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A Publishers' Conversation with Authors: Is Amazon putting bookstores out of business? Understanding the Right of Return Model of Book Selling

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  It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would What at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic arises from a discussion last week with an author whose cost of book returns brought an otherwise successful book into the negative net income (i.e.) loss realm. Our conversation revolved around several questions that arose from her discussions with her local bookstore.  Why/how do returned books create loss for an otherwise successful book? A large number of returns can eradicate all profit from the book sale and put the book into the loss column on a P&L statement: print costs will not have been recoupled; additional books have now been returned to the publisher's inventory, books that wer

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Hard Truths about Getting People to Buy Your Book

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It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic addresses how authors can sell their books. After all, it makes no sense to put all the effort into writing a book, self-publishing it or getting it published, and then having it sit on a shelf for ever, with no opportunity for it to share its message. Unfortunately, many, if not most new authors, in our experience, never think beyond the day their book appears in print (or, in some cases, beyond their first month of book launch activities). They assume that, of course, they did the work of writing the book, and the publisher will do the work of marketing the book. It does not work that way, and marketing

A Publisher's Conversations with Authors: Book Launches

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(photo by Frank Perez) It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about book launches. A book launch, planned and carried out well, is a great opportunity to introduce and market your book to a large number of people. So, what are the ways books can be launched? What is the best way to launch a book? What are the benefits and risks of various kinds of book launches? So, let's take each question separately. What are the ways in which you can launch your book? A typical launch for a high-powered author is a tour of bookstore signings; a typical launch for a low-powered author is a book signings at one, perhaps two, local bookstores.  High-powe

A Publisher's Conversations with Authors: The Stages in the Process of Publication

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  (photo by Frank Perez) It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about the publication process itself. You have a manuscript in hand, now what? There are several stages. So, let's take each stage separately. Stage One. Completion of the Manuscript You have finished writing the manuscript and have carefully proofread it, but you are NOT ready to move to Stage Two. There are a few things you need to do first. If not done, this is the stage that often dooms a manuscript never to move to Stage Two and on into becoming a book. You proofread, right? For what did you proofread? Spelling? Ran it through the spellchecker? Certain your own eyes wil

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: The Unique Life Cycle of a Book

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  It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic  is a look at the life cycle of books -- how they differ, how do you define "success" and "failure," and what authors can expect over a lifetime. Here at MSI Press, we have seen a variety of paths taken by successful books (and ones that have not fared as well). For lack of better nomenclature, I would say that we have hares, tortoises, dogs, cats, and mountain goats.  Hares As in the fable, the hares start out fast. These books have strong launches, sell hundreds of books in the first few weeks (from a larger press, these might show up as thousands of sales) and then, quite suddenly s

A Publisher's Conversations with Authors: Reviews

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  It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about reviews. How do you get reviews?  How should you interpret them? How should you handle bad reviews? So, let's take each question separately. How do you get reviews? There are professional reviewers. Some will review before the book is published -- they want a 3-4 month heads-up (i.e. book in hand, with a later release date). These are highly desirable. Examples are Library Journal , School Library Journal , Foreword Reviews (the free version), and Publishers Weekly . All of them accept submissions sent directly to them. (There are also otherLs; Google them.) You can put your book up on Net

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Republishing Self-Published Books

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  It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about republishing self-published books. Can you get a traditional contract from a traditional publishing house for a book you have self-published?  Well, that depends. As the acquisitions editor for a traditional press that also offers hybrid publishing contracts for untested writers, the answer is an across-the-board no, but there are some publishers who might. Let's look at the reasons for and against republishing a self-published book, from a publisher's point of view. Why a publisher would not want to re-publish a self-published book -- Typically, an author thinks that he or she has exhau