The Return!

As you can tell by the dates of my posts, it has been more than a minute since I posted a blog. Lots of things have transpired in the past few years and I felt it was time to begin updating as much as I could.

One of the biggest changes is a transition (some would say a return)to an industry that I love dearly – radio broadcasting.

Most know that is where I got my start in 1992 (28 years September 2020). It has been an interesting and winding journey. Since that fateful hiring in September 1992 I have worked in radio, television, sales/marketing, Ad Agency/PR, served as a Director of Marketing for a hospital, worked in the film industry, reality TV show production, and branding consultation specializing in emerging brands with emphasis on self-published authors.

In 2015 after six years of free-lance consulting I was lured back into radio as a Director of Operations and Sales Manager for a radio station in Eastern Kentucky. I spend nearly 5 years building the client base, restoring the stations image and reputation in the community, forming many strong friendships and relationships that I cherish to this day. In late 2019, the tides changed and I found myself re-locating from Eastern Kentucky to London, Kentucky to assume the role of General Manager for three radio properties that are part of Forcht Broadcasting. As I pen this blog I am less than a month away from celebrating my one year anniversary.

It has been an interesting year.  Halfway through my first year we are hit with a Global pandemic that shut down most of the country and claimed many lives.  But somehow, in the middle of this, our stations rallied and saw sales remain steady and even grow in last part of Q2 with our stations ending June in the number one position within Forcht Broadcasting (25 stations, 9 markets, 3 states) for reaching 83% of our monthly goal and seeing an 8% increase in ad revenue over 2019 for the same month.

My team has exercised creativity and tenacity and pulled together to make our stations a true success story.  But even more that that, we as legacy radio were seen as essential to the communities we serve.  We informed, educated, and hopefully entertained during the crisis and  have helped many of our clients that were faltering and struggling.  Which is, in reality, what we are supposed to do as professionals.

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Publishing at a Glance

An Overview of the Publishing Industry

 

 

Prior to plunging into the publishing world you need, at the very least, a cursory knowledge of what exists and is available to emerging authors. Below you will find a general overview of the most important aspects of publishing.

 

 

 

  1. Traditional Publishers – This term has only emerged in the past decade as other publishing options have become available. The term “traditional publisher” is used to describe publishing houses that have a long history and physical publishing/printing on site. In the past, they were simply known as publishers. Such publishers would be Random House; Simon & Schuster; Thomas Nelson; Penguin; Scholastic. This was always the option of choice for authors because traditional publishers were known for buying the rights to an author’s work and also providing an advance for future books. This is typically no the longer the case. The days of advances being paid out are gone. Some traditional publishers still advance but if the book does not sell enough to cover the advance the publishers then have a right to request the advance be returned.

 

  1. Low- to Mid-Tier Publishers – This term is used to describe a traditional publishing house, but one with little history and an emerging track record. The designation of “low” or “mid” has nothing to do with their professionalism or quality of their services or product but rather by comparison to the above-named publishers they are new to the scene. These publishers tend to be aggressive and hungry to acquire and sign emerging authors. They are eager to make a name for themselves and their authors. Most often these publishers form “partnerships” with their authors.

 

 

  • Self-Publishing– This concept and term has only emerged in the recent years. At first it was viewed with great distaste by the publishing world, including many authors. By self-publishing an author can find firms that will take the manuscript, un-edited and un-proofed, and will publish the books. Typically there is no other infrastructure or support network in place for sales, marketing, publicity, or distribution. That is left up to the individual author. Between 2009-2010 the traditional publishing industry saw a definite decline in the number of titles published. But self-published titles increased by almost 1 million worldwide. Staggering numbers and stiff competition. As with anything, there is the wrong way to self-publish and the right way. The right way is to create a company with a name, form an LLC, create a moderate budget for promotion and marketing, launch a professional website with e-commerce capabilities for book sales, hire a publicist, and start booking appearances and media interviews. It is important to remember that when you self-publish all ancillary efforts (i.e. sales, distribution, marketing, and publicity) are still your responsibility.

