In this issue:
- Article: “What you Should Not Include in your Non-Fiction Book Proposal,” by Debra W. Englander
- New Program Gives Ebooks a Quality Seal for Consumers
- Digital Book World Conference – Interesting Facts for Authors
- Ben Cameron, Director of Sales and Marketing for UK and Europe, to Speak at Self-Publishing Conference in UK
- Display Your Book at the 2013 London Book Fair
What you Should Not Include in your Non-Fiction Book Proposal
by Debra W. Englander, Editor at Large, Wiley
One of the most successful features in Glamour magazine is the “do’s and don’ts,” where photographs of people in stylish and not-so-stylish clothing are compared. Why do readers like seeing these photos? It’s easy to see what a style disaster is when you’re looking at it, so that’s why I’m taking this approach in advising authors what NOT to include in a book proposal. There are many tips on what should be part of a book proposal but I believe authors would benefit from learning what should not be included in a proposal.
- 1. Never Say Your Book is Unique and One of a Kind
While your book may be full of useful information and be well-written, editors don’t want to hear you insist it’s so special that there is no other book available on the same topic. When evaluating a proposal, editors need to see whether similar books have sold well. If you say there isn’t any other comparable book, the editor will have to do some research to find related titles. Unless you’re writing a memoir, assume that there are related titles and spell out how your book differs from these books. For example, if your book is about 401(k) plans, say your book will cover strategies for everyone from new employees to retirees. Explain that your book is more comprehensive or includes real-life examples but saying that there’s never been a book like yours is not helpful.
- 2. Don’t Talk about Launching Marketing Efforts When The Book is Published
Just a few years ago, authors began marketing books after they were published. However, in today’s 24/7 competitive arena, marketing is almost as important as editorial content. You may still be writing your book but you have to think about marketing well before your book is published. Never say, “When the book is published, I will start blogging, Tweeting or design a website…” You need to start building your community months or even a year before your book’s pub date. Begin collecting names and email addresses well before your book is completed. Build up your social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) so that your proposal includes a specific bulleted list of metrics such as FB followers, newsletter subscribers, unique monthly visitors to your website, a calendar of recent speaking engagements, etc. This detailed information could persuade a publisher to take on your project.
- 3. Never Say Your Title or Manuscript is Final
If you’re self-publishing, you can choose your title and control everything from content to design. However, if you’re hoping to work with a larger publisher, you need to be flexible about your title and content. While you may be certain that your title is persuasive, publishers have more experience so you shouldn’t say that you’re unwilling to consider another title. Most editors will try to include some of your words or phrases but titles change frequently, based on the development of the manuscript as well as input from marketers and sales reps. It’s also important that you be receptive to editorial direction. Editors don’t want to edit or have you rewrite chapters on a whim. Usually, editorial feedback is designed to improve your manuscript. You may say that you don’t want to make any changes but if your manuscript would end up being an 800 page book, chances are your editor will insist on cutting it down to a more reasonable page count!
- 4. Don’t Over Promise Endorsements or Publicity Support
If people have confirmed that they will provide endorsements (back-cover blurs), include their names in the proposal, especially if the people are well known. But don’t say that you expect Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Stephen King to endorse your book. Endorsements are useful and most books will have several on the back cover but promising celebrity endorsements isn’t a smart strategy. Editors probably won’t believe you and consequently may be skeptical of other promises contained in your proposal. The same is true of potential media appearances. Be realistic. If you have appeared on radio or TV, list the programs in your proposal. There’s a strong possibility that you will be asked to appear on the programs again to promote your book but never claim that you have some “in” to a national show unless you have an email confirmation that can be included in your proposal.
- 5. Don’t Fudge the Numbers
When you include information about your background or your previous books, be truthful. It’s easy to check on sales figures so include accurate sales data about your other works. If there’s an explanation for a particularly low sales number, you can include it. Perhaps, you sold books off your website, rather than having sales go through accounts. That’s something an editor will want to know. If you haven’t done much public speaking, don’t say you’re an experienced speaker who has given keynote addresses. If you have media experience, be prepared to offer video or a link to a recent appearance. With today’s technology and available resources making “vetting” easier, honesty is the best policy. Believe me, I will often Google a prospective author. On several occasions, I’ve turned down proposals because of concerns, i.e. complaints about a financial planner or bankruptcy hearings for an author writing about personal finance!
