Posts Tagged ‘Publishing’
Reams have been written of late about the shifting of responsibility for marketing books from the publisher onto the author. I won’t add to them except to say that nothing nails the current state of affairs better than this piece from the New Yorker.
My favorite part:
I’ve attached a list of celebrities we think would be great to blurb your book, so find out their numbers and call them up. Be sure to do all this by Monday, because Sales Conference starts Tuesday. We come back Friday and then immediately on Saturday (!) all of editorial (Janet, plus probably Michelle, her assistant) and I go to the Frankfurt Book Fair for a week. During that time the office will be closed, although to help cover the costs of the Germany trip it will actually be sublet to the John Lindsay Elementary School P.T.A. as a rehearsal space for this year’s fund-raiser production of “The Music Man.” I’m told that this was one of the things that Jason didn’t understand and which contributed to his “condition.”
Want the “real” scoop on how books are published? The Digital Marketing Team at MacMillan pulls the curtain back to reveal the very funny “truth”.
This is one of the best succinct summaries that I’ve come across re: what makes a novel publishable. Among the highlights:
* A set-up with a killer hook
* Character intro with back-story and context
* A sense of place
* Foreshadowing and the establishment of stakes
* The hero’s impending need and inner demons
* The emerging seeds of a subplot
* A major plot point that introduces the story’s antagonistic element
* The definition of the hero’s quest or need
* Scenes that deepen the tension as the hero responds
* Refining the nature of the quest and the elements of its opposition
* A mid-story mind-numbing context shift that changes everything
* The evolution of the hero into a pro-active warrior
* Another significant plot twist that puts all the cards on the table
… followed by a series of scenes that show how the hero is applying what he’s learned to become a catalyst in the story’s oh-so-satisfying conclusion.
Read it all for yourself at Men With Pens
Recently, a friend who is interested in writing fiction professionally queried me about how to begin learning the ins-and-outs of the publishing business. Here’s what I had to say:
You’re absolutely right about the need for an aspiring writer to learn about the publishing business. One way to do it is from the inside but jobs are scarce these days and fortunately there are alternatives. Here are a few to get you started:
Read Publisher’s Weekly. http://www.publishersweekly.com/ I don’t know whether you need a subscription or not to access the site; it works for me and I don’t think I have one. But if you can’t read it on-line, check your local library; they probably have a subscription.
Start getting acquainted with the many sites on-line by and for authors. A good one that will start to give you a sense of what’s going on is at GalleyCat http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/.
Google author blogs and start looking for those of particular interest about the business. You’ll find lots of talk about how tough things are (true), how they’ve never been worse (not true) and how books are dead (definitely not true). But you’ll also start to get a sense of what writers are doing to develop their craft and get themselves noticed. A particularly good author site is John Scalzi’s at http://whatever.scalzi.com/. He’s a sci-fi writer with an excellent sense of the business.
On the subject of craft, get hold of John Lukeman’s “The First Five Pages”. This is hands down the best book I’ve found with practical, accurate advice for getting published. It isn’t pretty but it is on target. Amazon has recommendations for several other books in the same vein that might be helpful to you.
I was skeptical about Twitter but I tried it a few months ago and now I’m following several people in the business who provide genuinely good info. The best I’ve found so far is BookGal. She’s got links to a ton of good info. Agent Nathan Bransford tweets less often but his stuff is good, too.
What it comes down to is if you’re serious about writing–and it sounds like you are–from now on you have to wear two hats. On the one hand, you have to develop your craft. On the other, you need to learn the business. The first is just about sweating blood–easy!The second is all about facing up to tough facts and finding your way in a business that is in a great state of flux but in which exciting opportunities can be found (not always in traditional publishing ways).