative. By the end, you’ll know exactly...
Have you ever wondered what agents actually do to help you?
Agents are a little like unicorns: surrounded by myth and difficult to find. We are being a little tongue and cheek here, but if you’ve ever searched for a literary agent, you know how daunting a task it is. Let’s talk about what exactly agents do and why finding the right one is so important.
What is the role of a literary agent?
Literary agents work for you, the author. They represent your writing by pitching your book proposal to editors, negotiating book deals, and acting as a translator between authors and publishers. They focus on the business side of publishing.
Advocacy plays a huge part in an agent's role for you. They promote your proposal to editors, cheer you on when you write the book, and help you during the promotional period after the book has been released. It is a literary agent’s job to find publishers for the writers they represent. They negotiate contracts on the writer’s behalf...
Not Too Shabby
In these uncertain economic times, good news seems even gooder. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reported its Q1 2023 publishing industry results last week with an increase in total sales of 3.2% over Q1 2022. March 2023, in and of itself, shot up 6.6% in a year, with audio and ebook segments each posting double-digit gains both for the month and for the quarter.
The AAP also put out its final report on the 2022 results, with the total sales for the year slipping only 2.6% below banner 2021. That figure bested their preliminary “negative-Nancy” projection of a 6.4% drop. The early projections did not include K-12 educational publishing, which exceeded the prior year by a whopping 16.6%, and helped offset a 6.1% drop in trade sales.
As promised in last month’s issue, we now have Q1 results from Big 5 member, HarperCollins. After some documented struggles—and some layoffs—HC appears to have stabilized. Following...
Writing requires focus. So why is it so hard to do this one thing?
More times than not, in the midst of a book project, one of our clients will need to stop in for a pitstop. They are tired and overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. They are juggling flaming chainsaws. And typically we are too far out from the release of the book to just say, “Keep pushing - you are almost there!”
We call this moment in the publishing journey “a time for encouragement.” The publishing process is long and arduous. It requires a lot of you. That’s why we try to remind our clients to focus on what you can control.
You don’t get to control the New York Times Bestsellers List.
You don’t get to control changes at your publishing house.
You don’t get to control the size of that other author’s platform (even though you’ve worked twice as hard as they have!).
But you do get to control and prioritize time to write and edit.
Don't Forget: Your Book will Reach More People than any Speaking Git, Article, or Facebook Post
“Words have the power to make things happen.” - Frederick Buechner
Most readers know this to be true -- books are soul food to nourish our spirit, to guide us along, equipping, inspiring, challenging us to live bolder, braver, more intentional lives.
But how exactly do you write a book? How do you put words to paper to impact lives?
Whether you are staring at blank pages, a half-finished manuscript, or even a full manuscript collecting digital dust, we believe you can change the world with just one book.
Books are powerful instruments that shape lives.
|Your book is a way to reach exponentially more people than any speaking gig, sermon, article, or social media post. Your book is also a way to share your...
An email list changes everything.
If you never ask, the answer is always the same.
This post is about the importance of email and the one thing you can do to start building (or enhancing) your list.
First a story.
During a recent exploratory call with a potential client, when asked about their email list, they said, "Yes, I have one." Game changer. Suddenly the entire conversation shifted because this author had taken the most important element of platform building and was doing it.
Having an email list signals to us as literary agents that you take your platform building seriously. You are investing in your career as a writer and author.
“Email > Social Media”
Too often in conversations about platforms, writers focus on followers on a variety of platforms. Mark Cuban said it best when he described why this is a problem: “You wouldn’t build your home on rented property, so don’t build your platform on social media.” Email is the foundation you...
A book proposal changes how you are viewed.
On a recent one-on-one coaching call, an aspiring author spent 25 minutes unpacking his book idea. The book idea was smart and entertaining - it had publishing potential...if the author could have 25 minutes to unpack it with each publishing stakeholder. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get that kind of face-time with a literary agent or editor, and even if you did, having a succinct, accessible idea is crucial.
The reality of today’s attention span demands a book proposal. You have to be able to share your book idea in such a way that it creates the same kind of excitement as if you were having coffee or lunch with an editor.
What this writer needed was a book proposal.
A book proposal is the difference between being a professional and showing up looking like an amateur. Amateurs are dependent on earning time with someone, captivating their already divided attention. What the...
Back on the Auction Block
One of the lone bright spots in the publishing industry, league-leading Simon & Schuster posted another banner quarter. Q1 2023 saw sales increase 19% and operating income jump 18%. Regular readers of the Update will remember that these results are being compared to a “gravity-defying” 2022. But, all the S&S success isn’t fazing corporate parent Paramount Global. Paramount still insists that they want to off-load this “non-video” cash cow.
If anyone is looking to invest a couple of billion dollars, seems like a solid opportunity to us.
Meanwhile, Penguin Random House—the former suitor whose advances were rebuffed by the Justice Department—was saved by the (former) prince. Over 4 million copies of Harry Windsor’s “SPARE” were credited for German parent Bertelsmann’s Q1 2023 sales increase of 5.6%.
One last item in the...
What’s the deal with book proposals?
You can’t apply for a job without a resume, nor can you find a publishing partner without a proposal. That’s why book proposals are so important: They are a resume for your book idea.
A proposal is like a job resume for your book. Literary agents and publishers review them to gauge their interest in working with you. Just like a resume, it needs to have professional elements to help garner more interest. You wouldn’t show up to a job interview in cargo shorts and your favorite team’s t-shirt, would you? Remember that old adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have?” If you want your book idea to be taken seriously, you have to make sure it looks the part for the role.
That’s why book proposals are so important.
Book proposals are essential. They are the key to advancing your publishing career. Without them, the chances of finding an agent or a publisher go down drastically....
Are they of any value or should they go?
Not too long ago, the Wall Street Journal did a piece on pre-publication blurbs. In it, they asked: Are they of any value or mere relics that deserve to go? It’s an interesting debate, one worth considering for every author, but for today’s post, we’re going to be pro-blurbs.
You’ve seen them on the covers of books, declaring a book “Brilliant,” “Classic,” and the frequent, “A must-read.” They are almost as common as the other elements on the cover – title, author’s name…and blurb. What was once considered a highly valued marketing tactic, a blurb can still be a very effective tool for garnering a reader’s attention, in our opinion.
On a recent call with a client, they asked, who should I ask for an endorsement? In publishing, the words “blurb” and “endorsement” are used synonymously. An endorsement can be about the person or the...