There are many things that publishers wish authors knew before they signed their contract or even submitted their books. I know that I have had a few head-scratching interactions with potential authors, from being told "I don't read books" to "I didn't know I could talk about my book". Here are 7 Things Publishers Wished Authors Knew, and sometimes are a little perturbed at having to explain:
- The quality of your first book is key to the success of your writing career. Usually an author's first book takes the longest, and rightfully so. This is your introduction to the readers, so when you are working with an editor keep this in mind as you review their feedback. Do as you are asked, and feel free to take your draft to a writing critique group or two (don't post it online though).
Set your book in an easy to market location whenever possible. This may not seem like a big deal, but when choosing true to life settings you should be careful the direction you go in. Setting your book in the middle of nowheresville eliminates marketing options, so be aware of what you are doing and why. Be able to explain it to the publisher when they ask, because they will ask. Looking back later regretting that you started your series in the one place people don't live or care about is a bummer. Whereas, being able to pitch your book to regional showcases and pointing out to potential readers that your book is a true to life depiction of their beautiful town is empowering.
Once You Finish Writing, Expect More Work. Your job does not end with a contract (or the hiring of an editor). You still need to be engaged, read and re-read your work to make sure as many errors as possible are caught.
Authors sell books better than publishers. Publishers want a “platform” and a marketing plan as part of your query/submission. If you are not an established author, this is even more important. While your publisher is responsible for making sure your book is widely available, authors need to work on their "word of mouth" sales and their online presence. It's not okay to just say you hate the internet and move on. You need to work, and twice as hard if you won't use social media to expand your reach.
Be a savvy investor. Don't throw your money away on gimmicks and conferences because you're excited about your book. Do your research, make sure you get what you are really looking for, and make sure you are using credible resources. When in doubt, check in with your publisher and LISTEN to their advice.
You are not the expert. You have to be willing to work with the professionals if you are lucky enough to have some input. Never dig in your heels unless there is a moral ground to stand on, because these are your experts. Negotiate politely, express your feelings, and LISTEN to what they are trying to communicate. You have to be willing to do the work, or no one will work with you.
You don't need permission to talk about your book. Marketing seems daunting, so just talk. Tell people about your book from the time it's done! Talk about when it's coming out, when you start editing, when your book cover is ready. This is how you build your platform, and waiting until the month before to ask your publisher what to do is... frustrating.
Your Chance to Win: Tell me, what do you as an author wish you knew before publishing your first book? Those who comment will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my award-winning book, The 7-Step Guide To Authorpreneurship. Endorsed by bestselling authors and industry professionals, this guide is essential to every author.
Rochelle Carter is the Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, an award-winning publishing company with three imprints. She is also the award-winning author of The 7-Step Guide To Authorpreneurship, an international bestseller that has been widely endorsed by other bestselling authors and industry professionals.
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