Monday, January 2, 2012

Revamping the Blog!

Happy New Year!

I have been absent for over a year now, and let me tell you--my life has certainly changed!

I am no longer in the publishing industry but rather am in the mommy industry, raising the sweetest little boy God ever put on earth.

I've decided to relaunch the blog with an entirely new focus. I am still working out my plans and will post again soon.

But I wanted to give you a heads up: I am no longer affiliated with any publisher and therefore my subsequent posts will range on various topics. Unfollow if you wish!

Chat soon!

Amanda

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ch-Ch-Change....

Good afternoon! Just a quick note:

I have accepted an internal promotion to Acquisitions Editor with Tate Publishing, effective October 1. Please bear with me as I undergo training and, slowly but surely, update my blog.

For those I've worked with in marketing, I have enjoyed every one of you! Best wishes as you continue your journey with a new marketing rep.

For those I will start working with, I look forward to building a professional relationship with you as I review your work.

Blessings,
Amanda

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Becoming Newsworthy!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the following conversation:
    Author: “Why hasn’t the media shown interest in my book?”
     Amanda: “Well, let’s start with the basics. Why should your book matter to them?”
     Author: “Well, I’m an author. This is a new book.”
     Amanda: “That’s great, and we are definitely proud of this book and believe it to be newsworthy. But the media doesn’t.”
     Author: “Why not? I don’t believe you.”
     Amanda: “With over 1 million new titles released every year, not to mention all the books that are already in circulation, your book quite honestly doesn’t mean anything to those reporters. They get similar requests every day. Whether you believe me or not, that’s the truth.”
     Author: “They just need the right pitch.”
     Amanda: “I couldn’t agree more. But the pitch they are looking for is different than the pitch you are thinking of.”
     Author: “How so?”
     Amanda: “They want something that is newsworthy. While you writing a book is of note, it will still be of note in 20 years. There is no immediacy to it. What we have to show them is urgency…why this is news right now.”
     Author: “How do we do that?”
     Amanda: “Simple. By using an event to catch their attention. That gives the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY that all reporters look for. Without that event, we are just sending them the HOW. They get so many HOWs every day, they weed the HOW-only pitches out.”

Moral to the story: don't expect you and your book alone to attract attention. There must be an immediate plug for a press release to be effective. 
The best way to do this is with an event. 

Another great way to do this is to tag on to another HOTT (with TWO t's....so something BIG) news topic. Be sure to alert your marketing rep when there is something you are connected to. Send him/her the link to the story, what it has to do with your book, your response, and a quote they can use. That's a great way to catch some attention of the press.

Regardless, I see the most response from the media to our contacts regarding events. It's a tangible piece of news they can quickly identify then run with.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If You Love a Writer

Today's post is courtesy of Eileen Flanagan, award-winning author of numerous titles (the latest of which, The Wisdom to Know the Difference, is coming out in paperback September 2). If you are a writer, read this and send it to everyone you know! If you know someone who is a writer, read it and send to everyone you know! In today's publishing culture, the support of F-Cubed (Friends, Family, and Fans) is vital for a book to find success.


