ATTRACTING A LARGE PUBLISHER
The following article is written by Terry Persun, author of Wolfís Rite and The Witness Tree. You can learn more about Terry on his web site, www.terrypersun.com. I had the great pleasure of presenting a workshop with Terry about how writers can get published. I covered the advantages of working with a large house and how best to approach them. Terry shared his strategy for how writers who have been published by a small house can interest a larger house in publishing their next book. Most of these tips are useful for any writer who is trying to get a book published, regardless of the size of publisher that the writer is targeting.
by Terry Persun
The first question a writer should ask is ďWhy do I want to be published by a large house?Ē Sometimes a large house is not appropriate for the book. For example, an academic text would fail if handled like a mass market best seller. A cyberpunk novel would not reach its audience if published by a university press. However, if youíve written a spy novel, a romance, or a non-fiction expose on nuclear waste sites that deserves, and was written for, a larger audience, then by all means go for the bigger house. Here are my thoughts:
Step one: Evaluate your topic and the quality of your writing. Make sure that the wide audience provided by a large publisher is right for your book.
Step two: Be willing to listen and make the changes in your work that are recommended by the bigger publishers you wish to reach. Step two involves your faith, commitment, resolve, hard work, and refusal to give up.
Step three: Keep in touch, keep current, and keep trying. Read the major publishing industry magazines such as Publishers Weekly, Poets & Writers, ForeWord magazine, and Small Press Review to stay informed about what types of books are selling and who is publishing books like yours. Keep alert to trends that affect why your books should be selling and where they should sell (besides bookstores). Reading USA Today, The New York Times, your local regional newspaper, and magazines concerning your subject area are good methods for staying on top of trends.
Step four: Spring into action. Look for ways you can meet and get to know agents, editors, publishers, and friends of these people. Donít just rely on the contacts that got your previous book(s) published. You need to broaden your horizons. Go to publishing trade shows like BookExpo (this year itís held in Los Angeles, May 3-June 1). Attend writersí conferences where agents and editors are present. The Maui Writers Conference, held over Labor Day weekend, is a terrific way to meet agents and editors (www.mauiwriters.com). Meet other writers at events at your local bookstore or library. Get involved in the business you love. Writers, editors, agents, and publishers are great people to get to know and fun to be around. They all share a love books. This is not networking in the negative sense; itís cultivating a group of people with similar interests.
Step five: Market your book. In order to do this successfully, read all the books you can about how to get published and how to write book proposals. The stronger your book proposal (the business proposition for your book), the more attractive it will be to a bigger publisher.
Step six: Learn all you can about book marketing. Two excellent books are Guerilla Marketing for Writers and John Kremerís 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books. You need to create visibility in order to attract the attention of the editors and publishers you are meeting at seminars and trade shows. Get to know magazine and newspaper reviewers, librarians, and booksellers. They are all interesting people who love books and writers. Write to them and send them free copies of your small press books. Read and discuss your novels in bookstores. Ask book reviewers to look over your titles. Send out media kits that include a synopsis of your book, a long biography on you, a Q & A about you and your book, a professional author photograph, a cover image, a bookmark, and relevant media clippings (such as other great reviews). Once youíve sent out your media information with a copy of your book, follow up with a phone call. Donít bug anyone, but be persistent.
Step seven: Keep your query letters and sample chapters flowing to those larger houses by which you want to be published. Donít let your queries sit in the corner of your room or in your filing cabinet. Send them out. I take most rejection letters and either throw them away or rewrite them as acceptances using their letterhead and their signature, cut and pasted onto an acceptance letter. It makes my head reel!
These are the steps I have used to move from one small publisher to the next largest one. Each step is a step in the right direction. Each step is a learning process on that never-ending path we walk alone. Along the way, I have met some of the most interesting people I have ever known. I have gained friends and supporters. It has been, and still is, the best adventure of my life.
WOLF'S RITE is Terry Persun's latest novel. It is distributed by all the major distributors and can be bought in any bookstore. More information about his books can be found at http://www.terrypersun.com/creative/.
Article provided by June Cotner, publishing consultant and author of the bestselling Graces and Dog Blessings and 24 other books. PO Box 2765, Poulsbo, WA 98370 firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on having your book concept analyzed or your nonfiction book proposal evaluated, please go to: www.junecotner.com/FAQ.htm
For more articles on how to get published, go to www.JuneCotner.com and click on "Articles on Publishing."