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Chapter 18 Book Publishing

Chapter eighteen topics
  • Targeting The Right Publisher
  • Writing The Book Proposal
  • Marketing Savvy
  • Additional Resources
  • Agents
  • Contracts
  • Alternative to Having an Agent
  • Self Publishing
  • The International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
  • Publishing Books
  • Print-On-Demand Books
  • Software For Printing Booklets
  • Electronic Text and Publishing Resources
  • E-Books
  • E-Book Reader\Creater
  • E-Royalty Advice
  • Ways to Market an E-book
Targeting the right publisher
You've written a book! Now what?

Do what you should have done first -- begin targeting potential publishers.

With pencil and notebook in hand, in your local bookstore locate the physical shelf that will display your book. Look inside the covers of ALL the published books there. Compile a list of the publishers who publish books similar to yours, or that are about the bigger message (or region) yours covers. Where possible, note their addresses, dates of publication, etc.

Tip: The agent who represented the book is sometimes listed, too. Ask the bookstore owner if they know, or can find out the agent.

Because many publishing houses put books out under different imprints, you'll see the same publishing company listed in a variety of genres. Note these, too.

If a book contains many elements, be guided by the bigger message of the book. The other elements enhance the bigger message. The bigger message defines who the ideal reader is. Based on that message, jot down why your book will be better.

Tip: Keep abreast of publishing news with Publishers Weekly, Visit their web pages, and subscribe to the magazine if you can.

Most major publishers only accept book proposals and/or manuscripts from agents, but you can write to the prospective publishers and ask if they accept queries and/or book proposals from authors. Those who do can be contacted through their Acquisitions Editor. (If the publisher has several imprints, select the appropriate AE.)
Request the publisher's
  • Acquisition editors' contact information
  • Writer's guidelines
  • Book proposal template, if they have one
  • Latest lists and catalogs
The Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN), offers links to writing and publishing information research sources, publishers, printers, and the media.

For information on writing book proposals check The Seven Vital Elements of a Successful Nonfiction Book Proposal, by Mary Embree,

Textbook And Academic Authors Association (TAA),, provides invaluable service for members. (Dues are reasonable and can be found at About TAA, near the bottom.) You'll find plenty of free information and advice just by surfing the links. Links bring you to Authors Organizations and other resources,

Library of Congress gateway, It is open to the public, but only Members of Congress, Supreme Court justices and other high-ranking government officials may check out books. However, Search "book publishers" (including quotation marks) at, to display 2870 book titles and authors. Click the title to find the book publisher's information.

The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections,
has manuscript collections. Type manuscript collections catalog in a search engine.

Studying books that are published, reading synopsis, etc., should be an on-going activity of all novel writers. Dozens of resources listing over 40,000 free books on the Web are linked at The Online Books Page,

Association of American University Presses provides an alphabetized list of university presses,

Simon and Schuster's web site, is also an excellent resource at your fingertips.

Tip: Select a category, then select a book. Hover on a book and get Read more to click for a synopsis. When you become familiar with navigating this site, it's better than a trip to the bookstore for discovering the information you need to know.

With the information you've gathered you're ready to search for the appropriate agent or publisher.

Writing the book proposal
Writing a book proposal takes a ton of work! Its importance cannot be overstated! The book proposal is your sales tool. It must be wonderful and contain strong, fresh ideas. Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write, by Elizabeth Lyon (1995, Blue Heron Publishing) is still one of the most useful guides.

Peggy Vincent, author of Baby Catcher advises that you seriously consider hiring a reputable writing consultant to help with your query/proposal. Following advice from the consultant she hired, Peggy sent her query and one-page sample to five agents simultaneously. Selecting one of the two responding agents who accepted her, Peggy sent a 15-page formal proposal and nine sample chapters. The agent made 10 copies of the 115 pages Peggy supplied and sent them to 10 top NY publishing houses where she had contacts. Three weeks later Peggy had a great contract.

