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….
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?!”),...
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...
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:
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...
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...