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


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. 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

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.

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.

Friday, July 2, 2010

We Got a Dollar, Hey Hey Hey Hey!

Ever see the Little Rascals 1990s movie?

Here's my favorite clip: Hey Hey Hey Hey!

I love the innocence in their voices and faces; not to mention the savvy 90's fashion.

And they are so HAPPY about their dollar. They poured a lot of hard work into getting it (I think it involved chasing a dog?), and they saw their hard work pay off.

Just a short but sweet reminder that EVERY book sale counts. The intrinsic value of a new reader is why we are all in this business anyways! :)

Have a groovy July 4th, enjoy some hamburgers and ice cream, don't get spooked by the fireworks, and I'll see you back here on Tuesday!