We're teaming up with independent bookselling superstars BookPeople this August for the first-ever Austin Publishing University, a seminar series for authors and aspiring authors on how to get your book published efficiently and profitably.
If you're in the central Texas area, we'd love to have you join us on the first four Sundays in August at BookPeople (603 N. Lamar, Austin, Texas). Sessions cost $15 each or $45 for all four. Attendance is limited to 60 people per session. To reserve a seat call (512) 472-5050 or visit BookPeople.
It's going to be a fun, educational event—one we hope will untangle some of the complexities of getting a book produced, distributed, and marketed, as well as answer any questions on the publishing industry attendees have, whether basic or advanced. Be sure to visit our Facebook page, and if you're the Twittering type, you can tweet about Austin Publishing University with the hashtag #apu09.
Descriptions of the four sessions of APU after the jump.
SESSION 1 – Ins & Outs: The Industry Overview
Sunday, August 2, 2009 1:00 – 2:30 pm
The publishing industry presents many business models for authors, each with its own set of pros and cons. This class will walk you through the industry and give you the tools you need to choose the best path for your project. Plus, you will gain a basic understanding of what it takes to successfully create and market content in the retail marketplace. Learn the ins and outs of traditional publishing, self-publishing, print-on-demand publishing, and hybrid models—and how to avoid publishing pitfalls along the way.
SESSION 2 – Hot Topic: Content is King
Sunday, August 9, 2009 1:00 – 2:30 pm
So you know you want to write a book, but the blank page is glaring at you and you just don’t know how to begin. Come learn some useful techniques for structuring the writing process, getting past the terrifying first blank page, and presenting your ideas in a compelling and engaging manner.
SESSION 3 – Killer Covers: Boosting Sales by Design
Sunday, August 16, 2009 1:00 – 2:30 pm
Book jackets serve a number of purposes that are essential to the success of your book. This class will teach you how to make informed decisions about your covers by examining a variety of topics including genre appropriateness, the role of research, concept and tone, using photography and/or illustration, branding a series, endorsements, author photos, printing technology, retail durability, Amazon thumbnails, and design trends. We will closely analyze examples of various cover designs including award winning work.
SESSION 4 – Storming the Market: Online, On the Air, and On the Shelves
Sunday, August 23, 2009 1:00 – 2:30 pm
As the old saying goes, it’s easy to write a book: Selling it is hard. This class will discuss how effective marketing strategies, combined with traditional publicity and new media, come together to create a successful book launch. We will review the basic timeline that you should follow, describing what to do before, during, and after your publishing date. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to get the perspective of veteran publishers and retailers from both us at Greenleaf Book Group and BookPeople.
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Tip #4: Be Polite—9 Out of 10 Agents and Publishers Prefer It!
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your book. You think to yourself, “I need to get this published now! Quick! This book is groundbreaking! There’s no time for protocol or politesse!”
Or is there?
Take a deep breath and think about who you’re dealing with. Whether it’s an agent, a publisher, or a distributor you’re inquiring to them for help and you need them on your side. Being demanding, inflexible, or just flat out rude probably won’t get you very far. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re thinking about how to interact with an agent, publisher, or distributor.
1. There are authors who insist that their book will be the big bestseller or the next great American novel. Now that’s not to say yours isn’t, but realize that agents, editors, and submission departments hear the same thing all day long, and insisting on the genius of your book probably won’t win you much notice or favor.
2. Follow-up is important, and persistence is an admirable quality, but pestering probably won’t yield the desired outcome for your book. Remember that many companies and agents have a process in place to review incoming submissions and that they will often notify you of their decision. In the case that there is no notification system in place, be as kind and understanding as possible and try and have a reasonable expectation for wait time.
3. Be polite. Maybe this seems obvious, but I can tell you that a lack of consideration and manners in general is something I experience in our submissions department from time to time. Sometimes it takes that little extra push to get that “accepted” status, and having people on the inside rooting for you can go a long way. Honey catches more flies than vinegar, right?
Think about it from their (our) perspective: would you want to enter into a long-term business relationship with someone who makes your life difficult? I bet not. I would like to acknowledge though, it is a two-way street—agents, publishers, and distributors owe the same respect to authors, and often don’t keep the lines of communication open, as they should.
If you don’t care what your publisher thinks about you, consider your readers—wouldn’t we all rather read books written by nice people?
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BookTour.com, the world's largest, 100% free directory of author events, recently announced that they have partnered with Amazon.com. Authors who list their tour dates on BookTour.com will now see those dates automatically appear on their corresponding Amazon Author Page. Check out author Daniel Silva’s Amazon page to see this in action. It's a great way to get even more exposure for your upcoming bookstore events. If you haven’t already signed up for a free BookTour.com account, now is the time! Click here to sign up.
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One of our favorite moments of last May’s BookExpo coverage was this one-liner from Bob Miller of HarperStudio: during a discussion on “Stupid Things Publishers & Booksellers Do,” he said, “No more Tuesdays with Marley?” He was, of course, referring to the hastily (and poorly) produced copycats that tend to follow breakout successes in the book world. (Here’s looking at you, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.)
The lesson is to not let market trends alone dictate the book you decide to write and publish. Most of the time, book buyers will see right through a blatant attempt to piggyback onto a successful book that was probably a success because it was a well-written and smartly packaged book—not because it contained special subject matter (boy wizards, emo vampires, etc.) that readers craved in and of itself.
Anyway, if you thought Tuesdays with Marley was clever, you’ll love the fake-bestseller contest put on by Steve Hely, author of How I Became a Famous Novelist (Grove Press). His book includes a mock NYT bestseller list [PDF alert], and he invited others to come up with their own bogus book titles. A personal favorite, from @ami_with_an_i: "Punk Girls Don't Get Fat: The Secrets of Staying Skinny on Just Two Packs of Camel Wides and a Flask of Cheap Whiskey a Day." See them all on Twitter and on Facebook. (PS: This is also near-brilliant social media marketing, obviously.)
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Some of you might remember that for an April Fool's gag, we gave seven "hot tips" for author events.
Over at HarperStudio's blog The 26th Story, they're giving you the good stuff: a great blog post with five important (real) things to remember for authors who are having book signings at local stores.
Those tips include:
- We are investing in you. Invest in us!
- Don't spread yourself too thin.
- Please don't second-guess the bookstore.
- Stay calm; do not panic!
- Enjoy your big day!
Check out the blog post, "An Author Walks Into a Bookstore (for a signing)" to get the complete information.
Other links to check out on the how-tos, goods, bads, uglies, and mathematics of book signings and author events:
- E-How's How to Do a Bookstore Signing
- Chip MacGregor's Booksignings and Websites
- Publishing Explained's book signing: organizing for success
- The Swivet's Pimpin' Your Book: The Economics of the Average Bookstore Event
- The Book Deal's Attention shoppers: Lessons learned from a book signing disaster (contributed by author Lisa Haneberg)
If you have any stories to share about author events (both as an author and as an antendee), let us know!