In last week's review Dena Pawling and Melissa Alexander asked about cancelled books:
>>A first time novelist with a three book contract has to sell well enough that the publisher wants to publish books 2 and 3. It's not a given they will.
If it's a three book contract, but books two and/or three end up not published, how does the publisher get out of the contract? Does it buy out the author? Are books two and three optioned only?
If Book #1 tanks, the publisher will often cancel the contract. The author keeps the money they've been paid for it (generally the on-signing portion of the contract) and the rights are returned to the author. There's a clause in the contract that allows publishers to do that. It's more likely to happen on Book #3 than Book #2. I've seen an uptick in this happening in YA.
There are contracts for #2 and #3, not options, but a publisher is not obliged to publish if sales don't support it.
Dena Pawling also asked:
>>Librarians take note of circulation. If lots of library users request Donnaeve's novel, and it circulates well, that will help her now, and on Book #2.
How do publishers and other industry folks know about circulation? Do libraries report those numbers anywhere?
No. They just buy additional copies if the demand exceeds the supply.
Lisa Bodenheim asked:
One question though. All of your tasks that you did last week, you mentioned #7 plotted and schemed on submission next step for a book that is getting no love. Is this a book that you and client are seeking a publisher yet?
Yes. After a couple rounds of submission we need to consider if we're going to go for a digital-only deal, or one of the smaller publishers that requires an exclusive sub, or whether we'll withdraw this one and go again with the Book-Being-Written.
Wait, is Gossamer yours too? How many cats do you have, Janet?
Sadly, Gossamer belongs to DLM, not me. I just like to look at him cause he's a fabulously furry fellow.
I actually have ZERO cats. Both the Duchess of Yowl, and Loaner Cat live elsewhere most of the time. They just come visit me when their real moms go on vacation. I run a summer camp for cats!
Does QueryManager allow you to create a thread for requests, or are you back to using email to keep track of those?
I don't know what a thread for requests means. Give me a couple more sentences here.
Donnaeve tried to hide her follow-up question in Monday's post, but aha! I spotted it:
One more time on the SASE GREAT IDEA. (no, I don't wish to be zipped off to Carkoon). You argued your logic quite eloquently. I promise after this two tiny comments (think of them like whispers) to NEVER bring it up again. My theory was you wouldn't reply back by snail mail. You'd only receive queries via snail mail but you'd reply back via email. (they'd include their email when they queried.)
So, tell me, what's this email address: DonnaEve101. Is it 101 or lOl?
Hard to tell isn't it:
On Monday we talked about Dana Kaye's upcoming book on branding
Mile O'Neal said what a lot of us are thinking:
I need this now, not in September!
Janet/Dana, do you know whether this will eventually be available as an ebook? I hope so, as I'm a total convert to that format and really want to buy this book. In the meantime, I've added it to my wish list.
I'm sure it will be since the publisher started as a digital only press!
On Tuesday we talked about how to market books withoutannoying your target audience:
Sam Hawke made a good point on the value of word of mouth promotion:
This is such good advice. Aside from books from authors I already know and love, I'd say virtually every book I've read in the last 2 years has been because of a) recommendations from friends (direct or indirect recommendations) or b) looking up someone's novels because I enjoy the person on social media. I buy most of my books on kindle these days, and I find the Amazon store impossible to browse, now. I can't trust their algorithms to not suggest me terrible crap. So I rely on hearing about books by talking to other people about books. That's all I have time for. But it totally works!
Colin Smith was the first of several who did not get joke:
Book marketing calls? I only ever get calls from survey-takers (especially political ones at the moment), and the occasional credit card company. I guess the book marketers have yet to get to me.
And it's hilarious Colin missed the joke since he's got a few good ones up his sleeve:
Of course, she didn't mention my advocacy of a certain Australian author of Ancient Greek mystery stories. It seems I'm not doing my job well enough. Maybe one day Janet will pick up one of his books. Who knows, maybe she'll enjoy it... :D
And I just loved this from E M Goldsmith:
So I went to the beach last week. I open my backpack and find I have forgotten to pack the lovely Gary Corby books. Yes, I picked these up because of word of mouth – specifically Colin’s glowing recommendations. Well, no matter, I decide to head off to the local bookstore, Books-A-Million, a small chain I think, to pick up the book once more. Yes, I am willing to buy a second copy of these books and leave for the beach house’s library. It is a rule when you visit my family’s beach house that you must read- it’s a wonderful thing to do in the sun.
I get to the bookstore and no Gary Corby. I complain to the manager who promises to check into these wonderful books. I hope he orders them. Instead, I peruse the bookshelves. Like a lot of yet to be published authors, I dream about where my books will appear on the shelves. I also notice that there is not a lot of room for new authors. Nearly all the horror section is taken up by Stephen King. There are about five authors in the fantasy section that take up over half of it. I feel a little discouraged for myself and new authors everywhere.
