It’s more obvious than ever that the publishing industry is changing, and combined with the current retail slump, it is even more difficult to get independent books onto bookstore shelves. However, in addition to keeping your book distributor updated on your upcoming media appearances, there are some other things that you can do as an author to help make headway. One recommendation is to develop a strong following in your local community from which you can expand upon into other markets. Click here for some great tips from Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., on how to get in good with your local bookstores.
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On Wednesday, August 26, our own Tanya Hall will be hosting a webinar for Write Well University and AuthorSmart called Introduction to Publishing Options—Which Approach is Right For You? Here's a description of Tanya's session from WriteWellU.com:
This class will cover the basic publishing options available to authors along with the pros and cons of each. We'll discuss how different types of projects can benefit from different publishing strategies and which approaches are appropriate for certain types of authors/books. Between traditional publishing, POD publishing, eBooks, and hybrid models this class will help you cut through the confusion and make the best business decision to launch your book.
Registration is $10, which includes audio recordings and handouts. Click here to register for the class. You can find out more about Write Well U's programs by visiting them on their website, Facebook, or Twitter.
At Greenleaf Book Group, Tanya divides her time between seeking out and working with authors to develop their publishing programs and handling a range of initiatives that don't fall neatly into other departments, including Greenleaf Book Group's foreign rights program. Prior to her current role, she led Greenleaf's distribution department and worked directly with retailers and wholesalers to list and sell books. Before joining the publishing industry, Tanya worked as a television producer for various television shows and networks, including Extra! and E! Cable Networks.
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One of the most confusing (and least fun) aspects of publishing a book is making sure your title is in compliance with all the appropriate organizations in order to maximize its searchability. There are so many different factors involved in this process that it’s easy to get bogged down with the amount of information that gets thrown at you. Even though there is no need to learn all the ins and outs of the Library of Congress, the sheer multitude of acronyms alone is enough make you cross-eyed.
For those of you who don’t enjoy hours of web research on a topic that is less than stimulating, here’s a quick breakdown of the basic steps you’ll need to take. (Keep in mind that doing things in this order is important.)
1. Get an ISBN. International Standard Book Numbers are required for every book that is going to be sold in the book trade. These can be obtained through Bowker, also known as Books in Print.
2. Register your book with Books in Print. Once you receive the ISBN you’ll need to make sure that your title data is registered in their system. This is important because a lot of sources (Amazon, Ingram, etc.) receive data feeds from this system—not to mention the fact that this is a resource for bookstores, libraries, and publishers around the world.
3. Create a barcode with the ISBN and price embedded. Most trade stores require this to be on the back of your book before they will place an order.
4. Obtain a LCCN (also know as a PCN). The Library of Congress Control Number (or Pre-Assigned Control Number) is a unique number that differentiates your book in the Library of Congress database. Librarians use this number to access the associated bibliographic record for a given title.
5. Obtain CIP data. Cataloging in Publication data creates a bibliographic record for forthcoming books that are likely to be acquired by librarians (and hopefully, librarians will want your book!). This is to be printed on the copyright page, and this data is only available for works that are not yet published.
1. Send one final copy to the Cataloging in Publication Division of the Library of Congress.
2. Send two final copies to the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress along with Form CO and the registration fee. Alternatively, you are now able to fill out this form and submit payment online with eCO (electronic Copyright Office).
3. Wait to receive your Copyright Confirmation (current wait time is 12–16 months).
While this outline may not seem too arduous, there are many potential roadblocks in this process—so brace yourself, hope for the best, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
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Your website offers the unique ability to sell directly to consumers. However, not everyone is comfortable providing their credit card information on an unfamiliar website. People may also wish to use a rewards membership with their favorite bookseller to buy your book. Therefore, it is wise to supply multiple purchasing options in addition to your own personal online store.
Bookstores may also check your website to see if you are supporting them by including them as a purchase option, so if you want to give your distributor its best shot at getting a corporate buy for your book, be sure to include purchase links to the corporate bookstore chains. If you want to get support from the independent bookstore community, then you'd better also link to IndieBound. Of course, there is the bookselling beast that is Amazon.com, but be careful not to irritate bookstores by linking only to Amazon. Sign up for the affiliate programs of the aforementioned retailers for easy linking options and to get yourself an extra little piece of the pie.
Here are links to the most common bookseller affiliate programs:
If you want to build strong support in your local market, you might also consider linking to specific bookstore websites in your area. The more purchase options, the more likely your website visitors are to buy!
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If you're a fan of Top Chef, you may recall season 5's Fabio Viviani, who didn't win the competition, but made it to the final three and came out as the fan favorite of that season. What you may not have known about this Italian chef is that reality TV was only just the beginning: he's publishing his own book this month.
The Café Firenze Cookbook: Food and Drink from the Tuscan Sons was pitched to several traditional publishing houses prior to Fabio's appearance on Top Chef, but when his publicist couldn't find a taker, they decided to self-publish through BRIO, and later chose to distribute through Greenleaf Book Group.
Here are a few more links:
Fabio's MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/fabioviviani
The Cafe Firenze website: https://www.cafefirenze.net/
The Cafe Firenze Cookbook Amazon.com page: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0981929095?ie=UTF8&tag=eatmedail-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0981929095