Are things getting worse for women in publishing? | The Guardian

women in publishing

Today on Writer’s Blog, a very interesting article from The Guardian about Women in Publishing:

When Edie and Eddie started work as junior editors in the same corporate book publisher, they had much in common: firsts from Oxbridge and career ambition. And a passion for books and ideas. When Edie saw her role model moved out of the chief executive’s office to be replaced by a man, the two joked about what it took to get to the top.

But as both observed the same thing happen at one publishing house after another, the joke wore thin. And Eddie, frustrated at the lack of promotion, changed. “He donned a suit and began to walk and talk like the men he saw getting on in the business and suddenly things changed for him,” Edie recalls. “It was as simple as that.”

To her, it seems that “all you need to get on now is to be a suited and booted man, who looks like he has an MBA. They remind me of David Cameron and George Osborne. All of them are white, middle class and presentable.” She pauses. “And male of course, which is definitely something I cannot aspire to be.” (Edie and Eddie are not real names, but like many of the people interviewed for this piece, Edie did not wish to be identified.)

This is a harsh assessment of UK publishing; an industry that had comforted itself that the one area of diversity it need not address was gender. A 2016 survey of the gender divide in US publishing found 78% of the industry is female (no UK-wide survey has yet been done). But the same survey found that, at executive or board level, 40% of respondents were men. And Edie is not alone in the frustration she feels over the split at board level: there is growing disquiet among the rank and file.

This is not to say that women have left the boardroom completely. But, as one senior female editor notes, women such as Random House’s Gail Rebuck, Penguin’s Helen Fraser, Macmillan’s Annette Thomas and Little, Brown’s Ursula Mackenzie, who had all embodied the ideal that women publishers faced no glass ceiling, have in the last five years all been replaced by men. “There is a problem, because you get the sense with the remaining women in senior management that they have gone as far as they are going to go, and in every case they are answerable to clean-cut, fortysomething men,” the editor adds.

The disquiet felt within publishing is not just about the higher echelons becoming as white, male and middle class as other industries, but that the sector looks less welcoming to outsiders, be they female, Bame (black, Asian and minority ethnic) or disabled. And, as a creative field, publishing has grown on the back of entrepreneurs and visionaries. “Publishing should be about new ideas, about difference and innovation, but these men are all about the optics,” says another female publisher, who works in the middle ranks of one of the big three houses. “They seem to be chosen because they look good on a corporate prospectus rather more than anything else. Even the great men of publishing – the Victor Gollanczes, Allen Lanes and Andre Deutsches – would not have fitted in to this world.”

Though half the boards of the big houses are comprised of women, in almost every case, they are in charge of more traditional roles: publishing, communications, human resources or educational divisions. Look at the magical “c-circle” of group chief executive, group chief operating officer and group chief finance officer – where the real power lies – and women are notably absent.

Publishers say this is simply down to a generation of women retiring and the amalgamation of publishing houses, which has left fewer c-circle jobs to compete for. It certainly does not mean women are losing ground. “In the bigger corporate publishing houses, the divisional managing directors, who are the people making the publishing decisions, many are women,” says Lis Tribe, group managing director for Hodder Education, part of the Hachette UK group. “There are five [female] divisional managing directors or chief executives at Hachette and six [divisions] are run by women at Penguin Random House (PRH).”

Tribe, who has recently taken the president’s role at the Publishers Association, is adamant there is no problem with women getting to the top. Others disagree. “Yeah, right!” laughs one woman who asked to be unnamed, having left corporate publishing to set up her own business. “There is also a tendency that we tend to recruit in our own image,” she says. “You have a lot of white, middle- and upper-class, privately educated men selecting other white, middle-class, privately educated men now. It has a chilling effect.”

There is a persistent gender pay gap in publishing, which in the last survey by Bookcareers.com was revealed to be 16% in the UK. This is regarded as evidence that men take a disproportionate number of higher paying executive roles to women. “I find it really depressing that after all these years we are still having the same conversations about pay and diversity. Nothing has changed,” says Bookcareers.com’s Suzanne Collier.

