Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 1, Issue 4

Welcome back to our latest issue of the Yates & Yates Author Coaching monthly newsletter, providing a brief update of the current state of the book publishing industry. As always, feel free to share with your friends, colleagues, or anyone else who might be interested.


And what’s bigger than Amazon?

Love him or hate him, we all secretly hope Jeff Bezos is our long-lost uncle. It should come as a surprise to exactly NO ONE that Amazon is having a momentous 2020. For the quarter ending September 30, 2020, Amazon exceeded already high expectations with a 37% jump in revenue and a near-doubling of net income ($69.1 billion and $6.2 billion, respectively).

Amongst the numerous business lines companywide (of which I expect the public only has a partial understanding), Amazon reported an increase in its online store sales of 27%/$48.3 billion, which was dwarfed by the increases in revenue from third-party seller sales (53%/$20.4 billion). It seems that while selling items...

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This Book Is for Me

Readers can be so selfish, right? Me, me, me.

At first, it sounds super selfish but thinking about what’s in it for your reader will change how your audience connects with your writing.

When a reader engages with a book, they are making a choice because they believe something is in it for them. It could be as simple as entertainment or as deep as healing past trauma. No matter what the book is, there’s an expectation from the reader that there’s something in it for them.

That’s why we want to share with you The Reverse Hook move.

Nope, it’s not a wrestling move or a fishing lure. The Reverse Hook is really an easy way of flipping around the question we talked about before when it comes to crafting a book hook.

Remember: The hook of your book is a sentence or two that is meant to tease the reader to purchase your book.  Check this out to learn more, "Give your Book a Hook".

A great way to sharpen or test your hook is to pretend to be your...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 1, Issue 3

Welcome back to our third issue of the Yates & Yates Author Coaching monthly newsletter providing a brief update of the current state of the book publishing industry. As always, feel free to share with your friends, colleagues, or anyone else who might care.

Onward and Upward
September picked up where August left off. After August saw a 5% increase over the prior year, September did one better – 1% that is. Juvenile Fiction remained on a tear. And Bob Woodward’s Trump exposé, “Rage,” sold over 450,000 copies in half a month. With essentially all genres outperforming last year’s numbers, September 2020 was clocked at around 6% above 2019.

Exceptions: Brick-and-Mortar Still Stuck in COVID Concrete; Scholastic Still on Detention
It’s not all good news. We’ve witnessed an incredible rebound in the publishing industry after the initial shelter-in-place shutdown. But there are still segments that are struggling. July numbers showed that...

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Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover…Unless it’s Your Own

The reason most book covers fail to attract readers is because they are lacking this one crucial design quality.

 If designing book covers was easy, we wouldn’t have so many examples of bad ones. You know what we are talking about. Think about the last bad book cover you saw. Did it have poor title treatment, making it hard to read? Was the image too loud? Not loud enough? Covers can be really tricky. Many times they fall into the Goldilocks paradox – it’s got to be just right. So what does that mean, “just right?”

 Besides the content and title, one of the most important elements of your book is the cover. We all know the age-old English idiom "don't judge a book by its cover." This metaphorical phrase means one shouldn't prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone. You probably heard this once or twice from your high school English teacher.

The ironic thing is we do judge books by their covers all the time. Your...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 1, Issue 2

Welcome to our second installment of the Yates & Yates Author Coaching monthly newsletter, providing a brief update of the current state of the book publishing industry. As always, feel free to share with your friends, colleagues, or anyone else who might care.

Another Great Month

We continue to see a strong book-buying market as the Summer of COVID marches on.  After a horrendous spring at the hands of the Coronavirus, we have seen a very strong comeback.  While May and June earned back most of the “bear market” from the worst of the shutdown months, the rest of the summer has been as bullish as a Merrill Lynch commercial (yes, we know it’s a dated reference, but it still works, right?).

