Have you ever wondered why we write? I’ve never considered myself a writer, but I do get enjoyment out of putting words on paper. I’ve written one book with plans for updating and revising, and am penning a new one. The work is daunting and I struggle with words. Thankfully I have a friend who helps with my editing.
I’ve spent my entire working life in publishing and it wasn’t until I started writing that I realized the importance of a good editor. I’m fortunate in that I have worked with many great editors in New York. But I never quite realized how important they were to the success of publishing in general. I hate to say that they were often taken for granted.
Without editors and their objective yet caring and professional set of eyes, I’m afraid many words and sentences just wouldn’t be as clear as they become after the work of a great editor. I’m partial to editors, because their skills and ability clear up my own words. If you have a good editor, then thank them, if you don’t, then find one. Writing and editing go hand-in-hand. For those who believe editors change the meaning of your writing, then all I can say is, you aren’t working with the right editor.
Publishing is going through some difficult times. Book sales are down dramatically and no one seems to know how to fix the problem. What we are seeing is the result of years of “Wall Streetesque” problems.
But like a good novel, when common sense and responsibility seem to have flown out the window, two giant examples of hope have come into view.
The first is the self-published title by William P. Young, THE SHACK. This book spent months in the number one position of the NEW YORK TIMES trade paperback list and sold in excess of 3 million copies.
The second was just awarded best picture for 2008: "Slumdog Millionaire."
When the producer received his award he stated that this low-budget film without marketing money or muscle being named best picture (opening only ten theaters nationwide), was miraculous. I agree! Same for author Young and his book.
This proves that the underdog always has a chance. They always had hope. So when you complete your manuscript and fall into the “publishing mill” mentality that places cost in front of everything else, your results will not be unexpected. However, if you are creative, nothing can stand in your way of success. Set your goals and expect what is possible. Hope is an attitude that defines expectation, and it is available to everyone.
We’ve all heard of “puppy mills” or “puppy farms” which are large-scale breeding facilities that operate in deplorable conditions and cause health and hereditary problems in the dogs. I’ve written and spoken numerous times about the need for writers to avoid those companies and individuals that promise a lot and deliver little regarding the publication of your manuscript.
I’m asking all writers to avoid the “publishing mills” that dominate the
This is not in reference to the "mom and pop" operations that handle authors and the end product with great care and produce a professional product. I’m speaking of the large scale operations that eliminate individuality by covering the book with rip-off jackets and have little concern other than getting it produced.
I’ve often ranted about the large New York companies only in business is to
produce an end product. But there are some exceptions—the biggest publishing publishing companies demonstrate editorial selection and they take great care and pride in packaging their books. It's what the “publishing mills” lack.
If you have hope that your writing has a chance to sell in the form of books, then you must avoid the “publishing mills” and concentrate on making an investment in the final product.
Being an author has two-parts—the writing and everything else. Don’t ignore the everything else.
The holiday season is a happy time for most and it is in the holiday spirit that I write this blog. If you are laboring away at a manuscript and are at times perplexed about writing and publishing, you aren’t alone. This is a tough business and it’s difficult to get your writing noticed and read. Your decision on how to publish can be confusing, expensive and costly in a number of ways if you make the wrong choice.
Help is available and there are answers to all your questions. Don’t rush into anything, ask for advice and do your homework before you purchase a product or service. Avoid companies or individuals that make wild promises because there are no guarantees in publishing. Take your time, complete your manuscript, find a competent editor, then worry about publishing and marketing your book.
I’ve been fortunate to have developed a tremendous number of contacts throughout publishing and my mission is to help you make the right decisions about how to publish, how to market and all related matters. I’m tired of unsuspecting writers being taken advantage of and during hard economic times when there are deals galore.
Don’t fall for the pitch, if you make the right choice, anything is possible in publishing.
Early this month, “Black Wednesday” descended upon two major New York publishing houses. On December 3rd, both Random House and Simon & Schuster announced plans to lay off hundreds of employees. People with famous names and pedigrees in this business will soon lose their jobs. What’s going on?
Sales are dismal. But that’s been the case for the past 16 consecutive years. Why now? Publishing is a broken business model and is in need of an overhaul. When I hear about the problems of the automakers, I can’t help but think how publishing is also in dire need of a major transformation. The marketplace is demanding change.
A good friend of mine who lives in New York recently returned from maternity leave at a major publisher. She told me that her boss sat her down and explained: "publishing is not the same as it was twelve weeks ago when you left, and it will never be the way it was before. Everything you thought you ever knew about publishing is different. We’re all going to have to learn a new way to conduct business." I felt that this advice was important to pass on to you.
