Good morning fellow bloggers. can you believe there’s only 2 more weeks until Christmas? That seems a little ridiculous… Where has this month been going?
As promised, today’s “Tales from an Editor” continues to answer your questions about indie publishing vs. the traditional route. Today’s post focuses on author behavior and some of the things you can do to make yourself stand out (in a good way or a bad way).
Indie authors looking for a traditional publisher do have it a little harder than non-published authors. Why? Because certain indie-authors have given the group a bad name….because they lie. So here are some ways you can set yourself outside of the assumptions if you’re an indie author looking for backing from a bigger company. (Again, these statements don’t apply to all indie authors or publishers, I’m just sharing my limited personal experience).
1. Don’t Lie About Sales. This gets indie authors in trouble a lot. What you may not know is that publishing houses do have access to distributors’ sales figures. If you tell us your book sold over 30,000 copies in the first week you can bet we’ll check those numbers. If you’re book actually sold 5 copies, that won’t work in your favor, not because it didn’t sell, but because you can’t be trusted.
2. Do market research. Just because you have a book for sales on Amazon doesn’t mean you’re a market expert. Do some research on the competition, include numbers, ranking, and sales figures in your proposal. We love numbers.
3. Be professional. This goes for any author, but indie authors have an even bigger challenge: selling a publisher on something that already hasn’t sold. Don’t complain about this one guy that gave you a bad review (and don’t stack your reviews either). Explain why (in detail) you’re looking for traditional publishing after your indie venture.
4. Tell the publisher you’re submitting to you self-published. The first thing I do when checking a submission is to google the title and see if it’s already been published. If it’s for sale somewhere and you didn’t bother to tell me that it’s an auto reject regardless of content. Dealing with copyright issues, simultaneously submitted manuscripts, dead projects, it’s not worth it if the author isn’t upfront.
5. Don’t say your book is printer ready. I’ve seen several self-published authors who claim their submission is “printer ready” which means all we have to do is send it off to the printer and market it. This scares me and my acquisitions team. Submissions are never, ever sent printer ready. Even when you work with a best selling author the manuscript isn’t printer ready until several rounds of editing, and that doesn’t include the time spent working to brand, cover, and title it.
6. Don’t make demands in a proposal. Sometimes indie-authors seem to think the proposal is the place to tell the publisher what to do. For example, one author said that in order for us to have her book (disregarding the part about this being a submission that was not yet accepted) we had to agree to print the text in blue. If you know anything about printing you know printing in color (even text) is expensive. This would double (or more) the print cost of the book. Guess what pile the submission went in…
7. Be willing to collaborate, don’t just say it. Indie publishing gives the author a lot of control. Traditional publishing has a lot of moving parts, with a lot of people who specialize in a particular area. Your opinion counts, absolutely. But refusing to let the publisher change your book at all is a mistake, and makes you look like a diva.
8. Don’t get too attached to your cover. Some covers are good, some aren’t. Options are a good thing, don’t pass them up.
9. Have lots of social media. One of the things we look for in potential authors is their current reach. Blogs, twitter, facebook, all good things.
10. Don’t forget your contact info! This goes for all authors. And is really more a pet peeve than anything. When you submit, make sure you include valid contact information.