Sunday, September 25, 2011

For Your Next Book, It's All About Timing

Promoting your book is all about timing. Ever notice in January there is a slew of business and diet books (everyone wants to commit to their resolutions) and in June a lot of novels come out for summer beach reading? Of course all of the major books come out in September, October and early November -- they all want to capitalize on everyone being back from vacation in September and by November everyone wants a piece of the holiday gift market. But what can you do to strategically make sure you are timing things well?

First, you might want to release a book out of season, so there's less competition for your title. Why not a diet book in April, a tax guide in October or a baseball book in December?

Second, you might want to partner with the competition. Find out who is publishing books that are similar to yours and see if you can ride their publicity and marketing efforts, perhaps setting up joint book-signings and appearances. Instead of you talking about the laws of wealth or the 7 principles of parenting, team up with two or three other authors and form a panel of experts.

Third, if the Fall season will be busy for major books in major cities, don't compete with that. Go to smaller cities and take a lion's share of the media and the market there.

But if you really want to time things, you'll write a book that reacts to a major event that hasn't happened yet. Do you ever wonder how publishers quickly have a book that responds to a tragedy like 9/11 or a trial just before it ends or the death of a celebrity? Anticipate the news so that you can capitalize on it once it happens. For instance, many people assume we will have a double-dip recession, so why not write a book on it, wait for the crash to happen and then rush to press and have the first book to tell us how it happened, even though you knew how or why it would happen before it happened.

Interview With The Founder Of The Lisa Ekus Group, LLC

1.      Lisa, how many years have you been in book publishing? 33 years—before faxes or email!
2.      How is the publishing industry is changing? How much time do you have? In house publishing staffs are seriously diminished, so old-time editing has pretty much vanished; PR has changed 180 degrees. Authors MUST be partners with publishers, not expect them to lead the way selling or marketing your book. The onus is fully on the author (like it or not). E-books, digitization, on-line everything has changed the industry. Advances and publisher risk have plummeted.  It is still wildly in flux. Here’s the thing: every blogger wants a book deal and a book in hard copy; give-aways at BEA were all real books, not codes for e-books, or free APPS. There is massive change in the HOW of the dissemination of information, but the NEED and DESIRE for information is greater than ever. Bloggers have leveled the playing field—anyone can be a writer. How you succeed is still based on talent.
3.      How are you, as a literary agent, responding to these new changes, challenges and opportunities?   Every industry changes—it keeps us healthy and challenges us to stretch and evolve. We are keeping abreast of the current industry standards for things like e-book rights; we are going to blogger and digital conferences; we are reading and learning and collaborating with other agents issues around photography rights; payout of advances, e-books and apps. We ask as many questions as we answer and are trying to shape some of the direction through our contracts, looking ahead. This is challenging because the industry has not settled into a norm yet, and I think it will be a number of years before things really shake out. That means covering our clients for as many possibilities as we are able.
4.      What are you looking for in an author – aside from a great book!? Passion. Commitment. Partnership.
5.      What do you love about being a part of the book publishing industry? Discovering, nurturing and building new creative voices in the industry. We always have at least a handful of first time authors on our list of clients. I love the words, the intent, the creativity of so many talented writers.
6.      What advice can you offer to a struggling writer? You only need one “yes”,  so don’t lose hope or faith when looking for an agent and/or publisher. Follow your passion. Ask for help. Learn from your rejection letters. Don’t give up your day job!
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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