Simple sexism is not the sole cause of the problem: mergers have left most of British publishing in the hands of three large, global media companies – Hachette, Bertelsmann-owned PRH, and HarperCollins, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire. This has not just left fewer influential jobs for women, but has led to a change in the kind of beast who does rises to the top. Kate Wilson, who set up independent children’s publisher Nosy Crow after leaving Hachette-owned Hodder seven years ago, sums it up: “In my 30 years in publishing I have seen the corporatisation of publishing and it is not helpful to women.”

But sexism is there. “There is a point in women’s careers where, if they have kids, they are sidelined,” Wilson says. Because publishers are now making it into management at a younger age, at the critical point when the top tier opens up, many women are taken out of the career loop by children, leaving men to leapfrog them. On their return, they are usually juggling childcare and work in a way that many of their male contemporaries are not. “What is a farce is that at the same point, in your 30s and early 40s, men still seem to be untrammelled by family life and that helps in their careers,” adds Wilson, who made it a central aim of Nosy Crow to encourage flexible working – and the majority of her staff are now female.

But corporate publishing’s loss has been independent publishing’s gain. Wilson is among a band of women who have started independent businesses that not only allow them to better juggle professional and home commitments, but also to exercise their creativity in a way the tiers of management in global businesses do not allow. It is one of the reasons that the most interesting and innovative books coming out are from independents – whether Juliet Mabey at Oneworld with her Booker winners Marlon James and Paul Beatty, the translated fiction choices of Meike Ziervogel’s Peirene Press or Miranda West’s Do Books Company’s publishing list, based on the Do Lectures “encouragement network”.

“It is an interesting opportunity for independents like us because we are able to take account of some of the other things that women want to do, such as working part-time or more flexibly,” Wilson says. “The number of talented women who have been wasted because they can’t find a role in corporate publishing is astonishing.”

***

The Original Article can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/are-things-getting-worse-for-women-in-publishing

Handling Publishing Stress | Janet Kobobel Grant

Stress

A new year is a good time to think about what you wish you could change. One item that immediately came to me was how stressful publishing can be.

Stressful occupations

I remember decades ago reading a survey about the most stressful occupations. Right after fire fighting, police work, and some medical professions, publishing was listed. Since I was just dipping my toes into publishing, I gasped in surprise. How could a simple love of books have landed me in the midst of Stressville!?

What causes publishing stresses?

In case you wonder what is measured to determine stress, here are the job qualities that were evaluated for the 2017 list:

• Travel
• Career Growth Potential
• Physical Demands
• Environmental Conditions
• Hazards Encountered
• Meeting the Public
• Competition
• Risk of Death or Grievous Injury
• Immediate Risk of Another’s Life
• Deadlines
• Working in the Public Eye

I’m seeing several aspects of publishing here!

Why is publishing more stressful than ever?

Over the years, the trend in publishing has been for greater stress and more work. With the economic downturn in ’08, everyone in publishing (who still had a job) had to do the work of everyone who lost his or her job. The workload grew for individuals. And while that’s been alleviated some, publishing’s growth each year since the recession remains relatively flat, resulting in little job growth.

The stress to make right decisions about which books to publish has grown as well. I’ve talked to decision-makers at publishing houses who have literally groaned as they’ve agonized over whether to take a project to committee. Too many wrong choices, and the results become dire both for the person backing the wrong titles and for the publishing house that must bear the financial loss.

Add to the mix the rate of change in the industry via electronic publishing, self-publishing, and the Amazon effect; the demise or potential demise of  formerly stalwart outlets through which to sell books; and the need to figure out how to promote books in the ever-changing online world, the publishing stresses ratchet up another notch or three.

Writers and publishing stresses

Writers, of course, struggle with the limited chances they can maintain a successful career in publishing. It’s the rare author who makes sufficient money not to have to supplement – or completely rely on – other jobs.

Meeting the public and working in the public eye (via social media, book signings, speaking at writers conferences, having your work publicly evaluated via reviews) certainly add to a writer’s stress. That’s especially true when we consider that most writers are introverts by nature.