Behind the scenes, people are worried. Many have worked years with the same house and are scared.
Is there a silver lining? There might be. Ask yourself this important question:
Are you ready to be a part of the revolution that will change publishing?
There’s a ton of information on the subject of publishing books. Through all the rhetoric, articles and blogs, the question is still: how to sell more books? In my opinion there are three very important considerations—price, package and distribution.
Cover prices on all books (both hardcover and paper) are set for one very distinct reason: to generate billing in a time when single copy sales are declining. Higher cover prices make up for the sin of paying undeserving authors higher-than- necessary advances. For those who are in control of their own destiny and publish themselves, there is no reason why your book should be priced higher than those you find in bookstores. If your publisher is forcing these higher prices on your book then you need to find another publisher.
For all the faults of the big New York publishers the one thing they get right is packaging. They understand how to effectively package a book. Covers and copy are paramount to selling books. Get it wrong and your book could fail in the marketplace, regardless of how great the writing and story. If your book does not fit in with all other categories of books you find in bookstores, then refocus your attention to how to properly package your book.
Finally, the best price and package means absolutely nothing if you do not have a professional sales force presenting, selling and distributing your book to the market. Sorry, but without distribution, you will not get the exposure or sales you need to generate the kind of attention your book requires to gain traction—defined as having the ability to backlist and reorder on a continual basis.
It’s really simple…write a great story, price according to the market, package with distinction yet fit into a specific category or genre, and get a professional sales force to sell and distribute your book. These are the keys to improving your chances of selling more books.
This web site was developed to help the independent writer and author
promote themselves and their books. One way we assist you in doing this
is with “free” book reviews. There are plenty of web sites where an
author can get reviews but most charge a fee. We do not! We never have
and never intend to. However, free book reviews have limits and we do
all we can to overcome these. Here are two examples of the biggest
problems with free book reviews.
First, we are limited in the number of book reviewers we have simply
because we cannot find enough people willing to read a book for free and
write a review. We are always trying to attract good book reviewers.
This means that all books cannot be reviewed in a timely manner. We’d
love to overcome this problem if we could attract more good book
reviewers; maybe you can help us?
The second problem is that too often, authors fail to mail their book to
a reviewer. I can’t tell you how many emails I receive from able and
willing book reviewers who have been waiting upwards of a month for a
book to arrive, and unfortunately no book. Authors, if you receive an
email asking that you send a book to a reviewer, please do so promptly.
Finally, this web site was designed for you. It is not a profit
center--we are self- funded and on a limited budget. So when we design a
program, such as the “free” book review, we need the help of our authors
and book reviewers. Unless you want to shell out $100 or more for a book
review, take advantage of our program. It’s simple and designed for you,
the independent author.
Certainly the economic downturn has negatively impacted the publishing business. At the same time it forced the powers that be to take a closer look at how they conduct business. This means the largest publishers in the world are searching for talent in the form of new writers.
Nothing Binding is attracting more agents and editors than ever before. However, when your profile is too clever or glib and your photo is compromised by your pet or book cover in the place of your face, then publishers back off.
If they read about you but cannot hear your voice or see you speak via audio or video, then you’ve missed the opportunity to raise your credibility as an author who is worth promotion. You need to capitalize on the one chance at making a positive impression because the time is short in which to catch someone’s eye.
Nothing Binding will continue to provide this service free to any and all writers and authors. The more agents and editors we can attract to browse your profiles the better. This is what creates opportunities in today’s marketplace.
This is a big mistake. Write the story that you want to write, not what you suspect the market wants. Whether it’s a novel or non-fiction, your background, experience and insight are what make your story unique. No other writer anywhere on the planet can duplicate your own writing!
Book sales are cyclical. If you look at the past 30 years you’d see the highs and lows of category sales. What publishers try to do is catch the rise to the top and avoid the dip to the lows. As an author, there is no way you can try to match that cycle.
Forget about market timing. It won’t work. Write the story you were destined to write and focus on making it entertaining, enlightening and informative. Consumers will always buy good books so make yours as good as possible.
As the major publishing companies evaluate their current situation, one thing becomes clear. What they are doing is not working. You cannot stem the tide of falling sales when your strategy is to produce more of the same. Propping up a system that makes it difficult for new talent to break in and reprinting less-than-stellar writing from old tried-and-true authors is the best way to drive your customers away.
The reading public is screaming for a new approach. This is my conclusion after seeing a 16-year slide in single copy sales. How can an industry constantly fly in the face of the basic law of supply and demand? When demand goes down in publishing, the big companies increase supply and prices. This does not make sense.
The time is right for an entirely new approach, and it’s around the corner.