 

 

  • E-Publishing-Again a new concept and term. With the advances in technology in the last few years many authors have opted to publish their works in electronic form. Many times solely in this medium. The term “e-books” was born. With the emergence of e-books came the e-readers such as Kindle, NookBook, and the iPad. These devices have become so popular that, in the case of the NookBook, libraries now offer most new releases in this format.

 

 

 

  • Publicity/Promotions/Publicists – One key component for any author is being able to publicize their book and promote their brand. Most authors do not have the time, training, skills, or contacts to handle their own publicity. This is where a publicist comes into the picture. A publicist’s job is not to sell your books nor is it their job to acquire distribution. A publicist’s job is to find venues whereby you, as the author, can elevate your brand awareness and implement and increase sales of your book. This is done by securing interviews with media outlets and book signing events at bookstores, libraries, and civic/community events. Most publicists charge between $3,000-$5,000 per month for their services. Even traditional publishers most often will not put their publicity department behind an emerging author. So the emerging author is still left with the task of hiring a publicist to assist.

 

 

  • Literary Agent – A literary agent is someone that is hired to help an author market their book to publishing houses. The reason a literary agent is needed is because most publishers do not accept un-solicited manuscripts for various reasons. In the past literary agents have primarily worked on a commission basis of what the publisher would pay for the rights to the author’s intellectual property. However, more and more publishers are no longer offering large enough sums for emerging authors’ intellectual property that offer a substantial commission for the agent.

 

 

 

  • Distribution – One of the most important aspects of publishing is being able to entice retail establishments, such as Barnes and Noble, to carry your book. For self-published authors this is difficult but not impossible. It is, however, much easier for a publisher that has an existing relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the Team Works Together

 

  • Publisher: The publisher markets the book to buyers at retail and specialty vendors. Sometimes they will secure reviews and perform other media related duties, but their main focus is on getting the books into stores.
  • Publicist: The publicist’s main function is to create the overall marketing strategy and to secure media engagements. Publicists can also assist with reviews and endorsements, but their focus is on getting interviews.
  • Author: The author’s function is to connect with readers. Many assume that this is the publisher’s function, but in reality it is the responsibility of the author. Readers do not develop connections and relationships with publishers; they follow authors. Therefore, authors must actively initiate and cultivate relationships with their target readers in order to drive interest and promote sales.

Regardless of how the duties are divided up, it is important that all parties remain in constant communication. This means that the author needs to proactively coordinate the efforts of the team and keep the publisher in the loop when he or she has events, media coverage, and advertising so that the publisher can ensure there are enough books available to meet the spike in demand.

Because the expense of hiring a publicist often falls to the author, many authors assume they can forgo hiring a publicist and still fare well. However, hiring your own publicist is a good decision for a number of reasons:

  • They answer to you, and so it is in their best interest to act in your best interest.
  • They have spent their career establishing industry contacts and developing experience.
  • Handing over the bulk of your promotion efforts to a publicist frees you up to focus on career-building activities such as writing, speaking, and making appearances.

 

 

 

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Special Promotional for Self-Published/Indie Authors

Beginning now I will offer an amazing special for emerging authors.

For any emerging author who signs with Aspyr Communications   you will get an entire year of our publicity services for a one-time fee of $1,500.  This fee will include:

·        Weekly Consultations/Updates via phone and/or Skype
·        Creation of up to 4 feature press releases throughout year
·        Creation of electronic press kit (including press releases; bio; reviews; excerpt; etc.)
·        Weekly pitching to media (all platforms) for interviews
·        Scheduling interviews
·        Archiving interviews
·        Scheduling book reviews
·        Planning/scheduling book launch/signing events
·        Promotion of book events
·        Development of Social Media Presence on appropriate platforms
The only requirements are:
1)  Must be a new, un-published/un-promoted title
2)  Payment must be made in one fee either via Paypal, US Money Order, or Check
3)  Once the contract is in effect I will publicize as many titles as you publish during the 12-month span
If interested, email me directly travisshorttvp@hotmail.com
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Authoring Success -The self-published author as entrepreneur/small business owner

Since I began working with emerging authors I have tried to get them to understand the importance of adopting a strong business mindset.  While authors, by nature, are creative they must approach their endeavors as a start-up business and less like artistic expression.  There is no sin in being both creative and commercial.

