Friday, June 28, 2013

What Do Traditional Publishers Do?

With traditional publishing, writers submit their work for consideration to a publisher (or an agent), who in turn either rejects or purchases rights to the manuscript and publishes the book.

However, the definition and characteristics go deeper than that. Writers need to know all the aspects of traditional publishing, and just what, exactly, traditional publishers do.

Traditional Publishers:

• Accept queries/manuscripts from either writers or agents.

• Accept or reject submitted queries/manuscripts, selecting only the most marketable for publication.

• Offer writers a legally binding contract that covers rights and royalties. The publisher purchases rights from the author in exchange for publishing the book.

• Offer authors a percentage of sales (royalties) based on either the net or retail price of the book and with or without an advance on those sales.

• Work with authors to make editorial changes using either staff or freelance/outside editors.

• Format the interior and the exterior of book. (Author illustrations are rarely used, although small presses are more open to the idea.)

• Form a marketing plan. Titles with large sales potential receive the most attention and marketing dollar.

• Send books to outside printers for physical copies.

• Send books to wholesalers, distributors, book clubs, retail outlets, libraries, etc.

• Send authors royalty checks based on sales. (Less the initial advance, if any.)

Traditional publishers, whether large or small, have numerous resources available to market a book successfully. They possess knowledge, experience, capital, and the necessary connections. Since these presses are investing their time and money, they are selective. Every project is a gamble and can be affected by factors such as the market, the economy, timing, and promotions. Their goal is to make good on their investment. After all, it is a business.

Any questions?

Care to share your publishing and promoting knowledge? I am looking for guest posts on any subject surrounding the book industry! Full guidelines are HERE.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Royalty-Free Music for Book Trailers

Book trailers and videos are fun and easy to make. They can be simple or complex. They can contain still images and moving pictures. And often they feature music.

Like images, music is copyrighted. No matter how well a song fits your book, you can’t use it for your trailer without permission. In addition to being sued for copyright infringement, you get the double-whammy because you are using it for commercial gain.

Fortunately, there are numerous sites that sell royalty-free music and sound effects. You can sample their database to find the perfect fit for your trailer. Often the music is available in increments of 30 seconds so you can purchase just the length you need. And the prices range from $9.95 to $59.95.

For royalty-free music, check out the following online companies:

Music Bakery
Neo Sounds
Music Loops
Royalty Free Music
Shock Wave
Premium Beat

There are dozens of sites out there. Let me know if you know of any other good ones!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Publishing Industry News and the Tesla Car

Google and Amazon ask that their revenue shares with publishers be shielded as the lawsuit with Apple nears its conclusion. Read full article at Paid Content.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, announced that Poetry is now available through a digital subscription. Get details at Publishing Executive.

Quirk Books is "Looking for Love" with $10,000 unpublished love story fiction contest. Get the scoop at Book Business.

The Jim Henson Company Partners With Penguin Young Readers Group To Launch "The Dark Crystal" Author Quest. Visit Book Business for details. (I loved The Dark Crystal!)

And this is for Stephen Tremp:

We were up in Raleigh recently and came across a genuine Tesla! The woman said she loved it. You should’ve seen the display panel on the inside. And under the hood is all trunk space. (Battery in the back.) Very neat car, but not practical when you hit Eastern Carolina, as we have NO charging stations.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Taking Time by Ellie Garratt and Scary Storm Photos

Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories
By Ellie Garratt

Science fiction stories of time and space...

The future of humanity must be decided in Next Phase. Winning the Planetary Lottery is not as lucky as it first seems in Schrodinger's Gamble. An apocalypse and its aftermath threaten to tear one couple apart in Daiker's Children. In Life As I Know It a reclusive man finds both his heart and home invaded during an alien harvest. In Taking Time a demon seeking shelter on a distant planet finds himself facing a very different kind of demon, after answering a frontier settlement's plea for help.

Stories range from flash fiction to novelette in length.

Publication date: 15th July 2013

About The Author
A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror, meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre was published in March 2013 and contains nine previously published stories. Her first nine-part science fiction serial will start in September 2013.
Website  Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Thank you Jo and Tina for giving me the Sisterhood Award.

And I leave you with some images from the very freaky storm that blew through our area Thursday night. (Fortunately I got home from my seminar in Wilmington before it hit.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

How to Acquire Book Reviews

I wanted to finish my series on book reviews with a step-by-step guide on how to acquire book reviews.

Last week, when I posted the links to sites that list reviewers, several people commented that they were afraid to ask book bloggers and others to review their books. Don’t be! That’s what those people do - they review books. If your book is in a genre that person reads, don’t be afraid to ask if they would review it. The worst they can say is no. (And at that point, you say next!)

