(Almost) Ending the Year On Some Trendy Business

We know, we know…it’s not our last post of the year, but it’s close to it! We figured it would be good for anyone looking into getting published to get the heads up: the results are in, publishing trends are here.

Before we get started though, we want to direct you to the source in which the general info comes from. Opinions and advice are ours! But check out this blog/publishing service.

Let’s get right into it!

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  1. First and foremost, is the decline in reading going to push writers away from publishing their work?

    We vote a big fat NO. Reason being, we see the decline in reading as a way to push writers to treat their work with care (and to get into e-Pubbing, but we’ll discuss in a second.) Getting all the pre-publication shenanigans out of the way is something so many people don’t truly pay attention to – so maybe, it’s time we give our precious work some TLC and hire a few people to take a look at what we’ve got.

  2. Print books remain #1. What does this mean for you?

    While everyone (or maybe it was just me) believes that eBooks are the only way to read now, we come here to confirm: this is not true. Print books remain the champion of reading (even if less people do the act of reading.) Now, before you comment and say, “getting my book printed will cost so much money” or “I can’t seal the deal with PRH or Tor or any of those big publishers!” Don’t forget about print-on-demand: the most efficient way for a self-published author to get their book in physical format! So you can still make your way into the print market without a major publishing deal (sorry, big guys.)

  3. Audiobooks are still on the rise!

    We love audiobooks here at HRM. We talk about them enough to say we’re not surprised they’ll continue to rise come the new year.
  4. We’ve talked about it once, we’ll talk about it again: hybrid/collaborative publishing is important and will continue to rise in popularity in 2019. Why should it be important to you?

    Hybrid publishing and collaborative publishing are important mediums to self-published authors (or writers looking into self-publishing.) We want the quality of a major publisher (you know, the big tough editors and the fantastic printing jobs) but since deals from them are far and few between, we need an alternative. An alternative where we have creative flexibility and control over the work in question. These mediums are just that. They provide the quality care to your work as well as giving you the power over it – with consideration, of course. Major publishing houses ensure a bigger paycheck, but why not get your foot in the door to start?

  5. Marketing is your best friend.

    We talk about marketing a lot on this blog. It’s an important part of being a writer/author who wants exposure. If you’re interested in keeping up with a variety of marketing tactics, just use the search bar for this blog and we guarantee you’ll come across something.

 

Happy Holidays, everybody!

We Are Proud!

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Our office has been celebrating the upcoming release by our author, Mike Omer, published by Thomas & Mercer. A release that has been top of the charts for the last couple of weeks! A Killer’s Mind will be available for purchase on August 1st, 2018. Pre-order it today!

Three Chicago women have been found strangled, embalmed, and posed as if still alive. Doubting the findings of the local PD’s profiler, The FBI calls on forensic psychologist Zoe Bentley to investigate.

Zoe quickly gets off on the wrong foot with her new partner, Special Agent Tatum Gray. Zoe’s a hunter, intense and focused; Tatum’s a smug maverick with little respect for the rules. Together, they must descend into a serial killer’s psyche and untangle his twisted fantasies, or more women will die. But when the contents of three inconspicuous envelopes reveal a chilling connection to gruesome murders from Zoe’s childhood, suddenly the hunter becomes the hunted.

Metadata & Me

A little late to the BookExpo train, but we’re here to update you all on one of the most important parts of our day.

In our opinion, the best panel we attended was the impromptu one. Long story short, the panelists who were supposed to be in attendance and speak got stuck somewhere else and two agents took over halfway through the wait.

One of the most talked about points of the conversation was about metadata. In book publishing, metadata was stressed so much and we’re here to help you understand why.

What is metadata? … I asked myself the same thing. I knew it had something to do with the discovery of online destinations, but I didn’t know the breakdown. Book metadata, specifically, consists of the details that help the exposure of your novel on the internet. But what does it consist of? Let’s talk about that.

Before the publication of your novel, you should consider opening up another document and writing out three basic points:

  • Keywords / key phrases
  • Book description using keywords
  • Author bio, using keywords

Do you see the common trend? I do. Keywords.

Keywords will become your best friend and your book’s best friend. But stay away from the generic words and “less important” ones. Your work could easily get lost or misplaced on the internet. Double check those words on a search engine to see what comes up. If it is similar to your work, then you hit the jackpot.

good to be back.gifYour list should be narrowed down to 10 – 20 words. You’ll be able to use this same tactic for the book description and author bio to reach a max audience.

To continue to thrive in the market, revisit this and re-brand yourself every so often. When you do this, you’re re-entering the market to a new wave of potential readers and fans.

May Publications [2]

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No worries, this will be us for the rest of audiobook month. Hopefully you’ll join us!