Eventually, I decide on three books, a Lee Child staple, Killing Floor, (there are not enough of these at the beach house and they are terrific beach reads), two best sellers by debut authors, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (I have come to think I am just not a YA fan, but it’s not terrible), and The Axeman by Ray Celestin (this is glorious – set in New Orleans about an actual serial murderer with deeply drawn characters and a setting so rich you can feel the heat and wet of NOLA in every page.)
These are the two main ways I find books to read, word of mouth, and bookstore shelves. I hope, when the time comes, I can write something worthy of word of mouth without a mental breakdown. This post is rather comforting in that regard. Also, the reason I want an agent is to improve my chances of getting a place on those bookstore shelves.
Ann Bennett makes a very good point here:
This is great advice. One of the problems of tooting your own book is the same as selling your own home, your emotional investment is too great. I drive by my childhood home and want to pound on the door and tell them they could at least mow the grass.
And Bethany Elizabeth's mom needs to be on my email data base as a targeted helpful reader:
I'm willing to take book recommendations wherever I can get them, but most of the time it's from family or a particular friend whose tastes run similar to mine. That way, good fantasy novels spread through our family like wildfire. You sell a book to my mother, you've really sold 4 copies - one for each branch of the family. Because we will buy it if Momma tells us to.
Donnaeve is discovering the wild world of in-person promotion:
I went to NC State University Theater on Sat. night with four other local authors to talk about our books. (some of you might remember Cat Warren from Bouchercon? She wrote the book, WHAT THE DOG KNOWS) about the cadaver dogs. She was there.
Anyway, folks were attending an Agatha Christie event. I handed a bookmark to a lady who'd asked me a question about my book. She looked at it, asked another question - all very general, what's it about, etc. As she turned to leave, she handed the bookmark back to me.
I said, "You can keep it. I'm handing these out."
She said, "No. Not now."
I said, "Oh, okay." I took it back. Who's ever heard of handing back a bookmark? Needless to say that little incident was a sour note in an otherwise great experience.
In my misspent youth as book publicist, my job was often to accompany writers to signings at bookstores. Sometimes the crowd was…thin. People would pass by, pick up a book, look it over, put it back down and move on. All while the author was sitting right there with me. Excruciating doesn't begin to describe it. I think that's where I learned to carry a flask of whisky in my saddlebags.
InkStainedWench (not wretch, no matter how many times I type that!) asked:
Question: I'd like to write more reviews, but many of the books I read aren't new. Either they're years old, from the library, or I bought them and it takes me a while to get to them. Does it still help the author and/or other readers if I review a book that isn't a new release?
Well, Charles Dickens doesn't need much word of mouth boost, so books that old, probably not.
On the other hand it's not uncommon for a book to become a word of mouth success several YEARS after publication. Recently, I saw an author on Twitter say she'd hit the NYT list three years post-publication. (I forgot to screen shot the tweet, dammit.)
I think any kind of thoughtful well written review is a plus.
On Wednesday we talked about re-using parts of an old novel in a new one, and how to approach agents who'd requested/read the old one.
Julie M. Weathers asked:
I'm wondering if the exception to not mentioning the agent passed is when they passed on Angels in my Rear View Mirror but asked to see future works.
Yes, that's my oversight, sorry. If an agent asks to see future work, you definitely do want to say that at the top of the query.
Unbelievably, I've been at conferences and heard people start up conversations with agents with, "Hi, my name is Author Joe. You rejected my manuscript, but I still like you." It's so cringe worthy I can't even imagine what the agent is thinking. How are they supposed to respond. "Oh, thanks."
There is nothing worse than having a writer introduce him or herself this way. I'm always at a loss for what to say. "Obviously I was out of my mind" of course is what I usually say, which I hope is funny enough divert the conversation to other things, and signals to the writer that this isn't a place I want to explore further. The other choice is to explain that I don't take on a lot of very good books, but then we get bogged down in details of that particular book.
This is the kind of thing that leads me to not wear a name tag at author events, and in fact make someone ELSE wear my name tag (yes I've done that)
On Thursday we talked about do-overs, or what to do when yourealize you've REALLY flubbed up a query:
Jennifer R. Donohue said
And no ma'am, I will not tell a bitching agent on Twitter to suck it up. I will, depending, remove them from my list and perhaps unfollow. But if OTHER agents wanted to tell him/her to suck it up.....
Celia Reeves said
I might THINK about telling a whining agent on Twitter to suck it up, and I might even write that tweet, but I'd never send it. Didn't we have a discussion here a while ago about professionalism in public spaces? I'd have to satisfy myself with snickering about the agent to my friends.
On Friday the A lot of Books writing contest went up! I'm cleaning my bookshelves and have quite a few terrific books to give away as a Grand Prize!
Results should go up on Monday.
Here's a terrific blogpost about y'all!
In the interest of authors everywhere, you should know that a buttload of wine is officially 126 gallons or two hogsheads.--Julie M. Weathers
Sometimes you just have to be fearless. What's an agent going to do? Hit delete twice?"--Julie M. Weathers