Your reader has a lot on their plate. Between juggling careers, distractions competing with commitments, and living life, their time is extremely valuable. There’s no shortage of busy today.
You know this, so why doesn’t your subtitle reflect this?
Imagine going into a store - people still do this!!! - and looking for someone to help you. You’ve got questions. How frustrated would you be if when you found the employee they did everything they could not to answer your questions?
Your readers have questions and they’re busy. They need you to cut to the chase. A really great subtitle answers your reader's questions. Too many times writers try to create subtitles that do everything. They become convoluted and clumsy. They say a lot about nothing.
Here’s a good rule to use when you are brainstorming a subtitle for your book: Are you using commas in the subtitle? A serial comma can suggest your subtitle lacks focus. Really push to clarify what your book is...
The Broken Links in the Supply Chain
Have you driven by any new car dealerships lately? Look closely. That lot full of new cars is probably only one row deep. Dealerships have resorted to parking the cars from the service department out front, just to create the illusion that they have a full lot! Something about a global shortage of microchips, along with numerous logistical challenges stemming from the pandemic.
Well, the book business is in the same boat…and that boat is probably moored a hundred ships deep off the California coast (we can literally see them out the window at Y&Y world HQ in Orange County, CA).
The supply chain problems in the publishing industry are a perfect storm of the pandemic-related labor shortage, shipping and transportation problems, and in recent years the bankruptcy and consolidation of US-based printing companies. Plus, with the stratospheric growth of online shopping, many mills switched their manufacturing from paper to cardboard (all...
Writing is hard.
You wouldn’t be reading this email right now if you didn’t feel the tension and resistance that goes along with trying to write and publish your books and ideas. Too often, we see authors on social media and wonder, “Why not me?”
The truth is: when you see a book, you’re really seeing more than the author’s work. You’re seeing the work of a village - because that's what it takes. In the publishing process, dozens of people will help bring a book to market.
It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. You’re measuring yourself not against an author or a book, but a team of people. That’s why we want you to stop going it alone.
When we created Author Coaching University, we wanted to help writers go from idea to bookshelf. Imagine having a mentor to walk you step-by-step to getting published? What if you had an expert guide from within the publishing industry to help you navigate your journey?
Big Numbers for the Big 5
With the first 6 months of 2021 in the books, we have seen an industry-wide increase in same-period sales up 18.1% over 2020. Some of that jump can be attributable to the adversely COVID-impacted March and April 2020, but if you’ve been hanging with us for the past year and a half, you know that by May 2020 and on through the rest of that year, we were on a hot streak. So, these are some terrific numbers to report, with Publishers Marketplace conjecturing that we may have just seen the best 6- and 12-month periods ever!
The Big 5:
Penguin Random House: Up 10.8% worldwide; 22% ($1.3 billion) in the U.S.
Lagardere/Hachette: Up 16.4% worldwide; 14.8% in the U.S.
HarperCollins: Up 20%
Simon & Schuster: Up 9.2% (reporting separately from PRH pending merger approval)
Macmillan/Holtzbrinck: (privately held, but presumably performed similarly well)
Hachette Book Group knows what to expect, and it’s expecting to...
Your book’s promise is what fulfills your commitment to the reader.
When we are talking about a book’s promise, here’s what we mean: let’s say you were sitting with one of your readers telling them what your book was about (the premise). And then you say, “I promise that after you finish reading my book you will …”
One of the most critical mistakes a book can make is breaking its promise to the reader. So much of the success of a book is tied to its promise. Without a great promise, there’s nothing for the reader to pass on or look back at. Oftentimes the reason why you forgot about a book is that its promise went unfulfilled. Broken promises are a huge factor in determining its success.
Think about a couple of recent bestsellers that deliver on their promise: Greg McKeown’s, "Essentialism," promises to help the reader identify their highest contribution, and does; Jennie Allen’s book, "Get Out of Your Head" ...
More Reading = More Book Sales
A U.S. Department of Labor survey among Americans aged 15 years and older showed that reading time increased 21% during the second half of 2020. Turns out people were actually reading all those books they bought during the heart of the pandemic. Reading time increased from 28 minutes a day during July through December 2019 to 34 minutes a day for the same period last year. The biggest age-group increases came in the 20-34 and over-65 age brackets. The over-75 crowd won the event . . . which they do every year – clocking in a whopping 95 minutes per day (can you say “retirement,” anyone?).
The biggest surprise came from men, who ratcheted up their reading time by 30%! I wonder if that will stick.
Here We Go Again
We spent the first year of this blog telling you how pleasantly surprised we were to see the 2020 sales reports come in, month after month, ahead of what we all felt was a really decent 2019. Well, here we go again. The...
Have you signed up for our upcoming free training, The Secret Path to Getting Published?
The truth is many writers and potential authors are lost on the publishing trail. They know where they want to go, but they don’t know how to get there. That’s why we are excited about our upcoming webinar, The Secret Path to Getting Published.
In it, you’ll discover:
Here’s a sneak peek at pro tip #1.
Pro Tip #1: Understand that your book proposal is a marketing tool that agents and editors will use to evaluate your book and platform. Therefore the writing needs to be concise and compelling.
Your book proposal is NOT a manuscript. And your...
The hook of your book is a sentence or two that is meant to tease the reader to purchase your book.
“What’s the hook of the book?”
This is one of the most important questions your book has to answer. You cannot presume that a reader is going to pick up and buy your book just because you tell them to. If you ask your reader a compelling question, you captivate them, and they will sit up and take notice.
You might have heard this term before, but essentially a book hook is a sentence or two that is meant to tease the reader to purchase your book. The hook is the backbone of a good book idea.
Your book hook should be intriguing, pique curiosity, and make the reader want to learn more.
To build a great hook, your hook is going to answer two questions:
Great book ideas start with the premise!!!
The very first step you should take when trying to figure out which book you should pursue first is to sit down and write out a premise of your book idea. The premise of your book is basically its thesis statement.
“What are the important factors I should consider
when I am developing my book idea?”
The premise doesn’t have to be long. Start with 2-3 sentences. A good way to think about the premise is to imagine if you were at a lunch date with someone, and you told them you were writing a book. And then they turned to you and said, “What’s your book about?” THAT is your premise.
A good premise lays a foundation for where your book is going to take readers. That central idea might answer a question, solve a mystery, or tell a story. The most important part is that it does something.
The reverse is also true about the premise: if you’re having...
Amazon will be broken up by federal regulators…if the House Judiciary Committee has its way.
The Antitrust Subcommittee has set its sights on Big Tech (companies worth over $600 billion), including, of course, Amazon. A handful of bills were introduced in efforts to corral the Facebooks, Googles, and Amazons of the world. Of those, the most notable for the fine readers of this report would be the breaking up of Amazon’s vertical publishing monopoly. The legislation is targeting giant platforms that “leverage their control across multiple business lines…in ways that undermine free and fair competition.” What that could mean for Amazon’s present vertical in the publishing industry is the breaking up or spinning off of Audible, Brilliance Audio, Kindle, Kindle Direct Publishing (self-publishing), and their “Amazon Publishing'' imprint.
Additional measures under discussion include curbs on these platforms’ practices of...