Comparable titles are a great way to start the conversation.
There’s a hurdle out there waiting to trip up your book proposal and derail your project. It’s lurking, waiting to come up in conversations. You might even think you’ve checked that box.
Oftentimes when we are in a conversation with a potential author, we’ll ask them about their comparable titles for their book proposal. It’s a test. We want to know if you know what you are doing. How you answer can determine where the next steps in your conversation go with an agent or editor.
Comparable titles show agents and publishers that you’ve done your homework. You understand that as an industry, comparable titles play a pivotal role in how your book proposal is viewed. From where it’ll go in a bookstore to how it is viewed by a publishing board, comparable titles set the tone for your book proposal.
“Comparable titles can make agents and publishers sit up and listen.”
At least we know what a lot of you have been doing – more of you than ever before…
Listening to Audiobooks
The Audio Publishers Association—yes, there is an association for everything—released its annual survey results and found another double-digit increase in audiobook sales in 2020. That’s up 12% from 2019, for a total of $1.3 billion in revenue. Audiobooks have been on a tear in recent years, so double-digit increases have been the norm. What was surprising is that the sector saw those increases in a year of reduced commuting!
In 2019, 43% of listeners surveyed said they listened mostly in their cars. By necessity, that number fell to 30% last year. But you all just switched to listening at home (55% of audiobook listeners, as compared to 43% the year prior).
The selection is probably helping, too. Last year, audiobook publishers produced 71,000 titles, up 39% over 2019. So, I guess the narrators and sound engineers weren’t spending their...
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.
You do get...
Are you letting distractions keep you from writing your book?
When it comes to writing books, there are a million things that are easier to do. Everything becomes a distraction and now that Summer is almost here there will be even more. Do you know what’s easier than writing your book? Talking about your book. Complaining about not having time to write your book...well, there might be as much time spent doing that as it would take to actually write the book.
That’s why we want to remind you of this tip to shake off distractions like Netflix or Disney+, etc.: “Butt in chair.” It’s that commitment to showing up that makes all the difference.
Listen, we have nothing against Netflix or Disney+; we have subscriptions, too!!! And maybe it’s not Netflix or Disney+, maybe it’s scrolling on Instagram or fantasy baseball. What’s your Netflix? What’s the thing that you do when you should be writing? Let’s replace it with “Butt...
Suffering is not a requirement of writing.
Too often writers associate passion with suffering. If you are not suffering for your writing - for your craft - are you really passionate enough about it? These are the kinds of questions that often come up when burnout begins to hinder the writing process. Like an indicator light on a vehicle’s dashboard, burnout is warning us that something needs to change. Today, let’s focus on three tips that can help you avoid burnout in your writing.
The first tip is to lean into your habits.
Maybe you are coming out of a busy season and you’ve neglected your writing. You are feeling exhausted and burned out from your home life or maybe work has been especially hard - or both. Habits are a great way to hit the reset button.
Give yourself the grace to get back to your writing habit again. Sometimes returning to habits can feel tricky. We start hearing that voice in our head tell us we wouldn’t have to start over if we had stuck...
Can you believe Q1 2021 is already behind us? Time flies when you’re having fun—i.e., selling lots of books!
Where Are They Gonna Put All that Money!?
SHOCKER: Amazon sets another sales record. For the quarter ending March 31, 2021, Amazon posted a massive year-over-year increase in revenue of 44%, or $108.5 billion, over Q1 2020. And profits more than doubled to $8.9 billion. The “online store”—what we all think of when we think of Amazon—saw revenue jump 44% to $36.6 billion, while the revenue from third-party sellers exploded—up 64% over Q1 2020. Yes, anyone can sell on Amazon, and clearly, a lot of people started to do just that when the pandemic hit—and they seem to be sticking with it (and why not). With no signs of slowing, Amazon is forecasting revenue increases of 24%-30% next quarter when compared to Q2 2020 when everyone was buying EVERYTHING on Amazon. It's good to be the king.
The Rest of the Numbers
More than just...
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.
At Author Coaching, we hear a lot about the things that are stopping you from publishing your book. The comment we mentioned earlier went on to say, “If you’re a celebrity of any type, you can get your book of any kind on any subject published without any obstacles. It’s ridiculous and it’s simply not right.” It’s not fair. We’ve got to eliminate those barriers and create a level-playing field for your book idea.
That starts with a book proposal. Too many writers with potentially great book ideas are disqualifying themselves by not having a book proposal.
When we created The Essential Book Proposal course, we did it for the writer who is tired of roadblocks. It’s an equalizer. For writers worried about all the noise between their idea and a published book, a book proposal cuts through it. The Essential Book Proposal course will help you learn the indispensable secrets to writing a stand-out...
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 professional knows is that a book proposal...
Sorry, we are a week late here, as we have been exceedingly busy watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
HarperCollins Gets in the Game
HarperCollins and parent company, News Corp, are finally getting back on the court in the acquisitions game -- agreeing to purchase the trade book division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for $349 million in cash. After losing to Penguin Random House in last year’s back and forth action for Big 5 publisher Simon & Schuster, HC will now (pending regulatory approval) be taking hold of the trade publishing division of HMH that, with 2020 revenues of $191.7 million, was essentially the 6th largest US trade book publisher. HMH had been seeking to unload the business as part of its decision to focus on being an educational technology company for the K-12 market.
After closing out their June 30, 2020, fiscal year with sales of $1.67 billion and a blazing-fast start to fiscal ‘22 helped by a “historic quarter” ending December 31,...