Sandra Friend, another successful author says,
"Sample chapters ARE requisite with a book proposal. With non-fiction, send your best chapters, two or three at the most; with fiction, supposedly your first few chapters. I've sent a fiction proposal to an agent with the first two chapters, several in the middle, and the ending, and landed a contract."
Armed with a successful proposal, the appropriate agent, AND a great self-marketing agenda to include in your package, you, too, can be successful.

Tip: If your book will be written in first person, the outline has to be in first person also. The sample chapter(s) included in your proposal should be easy-to-understand and exciting. One chapter should also be "light" if your book includes "dark" and "light" material.

I highly recommend frequent visits to Jeannette Czanne's blogspot, Beyond The Elements of Style, If you can read all of her archives you'll learn a great deal about publishing, such as why doing film trailers for books is becoming more and more popular. Among other things you should know, you'll learn about platforms,

Also, download and study (free), The Author 2.o Blueprint: Using Web 2.0 Tools to Build Your Author Platform Online, by Joanna Penn, Penn offers good information on her website and free podcasts. Listen to 30+ hours, that include interviews for authors and writers on writing, publishing and book marketing. Check her other resources here,

Also regularly visit, learn and participate at Hope Clark's excellent FundForWriters website, Links bring an awesome array; Resources and Grants are terrific, also.  Writing Kid. Scroll to Read the archived editions at:

Go to Ally E. Peltier's website, Ambitious, Ally is an experienced editor, writer and publishing consultant. Click About to learn more about this exceptional professional, and then click Resources \ Useful Links. Follow her advice on why educated writers are more likely to succeed than those who don't bother to learn about the publishing process.

Marketing savvy
Publishers want authors committed to promoting their book. Show your agent and publisher what you've got in your marketing arsenal. In today's market-driven economy, a writer who thinks as creatively about marketing as about plot is a more likely to become a published author.

An author's ability to bring a marketing synopsis (a few pages explaining how you can market your own book) to the table along with a great manuscript makes a difference in what books get picked up, whether fiction and nonfiction titles.

If you can't travel to do book signings, etc, it's not necessarily a problem. There are other ways to promote, including the web, your associations, hobbies, affiliations, getting endorsements from celebrities, experts, etc.

Get blurbs from authors
Try to get a list of at least four authors who will blurb your novel. List what books they've published and include their affiliations. Tip: Bigger names aren't always better. The right match matters more. For example, you might share an affiliation. Any connection can be an important affiliation. Think hobbies, profession, avocation, volunteerism, etc.

Any marketing ideas you have are best presented to a publisher in a marketing synopsis. It helps your agent sell your book to a publisher, and can be the decisive factor that makes an agent take your book over someone else's. Anything that differentiates your book from other submissions is a big advantage.

Additional resources
McGraw Hill Higher Education, is a tremendous starting place with lots of good links to explore -- and stretch your mind! Tip: Click Publish With Us at the top of the main page. From here you can learn a variety of 'need-to-know' subjects.

Click Catalogs to get lists of books, and then click on a book to read it's synopsis. Study these descriptions and learn how to write a brief, compelling synopsis of your book.

Look for suggestions, ideas and plans on how to market your book on John Kremer's web site, Book Marketing and Book Promotion, Explore, explore. *Note, Many of the offerings involve purchasing books etc., however you can locate a few free features. Browse and absorb, and you'll learn a great deal without paying a fee.

Scroll to Site Map and select Tip of the Week to subscribe to John Kremer's Book Marketing (free). An index provides quick links to archived tips.

Publisher's, informs readers about the publishing industry. Type "book reviews" in the search to get a list of helpful articles to study, plus a link to Reviews. (You register to log in to the database to find book reviews.)

Literary market directory
Literary markets,

Keep abreast of today's topics and know who's publishing what. Visit your local bookstore and browse the shelves.