This very statement has alienated many clients and potential clients but the fact remains that if you are going to enter the publishing arena, especially as a self-published author, you must have a savvy business approach to the entire process.  Publishing is, after all, a business.  As a matter of fact certain business terminology needs to be applied to the publishing endeavor.

First, don’t sweat it…SWOT it.  In business terminology SWOT stands for Strengths Weaknesses Objectives Threats.  If you are going to the trouble to write and publish then take the time and trouble to know your SWOTs.  Examine your competition (and it is extremely stiff in the self-published field).  But also pay extremely close attention to what makes you unique in your genre.  Start out with a clear objective of what you want to accomplish (being realistic of course) by knowing the statistics for self-published authors’ success.  If you are educated you won’t be as likely to be disappointed.

Secondly, plan before you publish.  When we talk of objectives it is not beyond the scope of comprehension to sit down and put together a business plan that outlines what you will accomplish as a publisher (the business), as a brand (you the author), and with your product (your books).  And do notice that I use the plural books – as an author you had better already be talking about your second book as soon as, if not before, your first is published.

An integral part of the planning is your budget.  You cannot simply write your book and use a self-publishing platform to publish it and expect it to be successful.  You should budget for professional editing, artwork, publicity, and marketing.  In other words be prepared to invest in yourself.  Don’t be a victim of “field of dreams syndrome.”  Just because you write it does not mean they will buy it.

Finally, understand that in self-publishing there is an I in TEAM and it is YOU.  Thus self-publishing.  As a self-published author you do for yourself everything that a publishing house would do for you.  You will be in charge of your editing/proofing; your cover artwork; your publicity/promotion; your marketing; your fulfillment and distribution; responding to your readers; your conversion to various e-readers while all the time writing your second book and probably holding down a day-job to survive.

Your success as a creative writer will be much more likely if you approach the process as a commercial writer and think of the entire endeavor as a start-up business.  Embrace the entrepreneurial mindset and you should be able to write your own ticket to success as an author.

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In response to HuffPost article “Why I hate the term ‘personal branding'” Part 2

This is the second part to my response to Jill Knapp’s post about why she hates the term “personal brand.”  Her full article can be read here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-knapp/6-reasons-why-i-hate-the-_b_3906923.html
 
I pick up in this post addressing number 4 on her list
 4)  The only way personal branding places more emphasis on campaign than quality of product is if the quality of product is already low.  The emphasis should be on YOU…if you are not high quality and your product subpar then there is something wrong.
5)  Again, I refer back to #2.   If you have taken the efforts to become a personal brand (think, as much as it may sicken you, of being a politician) then yes, you are going to be held accountable for what you say and do.  There s room for error but you have to admit error, embrace it, apologize, and move on without repeating the same mistake.  If you are health proponent you shouldn’t be seen eating at the above-referenced restaurants on a regular basis; if you are an anti-bullying expert you shouldn’t treat people in a hostile manner; if you are a child advocate then you shouldn’t green-light a sweat-shop in a third world country.  Let’s face it personal branding relies a lot on common sense.
6)  I agree with this statement for the masses.  However, individuals that choose embrace personal branding do so because they want people to recognize them as a leading expert in a chosen field.  Therefore perception by peers and an audience/demographic is utterly important.
The basic concept behind personal branding is marketing a product or service through publicity built around your recognition as the expert in said product or service.   It is not for everyone.  But it is necessary for those who wish to stand out, be recognized, and be successful.
In short and in closing, I will point out that the author of this article is a PhD.  By the very nature of higher education to obtain her degree (in most instances) she had to differentiate herself from others before her.  She had to choose an original topic, research it, analyze, possibly conduct field research/experiments, document findings, and then defend her point of view (in a dissertation) before a panel of her peers.  Once awarded her degree she was recognized as a leading exert in that field and will be so recognized for most of her professional career.  Sounds like personal branding to me.
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In response to HuffPost article “Why I hate the term “personal branding.”

