Monthly Archives: June 2013

Publisher Accepting Submissions

Shambhala has been one of the better known niche publishers for years. They put out about 100 titles per year, mostly nonfiction related to Buddhism, yoga, mindfulness, creativity, martial arts, natural health, and green living. They ask authors to submit a book proposal.

Additional Income for Authors: Libraries?

In the UK, the government pays authors whenever a book they’ve written is checked out of the library. Right now, e-books are not included in that payment system.

Several countries are also moving to support their book industries by providing loans and grants to bookstores, publishers and other book sellers from their governments. They value literature so highly they’re willing to back their beliefs with cash.

In America, no such vehicle exists to enhance an author’s income or support the industry. Do you feel the government should pay authors a nominal amount whenever a book is checked out? Do you think the industry should be bailed out or otherwise supported with cash from the government?



Latest Trend: Steamies

All right, YA authors, heads up! Recently I posted about the trend toward New Adult fiction…works that target slightly older audiences aged 18 through 24. There’s already a subcategory for New Adult: Steamies.

These are works that focus a bit more (and sometimes a lot more) on erotic or sexual aspects. It’s natural for individuals in that age group to explore and wonder how sensual and sexual activities fit into their lives and personalities, so it’s also a natural for inclusion in novels.

Some publishers welcome Steamies. Others reject them out of hand. Readers will be the same. Know before you pitch to publishers or readers what you’re offering so you can target your audience with pinpoint accuracy.

What to Do When an Agent Asks for an Exclusive Look

As you look for an agent, you will likely find at some point that an agent will ask for an exclusive look. That means they want to be able to read the manuscript and consider representing you without any other agent reading the manuscript at the same time.

This is standard practice. Agents don’t want to spend time reading and falling in love with a work only to discover they lost you to the competition by a single day.

However, you have your own needs…and you don’t want to wait weeks or months for the agent to respond.

When you are asked for an exclusive, set a timeframe. Tell them yes then ask if two weeks is enough time. It’s very likely they will ask for three weeks. But if you offer three weeks they’ll ask for four. So set your own limit right from the start. Three weeks is plenty of time. And you’ll come off as a professional because you knew to set a time limit from the beginning!

Best Price for E-Books

Self-published? Wondering how to set your pricing?

Smashwords recently conducted a survey. They found that cheaper is NOT always better.

Books that sold for $3.99 faired best. They outpaced similar books available for $2.99.

Why? It’s likely about perception. A book that costs a little more signals that it is worth a little more…and possibly a lot more.

But don’t go crazy. HIgher price points than $3.99 did not fair as well.

Publisher Accepting Submissions

Free Spirit publishes 20 to 25 titles per year for children and teens. Their focus is on helping readers learn how to succeed in life and make a difference in the world. They specify that authors should submit a proposal as part of their pitch.

How Much Does Editing Cost?

Nowadays, authors know they have to hone their manuscripts as near to perfection as possible to enhance their chances of being picked up by a publisher…or if they’re self-publishing, to enhance their appeal to readers.

Writer’s Resource was founded on the idea that authors should help authors. Part of that is helping with the financial investment. Occasionally the market is surveyed to ensure that costs are at the lower to middle range for comperable levels of experience and services.

This year, the Freelance Editor’s Association found that standard costs across the market are $45-65/hour based on the experience of the editor. A 70,000-word manuscript could take 56 hours for developmental editing. The result is a fee between $2,520 and $18,200. Copy editing, a much lighter form of editing, averaged $25-50/hour for a fee range between $840 and $7,000.

That’s quite an investment.After twenty years in  business, this shop maintains price structures that are on the lower and middle ends of the ranges quoted above. The higher level of editing used by the association is also divided into separate services called developmental assistance, consulting, rewriting and line editing.

Breaking things down ensures that each client is able to select only those items they truly feel will help…and the different options help them keep to a budget!

Standard copy editing ranges from $2.50 per page to $3.95 per page. Line editing ranges from $4.00 per page to $7.50 per page. Line editing includes everything offered under copy editing, of course.

Developmental work and rewriting fees are set based on each individual manuscript’s needs; generally, they are higher than the highest level of line editing.

Consulting is performed on an hourly basis.

Whether you’re aiming for a publisher’s attention, self-publishing or tackling both options at once, call or email for your editorial and developmental needs.

Book Sales are REALLY Up!

BookStats reports that e-book sales in fiction rose 42% in 2012 to a total value of $1.8 billion.

Nonfiction e-book sales grew 22% to $484.2 million.

E-book sales in children’s and YA categories increased a whopping 117% to $469.2 million.

E-books now account for 20% of publishers’ revenues.

Net revenues for publishers are also up slightly. The industry is recovering. If you have a manuscript that’s been lying in a drawer somewhere collecting dust, it’s time to pull it out and start pitching!

Do Agents Rep Juvenile Authors?

The work I offer through Writer’s Resource covers a range of age groups and genres including juvenile works. Juvenile is defined as anything from children’s picture books through young adult (YA).

Authors are often surprized to learn two things…that they should have a submissions packet for their juvenile works, and that agents will represent fiction and nonfiction targeting younger readers.

Fifteen years ago, the landscape was much different. It was much more difficult to locate agents who represented works for young readers outside the academic market. Today, things have changed so much that juvenile works are well respected…and agents want to represent the works whether they’re for the academic market, the mainstream reader, or both.

It used to be that when a client asked me to put together a list of agents for their juvenile works, the research turned up only a handful of agents. Nowadays, it is common for those lists to include dozens of names…often a hundred or more.

If your project has a wide target, consider adding an agent to the team of individuals you work with to help you along your publishing journey.

Book Auctions

Yesterday I posted a comment about a client who wondered if the longer wait for a positive response from a publisher was cause for concern. He wrote back again noting that if a deal came through, he knew it would in part be due to all the work we’d done together to improve the manuscript.

He ended with a comment about competition between the various publishers. He was referring to a book auction.

Several times recently I’ve been asked if auctions still happen. Yes, they do! The industry is in flux and is scrambling to adjust their course in an unknown present but the book auction is alive and well.

And yes, Toto, auctions are still offered to authors who are not celebrities. So take heart and keep working. If you’ve created your best work and keep trying, you’ll eventually meet with success.

How to Tell If a Publisher is Interested

Recently a client contacted me about a manuscript that had been submitted to several of the top publishers. His first manuscript had been picked up right away but this one seemed to be lagging behind. He wondered if “no news is good news” on this front.

The answer is yes. Publishing has changed quite a bit over the past several years and response times can be much slower. Generally, rejections are provided fairly quickly. Any time lag in response often means someone at the publisher wants the book; they just have to go through a series of hoops before getting full and final approval.

So, take silence to mean that a publisher is interested…they’re just trying to figure out where the book will fit in their lineup, how the marketing department will handle the work, or a host of other issues.

Meanwhile, keep working on the next book!

Book Sales are Up Again!

In May, the U.S. Census released statistics for bookstore sales. In March, they rose 1.1% to $931 million.

For the first quarter, bookstore sales were up to $4.03 billion. That’s a 2.2% increase over the first quarter of 2012.

Compare that to the 2.6% rise across the entire retail business, and you realize that books are as important to today’s buyers as designer jeans and bling. Go, books!