Networking with other authors is important to your success. Attend readings, book signings and writers conferences as often as possible. Also, join a writers group, either online or locally. I highly recommend Internet Writing Workshop, Get inspiration and important insider information from reading members successes stories,

Wooden Horse, also helps you keep up todate on the publishing world.

Find answers to your questions about agents by visiting The Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), AAR's site explains the organization and tells what to expect from a reputable agent. It includes questions you should ask any agent you're considering. Click Agents to display a list with contact information. (*Read Advice From The Pros, 9-2, About That Agent:

Look at a contract as a business proposition, not just as an opportunity to publish books. Your agent might help you get the best contract, but you'll want your Intellectual Property Attorney on board, too.

Novelists, Inc., keeps its members connected, communicating, and well informed while striving to better the status of fiction writers. This fine web site has excellent articles.

I highly recommend that anyone considering self-publishing get Dan Poynter's views on the topic. Go to Para Publishing, and read the links on the topic.

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
ISBN is generally required on books placed in libraries and in many bookstores. A wealth of book information is provided at R. R. Bowker, Bowker is the US authorized agency to get the ISBN. The minimum fee for an ISBN prefix and a block of ten numbers is $275. Pricing information,

Publishing books
See Bookwire,,  where clicking a book displays a synopsis, along with the book's price, etc.

There are also fee-based products like BooksInPrint, and Literary Marketplace, that require a user ID and password.

Library of Congress hosts a calendar of book events here, Check out Author's webcasts while you're there. Scroll the to bottom of Inventing Entertainment,, for instructions on working with the Collection, such as How To View Videos, etc.

Print on demand books (POD)
You need to study this subject thoroughly before making an informed decision about using POD. Search online for the latest information.
Trafford Publishing, is one of the many on-demand book publishing services.

Software for printing booklets
FinePrint, is an easy-to-use printer driver intended to give unprecedented control and customization of your printing. Jonathan Weiner and Mark O'Brian authored the software for printing booklets.

Electronic text and publishing resources
Ann Chambers Theis, Collection Management Administrator Chesterfield, VA County Library is in charge of Overbooked, a web site formerly known as Book Links for ravenous readers. It specializes in literary and genre fiction information.

BookWeb hosts a list of electronic publishers,

To keep abreast of the growing electronic book industry is daunting! Along with Matt Frisch's CNN article on digital piracy, you can scroll down to find links to related topics. Study them.

e-Books are reviewed by ForeWord Reviews, Contact Jennifer Szunko, Director of Clarion Review Services, They offer book reviews anytime, anywhere and anyone can Download their new iPhone App,

Xlibris is one E-Book Publisher. Does not charge for their core service, but charges a one-time $300 fee. Publishes your book in electronic and paperback. Click on FAQ.

BookLocker, is an online source for self-published electronic and print books. Click a book to read a description and sometimes find a related book title.

Amazon offers a free digital platform for publishing books for sale in the Kindle Store,

As with all book publishing, study, study, study, before making your decision about electronic publishing.

E-book reader\creater
Microsoft Reader is another e-book reader that is free, and with the free Word 2000 add-in you can create your own ebooks,

ScanSoft markets PDF converter software, which allows you to create and convert PDF files,

E-royalty advice
National Writers Union provides information,

Ways to market an e-book
Need suggestions, ideas, or a plan? Look for answers on John Kremer's web site,

  1. Write a sketch of a book idea that sparks an interest in you -- fiction or non-fiction.
  2. Write a short article about what's happening in the book-publishing world now.
Advice FromThe Pros:

9-1 "Plussing" Your Novel:

9-2, About That Agent:

9-3 Audio Book Publishing:

9-4, E-Book publishing and e-book readers:

9-5, Book Publicity and Marketing:

9-6, What About Distribution and Publicists?

9-7, What an Agent Expects to See:

9-8, Promoting Your Book:

9-9, Trade Book Publishing Agreement:

Next, Chapter 19 - Research and Libraries:

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