Writing and Getting Published
There is a wealth of information on the web about the writing process
and getting published, including Marcia Yudkin's website.
We recommend Marcia's website as a starting point because she gives advice on
many aspects of publishing and promoting a book, plus she talks about the
crooks and scams to watch out for. Also, she provides a lot of ideas about
ways to get yourself in print other than writing a novel. Keep in mind that
most successful authors built up years of experience writing articles and/or short stories before they had their first book published.
There are a multitude of books on the subject of writing and getting
published, including Getting Your Book Published For Dummies and Bestseller:
Secrets of Successful Writing by Celia Brayfield. If you're planning on going the self-publishing route you should check out Mark Levine's The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, in which he reviews the contracts and services of 48 self-publishing companies,
and Writer Beware is another very useful resource
You might also get
inspiration from Jennifer
Weiner's essay and an interview
with Kyle Mills. Lastly, for an appealing and
meditative collection of thoughts and observations about the book industry
and the state of literature in the early 21st century we recommend
Gabriel Zaid's So
Many Books: Reading & Publishing In An Age of Abundance
Getting Your Book Reviewed
If your book is likely to be of interest to general readers, in addition to reaching out to websites
such as those below, do look for opportunities within your local community (e.g. ask your local newspaper to review the book; and if you're lucky enough to
have a local independent bookstore, ask if they
would be willing to host a reading/signing - and then make sure to ask how you can help with the promotion to ensure a good turn out).
Building awareness locally can give you useful feedback on the book; it may also provide you with
reviews that you can leverage when you expand your promotion to a wider
audience such as the internet.
If your book is aimed at a very specific audience look for websites and print media aimed at your audience and
contact them - usually your time will be better spent reaching out to a particular specialist group, some of who may be readers -
rather than trying to reach general readers, some of whom maybe interested in your niche topic.
The following websites may be willing to review your book - MyShelf.com,
The Midwest Book Review,
and The Bookreporter.
You should also check if your book meets the submission criteria of any of
the 'big four' pre-publication review sources in the USA. These are Booklist,
Library Journal, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus
Reviews. All four are very selective about the types of books they will
consider for review and will usually only review books before publication.
Kirkus Reviews offer a
paid review option for books that don't meet the criteria for their main
magazine (e.g. self published, PODs, ebooks and books post-publication).
It is not just the prepublication magazines that are time sensitive - although some may not have firm cutoff dates, most media will
become less interested in reviewing a book the longer it has been released - so make sure that you set time aside to market the
book that you've just spent months, probably years, writing.
Whether you're self-publishing your first novel or have the name of a big
publishing house on your book jacket, you still need to understand the book
publicity process yourself so that you can either do it yourself or
understand how to help your publicist do the best job for you. An excellent
book on this subject is The Savvy Author's Guide to Book Publicity by
Lissa Warren, published in 2003 (ISBN: 0786712759).
One last note of caution: Before you part with any money for promotions or advertising on or offline, do your
best to verify the claims made. For example, it is very easy for a website to over-claim on their
visitor stats, whether intentionally or unintentionally (for example, by
including page views by non-human traffic such as search engines 'spiders' - which can
add hundreds of thousands of extra page views per month to a website's traffic
Also, be realistic about your expectations - if a print magazine has a circulation of 30,000, it probably claims a
readership multiple times that (on the basis that some copies are read by more than one person); but when you buy
an ad you're buying an 'opportunity to see' - only a small fraction of those readers
will turn to the page your ad is on, let alone act on it. On the internet, when you buy an ad you are at least
buying actual views by real people (assuming the website suppresses the search engine spiders) but
click through rates are usually measured in fractions of 1% (but, at least,
unlike print media, an interested person can click to find out more). When big companies buy advertising they are doing so as part
of an overall campaign that involves advertising, promotions and PR in multiple places, plus in-store placement.
In short - it is tempting to think that if buy some ads, copies of your book will start to flood
out the door but, realistically, to build a buzz for a book takes a lot of time and exhaustive amounts of energy - there is no
Last updated 2010