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Posts Tagged ‘publishers’

Hey! It’s Friday! Oldest has been retrieved from college for the summer, and the quiet of the house is disturbed by the sounds of her unpacking and shuffling stuff around.

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and thought it was time to get those thoughts down.

Every author needs to maintain a level of professionalism with their publisher, their agent, and their readers. Plain and simple.

At the end of the day, this is a business relationship. That’s it. The publisher and agent are trying to help you get your book out in the world. The reader bought it, read it, and (hopefully) left a review. Maybe they’ve stood in line to get your autograph at a signing.

Being friendly is great. It really helps in this industry. The person who can write a nice, friendly, and polite email will have more done for them than the angry author who makes demands. Readers will have more fun talking with someone who’s humble and approachable and ‘like them’ than they will the grump that can barely look at them or complains that their coffee is cold.

You can be too friendly, though. Watch the subject of your emails. Is it too personal? Is it too vague? Did you forget to include your title? Agents and publishers work with hundreds if not thousands of authors. And millions of titles. Do you really think they’ll instantly remember that you wrote a specific title off the top of their head? Or which of the half dozen you have with them you’re talking about?

So, in emails, keep it short and simple but polite. Remember to include the title you’re asking about. You can ask about how they’re doing, etc, but don’t include the three paragraph story about how your cat chewed up your dishwasher’s intake hose and you had to bail out the kitchen before you could email them with the question. Don’t take over their FB post and talk about how you had it worse than what they were talking about. Don’t go on twitter and tag other authors in your promotions unless they’ve said you can.

Ask yourself one simple question: if this was a 9-5 office job, would I be messaging my boss at 6:30 on FB to ask a work question? Would I tag them on twitter?

If the answer’s no, you probably shouldn’t be doing that to your publisher or agent, either.

BB

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Good morning!

It’s been a crazy one here. It’s been super busy around the publishing house, which is a good thing!

One of the things I’ve been trying to get a lot of new authors to understand is that a traditional publisher isn’t your personal publicist.

A publisher has to be concerned with the entire House, not just one book. They have to treat each author fairly and equally. They can’t be promoting one all day long and ignore the other 300 authors or 900 titles.

Authors are the ideal person to promote their own books. Why? Because we know them, inside and out. Backwards and forwards. We know better who our target audience is, who is more likely to take a chance on a new author. Your publisher? Probably not so much. When you read dozens of books a week in the slush pile, and even more as they move through editing and proofreading, they tend to become a big blur. It’s easy to confuse which book had a main character of Chris that was a woman vs. one where it was a man.

Especially with an indie house, you shouldn’t expect your book to be given a 5 star promotion treatment. No ads in the NYT, no contest entries. Why? Because they’re building their reputation as a whole. You’re going to have to do the research, be your own publicist. It’s not easy, no. I’m not saying it will be. But you can’t rely on your publisher to do all the work while you wait for sales to start. It’s rather arrogant, if you ask me. You’re expecting them to ignore hundreds of other titles, ones that may well be selling much better than yours, simply to promote your title.

That is your job. If you don’t want to do it, hire yourself a publicist. But don’t expect your publisher to do it for you.

BB

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Good morning! Yesterday was a whole bunch of work and brain dead on my part. LOL. I simply couldn’t come up with a good blog topic! Am happy to report that is fixed!

There’s something to be said about the internet water cooler and the anonymity it provides. One can go on a message board or chat room, create a new persona, and complain about things in your life. Your spouse, your kids, your sex life, your job, your boss, your neighbors, etc. And a lot of people do. They seek to blame others for their own failings by disparaging them.

If you’re an author, though, or any public figure, it’s not a good idea.

Why? You can be anonymous, right? If your book with XYZ didn’t do as well as you expected, why not blast them for not catering to your every whim? You can say the cover art sucked without mentioning you asked for 15 different changes that were accommodated. You can blame the editor even though you’re the one who refused to accept industry standards. You’ll be the hero, the misaligned artist whose work will never be fully appreciated because of what ‘they’ did to your book.

Don’t do it. Because it will bite you in the hiney faster than you can possibly imagine.

How you behave online as an author any more is almost as important as the content of your book. People want to connect with authors, not be blown off by a pompous jerk. They want a pleasant conversation, not a whiny one. They want to name drop you at the next cocktail party in a good way. If all you have to say is negative, they’ll talk about you. But you’ll be the butt of the jokes not the name connected with ‘you have to read their books!’.

My writing big brother, Nick Pollotta, told me once that this industry is ‘incestuous, in that everyone knows everyone else. And they talk.’ That is the single biggest truth authors need to learn. One bad post in an online forum can and will haunt you for decades. It can kill your career before it even starts. Publishers do searches for their name and read the posts. And they’ll try to figure out who the jerk is, because they don’t want to work with them. Who wants to work with someone who goes online and tells the world half of the story? Who wants to help promote someone who expects millions in sales in a month but won’t do the work to get it?

No one wants to work with a whiner. And that’s why what you say online matters.

BB

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Happy Monday! Muse the Purrbot is curled up on my lap, and I’m content sipping my tea as the work day gets started.

I was thinking on something last night, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. It seems there’s a group of authors out there who think, once they put their name on the contract, their part is over. They can just relax, write the next book, and not worry about another thing. They’re with a publisher now, so their literary job is secure.

Um, hate to tell you guys this, but it’s not.

Those contracts (talking about decent contracts, not screw you over ones) have dates in them. Five years from the date of signature, three years from date of original upload, something. Which means, at the end of the contract, the publisher can elect to not renew it and let you have your rights back.

They do not have to keep your book up until you find something better.

A lot of things go into consideration before a renewal is offered. Does the author promote? Are they positive on social media? Are they cheering on their fellow authors? Do they complain in public or to their publisher about poor sales? Are they a major pain, expecting things done for them just because they want it? Are they aware of the cost and work a publishing house puts into their book, or do they think changing the cover should be ‘no big deal’?

It’s not always about how well a title sells.

What gets me is that writers work so hard at getting this job – and I do mean job – at a publishing house. They wrote the book, they got it peer edited, they polished it until it gleamed, and they researched the various houses that might be interested in their genre. Then, when they get the job, they slack off. And get upset when it’s not renewed.

Would you go into your day job and say, ‘hey, you hired me and I’m here but I’m not going to be bothered working today. I’m just going to sit here and complain that you’re not doing something for me.’? You’d get fired!

So, do yourself a favor. Remember this is a job, it’s work. Don’t forget that for a second. Work hard, and be patient. Nobody went from the mail room to the corner office overnight. The same holds true for authors.

BB

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