Competition comprises a significant aspect of publishing, too. Writers compete to get published; to get noticed by readers; for marketing dollars; to make the best-seller list; for awards… Yeah, competition is a constant.

And, of course, deadlines persist in a writer’s life. Not only writing a manuscript on deadline but also meeting production deadlines once the book is given to the publishing house. That’s followed by meeting the marketing and promoting deadlines, some of which are self-imposed while others are imposed by the publisher.

Then we have launching into writing your next book while still promoting your recent release. Yup, writers’ lives are laced with deadlines.

What’s a person caught in this whirlwind to do?

I deal with publishing stresses by setting aside time throughout the week to concentrate on the big picture rather than spending most of my time on the small stuff (which leads to lots of stress since the larger issues never get addressed). Making the big stuff what I dedicate a good portion of my day to helps because I feel like I’m making progress. But if I spend my day responding to emails, while that work is important, it isn’t satisfying–nor is it necessarily the highest priority for me.

Asking oneself, What is the most important part of my job? helps to focus one’s attention on the top-of-the-stack responsibilities.

For me, that’s making sales. If I don’t make sales, I’m not setting everything else in motion that I do–negotiate contracts, intervene when the publishing process goes awry, help to build writing careers, etc.

I also find it helpful to set aside time each month to dream. For with all the changes in the 21st-century version of publishing, opportunities to succeed reside. I want to take time to dream about how to succeed in ways I might not have thought of before. I don’t want to miss out.

Via: http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/handling-publishing-stresses/

7 Must Do Tasks When Your Manuscript is Finished

Manuscript

Your manuscript is finished – so now what?

You’ve sent it off to your editor, proofreader or beta readers, so you can kick your shoes off and relax, right?

No way! You’ve got a lot of work to do.

There are 7 very important tasks you can get to work on while your finished manuscript is in the hands of others, and you will be so busy, you won’t have time to worry about how long your beta readers take in getting back to you.

So, let’s get you to work. (You can follow the links in each section for more detailed information.)

1. Research your book title

Your book title is going to be more important than anything else in attracting potential readers, so it is time to do some serious research into it. You might love your working title, but that means nothing until you are certain it is going to work. You need to know how to find a great book title that is unique, and will attract readers’ interest.

Not only that, you (could, should, ought to) have a sub-title. Why? Because your title and sub-title are your most important pieces of metadata, and metadata is what is used by the Internet and Amazon in their search algorithms. A title and sub-title that are highly searchable will attract more people to your book. More on metadata later.

The most important issue when deciding on your book title is to make sure it is as unique as possible. Joining a long list of books with the same or a very similar title is not going to get you many sales.

2. Get a killer cover.

No, don’t even think of creating your book cover yourself unless you are a graphic designer and an expert with Photoshop. Get a cover or a series of covers designed professionally (but stay within your budget). Great book covers are second only to your title in importance, so don’t take cheap shortcuts.

One simple factor that is often overlooked when deciding on a book cover is how it will look as a small thumbnail image. This is what potential book buyers see first, so it is vitally important that your cover is just as appealing as a thumbnail as it is in full size.

Do your research again, and check the top selling books in your genre to see what their covers are like, and again, how appealing and eye catching they look in small sizes. Another factor to check is the colours that are used by popular books in your genre. You may get a surprise here, as many popular genres use a very small range of colours. For example: Think ‘chic-lit’ – Pastel pinks, blues and green.

3. Write your book description.

Yes, I know. Every author hates this task. However, it must be done, and again, it is going to be a vital part of your book’s metadata so it needs to be extremely well written. Writing a great book description is not an easy task, but again, check top selling books in your genre and make a few notes. Unlike your book of thousands of words, your book description needs to hook a reader’s interest inside 15 seconds, or 150 words. It should be longer of course, but those first words and seconds are the most important of all.

4. Research your categories and keywords.

Without these seven elements, your book will be lost, so choose them extremely carefully. These, along with your book title are the most important pieces of metadata, and researched and selected well, they will allow readers to find your book. They are so important that their power to sell books is greater than you can achieve with paid advertising, blogging or social media. You can expect to have an online audience of your own numbering in the hundreds or thousands. But your carefully selected categories and keywords will give you access to millions of online book buyers.

