Thursday, July 14, 2011

Challenges of the Next Book

Or, how not to confuse my readers!

I am now at the halfway point of my next book. Composing a manuscript based on my Publishing 101 & 102 seminars has been both easy and hard.

Easy, because I’ve been teaching these seminars for almost five years. My handouts and notes are very detailed and loaded with references. Writing it all out is like spending a six-hour stretch giving both seminars. And it’s nice that I now have time to explain things in greater detail.

The hard part is two-fold. I want to provide as much detail as possible. I want to list every pertinent website and book. I have many listed in my handouts, but the amount of publishing industry bookmarks I have online is frightening. Plus things are changing so fast. It will take some time once I’m through writing to put it all together.

The other difficult thing is comprehension. I know this stuff forwards and backwards, but as I’ve seen from those who attend my seminars, some people don’t have a clue about publishing or promoting. (Some aren’t even online!) My concern is that I will leave out something that I just assume everybody knows and confuse someone.

So I will ask you - what are some critical websites for writers and authors, beside the obvious? (Writer’s Digest, Preditors & Editors, Etc.) What part of the process confuses you and needs explaining? I want to make it concise and complete for my readers, but I just know I’m gonna leave out something critical!


  1. AnonymousJuly 14, 2011

    Well, besides YOUR blog, which is another "obvious" as you say?

    "The Intern" is a blog that I have fallen in love with recently. She is funny and offers some really great insight to the querying process.

    Thanks for doing what you do! Absolutely incredible, your unselfish willingness to help.

  2. I don't have a SITE to share, but I do have a suggestion related to how fast things are changing. Maybe on YOUR website, dedicate a page where you commit to posting an updated list... say quarterly, so when things CHANGE you can make it available to people who've bought your book (maybe they get a password, or maybe you just have it) so that YOUR website becomes a dynamic part of it, and makes up for the fact that between your final version and printing, some of the URLs are already obsolete.

  3. You mentioned some people aren't even online. I think writers who want to use social media to promote their books need to know what kind of content on their blogs, FB, etc will draw readers and fellow writers to them. I'm sure you already cover that.

  4. Elizabeth Spann Craig has some resources, including her newsletter (can't think of the name of it).
    The part that is most confusing to me are the different kinds of publishing options: vanity press, subsidy press, small press, self-publishing, etc. And within that, what the author has to pay for versus what the press covers. Hope this helps.

  5. I'm with Karen - and explanation of all the changing terms in the market now would be invaluable!

    Good luck and happy writing...

  6. Bryce, thank you - I will check it out.

    Hart, that is a fantastic idea!!! Wow, I love it. Incentive to buy the book - free updates. Brain going to work now...

    Susan, I cover most of it, although I'll have to be very basic and simple for those who aren't online. Scary those people really exist.

    Karen, Elizabeth's Writer's Knowledge Base will be one of the sites! And I really break down all the different forms of publishing so writers can make an informed decision.

    Talli, and that will be something that is updated often.

    Thank you all!

  7. You might talk about publishers who do and do not appoint you an editor. Also, provide some examples of marketing plans. Best of luck!

  8. Good question. I like Tony Eldridge's Marketing for Writers.

    I'm sure you've considered this already, but in case not, I try and consider questions I get when speaking/teaching. Sometimes I add this material to updated lessons.
    I am sure you will have it all covered for the finished product and it will be great!

  9. When I mention Preditors and Editors in my classes (Yep, there are always newbies!), I always try to point out how important it is to consider the source of complaints. There are people out there who think great promotion consists of dissing work that competes with theirs. There are others who are so new that there expectations are off kilter to begin with or they didn't do their homework.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

  10. I am often confused about the different types of editing in the publishing process. And how about promoting books to overseas market?

    Chemical Fusion

  11. Sylvia, a marketing plan is a good idea. So many publishers now ask for one.

    Enid - levels of editing, check! And I need to add more about overseas markets.

  12. I'm sure you have this, but perhaps a basic coverage of publishers goals--selling to the bookstores, as opposed to specifically promoting an author's work. I know that's a misconception many new writers share.

  13. I've always considered Nathan Bransford's blog the best resource for publishing novices, even now that he is no longer a literary agent.

  14. AnonymousJuly 15, 2011

    Honestly, I've been so involved wrapping up the MS for my next two books I've consulted only the Chicago Style Manual of Writing. That's about it. And your Web site too, of course.

  15. I don't know what all links you have, but being a member and posting on a widely read blog can help.

    From a commercial standpoint, I follow duotrope when I'm submitting, and M-W when I'm writing.

    As for how much to include, less is more. It's like writing a HELP file. There is such a thing as too much information.

    But use your judgment, and maybe you can make this topic part of your class!

    - Eric

  16. AnonymousJuly 16, 2011

    Sounds like it will be a great book. I like Hart Johnson's comment about having a page with quarterly updates.

  17. I subscribe to Publisher's Lunch and I have a page on Publisher's Marketplace. I found both to be invaluable - I can keep up with all the current news in the industry, and having the page gives me amazing exposure. The last four books that were published, I was contacted by movie executives who, I found out, go through Publisher's Marketplace looking for new books to turn into movies.

    And when certain book stores would no longer book me for signings - even though my signings were money-makers for them, I learned through Publisher's Lunch those stores were having creditor problems, which affected their ability to buy books.