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Interview Series: GBG’s Editorial Department (Part 1)

November 18, 2014

Thinking about publishing your book? No matter where you are in the process, it is important to ask questions. I went ahead and asked them for you! In this series, I will be visiting with each department at Greenleaf asking some of the frequently asked questions.

This week, I asked Brandy Savarese from the editorial department about developing and editing books.

1. What does a book editor do?

 Depends what kind of editor we’re talking about!

 An acquisitions editor has the role of bringing projects in to a traditional publishing house. They don’t typically get down-and-dirty work in manuscripts; their main function is to target authors and books that they think are a good fit for a particular house or imprint, and that readers will want to buy.

Apart from that, “book editor” usually refers to the people who, in some form or other, take an existing manuscript and collaborate with the author to make it better. That work can range from the major (shifting the focus of the entire book or lopping off whole chapters) to the minor (politely suggesting that a comma might make a particular sentence clearer).

Whether the changes they suggest are big or small, the book editor always serves two masters: First, they must serve the targeted reader of the book, dutifully reporting to the author passages that may confuse or annoy or bore or offend, suggesting how to remedy the problem, and catching bothersome errors and omissions.

The editor’s second master is, of course, the author. He or she must ensure that the author is on board with changes to the book, and that any alterations maintain the spirit and tone of the author’s work. An author should never feel that their editor is inserting him- or herself into the book, or making changes that the author feels are unwarranted.

So, think of a book editor as a sort of test reader, one who also brings experience to bear, along with a willingness to frankly point out issues a more sympathetic test reader (say, your husband or your mom) might not. At the same time, the book editor is the author’s partner, offering explanations and solutions for the issues they identify and general support through the revision process.

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Three Steps to Book Discoverability

November 11, 2014

Step One: SEO

How do you begin to compete with all of the other authors, books, and content out in the world and online? Start with the basics. Today in the first installment of a three-part series, we look at the importance of considering search engine optimization (SEO).


Consider these SEO strategies

Keyword selection: Match search terms with the text on your book’s page. Look for strong keywords that are more relevant and have less competition as this is more likely to get you a qualified customer.

Trending keywords: Pay attention to quickly spiking trends you see on search engines, social media, and news sites. Also think ahead about keywords that are seasonal or based on holidays relevant to your book (Example: the word IHOP spikes on National Pancake Day).

Advertising/search engine marketing: Use analytics and multivariate or A/B testing on ad copy, descriptions, and imagery. Experiment and test different options, calculate ROI, and make incremental adjustments until you find what is working the best.


Control the things that are within your control.

Utilize your seven keywords available through Amazon when you update your Amazon book description. Do this regularly. (You’re able to update both your keywords and book description through Greenleaf when working with us, your own publisher if they allow it, or via your KDP account if you are self-publishing.)

Here are some tips from Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing on how to make your book more discoverable with keywords: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2EZES9JAJ6H02.

 Continue to ask people to review your book on Amazon and Goodreads. You can leverage your networks not just at your book’s official launch but also in the long-term to show that traffic is continuously being driven to your book’s page.

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Happy Pub Day!

November 4, 2014

All of us at Greenleaf Book Group send congratulations and best wishes to our authors who have books launching in November!


Land for Love and Money (Vol. 1) by Reid Lance Rosenthal


Threads West by Reid Lance Rosenthal


Maps of Fate by Reid Lance Rosenthal


Uncompahgre by Reid Lance Rosenthal

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Getting the Most from Your Content

October 28, 2014

You've spent countless months writing your book and you have great informational content just waiting to be read, discussed, and shared. How do you create additional value from that existing content for your readers?


You chunk it.


The idea of chunking, or taking samples from your book and using them for promotional use has been used in media for years. The music industry has singles. The movie industry has theatrical trailers. The publishing industry has excerpts. 


Pulling out nuggets of useful gems from your book can be an easy way to create material for everything from Facebook status updates to presentations. If you take the traditional book excerpt a step further and use those chunks as a basis for articles and blog posts, then you're really giving the content legs by offering your audience additional opportunities to discuss, engage with, share, and ultimately promote your book and your message.  


Don't be afraid to put your content out there. Offer your readers a little chunk and you'll leave them wanting the whole book. 

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Interview Series: GBG’s Accounting Department

October 21, 2014

Thinking about publishing your book? No matter where you are in the process, it is important to ask questions. I went ahead and asked them for you! In this series, I will be visiting with each department at Greenleaf asking some of the frequently asked questions.

This week, I asked accounting about the world of royalties and returns.


1. What is a royalty?

A royalty is payment for the sale of a book. For each book we ship to a retail partner and for every e-book that gets downloaded, a royalty is calculated for the author (pending any returns). In most cases, our authors retain 35% of the cover price for all physical books sold to retail accounts. For e-books they retain 70% of Greenleaf’s payment.


2. How does Greenleaf’s royalty program differ from that of other publishers?

Traditional publishing houses will often pay out an advance to an author when they accept their book. The typical advance range is about $2,000 - $20,000 with a royalty rate of 5 – 15% of the cover price. Royalties are paid only after the author has earned enough to re-pay the publisher. With Greenleaf, royalties are recognized from the very first book sale. As mentioned above, our royalty rate is generally higher than traditional publishing houses.


3. What is a return?

A return occurs when any book comes back to us from our retail partners. It’s industry standard that all physical books be fully returnable to the publisher. Returns occur for various reasons, one being decreased sales demand. Stores have limited shelf space and will therefore return books with slower sales in favor of newer titles. Books may also be returned because of damage they may have received in transit. Smudges, bent covers, torn pages – these are all examples of transit damage that result in unsellable product.


4. How are returns processed from an accounting standpoint?

Our authors earn a specific royalty rate for each book sold. That same rate applies for books that come back as returns. For example, if John Smith earns a $5.23 royalty per book sale ($14.95 cover price X 35%), then $5.23 will be deducted from him should that book be returned. The accounting on the retail side works much the same way. Greenleaf invoices a retailer for books sold and they pay Greenleaf. If that retailer ends up returning those books, they deduct the amount originally paid from a future Greenleaf payment.

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