Thursday, May 28, 2015

new book on the way

We're making progress at publishing my first book with I'll write more about the process later, but suffice to say that the editor actually helped me to produce a better book, and the proofreader has done the same. (Can't say that about very many of the editors I've had with traditional publishers.) The cover artist has done outstanding work. Here is an early version:

We may add a little more color and make the title larger, so that it shows up on the tiny images they use for amazon and other web sites. I think it's one of the very best covers we ever had. This is not, BTW, a horror novel. It's about the aftermath of a school shooting, when Paul, a new student, tries to discover what motivated the shooter. Paul is in danger of being the next casualty. I'll post here when the book goes on sale.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What Publishers Do For Writers

There was an article in the NYTimes last week about a young man, Max Brallier, whose online book has attracted more than six million readers. It's on a site called Funbrain, and is basically a comic book called "Galactic Hot Dogs." So Aladdin, a division of the Simon and Schuster publisher, has paid him a seven-figure (that's $1,000,000 +) advance for the rights to publish the book (and two sequels) in traditional paper-and-ink format. Aladdin is printing 500,000 copies, and is promoting the book through a million-dollar print and online marketing campaign.
All this is certainly good news for Max Brallier, and fellow authors should applaud his success. What I found interesting came at the end of the article, where it describes his previous work experience. To quote:
"He took a job in publishing shortly after college, at Penguin, and then at St. Martin's Press, where he worked in marketing. That experience has made him keenly aware of how unusual it is to have millions invested in promoting his book. 'So many books get almost zero done for them these days,' he said."

There it is straight from the mouth of someone who has worked in publishing houses. Your chances of getting your book promoted are almost zilch--unless you've already lined up six million potential readers.
That's not true, of course, at a new paradigm publisher like Booktrope (at least in theory). Every book has its own book manager, editor, proofreader, and cover designer--all of whom share in the book's profits. As you know, that's where I am now, and fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Progress at Booktrope

Well, to continue my experiences with Booktrope...the editor turned out to be first-rate, every bit as good as I hoped. If you ever put a book on Booktrope, look for Ross Hardy to be your editor. For this book, I wanted a male editor, not because I'm sexist, but because I hope the book will find an audience among teen-age boys, and I wanted to get the details right. Ross was very helpful with that, and presented suggestions along the way, many of which I accepted. Now the ms. is in the hands of a proofreader, again one of my choice.
Should you think that picking a proofreader isn't such a big deal, let me tell you a brief story about a proofreader we had many years ago when we were doing a YA bio of Captain James Cook for Putnam. The proofreader sent back the manuscript and we saw that she had added copy to our book. It was good copy, and we knew from our research that it was accurate. But it seemed almost too good, so we poked around in our research materials, and found that the proofreader had lifted entire sentences, word for word, from a classic book on the subject. Fortunately, we found that out before the book had gone to the printer's. But if we hadn't, we would have been labeled as plagiarizers--not the proofreaders. So don't take the proofreader for granted.