Tag Archives: publicity

Writing Fearlessly with Author Patty Chang Anker

Posted by October 17th, 2013

Patty Chang Anker author photoHalloween season is officially here, and on Book Country we’re spending the last few weeks of October writing about things that scare us: Ghosts. Werewolves. Being chased. Evil. Realizing your reality is not quite like everyone else’s. Fear, in general, is a writer’s treasure trove: Who doesn’t love a scary story?

As soon as I picked up SOME NERVE by Patty Chang Anker, I started thinking about the other ways fear relates to writing. SOME NERVE is a hybrid between a Memoir and a smart self-help book about overcoming fears in everyday life. (Below Patty dubs the genre of her book an “immersion memoir.”) Patty shared her thoughts on the experience of writing a book about fear, and some fantastic tips for some of the fears writers face most: throwing out their work, reading in front of an audience, having the world read their innermost thoughts. Writing fearlessly–read on to find out how.SOME NERVE - Cover

In writing SOME NERVE, how did you work through the fear of baring so much to your readers?

The very first chapter I wrote was about my struggle with clutter which was hugely personal because your stuff tells the story of where you’ve been and what matters to you. The emotional fears of letting go were at the heart of why I was afraid to take new steps in my life.  When we cleared the clutter, we started with the hardest thing to part with – a box of my work triumphs from a decade earlier. That was excruciating! But once that was gone, everything else was easier to let go of, and it made room to envision a new future. It was the same with writing the book – by getting at something very personal first, the rest was easier to tell, I felt free to be myself. 

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Creating Authentic Book Marketing

Posted by February 27th, 2013

When it comes to promoting your book, invest your resources in what brings you joy.

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During Author (R)evolution Day at this year’s Tools of Change for Publishing conference, journalist Porter Anderson interviewed Grub Street founder Eve Bridburg on finding “The Author Blueprint for Success.”

She explained that, upon publication, the typical author strategy has been: build community through a platform and use social media to support your sales. But, with so many different options, which ones should you choose?

Grub Street studied this and came up with a three-part logic model of success. (It sounds more intimidating than it is.)

First: Determine your mission and intent. Like a company that uses a mission statement to guide it, create a statement that focuses on what you want to accomplish, why you’re producing books, and to whom and what you want to offer.

Then: Define success. This is easier said than done. Eve qualifies that success is bigger than sales. Ask yourself: What are your goals for the book? What brings you energy and joy? How do you want to spend your time? How will you know you’re successful?

The final part: Create an authentic campaign. Examine your strengths and weaknesses. What do you like doing? What feels good to you? Identify the activities that line up with your mission and definition of success.

This becomes your map. You can commit to investing your time and money because you know what path you’re headed down. It feels less scattered because you’re not trying to conquer everything without a plan. You’ve found the things you’re good at, the things that are unique to your voice, and the things you enjoy doing. That’s how you create an authentic marketing and promotion campaign. Go and do them. Then, measure to see how your tactics are lining up with your definition of success.

If you’re in Boston, you should check out Grub Street, or follow them from afar on Twitter. Follow Porter Anderson for publishing industry updates. Full slides of the talk can be found here.

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Book Packaging: Another Way to Get Published

Posted by March 22nd, 2012

Book Country Twitter Chat (March 15, 2012)

Learn about the ins and outs of book packaging from experts of Stonesong agency, Ellen Scordato, Alison Fargis, and Judith Linden.

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What is book packaging?! It has nothing to do with literally packaging a physical book. It is an alternative way to get published, also known as book development. Book packagers may be enigmatic figures to laymen, but any industry insider will tell you that they play a fundamental role in the book world!

As one of our guests Alison Fargis told us, the book packager is like an independent film producer, in charge of doing everything that has to do with putting a book together — working with writers and publishers on a project management level, offering comprehensive editorial, design, and production work, as well as marketing and PR. Book packagers help publishers execute difficult or crash projects. Or they come up with their own idea for a book and hire writers who bring the concept to life.

How does this pertain to YOU? Well, the book packaging industry employs a ton of freelance writers and publishing professionals. It is a great way to break into the biz and get writing credits. Our special guests to tell us more are the ladies of Stonesong, a NYC-based literary, publishing, and book development agency — Ellen Scordato (@EScordato), Alison Fargis ( @AlisonFargis), and Judith Linden ( @JudyLinden1) — mostly package non-fiction.

Ellen Scordato is a book packager who handles production, design and custom publishing, and has a quarter century of in-depth publishing experience. She used to be a managing editor who loved production and midwifing great ideas, and it is the passion for project management that got her into book packaging.

Alison Fargishas 17 years of packaging and book development experience. She often puts on a literary agent hat, representing clients such as bestselling author of The Sisters Grimm, Michael Buckley. In 2002, Alison and Ellen co-founded Stonesong.

Judith Linden joined Ellen and Alison at Stonesong in 2004 as Executive VP, Literary Agent, and Director of Digital and Print Media. Prior to joining Stonesong, Judith spent nearly 20 years as an executive editor and book developer at two major publishing houses.

