Wednesday, November 4, 2009
What Not to Do Wednesday When Publishing a Book
I'm excited to have a guest here today at the old Hall of Fame! And not just because it gives me a day off.
Claudine Wolk is the author of It Gets Easier! and Other Lies We Tell New Mothers, so you can see that she and I already share a similar world view. But she also had some deep thoughts to share about the "behind the scenes" stuff with her book. As you know, I'm always looking for insider writer info. And you are, too, right? Take it away, Claudine! (Presumably she's telling the truth here...Okay, I'm kidding. Claudine would never lie to fellow writers in the trenches, right? Right????)
"Publishing is a tricky field. There are a few ways around the land mines, though. Below are a few of the most important things NOT to do when trying to find a publisher.
Don't ever send a manuscript without doing your research on the publisher. Each publisher has a specific set of submission requirements. If you think that your Manuscript is so great that those requirements do not apply to you, think again! There is no bigger turnoff to a publisher than an author who can't follow their requirements. Failing to follow these requirements to the letter is an easy way for a publisher to weed you out as a potential author. Look at it from their side-How can you work for a publisher when you can't follow the first instruction they ever give you?
Don't ever submit a manuscript to a publisher without knowing the meaning of the following five terms: Author Platform, Marketing Plan, Book Proposal, Hook, and Chapter Summary.
Don't ever go to a publisher without the answer to the question: Why are you the right person to write this book? The publisher wants to know why you uniquely are the right person to write this book. What do you bring to the table to sell this book? Do you have commitments for sales for this book in hand? Do you have a target market already in store for this book? Do you already have a vehicle to reach this target market? Do you have a special skill that lends credence to your book? Are you willing to speak, promote, and online market this book? Can you do the artwork for this book? Do you have a rich cousin who has promised to buy cases of this book? (In case you were wondering, I've just defined "Author Platform" for you!)
Don't ever go to a publisher without knowing your competition. You never want to be caught with your pants down in this area. You need to do the research. Make sure the title of your book is not taken. Make sure you know similar books in your genre and how yours is different. By the way, never diss another book; it's bad karma and it's unprofessional. Simply let the publisher know that you know that the book is out there and how your book is better and different.
If you are starting to think that finding a publisher is going to be tough, you are right. As my mother used to say, birthing the baby is the easy part, the raising of the kid is a challenge. So, too, with book publishing-writing the darn thing is indeed the easy part. Which leads me to my last "don't."
Don't ever give up. As monumental a task as publishing may seem, it is doable. Never give up on your message and the need to get that message out there. Consider all the work and potential rejection as part of the landscape of the journey and keep on going. You owe it to yourself and the audience who will benefit from your expertise. Go get 'um."
That, grasshopper, is about as good as it gets when it comes to publishing your book. Big thanks to Claudine Wolk for stopping here on her blog tour!
Claudine is a mother of three (Wow! So am I!) who writes columns and magazine and newspaper articles (Wow! So do I!) on the subject of new motherhood (Um, never mind). She's got a very spiffy website (help4newmoms.com) and a witty blog. And if you've got a new mom hanging about somewhere, you should get Claudine's book, It Gets Easier! And Other Lies We Tell New Mothers. Maybe even give the book to the new mom.
Or, you know, you could give the book to an old mom (Wow! Just like me!).