If you’re a self-published author, you are the one who must contact reviewers, either before or after your book’s release. Even if you are traditionally published, you can assist your publisher by finding potential reviewers.

Here are the steps:

1 - Browse through the lists looking for potential reviewers -
Book Review Blogs
FSB Media
Ebook Crossroads
Media Bistro
The Indie Review

2 - Find the ones who review your genre. Copy the web address, email/contact, and submission guidelines. Take note of the reviewer’s name. (Very important!)

3 - Note the time frame for reviews. How long will it take? Also note when they want to receive the book - before or after the release. (Review copy/ARC or finished product?) And where do they post those reviews besides their site?

4 - If you are self-published, note if they take self-published books. Also note if they take Ebooks or require print.

5 - If it is a website, browse their previous reviews. If it is a blog, in addition to checking out the reviews, follow that blog. Start leaving comments. In the blogging world, it’s all about relationships, so forge one with bloggers who could potentially review your book.

6 - Once you have your list and you’re familiar with the sites and/or built a relationship, contact the site about a review. Follow the submission guidelines exactly! Each reviewer is different, so don’t send out blanket reviews. Personalize and individualize.

A sample message/email:

Dear ____:

I’ve been following your site for a while now and have enjoyed your reviews.

Would you be interested in reviewing my book?

Author Name
Release Date

Short Synopsis

Links to purchase and to Goodreads

Thank you for your consideration,
Your Name
Your Website

You can also list any awards or a really good review from a major reviewer or author.

Do NOT send attachments, such as cover art or an Ebook, unless the reviewer requests it!

7 - Wait for a response. If there is no response within a week, the answer is quite likely no. If they request the book, be sure you get a mailing address for print books or send the correct format for Ebooks.

8 - If you are coordinating a blog tour or need the book reviewed by a certain time, be sure both of you understand and confirm dates. Book bloggers are often open to being part of a blog tour (if given enough time to read the book) or doing a giveaway, so discuss those options.

9 - Be patient and employ good people skills! If there is no set date or blog tour, the person will review it on his or her own schedule. There is also a chance that person may never review it. And there’s a chance that it might be a poor review. Either way, thank the person for the review and refrain from arguing if you disagree with the review.

Pre-publication reviewers, book bloggers, authors, etc. who review books understand that their review can be used for promotional purposes. Unless they state otherwise, permission is not needed.

Reviews can be shortened to blurbs and placed on the back of the book, inside the book, on your website, on a sell sheet or bookmark, etc. and used to help promote your book. Full reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. will give your book credibility and boost future sales.

It’s never too late to gather reviews! Even after a book’s release you can continue soliciting reviewers. And with Ebooks, it doesn’t cost you a thing.

Now, who’s ready to get some reviews?

Monday, June 10, 2013

To Pseudonym or Not to Pseudonym - Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I am honored to have the master book promoter here today. (And was thrilled to meet her in person earlier this year.) Please welcome Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

To Pseudonym or Not to Pseudonym

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Nora Roberts, the author of more than 150 romance novels, was asked why she writes romantic suspense novels under a pen name. Here is her answer:

"It's marketing."

She says because she writes quickly that makes it difficult for her publisher to publish all of her work with an appropriate amount of time between each of them. So she writes works which are “edgier” than her romance novels under the pseudonym J. D. Robb. She says. "Putting it under a pseudonym helps brand it for the reader." Children’s writers often separate their real names or their “other” writing names from their children’s work to keep work intended for children untainted.

All these reasons are absolutely valid. And there are lots more. But I believe there are far more downsides to using a pseudonym than upsides. A lot more. Especially from marketing and organizational perspectives.

Writers will find information on the concept of branding in the second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter including some of the reasons why you shouldn’t use a pen name. You will, of course, have to weigh the pros and cons, but keep in mind that Ms. Roberts has a powerhouse publisher and its marketing department to help her navigate the difficulties inherent in using a pseudonym. If you are considering using a pen name, here's what you should know:

1. It is very hard to keep a pen name secret. Everyone knows who Kristie Leigh Maguire is, as an example, but most know that it is a pen name. If people didn't know that Robb was Nora Roberts' pen name, most of them will now that Time magazine let the cat out of the bag in a featured interview. The magazine also revealed (big time) that Nora Roberts is also a pen name! Suddenly I don't feel the affinity for her as a person or an author. I don't even know her name.

2. It is very hard to promote a book in person when you use a pen name—especially if you choose an opposite-sex pen name. In fact, promotion of all kinds can become touchy if you use a pen name because you are intent upon keeping your real identity a secret.

