The Books Keep Coming

The wisest man ever to walk the planet was King Solomon. He left a bit of his writings in our Bible and wrote about the proliferation of books saying, “Of the making many books there is no end.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

When I have an opportunity to teach at writer’s conferences (like this past weekend), I don’t pull out my old notes from the past. I make an effort to add new and current information to my handouts and my verbal presentation. I’m constantly learning more details about publishing. Here’s an example of something I read in a couple of my workshops this past weekend:

I knew these next few months were a busy season of book publishing. Many people buy books as Christmas presents and other end of the year events. I noticed that a forthcoming issue of Publisher’s Weekly is going to cover new fitness and diet books. Why? Typically many of these books release in January—when people have made their New Year’s resolutions and are thinking about proactively doing something in this area.

Sara Nelson, the Editor-in-Chief at Publisher’s Weekly, recently wrote, “As memories of summer vacations fade and the new magazines, TV shows and movies begin to land, we’re once again treated to the realization that fall is also a busy time in the book business. Maybe because, admit it or not, we’re still living on the school-year calendar, or maybe—as some publishers will tell you—it’s because releasing books in the fall sets them on their trajectories to the holidays, when books magically turn into gifts. Whatever: September and October are always the months in which the greatest number of books are released. By our count, nearly 200 adult hardcovers with announced first printings of more than 100,000 will come out between September 1 and December 31. That’s 20 million books, you back-to-schoolers, and is only a sliver of the publishing activity.” (I added the bold emphasis, September 12, 2005, p. 5)

Many people dream of getting a book published and publishers continue to release new titles each season. If you have one of those books (or if your book is in a publisher’s backlist of books), you need to be continually thinking about how to tell people about your books. Lissa Warren has some excellent advice to authors with books in her ten tips excerpt from The Savvy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity.

And if you are like the individual writers I met this past weekend, who dream about getting a publisher to accept their book in the first place, then check out my tested advice in Book Proposals That Sell. Repeatedly I find writers have not poured enough energy into the opening (hook or overview) of their proposal. Or maybe they have a terrific title but their actual execution of the proposal doesn’t deliver—not engaging or lacks some information. Missing information is one of the hardest elements to find in someone else’s proposal or magazine article. I recommend using a checklist or some other tool to make sure you’ve put your best foot forward in this area.

In the meantime, those books will keep coming. What role will you have in the process? Writing something that will catch fire (in a PyroMarketing way) and really do what it’s supposed to do? I hope so because no writer wants the other result.

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