Today, Friday, September 13, 2013 an article appeared in The Huffington Post Business publication by Jill Knapp, Adjunct Professor of Psychology titled “6 Reasons Why  I Hate the Term ‘Personal Brand'”  The entire article can be read here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-knapp/6-reasons-why-i-hate-the-_b_3906923.html

I shared this article across my social media platform (as modest as it may be) because I disagree with Knapp had to say.  Below is my response to her observations.

 

I am sharing this particular post for two reasons: 1) I disagree with it and 2) I could not comment on the actual page.  Allow me to address the areas where this particular author is mistaken.
1) Personal branding is actually empowering.  It is you being in control of how you want others to perceive you.  You dictate and establish the “criteria” by which you are “judged.”  It is not turning you into something others want you to be.  It is getting people to see you for who and what you are.
2)  Personal branding is an issue for individuals that want to be thrust into the public eye.  Once you take that leap then yes everything you do reflects the brand you have chosen to be.  The example of “make sure where you eat lunch is on brand” is not a universal issue in the branding world.  But if you are a brand associated with health, exercise, healthy lifestyles then restaurants with clowns, kings, and red-hair/pig-tailed adolescents probably shouldn’…t be a regular luncheon spot.
3)  Ok this one is funny and I’ll let it slide (but still a bit of an over-exaggeration).  But let’s take this observation and run with it.  Let’s also analyze other fictional characters to which one’s clothing style is important in a critical way to one’s brand:
 
  • Zorro
  • The Lone Ranger
  • The Shadow
  • Batman
  • Robin Hood
  • Agents J and K from MIB

It can be brought into the real world and applied to certain celebrities or brands as well:

  • Jimmy Buffett – one does not associate him with business suits
  • Prince, or the Artist Formerly Known as Prince (an “anti-brand?”) or whatever that symbol was – one does not associate him/formerly him/it with anything conventional
  • Lady GaGa- again association of unconventional dress directly related to an unconventional brand

The list could go on and on but I believe the point is made

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If you build it, will they come? –

In 1989 Universal Pictures released what has become a classic film titled Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. In this film, based on a book by W.P. Kinsella, an Iowa farmer hears a voice telling him “If you build it, he will come.” Over the years my business partner and I have often used this phrase to describe what we coined “Field of Dreams” syndrome. Our theory postulates that business owners often think that just because they open a business people will find them and buy their product or acquire their services.
Unfortunately, the “American Dream” of owning one’s own business and becoming a successful entrepreneur has actually become a nightmare with seventy-five per cent (75%) of all start-ups failing within the first five years of operation. This is attributed to many variables but they can mostly be summarized into one category: mindset.
It goes without saying that the American entrepreneur is one of the great success stories of the past two centuries. Unfortunately, the way of thinking for most entrepreneurs hasn’t changed in that same amount of time. A good idea, concept, or product and a little initiative are no longer all that it takes to be successful. As a start-up your competition is no longer just another start-up in your town or region or the major chains, franchises, or larger corporations that dot every town and city in the country. Today, every single start-up competes on a global level for market share regardless of what you offer.
Merely just “starting” or “launching” a new business is tantamount to entrepreneurial-suicide or “entrep-icide.” It is not enough to have an idea, a location, and a little seed capital. A great deal of strategic pre-launch thinking, planning, and implementing must go into play before the announcement of a business’s launch let alone the traditional “grand opening.”
When looking at businesses that fail, one of the consistent “weak links” in the chain of critical thinking revolves around the marketing.