5. Start your book promotion.

Do not wait until your book is finally published to get the word out about your new book. Build some momentum through your blog and social media and give your audience information about why, how, where and when you wrote your book. If you have a selection of cover ideas, why not ask for opinions on which one people like? Involve your online audience and keep them informed of your progress.

6. Plan your book launch.

Will you make your book available by pre-order? Will you purchase paid advertising? Will you make your book exclusive, or will you open publish? Ask your beta readers for their book reviews so you can add them to your book sales page. Plan ahead and ask book bloggers if they would be willing to help you with your book launch. Do you want to do a virtual book tour? Do not press the publish button without planning your launch. You only get once chance to launch your book, so plan it carefully and well in advance.

7. Decide on your price.

Setting the price for your ebook and/or paperback is crucial. Having a clear book pricing strategy is not as simple as it sounds. There are many factors to consider, such as competitiveness in various geographic markets, differential between ebook and paperback, as well as pricing for turnover or pricing for profit. Book prices are never set in concrete, so think about when you might discount, or increase the price. Are you going to offer a free ebook, and on what schedule? Should you increase your price before offering your ebook for free, and then reduce it afterwards? Again, do some research and write a brief pricing plan for your new book.

With all this work to do, you won’t have time to worry about when your manuscript will come back to you for your last read through and edit before publishing. You will be far too busy, won’t you?

Via :https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/7-must-do-manuscript-tasks

Interview with an Editor: What They Really Do and Why

Editor-Jody-Lee-1

Kristin Prescott Speaks to Editor Extraordinaire Jody Lee

Being published is the holy grail of writing, whether it is in a print book, e-book, magazine or online, but authors are rarely alone on the long journey to get there. Whether traditional or self-published, one of a writer’s most important supporters is the editor. They’re often invisible to a reader, especially if they do their job right, but nonetheless play a crucial role in the development of a story and much more.

Jody Lee is one of Australia’s best. She’s been involved in publishing for more than fifteen years including work as an associate publisher, commissioning editor and project editor for Simon & Schuster, Random House and ABC Books.

She is now a freelance editor working with major trade publishing houses including Allen and Unwin, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, University of Queensland Press and self-published authors who appreciate a dose of good editing.

How did you first get involved in editing and publishing?

I originally thought I wanted to be a journalist and managed to get a cadetship with The Age in Melbourne. Then I realised I didn’t have the chutzpah to interview people. I did a stint as a legal editor and on a whim applied for a job at Random House as an editorial assistant working with the legendary children’s publishers Mark MacLeod and Lindsay Knight. It was one of those moments where a love of reading, of books, hanging around with people who loved books as much as I did and mucking around with words all coalesced.

What exactly does an editor do?

No, they are not people who are able to use the grammar and spell-check in a word processing program. If only it was so easy. An editor essentially works with text to shape it into something that is presentable, readable and accessible and that is just the beginning. There is so much more that comes with the editor label. It is equal parts diplomat, nurturer, psychologist, hand-holder, sounding-board, whipping post, cook and bottle washer (maybe not the last two but you get the idea).

So what does an editor really do? Editing is a science and an art. There is a basic architecture to every book, and if the author has a wobbly narrative leg or an insufficient thesis to stand on, the editor must find the blueprint or create one. Every writer has their own rhythms, from sentence structure to the length of the paragraphs and chapters. The editor must help the author use that form to its most powerful effect. Editing is getting inside the text, and inevitably into a writer’s head, to understand the point the writer wants to get across. Editors provide guidance and build trust through careful attention to the pages and encourage a writer, either a first-timer or a seasoned pro, to continue taking risks with their writing and push them beyond what they think they are capable of.

Why do you think many writers, particularly those self-publishing, don’t put great emphasis on editing?