Together, they have produced many bestselling titles, including The Daring Book for GirlsDating the Undead, and Smart Words. With 75 years of combined editorial and packaging experience, they are a treasure trove of pub insight! Here’s a taste:

@JudyLinden1: Basically we [book packagers] are agents plus. We follow a project from inception to final form. For PETFINDER [a book about adopting shelter dogs], we found the org, wrote proposal, sold it, edited every word, managed photos, delivered ms to pub.

@EScordato: We don’t have writers on staff. We compose teams specifically for each project, depending on the expertise needed.Suppose we a book on culinary history or a craft book. We might look for writers who have blogs on the subject, or teach on it.

@AlisonFargis: We also look for writers for the crash projects publishers send our way.

@JudyLinden1: [Biggest subjects in non-fiction book packaging right now] cooking, design, lifestyle, diet, relationships, pop psychology, pop culture, fashion, parenting among others.

@EScordato: Yes! We certainly are [considering every delivery medium]. Very active in developing ebooks.

@AlisonFargis: I keep resumes for years. I may not have a gig for u right now but if the right project comes along I will call.

If you missed the chat or want to refresh your memory, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document HERE. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start at the bottom and work your way up.

Thanks to all of our chat participants!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats are taking a short hiatus, but typically occur every other Thursday. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Dates, topics, and special guests are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look! And follow us on Twitter @Book_Country.

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The Economics of the Advance Reading Copy

Posted by March 2nd, 2011

The lowdown on galleys and ARCs!

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 Most new books will have a galley (or Advanced Reader Copy) created. Not all books are treated equally, however. The number of galleys will depend upon the distribution of said galleys, how much the publisher is willing to pony up for said galleys, and – ultimately – how much the publisher initially ponied up for your book.

For example, lets say that the sales department wants 450 galleys to mail to independent booksellers, and another 650 to go to a Barnes & Noble Managers meeting. The publicity department would like 250 to send to reviewers, bloggers and long-lead media. The marketing department would like 300 to send to a special book club mailing. The author wants 50 to send to friends for quotes and blurbs and just in general to show off and say “Lookee here, I iz a published author!” An SF/F or romance convention may request 100 to use as door prizes, giveaways or auction items. The agent is going to ask for 20 copies as well. And then a copy of the galley goes to every bleeding person associated with the book, from the publisher to the production manager, which comes to another 50 galleys or so. (By the way, these last 50 copies are the ones that most often end up on the giveaway cart or in the garbage. Sad but true.)

So, right there, you’ve already got 1420 galleys needed, and that’s not even a large galley run. (A large galley run is when you have the great good fortune to have your book picked for distribution at Book Expo; a galley run could then run into as many as 6,000 copies.)

Now let’s do the math:

A galley costs roughly $6.75 to $8.00 to create, depending upon page count. For the sake of this post, lets split the difference and say that this galley costs $7.25 to produce. So, 1420 x $7.25 = $10,295 just for galleys. This number is run by the marketing director or associate publisher; he or she balks and cuts are made. Why does the author need so many? You copies are cut in half. Why do the indies need so many? Send to the top 150 stores, not the top 450. Why does publicity need so many? Cut to 125, send only to long lead periodicals and then use finished books for a later mailing to reviewers and bloggers. (FYI, a finished book costs about one-third the price of a galley, so using finished books is a hell of a lot cheaper than using galleys to promote.) Why does the agent need ANY? Cut to zero. Agent throws temper tantrum, raise back to 10 copies.

You see where I’m going with this. It always comes down to the bottom line.

Keep in mind also that more and more traditional publishers are now turning to electronic galley distribution services like NetGalley, which significantly cuts down on the actual number of physical galleys a publisher needs to produce.

When does a book not get a galley?

—> When the manuscript comes in too late (this happens quite frequently and is invariably the author’s fault – authors, pay attention to editorial deadlines!)
—> When the book is a mass market original: not all publishers produce galleys for MM originals. As a writer, however, you are welcome to request one; sometimes the publisher will oblige you.
—> When a book is a trade paper or mass market reprint.

What do you do if your publisher hasn’t produced a galley for your mass market original?

—> Ask your publicist (nicely!) to – at the very least – send bound manuscripts to the trades and genre-specific reviews (Publishers WeeklyLibrary Journal,Kirkus Reviews, Romantic Times, Locus, etc.). They’ll usually review from bound manuscripts as long as the pertinent publication information is included (title, author, publisher, ISBN, pub date, price, contact info of publicist, page count, format, and one paragraph summary).

My publisher will only give me fifteen copies of my galley and I need more for my friends and family!

—> Dude? NO. You really don’t. Galleys serve a very specific purpose in promoting your book and they are extremely expensive to produce, so for that reason alone, authors and agents are limited to only what is absolutely necessary. If for some reason you feel you’ll need more than a couple dozen galleys, you’ll need to let your editor know well in advance of your publication date and then you should be prepared to pay out-of-pocket for the extra print run.

I think that about covers it. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section and I’ll be happy to try to address them!

[Photo by Svilen Milev; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported]

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