Summer’s here, and the whole country’s certainly feeling the heat! So what’s the deal with USA Today saying there’s no hot beach books this summer? Didn’t they read the Charlotte Observer review of Mark Ethridge’s Grievances, which called the mystery novel “a must for your beach bag”? And Windows a Bookshop in Louisiana certainly has plenty to read, as they list Tony Dunbar’s Tubby Meets Katrina among the new books by their favorite authors that summer brought. So if you’re headed out to the beach, don’t forget these great titles from NewSouth–they may not cool you off, but they’ll definitely keep your mind off the heat!
Archive for the 'Book Industry News' Category
A recent Xlibris press release outlines an important distinction when considering self-publishing, an issue for many first-time authors. According to the Xlibris release, author David Mills has signed a contract with Ulysses Press to publish the second edition of his book Atheist Universe, originally self-published. What a querying author should note here, however, is that Ulysses contracted Mills original self-published book only after Mills had success with three other books.
On occasion, we’ll receieve queries from authors who have self-published their first novel, sold a few hundred local copies, and tout the book’s success as a benefit to republishing it. What these authors don’t realize is that, once newspapers and local media run stories about a book’s initial publication, they’ll be hesitant to run stories again when the book is released by a traditional publisher–and customers who already own the book are less likely to buy the book again. In some cases, re-publishing a self-published book can be tougher–and less attractive–for a traditional publisher than publishing a queried manuscript.
In the case of Mills, self-publishing his book and then continuing to write ended up netting him a book contract. To self-publish a book, however, solely with the intention of re-querying the book to a publisher based on the self-published book’s success can sometimes hurt the author’s chances, not help them. Occasional success stories do abound, but it’s also worth noting the risks involved.
Have you had success or difficulty marketing a self-published book to a traditional publisher? Have a question for our editors? Leave a comment and let us know!
NewSouth author John Pritchard, author of the hilarious Junior Ray (which Barnes & Noble.com called a Best of 2005 Sensational Debut) added these inimitable words of wisdom on book signings:
Having been born without any inhibitions at all, I simply pick up the telephone and dial off a call — to information if I don’t know the number of the store — and then, when I get what I imagine to be a shy, pale, unaggressive and bookish person on the phone I speak very, very rapidly and tell them almost everything that has been said or written about the book, dropping important names — NewSouth, Publisher’s Weekly, The Mobile Register, Barnes and Noble — to which my overwhelmed listener often responds with the solid beginnings of an invitation.
My other tactic is the store invasion. I walk in, make an estimate of the terrain, and (1) immediately begin to shuck and jive, brandishing up a copy of Junior Ray, or (2) I tread softly across the carpeted floor and politely ask who the “events” person is. Normally that individual is extremely busy or in a meeting — which can last for days — but, like a determined butterfly fluttering by every so often, just to say Hi, I eventually connect, and things take a turn for the positive.
Sometimes there is no deal, but I have never forgotten what I learned as a Fuller Brush Man, back around 1968: You make a sale, large or small, about every ten doors you knock on, and of course the key to it all is … you have to knock. There are no self-knocking doors.
What I enjoy most about book signings is being the center of attentiion. I love that — even when, upon occasion, I am the only one, other than the owner of the store, in the room. At those times my narcissism is in high gear, and I always remember a singer/songwriter I knew in Nashville who would — and could — play to an empty room. He’d give it all he had, as though the hall were packed. His character was his craft. That was the beat he never missed. And I think, for those who were born in quest of the Grail, that is the way to be.
As market challenges increase for both independent publishers and the authors who love them, more and more emphasis is placed on book signings and the book tour–that is, getting the author out there promoting their book, both to customers and to booksellers. I’m still struck by The New York Times article ���Publishers Assess the Fall Season’s Winners and Losers��� from late last year that talked about how WarnerBooks arranged dinners with booksellers and Widow of the South author Robert Hicks just as they released the book, so that the book would be fresh in booksellers’ minds. But it’s not just authors and publishers doing the hard work; NewSouth author Mark Ethridge noted while signing Grievances that ���one of the big realizations I’ve had in this is seeing the challenge booksellers face. A lot of books are hand-sold��� and it’s the booksellers who have to do it.
���At the same time��� Mark said, ���an individual salesperson can only be aware of a small percentage of the product he or she is representing. I’ve found it’s important to educate as many of the location’s sales people as possible about Grievances, and to give them as many memorable selling points as I can (“It’s a great Father’s Day book because…”), to make the job of selling Grievances as easy as possible.” This is a notion shared by author J.A. Konrath; in a recent Wired article, he talked about how he used his car’s GPS to turn his eleven-bookstore tour for his book Bloody Mary into a 106-bookstore tour. It’s that kind of creative thinking that sells books, and that kind of effort that prospective authors have to consider undertaking if they want their book to be successful in today’s market.
Over at the Book Promotion Blog, Stacey Miller suggests authors group together for signings, to sweeten the deal for booksellers and increase the number of customers who might visit. She references an article that talks about three authors who held a joint signing at a used bookstore, which is an ingenious idea, as “used” can sometimes also mean “independent” and “locally owned,” the bookstores which are often very supportive of independent publishers, and the bookstores that sometimes need the most help.
If you have a bookselling strategy that worked for you, let us know and we’ll post it here.