Debra W. Englander has more than 30 years of experience in publishing, including more than 15 years overseeing the personal finance/investing/nonprofit program at Wiley.She has particular expertise in writing and editing on business topics and is now also working with authors refine and edit their work. She can be reached at email@example.com.
New Program Gives Ebooks a Quality Seal for Consumers
Smith Publicity's Dan Smith and Sandy Poirier-Diaz attended Digital Book World Conference in NYC in mid-February. Among the many trends, insights and information, we learned about Digital Book World’s QED Seal of approval, (QED) a great tool for publishers and independent authors who want to assure potential ebook buyers that the format of their book(s) will work on their device.
The QED Seal is essentially the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval™” for ebook design so consumers know they are buying a quality formatted title.
For a flat fee of $125, authors/publishers can easily submit their books for a fast turnaround to receive 13-point design review with an eye toward readability across devices and in multiple formats. Any flaws will be communicated in the report.
When a book earns the seal of approval, the title:
- will have earned the right to display the QED Seal on the ebook cover and language to share the recognition with e-tailers,
- will be included in the Digital Book World online database of QED recipients and enjoy marketing support to 18,000+ publishing professionals through the DBW daily.
For more information, visit http://qed.digitalbookworld.com/
Digital Book World Conference – Interesting Facts for Authors
- E-book sales have surpassed hardcover and paperback for adult fiction
- E-book authors get up to 70% royalty as opposed to traditional 20%
- While people are buying online, they are not "searching" for new books online—simply going there to order them.
- 79% of ebook sales are fiction
- Only 3 of top 20 ebooks for 2012 were priced over $10
Formula for book sales
- “Discoverability” (readers must know book exists)
- Conversion (once they know of book, they have to want to buy it)
- Availability (have to be on platform of preference where people can buy)
All three are needed for success!
Key to sales success in selling books?
Metadata! Metadata! Metadata!
- Metadata is essentially how a book is labeled and coded. Enhanced metadata can increase discoverability of books.
- Successful publishers change the metadata each week (paranormal romance, for example, rather than simple romance), making the book come up in different search results.
- Libraries are the Jan Brady of the book world, largely ignored by publishers
- There are 9,046 US public libraries
- 169 million people hold library cards, or 69% of population
- 89% of libraries offer e-books
- The "on hold" library list (books you can't immediately borrow because there is a line) is often a predictor of bestsellers!
- Authors can hold book signing and events at many libraries and sell their books at these events!
- There’s never been a better time to have a book turned into a TV show, series, movie, studio movie, direct to video, cartoon, etc.
- The main thing Hollywood cares about is a good story (for the most part, they don't care if it self-published).
- They want to “see something they haven’t seen before”
- Ideally pitch book before publication date as that's when Hollywood most interested or if bestseller, however, books which have been released and even been on the market for extended periods of time can still be pitched; again, it’s all about good stories that can translate well film TV, etc.
Ben Cameron to Speak at Self-Publishing Conference in UK
The U.K. 2013 Self-Publishing Conference offers a unique opportunity to meet and interact with influential companies and individuals working in the self-publishing sector. It offers sessions designed to bring new insights into self-publishing, while giving attendees the chance to meet with self-publishers and other specialists in the field.
Held on Sunday, March 24th at the University of Leicester, Smith Publicity U.K. and European Director of Sales and Marketing, Ben Cameron, will be leading a discussion on marketing your book in a competitive world. For more information or to register visit www.selfpublishingconference.org.uk
Display Your Book at the 2013 London Book Fair
Showcase your book at The London Book Fair (April 15th to 17th). In 2012 over 24 thousand people attended the show from all areas of publishing (book buyers, agents, publishers, editors, librarians, distributors and so many more). The New Title Showcase remains the most accessible and successful of all of London's exhibits. $275 Price includes display of one book and listing in Combined Book Exhibit's exclusive catalog.
To register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (856) 489-8654 x306. Registration deadline: March 11, 2013.