This May, we would like to introduce these newest audio additions to our (and your) library:

5/1

  • John Dreese // BLUE HOPE
  • Robert Bidinotto // WINNER TAKES ALL

5/3

  • Amie Knight // 2 TITLES
    • A STEEL HEART
    • SEE THROUGH HEART

5/4

  • Stephie Walls // UNEXPECTED ARRIVALS

5/7

  • Alta Hensley // SCOUNDRELS & SCOTCH
  • Frankie Love // HONORED
  • Kim Karr // HOLLYWOOD PRINCE
  • Kylie Hillman // CONAN
  • Parker Grey // WAKING HIS PRINCESS
  • T.L. Smith & Melissa Jane // COCKY FIANCE

5/8

  • Bobbi Holmes // THE GHOST AND THE MYSTERY WRITER
  • Yumoyori Wilson // TAINTED ROSE

5/9

  • C.C. Masters // FINDING SOMEWHERE TO BELONG
  • Emerson Knight & McKenzie Hunter // DARKNESS UNVEILED
  • Heather M. Orgeron // BOOMERANGERS
  • Meg Anne // MOTHER OF SHADOWS
  • Willow Rose // GIRL DIVIDED

5/10

  • Stella // THIRD BASE
  • Maria Luis // HAT TRICK
  • Mark Stone // FAR FROM SHORE
  • May Dawson // FIERCE ANGELS

5/13

  • BJ Harvey // ONE SHOT
  • Jean Grainger // 2 TITLES
    • SHADOW OF A CENTURY
    • UNDER HEAVEN’S SHINING STARS

5/16

  • LJ Swallow // THE FOUR HORSEMEN: BOUND
  • Violet Duke // BEFORE THAT NIGHT
  • Willow Rose // EDWINA

5/17

  • G. Bailey // 2 TITLES
    • ESCAPE THE SEA
    • LOVE THE SEA

5/18

  • Leddy Harper // THE ROOMMATE ‘DIS’AGREEMENT
  • LK Farlow // 2 TITLES
    • AN UPHILL BATTLE
    • COMING UP ROSES
  • Peter Grainger // LANE
  • Siobhan Davis // INSEPARABLE

5/22

  • Ella Fields // SUDDENLY FORBIDDEN

5/23

  • Kip Terrington // BUT DEATH IS NOT FORBIDDEN
  • Stella // HOME RUN KING

 

Pirate’s Life For Me…?

Ahoy mateys! It is I, Captain of the HRM ship, here to tell you: PIRACY. IS. NOT. OKAY.

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I love a good Captain Jack Sparrow gif…but hey, he’s a pirate too.

We’ve been seeing complaints online and receiving alerts from our own authors about “piraters” uploading whole e-books and audiobooks onto various platforms across the web, which is both frustrating and saddening. No one wants to see their work uploaded onto book platforms like iBooks or Google Play Books without their approval, especially if it is being sold for even the smallest amount of money. But most pirated material is put out for consumption for free,  that’s even more of a reason to freak out as an author. People downloading their books for free when they depend on this money to support themselves and their families (not to mention all the hard work and long hours they put into it)?! This is blasphemy!

Yeah, okay, a lot of people try to reason out the pros and cons of   piracy across all platforms…but at the end of the day…someone is making dirty money. Take a bath, why don’t you?

The theory goes that if it is free, shouldn’t you be happy that the book is at least getting some exposure? And if someone reads your book, becomes a fan, and wants to support your writing career, they’ll start to contribute to your newer titles…I suppose that is a good thing? At the end of the day though, it’s just not the life for me.

Is it worth putting up a fight to save your titles? In my opinion: Yes. It. Is. There is this incredibly detailed article talking about the steps to taking down a pirated book. Read it if the pirate market is bothering you to the Nth degree, it certainly has been here at HRM recently.

Since most of our agency’s authors have audiobooks through a publisher, it’s important to know that audiobook piracy happens as well. We have been finding full books up on YouTube and iBooks (make sure to check the podcast section as well, many free audiobooks end up there). Each publisher has their own process for getting these audiobooks taken down. They use sites such as DMCA, Digimarc, and MarkMonitor.  It also doesn’t hurt for you to send a Takedown Notice to the website you found your pirated audiobooks on either. We could use all the resistance we can get.

Protect the booty!

The Publishing Journey: The Slush

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Oh yes, we are briefly discussing the writer’s worst nightmare: the slush pile. If you’re new to the writing world and haven’t heard about the slush pile, it’s essentially the place where unsolicited query letters/manuscripts go to be read by assistants-to-the-editor.

Many will say a writer doesn’t want to end up in the slush pile, and there’s more truth to that than fiction. Once in that pile, one will never actually know if their manuscript ever made it onto the editor’s desk. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a world out there where the slush pile could potentially become a good thing. For example, an open slush pile.

