Friday, October 24, 2008

Author Seminar

I'm speaking at a fairly good-sized Author event next Wednesday. I put a few things together then I thought you might give me some significant input. What do authors really want to know from a publisher? What do you really wish you had known long ago? What piece of the puzzle is (or was) the hardest for you to find? If you could change one thing in the publishing world, what would it be? Any other suggestions?

Thanks for your comments. I really do enjoy coming here.


Janet said...

I'd like to know things like the percentage of manuscripts you accept for publication, how much the average author makes in royalties, and how much that actually amounts to per book, how many copies the average book will sell, contract information, marketing information - like what the author is expected to do.
Basically things you probably think of as common knowledge is not known to the average writer.
Be sure to share your secrets with us too!

Rebecca Talley said...

In addition to what Janet said, I'd want to know what part the author plays in promotion/what does the publisher expect from the author (bare minimum) and different ways to promote my book. I'd want to know about book signings--do all authors have them or only a select few. How does a publisher decide which books to advertise in catalogs? Should I blog? Should I have a website? How often does a publisher expect a manuscript from an author? Yearly? Twice a year? What makes a publisher excited to work with an author? Not excited? If I could change one thing, I'd want to just focus on writing and not have to worry about the marketing aspect.

I'd love it if you posted some notes from the seminar.

JoAnn Arnold said...

My questions are much like Rebecca's and Janet's.

One thing I've found is that it's difficult to set up a book signing with either Seagull or Deseret Book now that they have merged. How do we become a part of their agenda?

What is the criteria to getting our books advertized in their catelogs?

If I have a question, can I call and talk to you, personally?

Christine Thackeray said...

I'm with JoAnn. It is frustrating when you live outside of Utah not to use your trips there for promotions or booksignings when I've been told I shouldn't contact DB or Seagull.

Then when I go in the bookstores and see my book on the bottom shelf shoved in a corner- that's discouraging.

I worked hard to get reviews but it would be nice to include that other part as well or know better how to hit a market that you are geographically distant from.

Maybe you just have to build your name over time by constantly plugging away.

We love success stories. Tell us how others did it but NOT others who aren't like us. There is no use throwing a motivational speaker to us as an example when we are writing women's fiction.

Just some thoughts.

Terri Ferran said...

I agree with the other comments. I wish I had known just how long the timeline was between getting your manuscript accepted and seeing your book actually published (not to mention actually seeing payment for it!) I also would have liked to know the importance of continuing to feed the pipeline with new work. I waited too long trying to figure out if my second one was worth writing...authors need encouragement!

One thing I would change is finding a way for publicists to work better with authors to generate sales. I know marketing is important, but I am a much better writer than publicist. Perhaps my expectations of what is done to market a book is unrealistic--but maybe I'm just uneducated.

I loved the 6-7-8 writers conference and want to see things like that continue. I look forward to hearing your feedback from the conference.

Shirley Bahlmann said...

I think writers need to know that not all publishers are the same. If one doesn't take their manuscript, another might. Some publishers don't get back to their authors, but the best ones do.
They need to know that if they have half a dozen honest people proofread their manuscript before they send it in, it will have a better chance of being accepted.
They need to know that whether they like it or not, they must take a hand in promotion. (It is easier if the publisher offers regular suggestions, and even conferences, as has already been suggested. Honestly, Lyle, receiving weekly e-mails from a marketing person was one of the best boosters I had from CFI. I felt connected, cared about, and encouraged. I recommend that you start that up again.)
I think writers should know that diversity is good. We need all kinds of books for all kinds of readers. No one can tell someone's story like they, themselves can. There are certain techniques that should be used in putting the information together, but no one should really, truly, deep-down want to write like someone else just because the someone else is rich and famous. The writer can wish for the same success, but should respect their own subject matter and value it even over money, or else they're not emotionally invested enough to make the book come from their heart.
If I could change one thing in the publishing world, it would be that all the good books would get equal exposure.
Best of luck with your talk!

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Oh, yes, one more thing... I, as an author, would like to know the most effective marketing tools. Even in order of 1,2,3, if there is such a way.