A blog reader I’ve interacted with a lot over the last few months got in contact with me this month, they asked me a lot of questions about my thoughts on book publishing. Of course I was happy to help and share any lessons I’ve learned and experience I’ve gained on how to snag a traditional publishing deal or two. I thought it would make a great post to share with you all, I’m sure they won’t mind me sharing with you the questions they asked and what I said in response. You can also read an interview I did with Knockin’ book over in the USA on this subject here.
Now I can’t promise what I say is a blue print to success when it comes to being offered a book deal by a publishing house, all I’m offering is my insight and well wishes that something I have to say will work for you! Good luck writers.
I’d like to know how you were able to get your books published. Was it easy or difficult?
How I got published: I started writing , did some research into magazine short story publishing originally and how books are published, then found out you can submit to (some) publishers a sample of your work . So I did, after researching publishers who had put out a “call for new authors”. Then I received a positive response on my 1st attempt at this. My advice is research some publishers that are a good fit for your genre. I think this is part of my luck I really made sure I looked closely at what each publisher works with. Submit following their guidelines very closely I did this to a T. Then pray!
What were the pros and cons? Are you happy with the publishing company you’ve chosen?
Pros and cons : Pros of traditional publishing vs self publishing are with traditional publishing you may get more exposure and the work is done for you in terms of marketing and cover design, all you have to do is write! If you wish to do additional marketing you can yourself. Cons: I have found none so far a lot of what I’ve read mentions that a con of traditional publishing is less control over your final book and cover. In my case my publisher listened to everything I said, so I’ve been really blessed. Even down to my book cover it was designed based on what I said. What I will say is make sure in your contract there is a claus stating or clarifying how much say you as the author have. So in a nutshell yes I am very happy with my publisher and would not go elsewhere.
Are there contracts or agreements to sign? What should a person look out for and/or beware of?
Contract and agreements: Yes these are signed and best to sign them so everyone knows what is expected of them. What to look out for- royalty payments. The % ,when and how paid, copyrights- what rights are you giving the publisher over your work? I would upon advice given to me retain the book movie rights for yourself! If possible).You never know a movie offer may come up and you want to be in control of it and receive a majority of the royalty. How and where they publish you and how long they hold the rights for in years. And how to terminate if you are not happy with publisher. These are things I’d look out for but not the only things. Always get professional advice if offered a book deal.
What are your thoughts on Ebook publishing with Amazon and Kindle?
Ebook publishing thought: The way forward it is a must along side paperback in this day and age. You can also self publish via Amazon and cut out trying to obtain a book deal. But everything is down to you design,marketing etc.
When submitting is there a specific font to use and spacing? How many minim words and chapters are agencies looking for?
Submitting: Every publisher has their own guidelines follow theirs really closely.
What sells the most like hot cakes and what is a hard and slow sell?s
What sells: I’m yet to find out! But a really good cover always helps to draw readers in, and a good blurb for the back, chapter preview and most importantly reviews. In terms of genre I have no idea which one sells the best but my advice is don’t set out to become an author in the best selling genre set out to become an author in the genre you love to write. If your aim is to write and publish for money your motivation is wrong- write well! Aim to be the best in your genre and then you may become a best selling author because you write well, for the love, not the money or status of a best seller. Forget what the genre is doing- be (one of) the best at / within the genre … ya feelin’ me??!
I hope this helps some aspiring writer out there!