Editing is not a particularly tangible or visible element in book publishing. People know of editors, they have a vague idea of what they do but an editor tends to work in the background. The editing process is invisible and un-reproducible. There is no physical way of measuring the benefits of editing in financial or best-seller terms, and no one will ever recognise good editorial work, which is really the point of editing. So in terms of self-publishing where costs are being taken into account, the cost of editing seems to be one of the things that are rationalised out of the equation. The budget usually swings in favour of cover design, marketing or publicity – the ‘physical’ and more glamorous elements of book publishing.

You’ve worked for some of the biggest Australian publishing houses. What benefits are there to having a manuscript edited professionally before sending it to a publisher for consideration?

Getting your manuscript edited professionally before submitting it to a publisher is an expensive exercise. It is not going to guarantee a publishing contract and if your manuscript is picked up it will be edited according to a publisher’s brief. That said, the manuscript needs to be in the best possible shape before you decide to submit it as you usually get one shot at a pitch to a publisher. If you need professional and objective feedback on your manuscript, get it assessed by a reputable manuscript assessment agency first. Family and friends giving feedback don’t really cut it and everyone might ultimately end up in tears. If, after a manuscript assessment, you really feel that you want someone to edit, find a good editor who will give you honest feedback and talk you through the type of editing you think you might be after.

So someone has decided to hire you as an editor. What are some of the most common issues you find yourself having to work through with the author?

Issues for both contracted and self-published authors can be very similar. For first-timers it is usually things like structure and pace, balancing that light and shade in the unfolding of a story to keep a reader hooked. Characterisation can be tricky as most authors know their characters so well and are familiar with them. Working on layering and developing the characters will feed into the dynamics of dialogue and character interaction. Keeping the author focused on their reader – who they are and what they might like in the story – is also important.

How far do you suggest an author goes with their manuscript before sending it to a publisher?

An author needs to feel that their manuscript is as good as it possibly can be. If there are niggling doubts about certain things in the plot, the voice is a little wobbly or there is a character that doesn’t ring true or the ending doesn’t quite sing to you, then go back and look at the manuscript. Again, you only get one shot at submission and you want to give yourself the best possible chance. Don’t rush getting your manuscript finished; take a breath and put the manuscript away for a period of time and then go back and look at it again. You will be amazed at how liberating it is to take another look when you shift your head away from it for a bit. Don’t feel that after the first or second draft you are good to go. One commercially successful author I worked with does up to 50 plus drafts of each of his manuscripts to make sure he is completely happy with what he submits. I’m not suggesting that many, but revise, self-edit and revise again. An underdone manuscript is like heading out the door with your skirt tucked into the back of your undies.

We’re seeing a big increase in the number of authors opting for digital and/or self-publishing avenues to get their books out there. How do you see the future of publishing playing out?

Publishing in all its forms is sitting on a pretty exciting precipice. There is either the urge to jump and think about what will happen when you hit the bottom but there is also the possibility that one might fly. Digital publishing works for both traditional publishing houses and self-publishing in that some books and particular genres work well in digital form only. The add-on of digital makes getting hold of a book so much faster and easier. Self-publishing opens up the options for writers to bypass the big conglomerate publishing houses and some well-known authors have stepped away from the conventional publishing model to try self-publishing.

Much has been said about the death of the book, the decline in good writing and the glut of lightweight or fly-by-night books being published. I think that has always been the case, it is just that things are moving far more quickly and change is always a little scary. There are more possibilities than ever for writers to get their work out into the world on different platforms. With that comes some wriggle room for writers to be a bit more experimental, enabling them to think beyond the boundaries and conventions of the traditional publishing model.

What is the most important piece of advice you have for an aspiring author?

Writing is a serendipitous thing. Timing plays a big part in the lucky breaks for a writer but there is also the notion that it is an organic process that is always changing, shifting, developing and learning. If a writer feels they have the writing gig down pat then their writing will never change. Read, read and read! A writer needs to read widely and constantly. Strangely, I have come across people who write but don’t read and it always shows in their work.