After ten years of writing around my children’s schedules, I have a book coming out soon, and friends have been asking what they can do to support me. I’ve been touched by their offers and yet reticent to ask too much, especially of busy people in a tough economy. At the same time, the online writers groups I belong to are a buzz day and night with authors trying to figure out how to publicize their work before the entire publishing industry goes bankrupt. So, as a community service, I’ve decided to write up ten suggestions for all the people who love a book author who’s been fighting the publicity odds (Fellow writers, feel free to forward this link or add your own suggestions in the comment section.):
1.   Buy your friend’s book. If you can afford it, buy it for everyone in your extended family. If you can’t afford it, ask your local librarian to order a copy. In fact, you can suggest it to your librarian whether you buy a copy yourself or not.
2.   Don’t wait until Christmas or Hanukkah to pick up a copy. How it does in its first weeks determines whether a book will stay on the bookstore shelves or be sent back to the warehouse to be shredded (along with your friend’s ego). Try to buy it as soon as it’s published, or better yet pre-order a copy, which makes your friend look good and gets your friend’s publisher excited about the book’s prospects. An excited publisher will invest more in publicity, while a bookstore that is getting advanced orders is more likely to stock the book on its shelves.
3.   Friends often ask where they should get the book, which is a tricky question. In the long-term, it is in every writer’s best interest to support independent booksellers (reader’s too, actually). If you don’t have a favorite one yourself, you can go to IndieBound to find one near you. When a book is newly released, however, it may help your writer friend more to buy it through a big chain, so they keep it stocked where the most people can find it. Likewise, a high sales rate on Amazon can get people’s attention, and if your friend’s website links directly to Amazon, she may be part of a program where she makes extra money when someone enters Amazon through the link on her website and then makes a purchase. I personally have links to several booksellers,  on the theory that it’s good to spread the love around.
4.   If you genuinely like your friend’s book, write a review on Amazon or Goodreads, mention it on Facebook and Twitter, and recommend it to your book group.
5.   If you’re friend’s book is sci fi, and you’re more of a Jhumpa Lahiri fan, say something like, “I’m so proud of you for following your passion,” and skip writing the review.
6.   If your friend is a good public speaker, recommend her to your church, synagogue, mosque, ashram, kid’s school, Rotary club, etc. If you live far away, your friend might get to come visit you and write it off her taxes.
7.   If you have a website or blog, link to your friend’s website. The more people who link to her, the better she looks to the search engines, which may help people who don’t already love her to find her book. To be really helpful, don’t link on the words “my friend,” but on whatever keywords your friend might be using to find her target audience. (For example, I would especially appreciate people using the phrase “Serenity Prayer” to link to my page About the Serenity Prayer.)
8.   If your friend could legitimately be a reference on some Wikipedia page, add her as one, with a link to the most relevant page of her website. Authors can’t tout themselves on Wikipedia without getting a “conflict of interest” badge of shame, but there is nothing more fun for a writer than discovering a spike in her search engine traffic due to a link posted on Wikipedia. It’s kind of like having a secret Santa.
9.   Don’t ask your friend if she has thought about trying to get on Oprah. Trust me– she’s thought of that.
    10. If you pray, go ahead. It couldn’t hurt to pray she gets on Oprah.

To learn more about Eileen's writing and speaking engagements, visit Eileen Flanagan

Friday, July 30, 2010

Royalty Day!

How does time fly by so fast? Seems like we just did this...

Today is Royalty Day at Tate Publishing. Our accounting & sales division has been preparing statements and checks all month for 2010 Quarter 2. Today we are reviewing them and mailing them!

In addition to the royalties we are sending out, we are also sending out returned investments for our authors who have reached their initial sales goals.

What an exciting day to be an author!

If you want to see some stats from a NYT Bestselling Author's royalties, check out this link: Reality of a Times Bestseller

Cheerio!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Freelance Author

Ask any writer out there: being published marks your success. It's a third-party endorsement of your writing, ideas, beliefs, and opinions. Many writers have one goal, and one goal only. Becoming Published.  For the writer with a full-length manuscript and dreams of seeing their work in book form, they believe all the publishing they will ever need is achieved once the publishing contract is signed.


How wrong they all are.  The movie 2012 is a great pop-culture reference for this. The main character, played by John Cusack, is published...but as his ex-wife's new husband points out, he only sold 412 copies. Cusack's character finds himself employed as a chauffeur while working on a supposed second manuscript.

While having a book published is most definitely an accomplishment, it should merely be one of many publishing endeavors...not the end-all of an author's dreams.Writers of any type should continually be looking for publishing opportunities within their respective genres.

Many published authors operate on that "starving artist" budget Cusack's character found himself on. Yet  there are thousands, possibly millions, of writers banking large salaries through non-book publishing alone. The tenacity that non-book-published writers display is to be modeled for the published book author.
Why? A myriad of reasons can be applied, including:
a) establishment of the writer's credibility;
b) new readers to follow a writer's works;
c) supplemental income;
d) potential of media opportunities and/or speaking engagements based on the quality of writing and development of a writer's career;
e) increased book sales (for the author; increased paid writing gigs for writers).


For the non-fiction writer, this would be in magazines, journals, publications, newsletters, blogs, etc. supporting the subject matter of which the writer is an expert (use the same process as the RRCS Equation...just be looking for writing opportunities, not book sale opportunities).


For the fiction/literary writer, this would be in magazines, journals, publications, newsletters, blogs, etc. that support one of two subjects:
a) the genre in which the author writes (for fiction writers, short story journals; for poets, poetry journals; etc.).
b) the interests of an author's intended audience (see the RRCS Equation for some ideas... other examples include: for a target audience of mothers, pursue writing opportunities with publications those mothers read, such as MOPs publications, parenting publications, housekeeping publications, cooking publications, etc.).


