Launching anything new is tough. If you’re like me, you have more on your plate now than you can say grace over. How in the world could you make time for one more thing?
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That’s what I thought back in December when I first started thinking about launching a new podcast. I had already been doing a podcast based on an adult Sunday school class I teach. But, after 83 episodes, I stopped in May of 2011.
If you’re an aspiring author, have ever wondered what happens to your book proposal after it arrives at the publishing house? Sometimes, I’m afraid, the acquisition process appears to be a sort of “black box.” Proposals are inserted into the black box and then disappear—for weeks. At some point they pop out. Most are sent back to the author with a rejection letter. A precious few actually become a book.
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But what happens while the proposal is inside the box?
In this post I want to describe the internal proposal review process. If you have ever wondered how in the world publishing houses decide what to publish, this post is for you.
I admit, when I hear someone suggest that you can take your blog posts and turn them into a book, I am skeptical. But when I really thought about it, for all my skepticism, and as much as it pains me to admit it, my first book, To Love Is Christ, came about just that way. Let me explain.
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On August 1, 2002 I made a vow to God. He and I weren’t on the best of terms at the time, and when I finally got fed up hearing myself complain, or filling my journal with more whine, I decided to do something dramatic. My strategy was both simple and logical. That morning I decided since the Scripture tells me that God is love, I would write every day for one year on that one subject, love. That was it. That was my strategy.
I have now been using the Kindle Fire for about a month. I thought I’d weigh with my impressions thus far. This isn’t intended to be a thorough, technical review. It is simply my view as a publishing professional and e-reader enthusiast.
I have been a fan of the Kindle since Amazon introduced it in 2007. I have bought every iteration since then and have been pleased with the evolution of the device. The simplicity, battery life, and integrated buying experience have been delightful.
Last week, FrugalDad published an amazing graphic about Amazon. Since 1994, Jeff Bezos, the CEO, has steadily grown the company. I knew it was big, but I had no idea how big.
This infographic is worth studying in detail. No author, retailer, or publisher can afford to ignore this behemoth. (Don’t miss the question at the end. Please leave a comment! I’d like to know what you think.)
I have yet to meet an author who thought his/her publisher did enough marketing or who was satisfied with the royalties received. Most have the fantasy of writing the book, submitting the manuscript, and then sitting in a lawn chair next to the mailbox, waiting on those big checks to show up. The reality of publishing and the source of real income is a quite different picture.
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Several years ago Mark Victor Hansen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, told a small group of us author wannabes something that revolutionized my approach to writing. He said, “Everyone I meet wants to write a book. I tell them, ‘Write your book. Do a great job. Now you’re 10% finished. The remaining 90% consists of marketing, promoting, developing ancillary products, etc.’”
If you are writing a book—or thinking about it—you have no doubt considered self-publishing. Thanks to recent developments in technology, it has never been easier or less expensive.
A few years ago, we launched a self-publishing division at Thomas Nelson called WestBow Press. We did so in partnership with Author Solutions, the largest self-publishing company in the world. They have proven to be great partners.
At the risk of wearing you out, I want to ask for your input on this cover one last time. More than 750 people voted on the four covers I posted earlier today. They left almost 300 comments. I read through every single one. They have helped me clarify my own thinking and will influence the outcome.
The top two choices were very close: The GPS Cover took 40 percent of the votes. The Sail Cover took 30 percent. I also polled people as to their gender and then cross-tabbed the results. The results were almost identical for the GPS Cover. Men and women voted the same. However, among women the Sail Cover and the Tree Cover tied for second place.
On Thursday, I posted the first round of new cover designs for Creating Your Personal Life Plan. Some 750 people took the survey. Even better, sixty people left detailed comments, telling me what they liked and disliked.
I have taken all that input into consideration, and would like to get your vote on this second round of book cover comps. If you want to get straight to the survey, just scroll down this page and take it. It will take you less than 60 seconds.
In the last decade, we have witnessed the “free revolution.” Marketers are giving away everything from books and software to vacations and even cars. This has shaped consumer behavior to the point that people often expect free and resent having to pay.
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I see this every week in the publishing industry with ebooks. Many consumers expect them to be free or sold for a nominal amount, because they incorrectly believe that they don’t cost anything to produce.
While people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, they do. This is why it is so critical that you spend the time and money to get the packaging on your product right. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, a CD collection, or a record album. People will never get to experience your brilliance unless the packaging gets them to pick it up and explore it.
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This is especially important in today’s world. You have never had more competition. The market is increasingly crowded—and noisy. You need every advantage you can muster. Packaging is a key component in the selling process. This is often where the war for the consumer’s mind is won or lost.