About Grael Norton

Grael Norton is Wheatmark's Director of Marketing, specializing in helping writers design the business of selling their books. His book, The Author's Guide to Choosing a Publishing Service is currently available for free at http://authors.guide.
24 April, 2015

What should you be doing to market your book?

By |2018-03-29T11:09:22-07:00April 24, 2015|Authors Academy, Marketing, News|Comments Off on What should you be doing to market your book?

I received an email recently from long-time Wheatmark client Eddie Browning that invited him to display his books at Book Expo America (BEA) next month.

Eddie’s kind enough to keep me in the loop about all the different kinds of promotions authors receive on a daily basis that claim to help them market their work.

Eddie doesn’t have any intention of taking the bait, but I saw this as an opportunity to share a valuable marketing lesson with all of our readers.

The lesson is that good marketing is a process, not an event.

This is a tricky concept for many authors to grasp.

They equate “marketing” with “selling.”

They’ll often say things like “I tried marketing my book, and it didn’t work.”

Usually, what they actually mean is “I tried selling my book, and it didn’t work.”

What’s the difference?

“Selling” is pretty straight-forward. It means asking for the sale:

“Would you like to buy my book?”

“Would you like […]

5 January, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions…and a pretty neat trick

By |2018-03-29T11:09:22-07:00January 5, 2015|Authors Academy, Marketing, Publishing|Comments Off on New Year’s Resolutions…and a pretty neat trick

It’s that time of year again… time to resolve to finally get those things done that somehow, we’ve failed to achieve every year prior to date.

For some, it might be losing weight.

For others, it might be getting their books finished and ready for publication.

Still others might finally be ready to make some progress on their marketing.

The problem is: everyone knows that most resolutions are broken by February, if they even last that long.

How do you ensure that you follow through on your resolutions?

Today I’m going to share a neat trick that I learned from one of my mentors, marketing legend John Carlton.

John’s trick is simple, but profound: sit down and write a letter to yourself, but date it January 1, 2016.

That’s right: one year from now.

In the letter, write down all that you have accomplished this year—that is, in the year to come.

Of course, you’ll write it in the […]

15 December, 2014

My Book Got Optioned. Here’s What Happened.

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00December 15, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing, Resources|Comments Off on My Book Got Optioned. Here’s What Happened.

I came across this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education and thought I’d forward it on to you.

As many of you know, I was a screen-writer in my former life, so I can really relate to this piece.

I was working in the indie world, and, since we’d arranged our own financing, my first professional writing gig was made into a finished film.

We sold it to a number of foreign TV markets, and landed several domestic DVD deals.

Yes, this was a “straight-to-video” project—domestically, at least.

But at least we got it made, and then got it out there.

To get a film or TV project made, you need to have three ingredients:

1. Material to develop
2. Access to distribution
3. Financing (money)

In my case, we had all three. But if you’ve written a book, you’ve got number one above covered, too.

That means all you need is numbers two and three, and you’re good […]

11 December, 2014

Do you have an unpublished manuscript lying around?

By |2016-07-18T14:10:38-07:00December 11, 2014|Publishing, Writing|Comments Off on Do you have an unpublished manuscript lying around?

If you have an unpublished Romance, Mystery & Thriller, or Science Fiction & Fantasy manuscript, Amazon wants to hear from you!

They’re running a new program called “Kindle Scout” that could result in your manuscript being published at Amazon’s expense.

Details of the program are here.

Basically, the program is a combination crowd-sourcing/rights-licensing publishing deal, where you grant Amazon exclusive rights to have beta readers review your work and vote on whether or not to publish it.

If readers give you a thumbs-up, you sign an exclusive 5-year contract to have Amazon publish your work in Kindle and in audio format.

I think it’s a cool program, particularly for folks who don’t have the means to publish their work on their own.

That said, it’s a really, really good idea to invest in a formal read by a professional editor before you release your work to the general public.

Our version of this service is called […]

9 December, 2014

It ain’t over

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00December 9, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing|Comments Off on It ain’t over

2014 is coming to an end.

In fact, for some folks, the year is already over.

They figure: if it ain’t done by now, it ain’t gonna get done!

I don’t agree with that philosophy, though. Not at all.

You see, while many people essentially take six weeks off between Thanksgiving and New Years, successful people recognize that this period is ripe with opportunity.

Take the example of marketing your books.

Many authors are racing to implement some tactics quickly to “get the word out” about their books, thinking that this is their best chance to generate some meaningful sales.

It’s the holidays, after all… which means people are buying things, right?

But as Jim Best discussed with me on last month’s Authors Academy call, all the work he does to generate his impressive holiday sales comes BEFORE the holidays!

(Jim’s sold more than 70,000 copies of his books to date, so he knows what he’s talking about.)