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If this article has made you think that perhaps you could do with using some Editorial Services, please consider sending your work to me – I would be more than happy to help you. For details of what I have already done and info on what I can do, check out my credentials here: Abigayle Blood: Editorial Services

Via: http://writersedit.com/kristin-prescott-speaks-to-editor-extraordinaire-jody-lee/

Should I Self Publish And Give Up My Day Job?

A recent report from Author Earnings confirms that self-published titles are gaining enormous traction in the book market, and in particular, e-book sales. From humble and amateur beginnings only a few short years ago, Indie publishing has reduced the Big Five publishers to only 16% of the Amazon e-book market. While the data is only drawn from Amazon sales, their market dominance is so large that one can easily believe that it represents a trend across the whole publishing industry. But does this mean you can write a book, get rich and say, ‘I’ll give up my day job?’

With this information, it might be easy to conclude that self-publishing, or Indie publishing as it is often called now, is turning into a gold mine for authors. So should you give up your day job, write a book, and instantly become a rich Indie author? Well, no, yes and no.

Self-publishing isn’t easy to define

Self-publishing is not a singular definition. There are many so facets to it and while there are certainly a number authors who work all day and write all night and make a decent side income from self-publishing, there are also those who have tried to make it a full-time career, but failed to make more than a few dollars a month in their first year, so gave up. There are the hobby authors who appreciate the opportunity to publish, but are not dreaming of making a lot of money from their passion but do make a little money each month. Then there are those who think that by tapping out a few words and loading it up onto Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) will make them a killing. Within this group are scammers, Internet marketers and dreamers, and without being unkind, writers who have trouble even spelling the word, writer. Yet they are a very real and important component of self-publishing, as it is the freedom to publish that is at the very heart of this new form of publishing.

At the top of the list, though, are the professional self-publishers, who are a different breed of author to those I listed before. They treat it as a business and invest heavily in book launches, promotion, advertising and media placement. They are often authors who have been published traditionally in the past but have grasped the opportunity to earn far more than was being offered by their agents and publishers, by using their established author brand to self-publish and self-promote their new titles.

Then there is the new grey area, which is Small Press. These can range from well-established specialist traditional publishers, down to one self-published author who uses his or her knowledge and experience of publishing a few books on KDP to help other authors to self-publish. This is becoming more and more common, as those who often have little or no computer knowledge seek free or inexpensive help in getting their book published.

While the report by Author Earnings paints a very rosy unit sales picture of self-publishing against traditional publishing, it doesn’t offer any real information regarding Vanity Publishing.

As the Big Five all have vanity publishing wings now, are these books classed as self-published? There is also no breakdown of the sales data to know which segment of self-publishing is making the most inroads. My instinctive gut guess would be that those who have considerable publishing industry knowledge and acumen would stand the best chance of success. Self-publishing may be new, but publishing is not. The basics remain the same.

So by all means, take the opportunity to use self-publishing to express yourself, get that manuscript that has been gathering dust for years out into the marketplace, and when you have finished, write another book. But give up your day job? No. Not if you only plan to open a Twitter account, a Facebook Page and then believe that your book will sell like hot cakes, without a pound of investment.

Self-publishing is now a very big business with huge potential market. Don’t get too carried away by the suffix in front of the word publishing. Self-publishing is still publishing and that has always been a tough business, even when you know what you’re doing. Just ask the Big Five.

Via: https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/should-i-self-publish-and-give-up-my-day-job

Things No One Tells You About Self-Publishing 

Crazy woman with crossed eyes drinking wine through a straw

1. Selling books is harder than writing them. There are 300k books published in the U.S. every year. And 30% of Americans read only 1 to 5 books in 2014. Writing a book is purely up to you. But getting other people to buy and read your book is another matter.

2. Everyone obsesses about titles and covers but it’s hard to prove their impact beyond above a basic level of quality. It’s easy to find popular books with lousy titles and covers, and unpopular books with great titles and covers. There are too many variables for magic answers. Publishers exert more control over titles and covers than you’d expect: often authors have little say.

3. Some books, like The Great Gatsby or Moby Dickdon’t become popular until decades after publication. It’s a strange world. Books have lives of their own, typically quiet ones. We judge success by sales, but many factors that have nothing to do with the book itself impact sales. Bestseller lists are not a meritocracy. Sometimes a book is on the bestseller list for a week and never heard of again. Other times a book has steady sales for years but never makes any lists or wins any awards.