On the backs of Stephanie Meyer and Jeff Kinney for Team Fiction, and Sean Hannity and Mary L. Trump for Team Non-, August was a veritable firestorm. Several weeks in August saw double-digit week-over-week gains and were tracking more than 5% above last year. If you...

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Publishing Industry Market Insider Update; Vol. 1, Issue 1

Welcome to what we hope will be the first of a series of monthly newsletters providing a brief update of the current state of the book publishing industry.  We’ll compile news and data relating to the bookselling business in the United States (with perhaps some international and global news from time to time), and pass along a summary of the highlights…and probably some lowlights.

Feel free to share with your friends, colleagues, or anyone else who might care.

So, here we go….

COVID-19…2020…Hut, Hut.

Well, after a month or so of relative panic—we’re looking at you March and April 2020—a funny thing happened on the way to the summer…book sales came roaring back.  Despite nearly every brick and mortar bookstore in the country (and around the world) being shuttered for months (and many still are), Amazon delaying “non-essential” shipments for weeks (remember “where’s the toilet paper?!”),...

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Before You Self-Publish

Not every book can be traditionally published.  

This is the unfortunate reality.  

Often, an aspiring author has been trying to land a book contract for years.  

He’s written a book proposal, one he thinks is strong and will capture the attention of an agent or editor.

He’s sent queries to dozens of literary agents and editors, pitching his book.  

He’s revised, sharpened, and re-sent.  

He’s attended writer’s conferences and taken online workshops.  

He’s joined an author’s group, maybe even hired someone to help him with his writing.   

And nothing has happened.  

Finally, the author reaches a point where he’s wondering, maybe I should just self-publish?  Maybe it won’t happen for me in the traditional way?  

Let’s be clear.  This doesn’t mean failure.  It’s very hard to get a publishing...

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Pros and Cons to Self-Publishing

Should I keep waiting for a traditional publisher, or should I self-publish?  

Can self-publishing hurt my chances to become traditionally published? 

What are the pros and cons to self publishing?   

These are just a few questions we are asked on a regular basis by aspiring authors wondering if they should dip into the alluring world of self-publishing.   

It’s a tricky conversation, whether or not someone should self-publish, and there are a lot of factors to consider: editorial support, distribution, sales, profit margins, and the like.  

One of the first questions I ask someone considering self-publishing is, what is your goal or reason for self-publishing?  Like most things, your reasons for considering self-publishing are important to know going in because they can help you discern whether self-publishing can meet your expectations for what you want to get from it. Some of your reasons might be: 

  • I...
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5 Reasons You Must Write That Book

The first and most important question you should ask yourself if you are an aspiring author is: “Why do I want to write a book?”  

Knowing the why behind your dream, particularly a demanding and lofty one like writing a book and getting it published, is absolutely essential.  There will most certainly be a time in your publishing journey when you will need to resort back to your why.  The sheer vulnerability required when writing and sharing your story, the isolation and determination essential as you persevere and craft words, the potential for repeated rejection, it’s not uncommon for even the most experienced already-published author to flirt with throwing in the towel a dozen or more times in the course of book writing.  

You need to know your why.    

Incidentally, why is also one of the first questions we ask when we are interviewing an author about potential representation.  We want to know her...

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5 Reasons You Should NOT Write A Book

Over 80 percent of people say they have a book in them.

“That’s cool.  I’d like to write a book someday,” he says hopefully, and I nod.  Yes of course you would.  You and the rest of the world.  

When you work in publishing and you learn that more than 80 percent of people think they have a book in them, you become quite selective about how and who you talk to about your line of work.  (This is one reason in fact, most literary agents and publishers avoid social media and keep their cards close to the vest -- they don’t want to get mobbed.)

Does it surprise you that 4 out of 5 people think they have a book in them? For aspiring authors, it should give a snapshot of how competitive and difficult it can be to actually get your book published. Only a select few books will find a publisher, and even fewer still will land on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, Target, and Costco.  

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Write A...

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