One of […]

21 November, 2014

Did you hear what I heard?

By |2016-07-18T14:37:15-07:00November 21, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing|Comments Off on Did you hear what I heard?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Wednesday’s Authors Academy call was one of our best ever!

Jim Best totally blew me away with his insight and his experience marketing his books.

Jim’s sold 70,000 copies to date… so he knows of what he speaks.

His closing thought was that first and foremost, your book has to be good.

Otherwise, you can’t get the power of word-of-mouth marketing working for you.

Jim’s books happen to be great—and they make great gifts!

You can check out his entire catalog here.

I recommend starting with The Shopkeeper—it’s lots of fun.

Meanwhile, you can definitely file the interview under “can’t-miss.”

But only Authors Academy members have access to the recording of this call to review on-demand.

If you’re not a member, give yourself a much-deserved early holiday gift by clicking here.

If you’re at all serious about selling copies of your book, you’d be just plain nuts to […]

14 November, 2014

How to Sell 1,000 Books during the Holiday Season

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00November 14, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing|Comments Off on How to Sell 1,000 Books during the Holiday Season

How would you like to sell 1,000 copies of your book during the upcoming holiday season?

I know I would!

Next week in the Authors Academy I’ll be interviewing James D. Best, author of the Steve Dancy series of westerns including his latest, Jenny’s Revenge, scheduled for release in February.

Jim’s sold more than 70,000 copies of his books to date, which includes a few one-off titles in addition to his extremely popular westerns.

Jim published the first Steve Dancy tale, The Shopkeeper, back in 2007.

He was a complete unknown at the time, having published only one book previously. The Shopkeeper was his first work of fiction.

His book sold reasonably well at launch, but his initial sales tapered off after a bit—he’d reached the end of his existing platform.

Most authors give up at that point, figuring they’ve sold as many as they’re going to.

Not Jim. He went to work, and by the following Christmas, […]

12 November, 2014

It’s the end of the bookselling world as we know it

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00November 12, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing|Comments Off on It’s the end of the bookselling world as we know it

… and I feel fine!

This article (sent to me by client and friend Byron Thompson) predicts the demise of publishers at the hands of retailers like Amazon and Apple.

Meanwhile, this article predicts the decline of—you guessed it—retailers like Amazon and Apple, at least when it comes to selling books and other media like music.

These types of articles sometimes make us wring our hands and fret: what, oh what, are we to do?

How will we ever survive without NY publishers… or even worse, without retailers like the mighty Amazon and the amazing Apple?

I think there’s nothing to worry about, and let me tell you a story that illustrates my thinking why:

Back when I was in middle school, I loved reading Michael Crichton sci-fi thrillers like Congo, The Andromeda Strain, and Sphere.

This was around the time when the first Jurassic Park movie came out.

One time, I remember being so wrapped […]

10 November, 2014

What has Tom Hanks got that you don’t?

By |2016-07-18T14:52:01-07:00November 10, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing, Publishing, Social Media|Comments Off on What has Tom Hanks got that you don’t?

I came across this article this weekend.

It’s about how Tom Hanks got his first piece of short fiction published… in The New Yorker.

Now, in case you aren’t already aware of this, getting a short story published in The New Yorker is pretty much the ultimate accomplishment for a writer.

Many authors submit stories for months, or years, or even decades… and never get their work published.

But not Tom Hanks. Did I mention that this was his first published short story?

What exactly has Tom Hanks got that you don’t?

“Duh, Grael,” you’re probably saying to yourself. “He’s Tom Hanks!”

My point exactly.

Tom Hanks is a famous actor, so he’s able to get his fiction published by The New Yorker his first time out.

What this phenomenon refers to is the idea of “platform,” which Tom Hanks most certainly has.

The New Yorker knows that publishing Tom Hanks’ fiction will help sell magazines.

They know people will […]

7 November, 2014

Is the book dead?

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00November 7, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing, News|Comments Off on Is the book dead?

My friend and client at Wheatmark Frank Babb recently sent me the link to this thought-provoking essay in The Economist.

As the article notes, people have been predicting the death of the book—and even the death of reading itself—for more than a decade.

I’m not so sure about that, but one thing is certain: there are more books being published now than ever before!

According to Bowker, around 8,100 ISBNs were issued in 1960… compared to around 1.4 million in 2013!

That’s a lot of books—and that doesn’t even include all the self-published books that the author didn’t get an ISBN for.

Suffice it to say that the competition for readers is fiercer than ever!

That’s why it’s so important to invest in training programs like the Authors Academy and attend live, in-person events whenever you can.

Knowledge (and it’s application) is your greatest asset as an author.

I’ll be presenting on Choosing a Publishing Service […]

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