Regardless of if we are talking traditional mass-marketing via TV, radio, print or Outdoor or social media marketing via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine or any other platform that is available, not enough thought or investment goes into the marketing planning. This is true for the thinking and planning on the quantity of marketing (“we’ll just advertise a little when we open”) as well as the quality of the message put out there (“we don’t have time to put thought into the ad, we’ll let the ‘fill in the blank with newspaper/radio/television’ do it for us’).
Quite frankly, for every dollar that is put into the launch of the business (the real estate, the building, the employees, the equipment, etc.) you should plan on spending two to three dollars on your marketing the first 12-24 year months of business. Please be advised we’re not endorsing just spending the money to spend it but spending wisely on branding who you are, developing a corporate identity, establishing customer expectations, and ways to ensure customer loyalty as well as honestly choosing the best platforms for your business and service.
Otherwise your start-up will fall into the category of the other 75% that market their business only twice: once to say “Grand Opening” and once to say “Going out of Business.”

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Creating a Great Interview Part One: The Interviewer

 

                I recently received a query from a major magazine and they wanted to know how interviews could go from good to great.  They went even further and stated that they were interested in guidelines that hosts/interviewers could use not the guests.  Now that intrigued me.

                One of the services that my firm provides is media coaching.  This is a service that helps individuals learn how to give a good interview as a guest.  So I’ve done my fair share of training (or trying to train) individuals to incorporate certain tips and tools that will make them a great interview (which I will share in the next blog).  Very seldom, however, do you get to train someone on how to conduct the interview as host.  Ironically, I’ve been both the guest and the host of numerous interviews.

I began my career in radio broadcasting in 1992.  There were no Internet radio stations only traditional, terrestrial stations that hand-picked DJs, hosts, on-air personalities.  You had to have talent and training to get on the radio.  That has changed with advent of Internet stations and networks.  Today anyone can start broadcasting a program and live that dream of hearing their voice and hosting their own show.

However, with the availability of this platform the discipline of being a good host/personality and the level of professionalism has diminished.  Just because you have a show doesn’t mean you know how to host one.

So in this blog I will outline some very practical yet for powerful tips for performing a professional and effective interview as the host.

 

1)  Be organized* – One of the biggest signs of an un-professional program is disorganization.  Take the time time to have a schedule and  program laid out as to how you want the interview to run.  Have notes and refer to them.  Have your questions listed in order of importance.  Have definite “points” in the show.  In other words outline your show so it has:

A)  Introduction of show

B) Opening Statements

C)  Guess Introduction

D) Commercial breaks (even if you dont have paying advertisers this can be accomplished).  The number of breaks is dictated by the length of the show.

E) Have a designated time for call-ins

F) Have a definite conclusion with a preview of upcoming shows

2)  Know your Guest/Topic – I can’t stress this enough.  Do you research before you have a guest on your show.  If they are an author = read their works.  If they are an actor = watch their show.  If they are a musician = listen to the CDs.  Know how to pronounce their name.  Know about upcoming projects/collaborations.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had guests contact me after I have interviewed them and have stated how refreshing it was that someone knew enough to ask informed questions and they then requested to re-book them for later shows.

3)  Ask questions that demand more than a “yes” or “no” answer –The most painful interviews are the ones where the host asks questions that provide short answers.  Instead of asking “Do you like being an author?”  Ask “Tell me, what do you find is the most rewarding aspects of being an author?”  Can you see how the wording of the question is going to provide an answer with much more depth?

4)  Listen to your guest’s answers- Communication is bi-directional.  If you, as the host, will actually listen to your guest’s answers you will find that you can build on them and actually create a communication that is more like a natural dialogue and less like a scripted interview. 

It also shows respect to the guest.  I was recently on a show as a guest and was asked at least three times by the host the same question because they were not paying attention to their notes nor my response.

