When a book that we publish sells well, I always want to understand why, partly so that I can pass that information on to you. One book that’s been selling well lately is Farmer Able: A fable about servant leadership transforming organizations and people from the inside out by Art Barter. The book is an extended parable that teaches the lessons of servant leadership, the form of leadership in which leaders exist to serve the people they lead. It tells the story of a farmer named Able and his transformation from a typical all-about-me power-reliant head of farm and family to a true servant leader. The story is told from the perspective of both the humans and the animals on Able’s farm. Even the wind, plants, and Earth are characters in the story. The author very effectively uses anthropomorphism and onomatopoeia […]
Some of the books I’m reading, or have read lately, I can recommend, and highly, to writers and those aspiring to be published authors:
Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson (Penguin Press, February 7, 2017). Fame sells books: Famous books sell, famous people’s books sell, and books about famous people and things sell. Without one of these three types of fame, making books sales can be a challenge. “Discovery” is the term of art publishing aficionados use to label the process of moving from obscurity to fame. But, how does an author get “discovered?”
In this fascinating book Derek Thompson explains, and tells stories of how it used to work when gatekeepers, like the major publishing houses, had the power to decide who became famous. He also explores in depth how discovery has […]
Periodically I call one of our authors with a better-selling book and chat with them about their book marketing efforts, and what they believe is responsible for their sales success. I had one such conversation recently with Janet Marthers (janetmarthers. com), the lead author of Follow Your Interests to Find the Right College (ISBN: 9781627872621). The book is different from other college guides in that it uses students’ interests, both academic and non-academics, as the primary tool to help them navigate the college selection process, and discover colleges and opportunities that they might otherwise overlook. If you or someone you know is evaluating colleges, I highly recommend that you check out this unique book.
Follow Your Interests to Find the Right College was published in December of 2015. In March 2016 Forbes interviewed Marthers about the book, and she noticed […]
Fans of crime fiction and true crime: I’d like to draw your attention to two award-winning authors who’ve recently published two exciting new books.
Duke Southard is a First Place winner of the 85th Annual (2016) “Writer’s Digest” Writing Competition, a finalist of the 2016 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards, and a finalist of the 2015 Indie Publisher Next Generation Book Awards, to list just some of his accolades.
Southard’s new book Cracks in the Wall (Wheatmark, 2016) is a suspense novel in the Parker Havenot Police Detective Series. The plot centers on the murder of a young mother of three in a quiet suburban town in what appears be an open-and-shut case. Detective Havenot, however, is not so sure, suspecting that the key to the murder lies somewhere in the victim’s past. This book is a fantastic fast-paced read from the first page to the surprising […]
It is hard to believe that another year is already winding down, which means that the holiday season is right around the corner. As the hustle and bustle of life begins to ramp up the closer we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is normal to try and get ahead on our holiday shopping. The quest to find the perfect gifts for the ones we love is often an annual tradition of fighting traffic, battling unending lines and searching for the best deals, while never feeling completely satisfied with your final choice.
For our authors who want to avoid the shopping chaos, what could be better than giving someone the gift of reading? While I may be biased, I believe books can be some of the most cherished presents, particularly when the giver is the writer. Some of the most precious gifts I have received have been personally created or designed by […]
Writing is simply a number of sentences strung together. Remember the paper chains that you made as a child? One slip of paper rolled and wrapped around another until a chain was formed that stretched from one end of the room to the other. That’s how you write your book.
Create small, manageable writing goals. Start by just writing a single paragraph. That’s all. Just one simple paragraph. You can do that, right? If so, your first goal has just been accomplished!
As a writer, it’s easy to get swamped by the mountain of things to do before your book gets finished. Add to that the burden authors today must carry of promoting and marketing their books, and it is so easy to get discouraged.
There is a solution, however! It’s simply this: Create small goals that can be easily accomplished. A friend once shared with me her story on her experience of […]
For years I’ve given a talk called “Three Ways to Publish,” in which I describe the three main paths to publication: selling your book to a rights-buying “traditional” publisher, hiring a publishing services firm like Wheatmark to publish your book, or starting a publishing company of your own (self-publishing). Over the past few years the lines between these paths have become increasingly blurred:
- The largest retailer of books in the world, Amazon, carries nearly every traditionally and self-published book equally
- Authors with successful self-published books are often picked up by traditional publishing houses
- Successful authors often dump their traditional publishing houses in favor of going “indie”
- Publicists, editors, agents, and book marketing professionals who used to work exclusively for traditional publishers now routinely offer their services to publishing services firms and indie authors
Another way the lines are blurring is that savvy indie authors and publishing services firms are adopting the […]
There’s plenty of discussion about the retail pricing of independently published books, most of it centered on self-publishing book companies setting list prices too high. I get frustrated when industry experts write that these higher prices are a problem, without offering any evidence that this is the case. In the absence of price sensitivity studies, or of testing book sales at different price points, the “experts” are simply offering a guess based on their experience. I suspect that their experience comes from pricing books for the brick-and-mortar bookstore market. What a company like Barnes & Noble suggests for list prices for their stores isn’t necessarily right for a self-published books that will primarily be sold through online bookstores.
The online book sales market is, in fact, such a new market that it is unclear what pricing strategies are most advantageous to book sales.
In the absence of hard data, how should you […]
Years ago I was reading the bestselling A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (on which the 2015 motion picture of the same name, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, is based) and found a typo on one of the first pages. The word the was spelled “th”. How could this be? The book was published by Random House, one of the Big Five! How had all of their copyeditors and proofreaders, not to mention spell checkers, missed it? How had the hundreds of advance copy readers failed to report it?
I told one of the editors here at Wheatmark about my discovery. This editor happened to be a voracious reader. She started circling all the misspellings, typos, or instances of bad grammar that she found in any major publisher’s book she read, and flagging the offending pages with Post-It notes. […]