3. Using a pen name isn't necessarily an effective barrier against law suits. But do ask your attorney.

4. Have you ever heard people talk about how hard it is to be a good liar? One has to have an amazing memory and as well as a deceptive nature. Authors have problems enough learning to navigate the marketing, publicity, TV and radio, and speaking skills they had no idea they'd ever need when they started writing. Trying to remember all the little white lies (or big whoppers) you may find yourself telling may not be worth the effort. I mean, Nora Roberts finally gave up on the biggest fib of all—that she uses pen names. In the Time interview, she just ended up being herself.

Read more about Roberts in Time magazine's "10 Questions" feature, page 6 of the Dec. 10, 2007, issue.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, is a multi award-winning novelist and poet and has a hard enough time keeping the identities as a writer in these genres separate from her work as the author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books—one for writers and one for retailers. Learn more about all of them at HowToDoItFrugally where you can also subscribe to her free SharingwithWriters newsletter that’s jam packed with writing and book marketing tips. She also blogs at Sharing with Writers, The Frugal Editor, and atThe New Book Review. You'll also find how-to articles and tips on every page of the Writers' Resources pages on her Web Site.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Heroes & Villains Blogfest

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Short and sweet today. This is for the insecure writer and author looking for reviews.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by on Monday for my list of sites that review self-published books. The Indie View database has 250 such sites, and I hope everyone had a chance to explore the list. Every genre was represented.

Reviews before and after a book’s release are so important. Few people will purchase a book online with no reviews and often readers will look on the backs of books for reviews and blurbs. Reviews are editorial in nature and therefore carry more credibility and weight than any ad.

The large publishers have a list of reviewers for their titles and the author is along for the ride. Smaller, independent publishers often welcome suggestions from their authors though. And if you are self-published, that task falls to you.

In addition to the database I listed Monday, here are some others:

Book Review Blogs
FSB Media
Ebook Crossroads
Media Bistro

Happy reviewer hunting!

The Heroes & Villains blogfest is hosted by Jackie at Bouquet of Books and Dani at Entertaining Interests. It’s actually tomorrow, but I am posting today.

I decided to challenge myself with this blogfest and do something a little different. So I’m picking both a hero and a villain from one of my favorite books, Watership Down.

Hero - Hazel

Hazel is a young buck and not big enough to be in the Owsla, the ruling clique. But when his brother, Fiver, has visions of the warren being destroyed, Hazel leads a small band across the English countryside to a place called Watership Down.

Hazel is very clever and determined their new warren will survive. He makes plans to secure some does, which involves befriending a seagull, raiding a farm, and freeing a group of rabbits from a cruel warren called Efrafa. Usually the Chief Rabbit of a warren is the biggest and strongest, but Hazel proves himself a true leader and gains the respect of the others. He is very much like El-ahrairah, Prince with a Thousand Enemies - essentially, the father of all rabbits.

Villain - Woundwort

General Woundwort is the Chief Rabbit of the warren Efrafa. He is large, vicious, and cruel. He controls his warren through fear and with an iron paw, only allowing a certain number of rabbits to graze at a time so no one discovers the true size of the warren. Despite the overpopulation and misery of the rabbits, no one is allowed to leave.

His vision is for his empire, not his people. Woundwort refuses to be beaten and he won’t listen to reason, either. When diplomacy fails and Hazel resorts to a trick to free some of Efrafa’s rabbits, Woundwort comes after Hazel and his friends with a vengeance.

Who wins? You’ll have to read the book!

Who are your literary heroes and villains?

Monday, June 03, 2013

Getting Reviews as a Self-Published Author

* I am visiting Jessica Roach Ferguson today at her site, Praise, Prayers, and Observations, with “How to Write a Non-Fiction Book.” It’s also being cross-posted at her new site, Be a Real Writer.

Reviews for the Self-Published Book

Book reviews are tough for the independent author. With the exception of Midwest Book Reviews, none of the big reviewers accept self-pubbed titles. Many book bloggers state the same thing. Most reviewers won’t accept an e-book. Goodreads won’t even let you do a giveaway with an e-book.

Reviews before and after a book’s release are so important, and yet indie books have limited options. How are self-published books to get reviews then?

The Indie Review lists over 250 sites that review self-published books, and in every genre imaginable.

Some sample sites:

One Title Reviews
We are a quarterly publication that also reviews novels, novellas, and anthologies from indie publishers and authors. We are looking to give authors much needed exposure and readers honest and informed opinions.

The Indie Book Blog Database
I have a staff of three reviewers that help me get through my TBR pile so you won’t be waiting forever to get your review. We take just about every genre.

The Indie Bookshelf
We welcome any and all self-published authors to submit book(s) for review.

Voracious Reader
I am open for review requests. All except erotica. I accept .mobi file format only. I accept both indie and trad authors.

Little Book Reviews
My specific niche is new books from emerging self-published authors preferably without reviews.

If you are a self-published author or with a small press, check The Indie Review’s listing for potential reviewers. There is a reviewer out there waiting for your book!