I mentioned before that you should have your questions outlined.  Many guests, if they have a publicist, will send “suggested” questions to a show.  Don’t be afraid to use them but understand they are “suggested” because they are important and because the guest has memorized the answers.  Also don’t be afraid to ask them out of order.  The guest, for the most part, will like and appreciate this because it breaks up the monotony of the same old interview.  Listen to what they say and see if you can dig deeper into their psyche based on their initial response.  This leads directly to the next step

5)  Be fluid – Yes be organized.  Yes have notes.  Yes ask direct questions.  But also be fluid.  Realize that the best interviews are organic and natural.  They should seem like communication and dialogue.  Don’t stick to a script if there is the possibility of opening  a whole new direction for interview based on the Q &A.  Broadcast interviews should be engaging.  You should want to hear both the host and the guest talk.

6)  Be courteous – Remember you have invited this person on your show.  It is the broadcast equivalent of inviting someone to your home.  Certain rules of civility and hospitality are inferred. 

When you ask a question, do not continue talking over the person.  Give them the adequate time to answer.  You can disagree with views but always take the high road and agree to disagree.  Most interviews are not debates they are discourses, discussion, and dialogue.  Certain instances occur where there are debates.  In those instances you should inform the guest in advance that is the objective and not ambush them when they think it is just an interview.

You will find that these simple steps will help in the flow of the show and program and elevate your level of professionalism and respect by your peers and by those you wish to interview and have as guests on your show.

 

*One final note about organization.  If your radio show has multiple hosts make sure that part of the organization is definite questions/comments/statements that each host will make and in what order those should be done.  There is nothing worse than listening to two or more hosts talk over each other and ask the same question(s) and have a guest try to answer simultaneously.

For more information about our services please visit http://www.aspyrcommunications.com

 

 

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DIY Publishing – An Emerging Platform for Emerging Talent

Previously I outlined some of the main points you should be aware of when thinking about shopping your manuscript to a traditional publisher.

And for the record, let me point out that I am not a “hater” of the traditional publishing route.  They can, and do many times, offer  a great deal of support and consultation on how best to proceed.  However, I am a “hater” of preconceived delusions of grandeur that many emerging authors possess.  My goal is to help you weigh your options and make an informed decision.

Today I want to point out some of the considerations when thinking about self-publishing.

 

1)      Contrary to popular belief, self-publishing is an accepted form of publishing.  This wasn’t always the case.  But today your readers could care less if you are published by a traditional publisher or if you did it yourself.

Readers are your fan-base.  They care about you as a brand and the content/product (your books) that you make available regardless of the platform.

This is proven more and more on a regular basis as seasoned, experienced authors opt to self-publish as opposed to renew their traditional contracts.

2)      Self-publishing is not an easy process.  There are many winding roads that lead to your work being published. There’s e-publishing (this brings up a whole new series of concerns/questions about formatting for various e-readers); Publish on Demand (POD); self-publishing; etc.

As with most things that are emerging, self-publishing is a process of trial and error.  Which breeds both successes and failures.  If you choose to self-publish work with someone (either a seasoned author or a firm) who has experience and can help you navigate the tricky roads.

3)      Self-publishing is not a miracle.  Just because you publish a book doesn’t mean people will buy it, let alone be able to find it among all of the others.

If you recall from the earlier blog there are nearly 2,900 new titles that are published every day.  Publishing a book is not the difficult part.  Generating exposure that makes you stand out from the herd and turning that exposure into sales is a tricky proposition.

4)      If you self-publish you should still have your book professionally edited. Self-published crap is still crap.

You would think that this is self-explanatory but alas not always the case.  Three years ago I had an author send me one copy of his, several thousand, newly (self)-published books.  It was riddled with errors, typos, mistakes, etc.  He hadn’t taken the time or the expense to have his work edited.

There are some things for which you just have to budget and expect to pay.  In self-publishing those tend to be editing, cover art, and promotion/publicity.

