How to Find a Publisher That Will Buy Your Book
Recently, Kitty Turner, Founder and CEO of Daily House and I had the opportunity to interview Randy with some burning questions about what’s hot and what’s not in the world of traditional book publishing.
It is estimated that there are between 600,000 and a million books published each year. About half of that number are self-published. The others are published through traditional book publishers. According to Randy, a common misconception about having your book published is that when you have a book publisher, they do all the marketing for you. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, one of the first questions a prospective publisher asks her is about the author’s platform. Not only do they want to know the size of their email list, they want to know click-through rates and how many followers you have on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
As Randy noted, book publishing is a business first and foremost. The publishers are looking to make money, and they realize that marketing is key when it comes to book sales. Randy is an author too. She wrote the book, Crappy to Happy which was featured in the movie, Eat, Pray, Love—yes, Julia Roberts held Randy’s book in her hands.
What’s hot in publishing now?
Outcome-driven titles and content! This essentially means that while the readers are reading the book, they learn something and then are able to implement it in their lives. At BEA, Randy received this feedback from multiple agents and publishers. So, if self-help, mind-body-spirit or business topics are your genre, you’re in luck.
Even if you are writing fiction, book publishers want authors to have a following. For many authors, marketing is an afterthought. Whether you choose to self-publish or pursue a traditional book publisher, building your platform is something you should take seriously. Before Randy takes on new clients, one of her first questions is about the size of their following. Each August, Randy attends the Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam to pitch books to literary agents. She has one minute to pitch the book. Yes, you read that right—60 seconds. Whether you are self-publishing or going with a traditional publisher, being able to describe your book in one minute is vital.
Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:
Think Outside the Box
Think outside the box when it comes to marketing your book. Her friend, Jane Ubell-Meyer created a Bedside Reading Program that is popular in five-star hotels. In this program, books are placed in hotel rooms for guests to take with them. It’s a great way for unknown authors to gain visibility and find a new group of followers. The program accepts both traditionally published and self-published books. Each book is vetted to determine if it’s a good fit. They consider both fiction and non-fiction books.
Get Book Endorsements
There’s an effective way to request endorsements for your book. First, an endorsement should only be about two sentences. Randy suggests including one or two sample endorsements in case the potential endorser doesn’t have time to write one. Most people don’t need a copy of the entire book prior to writing an endorsement. Typically, a book summary along with a couple of sample chapters is enough information.
You can’t be timid in the book publishing industry. Randy shared how “hiccups of hesitation” can derail you. This is true no matter if you are self-publishing or seeking a traditional publisher. You can’t be shy when promoting your book.
Thoughts on Children’s Books
Children’s books differ from fiction and non-fiction adult books. Word count, the number of pages, vocabulary, reading level and the age of the reader all need to be taken into consideration. Randy’s expert children’s editor prepares a juvenile submissions packet to accompany the book when pitching to publishers and agents. Writing children’s books is an art that not everybody can do. There’s a common misperception that writing children’s books is much easier than writing books for adults.
Randy says the secret to publishing a successful book is to do it in the right sequence.