Cue the marching band….
First Half Reports
With the publishing industry’s first half of 2022 in the books (see what I did there?), we all feel pretty good about the unnoteworthy results: flat. If you’ve been with the Update for the last year or two, you know that the industry has been rocking and rolling (intentionally mixing metaphors because it’s fun).
Through June 30, 2022, trade book sales were hanging in there with the same period for 2021. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) reported survey results with sales off only 1.6% for the first six months of the year. Adult sales fell 2.6%, but children and YA sales picked up much of the slack, coming in at 4.3% over 2021.
Corporate earnings reports for Q2 are here, with publishing hot-shot—and the focus of so much courtroom drama of late—Simon & Schuster still crushing it. S&S saw revenues increase 34% and profits jump 54% over Q2 2021, with CEO Jonathan...
At Yates & Yates, we advise our clients to be the kinds of authors that people working on their book will stay after 5:00 p.m. to work on it. We want you to be a "nights & weekends" author. It’s not because we are some kind of publishing Scrooge. It’s because people will put in extra time and effort on the projects they like versus the ones they don’t. Maybe better put, they’ll go the extra mile for authors they really like.
No one in publishing stays late to work on projects they hate. Why? Because the ones you hate get the minimum, nothing extra.
(By the way, we recently covered all of this in Author Coaching University. The enrollment period for the 2022-23 Author Coaching University term is not open yet, but you can join our waitlist and be one of the FIRST to know when the application window opens for the next session in the coming weeks.)
So how do you become one of those...
Procrastination doesn’t look like Procrastination. It’s super sneaky.
Let us give you an example. Sometimes procrastination looks like research: “Once I do a little more research, I’ll be ready to write my book.” Or it looks like conducting an interview: “I can write that next chapter once I schedule an interview with her.” It’s easy for these things to come between you and your writing. You think you need to do a "thing" before you can do the writing.
The thing is, the writing is the thing.
You have to make time to write AND do research, conduct interviews, etc. What separates pros from amateurs is their ability to recognize the difference. Schedule time for the writing and then schedule a separate time for the other things. That’s how you keep procrastination from getting between you and your writing.
If you’re waiting on the right time to write your book, you are wasting...
“Urgent!!! Act now.” “2 days left to save.” “LAST CHANCE!”
We’re suckers for those subject lines, aren’t we?
One of the strongest tools in marketing is urgency. You see these tactics all the time. Here are the four most common ones: Time (limited time, last time, now, today only, deadline, seconds, minutes), Speed (now, act now, don't delay, hurry, rush, instant), Scarcity (once in a lifetime, one day only, never again, last chance), and FOMO (price going up, offer expires, now or never, final sale).
Like us, you’ve probably made a purchase based on one of those factors, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Understanding how marketing works is a super useful tool when writing your book. We commonly tell our clients to “bake in” the marketing hooks. That means viewing your manuscript through the eyes of a marketer.
(Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a...
So you’ve finished a draft of your…novel, business book, etc. Now what? There’s a strong tendency to want to go back and begin revising and working on it all over again. It’s natural to feel that pull.
Let’s look at some options that will help you come back to your draft inspired and ready for your next steps.
1. You’re going to be kind to yourself. There’s a strong temptation to look back after finishing a draft and think it’s crap. You’re not going to be mean to yourself. Everyone makes bad art. This is a part of the process.
2. You’re going to remind yourself that you’re showing up for writing and art. Be proud of that. Completing a draft, even an unpolished first draft, is a step most writers never get to, believe it or not. It’s hard to finish. Be proud of your efforts to get this draft completed. If you want to take it a step further: celebrate. Maybe it’s ice cream or a...
For those of us who majored in Economics, the dreaded word “recession” always seemed straightforward. You’re either in one, or you’re not. While the economy has become rather nuanced in the first few years of the ‘20s, the downward pressures are clearly being felt. Except in some very rare situations, books are the definition of a discretionary purchase. So, a downturn—whether or not you want to call it a recession—is definitely going to rear its ugly head here in the Update.
The folks at Variety conducted a survey in early July and found that 55% of U.S. adults expected to reduce their spending on entertainment in a recession (a category that includes books). Only 10% said that none of their spending habits would change in the event of a recession, to which their credit card companies shouted “hooray.”
Regardless of what the politicians might be telling us, the fact is that Amazon saw a drop in revenues from its...
New York Times Bestselling author Adam Grant recently said, “Instead of telling kids they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, should we teach them to judge negative and positive examples differently? Don’t doom a book by a bad cover—but give a book with a great cover a chance.” Adam makes a good point, as he often does.
The thing about covers is: No one intentionally makes a bad cover. No one wants to “doom” their book, but so many often do. In today’s email, let’s find a way to follow Adam’s advice by giving your book a better chance with a great cover.
Here are three tips (plus one bonus tip) for creating a great book cover:
Does the size of your book (page count) matter?
Historically, publishers have determined the price of the book primarily based on the page count. Many of the hard costs incurred in publishing a book – raw materials, shipping, printing, binding, etc. – were directly proportional to the size of the book. Basically, the bigger the book, the more it costs to produce. And relatedly, the bigger the book (i.e., the higher the page count), the more value consumers will perceive.
A basic example of this is: a publisher believes that a consumer will pay $25.99 for a hardcover book that is over 220 pages. The size of the book plays a factor in the consumer's end decision. If the book was 90 pages, there would be a huge hesitation to charge $25.99. That’s what the publishers believe.
When a traditional publisher contracts with you to write a book, there will be a stipulation in the contract on the word count, not the page count. Most nonfiction trade...
Audiobooks Stay White-Hot
The Audio Publishers Association reported double-digit revenue growth for an astonishing 10th consecutive year. 2021 audiobook sales saw an increase of 25% over 2020 – a year that was itself up 12% over the prior year. The genre leading the way: romance, with a 75% increase in revenues for 2021. No editorialization on such a figure will be provided by Market Update at this time.
The number of audio titles produced in 2021 was also up—6% over the title count in 2020—for a total of 74,000 titles released in audio.
More stats (because that’s what we do here):
Not sure how to feel about that last figure, as it could indicate a decrease in literacy. Perhaps it’s time to...
Every writer, on some level, struggles with rejection. Often you're left with no rhyme or reason as to why your book is being rejected by publishers and agents. It’s crickets. The worst is when you start receiving contradictory rejections. One person likes this part of the book idea; another doesn’t.
Have you ever wondered why your book is getting rejected?
It’s a little bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, right? This porridge is too cold, this one too hot.... Every writer wants to find that sweet spot, the one that is just right.
Can we offer some advice as to why you’re getting rejected?
If you’ve done your homework - honed your query letter and polished your book proposal - then maybe the problem isn’t the things you’ve done, it’s this one small thing you didn’t do.
As literary agents, we look for the smooth handle for your book idea. It’s the secret sauce that elevates your book idea to the next level: Create a...