How to find these publications and get published. Much like the book world, there is heavy competition within the freelance writing world.
The best ways to pursue third-party, non-book publications are outlined below: 

1) Outline your writing objectives. Each writer and his/her goals are unique. 
2) Establish a portfolio. The easiest way to do this is to establish a website and blog; be sure to add writing samples! 
3) Research: Check out Writers Weekly Market and Poets & Writers' "Tools for Writers" to get started with legitimate opportunities. Writer's boards and magazines are a great resource to identify these publications. Google.com is also a useful place to find opportunities when searching for genre-specific publications. Then compile a list of the different genre publications to pursue. READ through at least one issue before pursuing that publication; a writer wastes his/her time submitting to publications that his/her writing is not suited for. 
4) Request writers' submission guidelines for each. READ those guidelines then submit as instructed. 
5) Keep a list of what has been submitted to where. Every three months review this list; at that point follow-up is usually acceptable, if not otherwise specified within the submission guidelines.
6) For each submission accepted and subsequently published, the writer needs to request an electronic version of the publication to add to the writer's portfolio of writing samples.  


Never, Ever, Ever underestimate the power of a byline. If a reader likes what he/she reads, they will immediately check out the website listed in that byline. If the writer has books available through that site (or at least linked to it), in most cases the reader will end up purchasing the products if interest is held!
Regardless of the medium, that is what the entire publication process is about: capturing the attention and loyalty of readers. A well-rounded writer in today's industry pursues this from all angles possible.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why PRINCE Lost His Crown...

Dear readers:

While browsing the internet and reading some of my favorite blogs (two things I need to do more of on a regular basis!), I came across this quote from Prince posted on thedailywh.at:

The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it. The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you. 
http://bit.ly/9wh85D

Seriously? Did he really just say that?

Must confess: I snorted loudly and woke up Barron, my puppy who was nestled on a bed of pillows and dreaming of squirrel chasing, when I read his comment about the advance.

My father always told me that unrealistic expectations are what makes relationships fail. No wonder no one in our younger generations know who Prince is. Or have any respect for him.

The above quote sounds like the lamentations of a has-been who doesn't care to stay up on the trends but then wants to complain that his success is faltering.

Honestly, this is an attitude seen in the book industry EVERY day. We are just a few years behind the music industry when it comes to recognizing the role technology plays in our industry.

Things. Don't. Work. The. Same. They. Used. To.

Have you noticed that the only places to buy music in person these days are at the same places where you can buy literature in person? The music industry is piggy-backing on the book industry to hold on to the old retail method as long as possible.

But there aren't music stores opening left and right anymore, simply because there is no demand for it! [those who know about the book industry's current predicament know that this is where the book industry is headed]


My husband's favorite movie is HIGH FIDELITY with John Cusack. It's a charming movie, but each time I watch it I find the record shop Cusack runs is a bit depressing: it's entirely dependent upon a niche audience, and that niche audience dwindles every day.


Why should someone get in their car, drive to a store, spend 20 minutes looking for something and avoiding the underpaid salespersons, pay too much for a product, drive home, then upload it to their computer/music players-----when they could with one click purchase the entire album, or select songs, without tax, without leaving their comfy chair or finding their debit card?

"It's all about convenience, baby." [I'm imitating a Humphrey Bogart-esque accent here]

Let the Fireworks Fall Where They May
Okay, so what is the purpose of this *somewhat depressing* post?

It's just me listening to Bernadette Peters sing "Some People (Live)" on Pandora and contemplating the changes in store for all entertainment industries. Actors, musicians, producers, etc. all seem to be embracing it a bit better than authors do.

That's a shame.

I'm not advocating giving away rights or agreeing blindly to what consumers want.

But there is a balance, and the only way to find success is to master that balance.

With this every changing consumer-driven society, ANY creator, producer, writer, artist, business person, marketer, etc.---that is, anyone with something they want others to want---MUST embrace the consumer's demands and find a way to compromise, to make the consumers' wants fit into the producer's needs.

My challenge to you today is to learn. Find out what is going on within your industry.

If you are a writer, you should be researching and learning what new challenges the book industry is facing.

If you are an artist, you should be researching and learning what new challenges the music industry is facing.

If you are a chef, you should be researching and learning what new challenges the restaurant industry is facing.

If you are an actor/musical theater actor, you should be researching and learning what new challenges the performance industry is facing.

If you are a parent, you should be researching and learning what new challenges parents and your children are facing.

If you are a pastor, you should be researching and learning what new challenges church bodies are facing.

If you are a marketer, you should be researching and learning what new challenges the marketing industry is facing.

Best place to start is with google. Type in your industry and hit "news". You'll be amazed what new things you can learn.

Subscribe to newsletters, blog posts, etc., anything that will offer you a new perspective and information on what you have chosen to do with your life.

And keep in mind: if you don't agree, that doesn't change things. Your competition will adapt, and when they do so, they will take your target audiences' business, money, loyalty, and hearts.

But don't take my word for it. Find this out yourself, and you'll have a much better grasp of how to build your brand.