4. Your reasons for writing must transcend fame and wealth as neither are likely from writing alone. Most books you read are written by writers who pay their rent through other means. If you want fame and wealth from writing be committed to the long term. This takes the pressure off each book, and you’ll be open to learning instead of foolishly trying to hit a grand slam on your first try.

5. Fame will likely ruin your writing or your life. Study the history of famous writers if you doubt me. Fast fame is a curse, or a trap, as everyone wants you to repeat exactly what you did before.

6. The publishing industry is slow to realize authors need them less than ever. Unlike 20 years ago, you can do much of what a publisher does yourself, perhaps not as well, but that depends on how entrepreneurial and self aware you are. Learn about self-publishing simply to be informed about your business end to end. Some publishers do great work, but many are stuck in an antiquated notion of their value.

7. Many authors are lazy. They’re arrogant too. They don’t want to do PR, they don’t want to do their homework and they are in denial of how many other authors there are. They, like some publishers, believe in romantic notions of how publishing works.

8. Some publishers/editors/agents are amazing. Some are bad and incompetent. YMMV. Don’t judge them all by the one you worked with. My agent, David Fugate, is awesome.

9. A great editor at a mediocre publisher can be a better situation than a mediocre editor at a great publisher. Editors represent you for dozens of decisions the publisher makes for your book that you can’t participate in.

10. Many editors don’t “edit”. They’re more like strategic project managers. There are three roles editors play, often played by different people. Acquisitions editors sign authors. Development editors help you draft your book. Production editors are the ones who spend the most time with your words, and even they depend on copyeditors and proofreaders. Many people will touch your book.

11. Don’t believe everything depends on finding agents or publishers. They both want you to already have a fan base, which is a paradox. There are many paradoxes to face in trying to break into any field that many people want to be in (e.g. being a movie star). To find an agent requires hard work and this is on purpose. There is a far greater supply of people writing books than demand from publishers.

12. Always remember you can upload a PDF of your book to Amazon and have it on sale on Kindle in minutes. Don’t get lost falsely depending on others. No one can stop you from writing a book and selling it except yourself. Promoting a book well is another matter (see #1), but publishers struggle with that too.

13. No one will come to your book reading/signing unless you are already famous. The packed author readings on the news are only packed because the author is already very well known. It’s another paradox related to #1. Read The First 1000 copies by Tim Grahl, or APE by Guy Kawaksai for a good start on how to market books. Book readings at bookstores are among the worst uses of time for a new author.

14. Publishers only invest in big PR for famous authors. For new authors there’s little reason to believe the investment will pay off. Would you spend 50% of your annual marketing budget on an unknown? Neither would a publisher. Publishers do love authors who invest their own time and money in marketing, and will help with and add to your investment.

15. Most people think they want to write, but really they just like to think about writing. If you have a 6th grade education you know how to write. The question is are you willing to put in the hours?

16. You can spot these people because they spend more time complaining about how hard it is to write than doing it. Or they endlessly stroke their idea as if it can someday magically transform itself into 300 pages. Don’t complain. No one is making you torture yourself but you.

17. Distractions say more about your lack of commitment than anything else. Learn to concentrate. Concentration is a skill anyone can develop and if you are serious about writing you should see this as central to your ambitions. If you were starving to death and writing a book would get you food, you’d write. We are all capable of writing if suitably motivated.

18. Which means that anyone with sufficient commitment can write a book. It might not be a good book, but most books by published authors aren’t that good either. What makes for a good book is highly subjective anyway.

19. A publisher is a venture capitalist. They are giving you money before your work is done. Before you complain about the size of the investment they are willing to make (or not make) in your book, are you are willing to make the same financial investment? Few authors are. It’s a business. They owe you nothing beyond what they agree to.

20. Your friends, family and colleagues are you best assets for finding an audience for your writing. Everyone has friends and family. Ask for their help. Make it easy for them to help you. Reward every new fan as if they were your only fan (because at first they will be).

