In recent times the publishing industry has undergone great changes, thanks to them, new doors have been opened to all of us who love writing. You can publish in a traditional way, self-publish, publish only digitally, with publishers that work in a kind of legal limbo in which you self-publish and also pay them a lot…
However, something is undeniable, we all want to end up in a great publisher, one of those “lifelong “, some of the fashion authors have fallen into these great publishers after succeeding alone. Having a story that is already selling well is the best business card you can have for potential agents, editors or publishers.
But don’t be wrong either: having a self-published book doesn’t mean you’re accepted wherever you go. On the contrary, they are going to expose you under the microscope. Why? Because in their twisted minds there is a kind of warning written in huge red letters: If it has been self-published … It will be for something.
The publishing industry has its own rules and if you want to get into the game, you will have to know how to dance at their own pace. In my experience with this world I have been learning some things that today I want to share with you, small changes that applied to our work can make the real difference between publishing or not publishing.
#1. Do Your Chores
It seems obvious, but many people just submit their manuscript and wait for the positive responses to fall from the sky. The vast majority of publishers, publishers and agents have a guide on how you should send them your ghost writing. Pay attention to that information.
In these small guides they inform you if you need to send the complete manuscript, a few chapters, a cover letter, a letter and a synopsis … Read the guides and do not waste their time. You may think your new romance novel is better than Gone With the Wind , but if the publisher you’re sending it to wants a synopsis and you endorse the entire manuscript, you’re lost, they won’t listen to you. Offer your material in the appropriate format for each professional .
Why? Well, if you can’t follow a few simple instructions to submit your manuscript, the editor will think that you will ignore any of their editorial advice.
#2. Be Honest
You have printed 500 paper copies of your work, and they have all been distributed. Random House or Planet should be knocking on your door like crazy, right? Well, wait… Of those 500 copies distributed, how many have you sold? Have you given any to Grandma? At what price were they? There is a big difference between the sales of a self-published book and those of one published by a publisher .
Publishers will find it very easy to calculate and know your sales numbers, so do n’t get the snot (don’t overdo it). If you’ve put your book on POD ( print on demand ) you have to say so. If you are a great tweeter and have sold a pack of books thanks to your social talk, you have to say it too. You have to be honest about the time it takes to sell your work, tell the truth about where and in what formats your work has been sold.
If your book is one of the best sellers, you will have good support . On the other hand, you will find publishers who do not want to know anything about a self-publishing book, no matter how much it has sold. Others will think that the work has already reached its peak and will not want it either. Things that happen…
#3. Don’t think you have no competition
If someone had given me a euro (a filthy euro) every time I thought, ” in no time I will be living on this … As soon as I get to publish a book … ”
Each book is unique, each idea is unique, but if you intend to sell that to a publisher or an agent, you are going to have to prove that your book is really special and unique .
All books have a competitor. A nemesis. Since Amazon launched its self-publishing platform, it is very easy to find at least 4 books that deal with the same topic as yours (take the test). Amazon is a good tool to find this type of information, since it allows you to dive into the content of the book .
When you write your proposal for the editor or publisher, you should be brave and include at least three or four titles with which you compete on your subject (do not freak out, you will not compete with King or Gaiman). For each book you mention, write a paragraph about how your work differs from the others. You have to make a difference without resorting to ” mine is bigger and better .”
#4. Focus on promotion
Maybe you think that because you are working with a publisher you will not need to worry about advertising, that they will be the ones who will put all the means at their disposal so that the book is widely recognized.
Big mistake, most of that advertising and promotion work will continue to fall on the author himself . Unless your book is so special that a whole campaign can be built around your figure. But forget about that, that’s the exception, not the rule.
If in your cover letter you forget to comment on what you plan to do to promote your work, the publisher or publisher will think that you have no idea what to do to sell it. This will have a negative impact on your work.
You need to be clear about how you are going to sell it, even before it is finished . If you have a newsletter, do not hide or make up the real number of subscribers. If you are a blogger, explain in the letter how many unique visits you have per day, and provide a publication calendar so that they can follow you. Building your sales strategy around your blog is not a bad idea.
#5. Why do you want to write a book?
Tell the publisher why you want to publish your book. Editing, layout and selling one costs a lot of time, effort and money. Instead of thinking ” I want to write a book, ” take that thought a bit more and try to explain how publishing that book would complement your work or life.
Develop a plan to sell it (it doesn’t matter if you’re publishing it yourself or working with publishers). You may first want to step back, think things through, start a blog, and talk a bit about your work.
It is not a bad idea to wait for a strong and recognized platform before publishing your first book .
The publishing scene seems stagnant and in part it is, however there are many things you can do to get off the tangent, in this article I wrote for Argonautas, I try to give some interesting details of how the publishing world is working.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have a finished work? Are you going to publish it? Do you already know what steps you want to take for the publication of that work?