5)     Taking care to protect yourself with ISBN and copyrights.  If you are going to put your intellectual property out there for the public be sure to copyright and trademark it and purchase your ISBN.

A great place to register your International Standard Book Number or ISBN is: http://www.isbn-us.com/?gclid=CNmr__H58rUCFQyZ4AodNlsAXg

6)      Protect your brand with original cover art.

On several occasions I’ve worked with authors who, because of lack of funds, opt to use public domain images for their covers.  Not always a great idea.  In a couple of instances those covers have been found on other works.

A second issue with doing your cover on the cheap is most individuals lack the knowledge of how to accurately design the cover, inside jacket (front/back), and back.  A great deal of thought goes into how covers are designed so that they are appealing, informative, and easy to find.

7)      Put great emphasis on your marketing and promotion.

This I cannot stress enough.  Deciding to become an author, while a creative process, is also a very much like deciding to start a business.  You need a set of goals and objectives and you need a budget in place to help you get there. 

If you choose to self-publish then you should establish a budget that will allow for marketing campaigns and for working with someone who can help book interviews and establish your brand recognition.

8)      To get traditional brick and mortar book stores to carry your work there will need to be a return policy if the books don’t sell (this is critical in getting on shelves). 

This is one of the reasons that retailers work with established traditional publishers.  They have an “out.”  Traditional publishers allow retailers to return what books don’t sell after a pre-determined amount of time.

Yes I know this is a lot of information to digest but it is useful information.  If you are going to take the time to write a book, don’t you think you should take the time to carefully decide how best to publish and promote that book?

For more information or help, email me at travisshorttvp@hotmail.com.

Follow me on Twitter @travisshortt and follow our firm @AspyrPartners

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So, You’ve Written a Book. Now How do You Publish?

Every year 1,052, 803 new books are published.  That’s 2,884 titles every day.

For the past five years I have been working with emerging authors (authors with no track record or name recognition).  In that time I have learned a great deal more about the publishing industry. 

On a regular basis the most common question is some variation of: “Should I shop my manuscript to a traditional publisher or should I self-publish?”

Simple question to ask but not so simple to answer.  There are many variables that have to be considered.

What I would like to do is merely outline some of the basic facts you, as an emerging  or aspiring author, need to know.  For the first blog we will examine the traditional publishing angle.

1)  I was recently contacted by an individual that had an outline for a manuscript.  Nothing more.  They wanted to know the best way to have a publisher give them an advance to write the book based on the outline.  Doesn’t really happen that way.

The days of huge advances/options for emerging authors is a thing of the past.  In the past five years the largest advance I have seen for an emerging author’s work is $10,000 and the most common is between $2,000-$5,000 with $3,000 being the average.  This is not to say that larger advances don’t happen but they are more the exception than the rule.

2)  On that same note, a word of caution about advances.  In some cases, if an author’s work does not sell enough to cover the advance paid out, traditional publishers now are coming back and trying to recover that advance.

3) In four years of reviewing and negotiating traditional publishing agreements I have never seen publicity or promotion included in the publishing arrangement.  What this means is that even if a traditional publisher acquires your work they will still require you to personally handle (or hire a firm to handle) your publicity, appearances, book events, and interviews.

And this is one of the most important aspects of being a successful author.  Without brand recognition there are no book sales.  To achieve brand recognition you have to be out there conducting interviews, talking about your work (current and future), and meeting your audience.

4)  If you are going to be published by a traditional publisher you will need a literary agent.  Most publishing houses do not interact directly with authors.  The literary agent can also assist in the contract review and negotiation.

5)  Many traditional publishers are entering into more “partnership” arrangements with emerging authors.  This means you and the publisher share many of the expenses and split the royalties.

In the next blog we’ll examine the field of self-publishing.  In the meantime visit my site at www.aspyrcommunications.com or follow me on Twitter @travisshortt and @AspyrPartners

 

 

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