21. Learn to take feedback well. By this I mean you want to be a better writer on the next book than this one, yes? That only happens if you listen for ways to improve. Arrogant writers, and they are legion, rarely improve.

22. Learn to take rejection well. It will be everywhere. If you think rejections from agents and publishers are tough, wait till you get rejected by reviewers and readers (e.g. The Great Gatsby has 235 1 star reviews). Look for a nugget of merit in every mean-spirited critique you hear as the mean people might have more honest insight into your work than the nicer people. Be grateful anyone read your book at all.

23. Stop looking for secrets and tricks. You’re a sucker if you think there’s a trick as every great writer in history never found one that let them skip the work. Tips only help if you are writing every day and can put tips to use.

24. You build a following, or in publishing jargon, a platform, by publishing regularly. There is no magic place where people will come to you just for showing up once. It doesn’t matter where you publish, but put something into the world regularly. Be willing to learn as you go and experiment. There are many ways to build an audience but they all require effort.

25. Publish once a week on a blog. You want to build an audience before your book is finished, not after. Write briefly about topics that relate to your book. Share excerpts and ideas you’re working on. Read other bloggers who write about subjects like yours and get to know them. Invite people you know to be interested to follow along. It will feel weird at first but work to get comfortable with being visible and making connections, as you’ll need those skills when your book is out in the world.

26. Don’t be precious. No one is going to steal your ideas. Ideas are easy, it’s the work of delivering on an idea in 300 pages that’s hard.

27. Get feedback on your ideas and drafts early. Find people who are honest with you – they are hard to find. Grand praise of your drafts does not make them better. Separate useful critiquing (“this section didn’t work”, “you should read Rushdie”) from the moral support your friends give over beers (“you can do it”, “keep going”). Get the tough feedback early enough that you can still do something about it.

28. Only your name is on the book. Your publisher will publish dozens of books every month. You will publish one book every few years, or maybe just once in your life. They will never care as much as you do about your book. You have the right to veto and argue, politely, with anyone who works on your book. Stand up for yourself, but earn that right by taking writing and publishing seriously. Do your homework. If you don’t take shortcuts, no one will try to take shortcuts on you.

Via http://scottberkun.com/things-about-publishing

5 Simple Ways to Make Your Manuscript Solicited

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You may be familiar with the phrase “we don’t take unsolicited manuscripts” on publishers’ websites. It can be a disappointing sight for an aspiring writer yearning to be published. Fortunately, publishers are always soliciting; you just need to know how to get your work into that category.

1. LITERARY AGENTS

While many publishers don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, some literary agents do. Literary Agents are there to connect writers with publishers and to help handle the legal documents regarding copyright (including print, film and radio) and royalties.

2. COMPETITIONS

Entering writing competitions is a great way to get your name and work in front of publishers. Winners and those short-listed are often named in literary media—the same media that publishers read.

In addition to the publicity, some competitions also offer publication as a prize. The publication could be in media such as a magazine or newspaper, or it could be as a printed anthology or book. Manuscript competitions and awards have also helped many first-time writers publish.

3. PITCHING

Publishers and editors may not have time to read manuscripts, but they do have time to listen to pitches. A pitch is a short, sweet and powerful way of sharing your manuscript. If you can capture the essence and selling points of your story in a quick and compelling way, you could get someone willing to read your whole manuscript.

4. PORTFOLIO

A portfolio is a collection or sample of your work. If you are a long-prose writer it might be beneficial to work on your short-prose skills, as portfolios usually aren’t made of novels. Portfolios can be attached to your resume, but if you want a publisher to notice you, you want it out in the world.

5. NETWORKING

Lastly, but certainly not least, you need to know the right people. If you want a publisher to hear about your manuscript, you want to tap into that publishing network. Pitch your manuscript to the right people, and they might know a publisher who could be interested and pass it along.

For more tips and tricks on how to get your foot through that door, visit the rest of the article here: http://writersedit.com/5-simple-ways-take-manuscript-unsolicited-solicited/