How Not to Approach an Editor

Many people wonder about agents. What do they do, what's their life and business like?

For some insight, this Q & A from agent Chip MacGregor is insightful and fun to read as well.
Note, the entry is on November 18th-couldn't get the exact link to work.

Once you're there, make sure to read down to #6 for an amusing discussion of what to NEVER ever do if you want to win over an agent.


A Most Blessed Thanksgiving to You & Your Family.

Cheryl Pickett


Price Check in the Book Aisle

One of the issues with fee-based publishing/POD companies (like Lulu or iUniverse) is often cost per copy. If you plan to sell your book, there is obviously an accepted price range for each genre. Generally hardcover will garner more than softcover/paperback, small paperback romances are sometimes expected to be even less.

This means your book must be produced at a cost that allows you, the printer and the seller to make money. For example:

Cost to print and ship a book from the printer to a retailer is $3.50. The cover price is $15.00. The retailer will want 40-50% discount to buy it so they can sell at cover price. At 50% that means $15.00-7.50 (discount) = $7.50-$3.55 (production) = $3.95 profit. If there is a publisher involved, they get most of that, the author would get around a dollar give take. If no publisher, the $3.95 goes to the author. If the author sells direct without a retailer, he would also make the other $7.50.

Of course, the lower the production cost, the better that last number turns out and there's the problem. Some of the POD/self-publishing companies have per unit costs of 5, 6,7 or 10 per book for paperback. Angela Hoy has also started receiving information that some have begun to raise prices. You can follow along here if you wish http://www.writersweekly.com/the_latest_from_angelahoycom/005038_11192008.html

The big lesson here is that if you feel fee-based/POD is right for you, you absolutely must have a handle on what your printing costs will be. If you don't, it is almost guaranteed you will make little or nothing when you go to market and I doubt that is on your goals list.

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett


Where Do Your Readers Hang Out?

Sometimes writers sit down and write because they have an idea or a story to tell that just can't wait. Other times, an author might consider what his/her audience is looking for, what they want to read and then craft a book to fill that need.

Both ways are viable. However, either way, if you want to sell your book, you have to find your audience in order to tell them you have what they're looking for. As you probably know, there are a myriad of ways to do this. For those of you who want to jump into social networking, here's a handy resource. It gives you the breakdown of the demographics of each of the networks. For example, it tells you whether more males or females are on it, and what level of education they have on average.

Knowing information like this will also obviously help you determine which network (s) you might want to participate in. It's tough to keep up with one or more, you might as well put your energy in the best places.

Here's the link at Ignite Social Media:http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/2008-social-network-analysis-report/

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett


A Wish List for Writers

Here is a great list of writing resources. Some are free, others are things you can purchase. If there's someone in your life who doesn't know what to get you for Christmas, point them in this direction and you can't go wrong.


Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Traditional to POD?

Here is one author's account of going from traditional to POD. Scroll down to the end to read the full story of his journey thus far.

A couple of interesting notes:
He chose Booksurge because they're owned by Amazon, contrary to the current fight that's going on in the POD world.

One of the complaints out there about Booksurege too is print/product quality. I'll be following to see what happens there.

Because a traditional author is going this route, is it good for everyone who wants to go POD? Of course not. But it is a good example of doing your homework and making sure the option you choose fits your project.


Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Book Anatomy Lesson

Read this great post about the anatomy of a childrens' book today. For those of you who might be planning that kind of project, this sort of knowledge is useful. Even if you aren't planning to independently publish and hire a printer yourself, it's good to know at least some basics like this. It's important so that you aren't left to blindly follow/agree with whatever a publisher tells you. That familiar saying most definitely applies to publishing, "Knowledge is Power".


Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett


Books, Labels and First Ladies

One element of the election that came out from time to time and, of course, after Tues night was appearance-specifically clothing. The men generally received the typical comments, if any, regarding their tailored suits. The women were critiqued from head to toe.

Was Michelle Obama's dress appropriate for Tuesday night? Did Cindy McCain's dress make her look classy as usual or was it a miss this time? Who made the clothes and how much was spent?

For many people though, the big question was - does it matter? While we certainly want our first lady to have an appropriate appearance for the circumstances, beyond that as you get into personal taste, how much difference does the choice of clothing make?

In the context of books and publishing, things are unfortunately similar much of the time. Many in the traditional world want people to look at that spine or cover and see whose name appears. If it's not the right one, too bad for you. Doesn't matter how smartly written the book is on the inside or how it could potentially change someone's life.

On the other hand, just as in the world of first lady fashion, there are also those who don't care about labels. If the message is clear and useful or the story profound and well-told, it's good to go for them.

For authors, this means you must know which type of people you are going after. Will they care if your label says Penguin or Pomegranate Press? Knowing this is one more factor that will help guide you to which publishing option will work best for your project.

So which is it for you? Are you sure?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett