In a Chicago Triune article, Nara Schoenberg quotes Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania: “Fewer than 40 books by African-American authors for adolescents were published in 2015….Every year thousands of books for kids and teens are published, and every year we don’t seem to be able to get that number much over 100.”
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When your desires and expectations for certain parts of the publishing process exceed a traditional publisher's ability to meet them, self-publishing may be a great option for you. Read about 10 signs indicate self-publishing may work better for you than traditional publishing.
You are the cream that has risen to the top. You have several publishing offers in front of you. You have your pick of the litter. Advance and royalty rates are basically the same. What now becomes your deciding factor? Does it really matter whom you choose to publish with?
The word on the street about editor-agent relationships is muddled at best and negative at worst. But I don’t give that much thought when I am in the trenches with an agent reviewing a proposal and negotiating an author’s contract. I decide how my relationships with agents are going to be—and I like working with agents.
- I am editing another author's book.
- I am editing another author's back cover copy.
- I am doing some online super-sleuthing for new authors.
- I just got off a long conference call with another author or an agent.
- I am responding to a long emailed list of contract revisions from an agent or another author.
- I am writing an edit letter to another author.
- I am preparing proposals for an upcoming acquisitions meeting.
- I am preparing a monthly activity report.
- I am on my way to a meeting.
- I am just getting back from a meeting and I am trying to figure out where I left off in my work.
- I am taking action on the action steps from a meeting I just attended.
- I am honing my telepathy skills when I have no idea what another author is talking about in the book I am editing.
- I am trying to decode a cryptic request from someone who just stopped by my desk and asked me to do something for them.
- I am making a desperate attempt to create a to-do list so I don't forget anything that has to do with the thirty to fifty projects I have in the pipeline.
- I am conceptualizing a best seller (yes, it pays to speak positively).
- I am shutting down my computer and on my way home for the evening.
Before you hit "send" on that query or proposal to that agent, editor, or publisher, you'll want to make sure you've dotted all your Is and crossed all your Ts. Here's a list that could help you get one step closer to your publishing dreams.
I write this assuming you are a writer whose book has sold to a publisher and now you are working with your manuscript—writing, researching, gathering facts, honing your key concepts, and all the other necessary goodies that make for a best-selling book.
This post may not apply to the author who was well-coached and managed by a fantastic agent, where everything on my list below was presented at the time of initial query.
- Table of contents
- List of tables, charts, graphs, or images
- Photographs, graphics, or other images
- Print licenses for song or poetry lyrics; long quotes from books, websites, and news articles; use of charts, graphs, or photographs; or any other copyrighted material
- Full sourcing (or citation) information for all borrowed and quoted material including author, title, publisher's city and state, publisher's name, publishing date, page number, and/or web link
- Signed releases from subjects mentioned by name or likeness in your book (changing a subject's name is not enough)
- Endnotes or footnotes
- Index list
- About the author page
You finally meet with the editor or agent, and to your surprise, after thinking their favorite word is no, they say they like your concept and would love to see more of it. “Here’s my card,” they say. “Please email me a full proposal.” The words you had practiced to combat any objections are caught in your throat and all you can say is, “Oh! Oh, that’s great. OK! Yes? Really? OK! Thank you!”
Yes, they want you to send them your manuscript (or proposal). But you know what some writers do? OK, wait. This requires a list.
There’s one thing I think we all—editors, agents, writers, and published authors—can take for granted from time to time during the submissions and acquisitions process. But I think we can all take it down a notch and recognize this one thing—process breeds relationship. Or, maybe I should say, process can breed relationship.
What makes you most nervous about pitching a book idea?