Publishing Fundamentals Tips

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What Promotional Expenses Will My Publisher Fund?

· Most publishers, at the minimum, will provide the author with fliers, bookmarks, or other printed support materials for the release of the book.

· If the book is a top tier book, the publisher may provide advertising co-op dollars to promote the title’s release. This may include the ads on the web, appropriate print publications, the purchase of a targeted e-mail list to receive a press release, or billboard signage. Funds may also be available for radio advertising.

· Some publishers will provide a budget to tour an author to a limited number of cities. They will cover the transportation (air and ground), food and hotel.

· A book launch reception may be part of the overall book campaign funded by the publisher.

o Hard copy invitations created by the publisher

o Postage for the mailing of the invitations

o Food, drinks, music, etc.

· The publisher’s publicity department will usually send out review copies, a press release and directly contact key media outlets in order to pitch your book.

· It’s possible that the publisher may share in the expense of hiring an outside publicist or PR firm.

· The publisher may host a webinar, tele-seminar, or pod-cast.


Getting Past The Publisher's Gatekeeper

Unfortunately, most publishing houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts; meaning that they will only review manuscripts submitted through literary agents. So, what is an unpublished, non-agented author to do?

The process of getting your book in front of the right person at a publishing house requires research. Review in depth the targeted publisher, scope out the appropriate genre editor’s name. If you’re unable to access the specific editor’s contact information from their website, note the genre of your book in the subject of your e-mail to the general submission e-mail. Follow their submission guidelines. Sometimes, authors get lucky, the subject catches the eye of an Editorial Assistant, and they peek at what you’ve sent. While this approach has a one in a million chance of happening, when you’re seeking a publisher you have to try every angle.

A similar process as above can be applied to seeking an agent. Do your homework, first. If there’s one thing that editors and agents despise it’s receiving unrelated genre/topic manuscripts than what they publish and/or represent. Don’t waste your time or theirs and with persistence, you will get in the door. Considering that agents are publishers’ partners in selecting which books to bring to market, agents are inundated with manuscripts. Be patient, the review process can take months. However, persistence gets results; the best approach is assembling an over-the-top proposal.

There are some exceptions to the rule in pitching your book to a publisher or agent. Some publishers will accept non-agented manuscripts at specific times throughout the year. Others may be represented at writers’ conferences where writers have limited access to editors in order to submit a synopsis of their manuscript. Entering writing contests, whether you win or not, may present an opportunity for a publisher to review your work and while you may not be the winner of the contest, you may have something of interest to the publisher who is on the panel of judges.

Ultimately, your writing must stand on its own. In all things, don’t get discouraged, the crème always rises to the top and you will find the right publisher for your book.


The Publicist Assigned To My Book Has Left The Company

Your book is about to release and the publicist who was assigned to your book has left the company. What can you do about it and how do you know the replacement is qualified?

You’ve already spent three months or more communicating with the previous publicist and now you have to start from scratch with the replacement. It’s not easy for you or the new publicist. To make matters worse, your book is lagging in booked publicity and now it’s almost too late.

· Unfortunately, this happens and as the author there really isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. The publisher is providing a service and you need to trust their judgment that the publicist assigned to your book is qualified and will do a great job in pitching your book to the press.

· You can make your concerns known to your editor to ensure they are in the loop, in that way they will be monitoring the publicist’s efforts.

· The publisher wants to do their best in representing your title as it’s in their best interest, too.

· One of the hardest things to do, as an author, is to “let go” and trust that the publisher knows the marketplace and what to do in order to generate maximum sales for your book.

· As a precaution, it’s beneficial for the author to connect with his/her own media contacts and/or hire a publicist on their own as a safety net.


Will My Book Go To A Paperback Edition?

· Not all hard copy editions go to paperback. The publisher looks at each book on a case by case basis.

· If the book is selling very well in cloth, the publisher may decide to extend the cloth’s edition beyond a year’s time (usual length of a hard copy edition).

· The determining factor for a cloth edition to go to paperback is almost solely on the sales history in hard copy and the sale ability of the book once it goes to paperback.

· If the cloth edition’s sales begin to slow, but the publisher thinks that a paperback edition may increase or pick up the momentum, the publisher may opt to produce a paper edition.

· Another reason for a cloth/hard cover book to be published as a paperback is because there is a significant amount of updated information and rather than print the revised text in cloth, the publisher may choose to publish the newly updated book in paper.

· The advantage of a paperback book is the price and convenience factor for the customer. Therefore, allowing the publisher to earn higher gross margin and sell volume.


What Is a Pub Window and What Does It Matter?

· A pub date is the actual day when the book is officially released and distributed across the country (U.S.); generally it depends on where the publisher’s warehouse (distribution center) is located, but it can take up to three weeks for the book to be fully dispersed from the east to the west coast.

· The pub date is the official date that the media exposure is planned to begin, as well as any events that are being scheduled. The reason being is that the publisher wants to be sure that the book will be available to customers when the media begins to hit, otherwise, if the media is happening prior to the book being made available in the stores, then there’s the chance that the media’s mention will not do its job of driving traffic to purchase books.

· The pub window (generally 3 months from the pub date) is the time period that the publisher puts its attention on garnering press and speaking appearances.

· It would be impossible for the publisher to continue their focus on titles much beyond this window. Because of all the new releases, (over 225,000 books released each year through traditional publishers) and limited resources, publishers generally cannot afford to “carry” a title passed the pub window unless the author is evergreen or a franchise.

· Usually the press is only interested in a title when it first hits the market; most of the attention will likely take place in the first six weeks after the release.

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PJ Campbell
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