Sunday, March 22, 2015

10 Things to Know About Book Publishing

1. Did you know that even including a numeral like "10" is a way to sell books? Yes, readers like numbers in titles like 112 ways to market or 303 ways to run a business. Technically that is one of my 10 things you should know about publishing a book.

2. Editorial forgiveness goes so far. People understand one or two mistakes might get missed. Even the big publishers release books with mistakes. "One, two, three, four now my mouth is on the floor. Five, six, seven, eight, now it just isn't great!" Okay, that is being cute with a song lyric to make my point. All books whether published through a publisher or self-published should be thoroughly edited for the greatest result. And yes! Readers know the difference.

3. Great covers win even when content might be okay. I know no writer wants to hear the cover is the sales point. All writers want to think content is king. And yes, content is important. Story matters. The content though can't be read unless the sale is made. The cover lures the initial "curious" moment of wonder that initiates the consumer to pick it up, which then leads to tip no. #4...

4. Back cover copy better be winning. Your second shot at winning a sale is the back cover copy. Consumer behavior (over unknown books and authors) works very succinctly: cover first and back-cover copy second. If you doubt what I'm saying, go to your nearest bookstore and watch consumers behave with books. You'll witness what I am saying.

5. Salacious or controversial material wins on eBooks. Some people just don't want anyone to know what they're reading. Maybe the book is a "guilty" pleasure. Maybe the topic is private. Either way, eBook sales of these kinds of books tends to be better and allow people to hide behind their eBook readers and not reveal what they're sitting in that airport or park or anywhere else reading.

6. Unless you're self-publishing you have only so much say over final copy. If you're traditionally publishing or using a hybrid like 3L Publishing ( where we hold the line and insist on excellence, you can have input, but the final product is not in your ultimate control. Many authors even under the framework of traditional publishing falsely believe they have the last say. Look at your contract very carefully. The only time you have last say is if you're the publisher (AKA as self-publisher).

7. Advances have gone the way of the dinosaur. I can't tell you how many inexperienced authors still think they deserve an advance. Advances go to proven commodities (someone who brings a large, provable following), an established top-selling author, or a famous person who brings that aforementioned following with him/her. My business partner Scott D. Roberts and I are always surprised when an unknown author with no following and no proven track record presents nothing but a concept and asks for an advance.

8. Advances sometimes are given back. An advance means an "advance against sales". Publishers do not just pay money for your book. The advance is designed to give advanced sales money. Here is the part most authors don't realize. If the money never gets made, that advance money has to be returned -- ouch. Who wants to write a check back to the publisher?

9. Artistry is great but publishing is a business. Authors caught up in the creative process and the "art" lose track of one very important thing -- publishing is a business. Now there is nothing wrong with publishing your personal projects just for the sake of formalizing it and creating a legacy for family or friends or just to share. There is nothing wrong with having fun writing. But when you're serious about making a living as a professional writer then the business aspect of it is where you must focus. No viable market. No interested audience. No definite following. Publishers look at these aspects and much like an investor would, they weigh their risk. Mitigating your risk by having a following and making the business value proposition work and then showing how your book will succeed is the kind of business investment publishers are willing to make.

10. Treating it like a business and realizing nothing sells a book better than an author. As you enter into your publishing journey, the bottom line is that you're going to become a business owner. Getting out and selling your "book" business is what will help you succeed. Using social media to promote it. Investing in a marketing program. Using public relations to get book reviews. Going out and speaking and signing books. All of these aspects are required for success. And whether it's a book or widget-making company, you are now a proud business owner and must face the same odds and requirements to run a business that any business owner would face. 

If you're ready to make your book dream come true, contact us at 3L Publishing at 916-300-8012 or send an email to You can also log onto our website at Following me on Twitter at @Michelle3L or Facebook at Michelle Gamble Author-Publisher.

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