Here's some tips and tricks from well known publishers, authors and what we have noticed over the years!
1) Social media is going to be your best friend. If you don’t have a Facebook or twitter, get one!
2) 300,000 books are published in the U.S.A alone each year. Almost 30% of Americans have not read a single book all year and 31% read 1-5 books a year. It’s harder to convince people to pick up books than you may think.
3) Many famous books don’t kick off until years after publication. Examples of this being The Great Gatsby and Emily Dickenson, who didn’t even become famous until she died.
4) Editors normally do not edit your book. They mostly evaluate work and decide on who’s getting contracts. Production departments edit, proof and create books.
5) Do not assume everyone in your publishing house has read your book. The PR and accounts department have no need to read every book. Many work with hundreds of books, so there is simply no time to read every single book they produce.
6) Its rare there will be a que at your book signing if you’re not already famous. Would you go to an unknown authors book signing? Or do you know anyone who would?
7) On that note, locally you’re likely known! So invite your friends and family! If a signing goes well the store will likely pass on the message to surrounding bookstores.
8) Start a blog or online journal, this can be made before you’re published and will hopefully help an audience form.
9) Your book is not automatically going to be stocked by every book store. UK publishers alone release over 20 books an hour. Now track back to how much shelf space bookstores have. They will only stock your book if they notice a demand for your book.
10) Be patient! Making a book can be a long process, with house styling, editing, proofing, cover design, finalising, printing, distributing and then marketing.
11) We are your friends! We also want your book to sell, so treat us as friends not fiends!
12) Publishers go home at the end of the day…
If you don’t get a reply to your email sent at 11pm on Friday night, there’s a reason. Keep in mind opening hours. These can usually be googled. Also, if we don’t reply to your email within an hour please don’t forward it to us every 5 minutes. We are busy people, some days can be filled with meetings or travelling. If we don’t reply within a few days (which is rare) then feel free to send us a quick reminder.
13) Human Error happens. Almost all books published have at least one mistake in them. Even Harry Potter had a huge typo in it when it was first published. These can be fixed so easily. But just remember we may have gone through it with a fine tooth comb, but you should too! The more eyes on a book the better!
14) Your contract holds more answers than you think
Before you ask your agent or publisher what percentage of royalties you get, remember that the answer is in your top drawer! Also, please read your contract and take your time! There is no rush in signing at all.
15) Speaking of rushing, do not rush anything!
Authors love to be published as fast as possible, which we totally understand, it’s an exciting time! But when authors are constantly pressuring a release date, this naturally causes strain on us. We want you to be happy! Please, do not sign off your proofs (inners) unless you are 100% happy with them! If you realise one month later that you wanted to add more acknowledgments – you’re going to regret rushing through things. We ain’t goin’ nowhere! And neither is your book or audience.
16) Vanity VS Traditional:
Vanity publishers only publish books that are paid for by the author. Some publishing houses publish both free and contribution books – this is to ensure that every book that is deemed good gets a chance to shine. Vanity publishers also use very cheap materials, do not proof their books thoroughly, are happy to release books unfinished and do no marketing! They also charge insane amounts, sometimes up to £7,000! We have a strong marketing team as well as in-depth production stages, many of our authors have not paid a penny for their books. Learn the difference between vanity and traditional.
17) People DO judge a book by its cover. We always say to not do exactly that, but it’s a hipsters paradise and a good looking book on Instagram means a whole lot of likes.
So before you ask your publisher for 3 UFOs, a field, a farmer, a pink sky and various animals running around, remember that less is more. Take a look at the best sellers chart covers and base your ideas around that. Your cover doesn’t have to describe your book. Keep it simple, give a big bold title and have one stand out feature. Which almost all best selling books have! It needs to be eye catching, not confusing.
18) Book meetings don’t just turn up. Just as doctors require you to book appointments, publishers do too. Meetings are easily arranged with good warning!
19) Remember how many authors there are – help your publisher!
Of course your publisher is going to do whatever they can to help you succeed, but remember- you can help too! We cannot stress this enough. Even going into your local bookshop with a copy of your new book is a start. Online bloggers can be found with a quick google search, local news and radio want to help you, so let them! If you’ve written a kid’s book, approach some local schools, they love local authors coming in. Apply to festivals. Two hands are better than one.
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