The idea of an open slush pile may scare some, but if used correctly it can begin your journey as the writer-turned-published-author. The traditional slush pile is private to the publisher or agent the manuscript has ended up with, but the open slush pile exposes work everywhere. The downfall is, the work won’t be private anymore; anyone can access it, read it, and comment on it. If this is not the road you, as the writer, want to travel down, here are a few ideas to entice people, editors, and agents to read your writing and make use of the open slush pile:

  1. Short stories.
    Posting short stories on open slush pile websites can expose your audience to your writing style: how you execute the plot, how you build characters in a short span of writing, etc.
  2. Excerpts from your main manuscript.
    Just like if you were reading an excerpt at the end of a book for the sequel or to another book the author is working on, use your favorite or strongest excerpt from your manuscript to see if it peaks an audience’s interest. If it’s in high demand, then maybe you’ll end up getting picked up by an agent rather than you searching for one.
  3. Spin-off stories of your mysterious manuscript.
    Does your main character in your novel have another quick little tale they want to share? Get your audience excited by reading a prequel story of your main squeeze. It might make the character the more lovable one.

So maybe sitting in the slush pile in the editor’s storage unit (come on, we know there’s a lot and you need a place to put them) isn’t the ideal place to be, but there are other ways to use the wonderful resource of the internet and to make the best of being in the slush pile.

Coming To A Bookshelf Near You!

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Let’s talk about movie trailers. They are utilized to get viewers to come and see a movie which has yet to be released. There is usually a tease of action or a jump scare here or there, a little bit of the plot is explained, and sometimes the main character(s) is introduced. It makes people want to watch the movie and anticipate its release.

That same idea can be put towards book trailers.

If you’re a self-published author, you should consider making your way into book trailers for anticipated books in your series, or maybe a new series for your readers. Just like the movies, book trailers entice potential readers to go out and buy your book. The art of creating a book trailer is a newer platform to use to market your book and there are many reasons you might want to consider giving it a try.

First, we are in a time where visuals have become much more appealing to people and video has a strong influence too. 92.6% reported that visuals are the most influential factor in their decision-making. If the trailer does its job, the viewer is more likely to buy your book.

Another great part about creating a book trailer for your novel is how shareable it becomes. This makes mass exposure more feasible. Even better: it’s easy to share on multiple platforms, so if you’re not tech-saavy – you only have to press a single button and write a quick blurb to share with hundreds of people.

Just like those 92.6% of people had reported earlier, the decision to buy the book or not is made in a matter of seconds if the trailer is captivating enough. A good trailer does the decision-making for you.

Here are some key ingredients to keep in mind when creating your book trailers:

  • Keep it short and sweet (60-75 seconds).
  • “Professional” quality is better than low quality.
  • Include the information about release and where to buy.
  • You don’t have to break the bank.

Go ahead now, be the next Stephen Spielberg of book trailers and get on it!

Enjoy this audiobook trailer from Audible UK for the thriller of the year: SILENT CHILD by Sarah A. Denzil!



 

Judging A Book By Its Cover

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If you are travelling down the self-publishing path, then creating a book cover is going to be another part of your publishing journey. After walking through aisles and aisles of books at the local B&N, I started to notice the similarities amongst some of the genres. There’s a cycle a writer should keep in mind when creating the cover to their book. If you were the book, the process would go a little something like this:

  1. Get noticed by the potential reader browsing all your friends on the bookshelf or Amazon page.
  2. Either you’re picked up or clicked on, because you’re just that interesting.
  3. If you’re exactly what the potential reader wants, they’ll buy you.
  4. Of course, they’ll read you.
  5. After they’re done, they’re going to talk about you to other people. They’ll entice their peers with your inspiring and rich content.
  6. Let this process repeat.

But, how can you get to step one? A good cover takes a couple different factors into account. For a fiction novel, you won’t want to include too much text. The title, author name, and maybe an essential quote from the book or a shortened quote from a reviewer is more than enough to do the trick. When you add too much text, it becomes too much for a the reader to consume or it might reveal too much about your novel. This can cause the reader to quickly put your book back on the shelf or scroll onto the next book. Quick catchphrases or quotes can sometimes be a good subheading – but make sure it doesn’t go much beyond a sentence. If images help your novel pop, make sure the image used is significant to the plot of your novel. It becomes visually appealing when a story about a dog, has a dog on it (or whatever the story may be). When you pick the right image, a reader can get just as much information about your novel from just looking at the cover as they can from reading its summary.

Let’s use Caraval by Stephanie Garber as an example. The cover of Caraval is a happy medium between being too boring and too active. The bright white color font of the title pops out at you, so you are immediately drawn to the title. The lettering intertwines elegantly with the star design without being too intrusive, adding a little extra pizzazz without hindering your ability to read the text easily. The glittery stars within the star design, against the space background, flow together in a simple manner. When creating your cover, you want to reflect the story you’re telling. In Garber’s novel, her main character, Scarlett, must find her sister in five nights while being surrounded by magic and performances (therefore, the star design on the cover mirrors the nighttime or bursts of magic within the novel).

If you are a visual artist, as well as a wordsmith, you might want to take it upon yourself to create your own cover because you know the image you wish to convey to your readers better than anyone else. Or recruit someone you may know or a trusted cover designer to work with you to create the perfect cover that will bring your story to life. Regardless of how your cover is made, you want to be able to appeal to your readers and represent your book in an exceptional way that wouldn’t allow it to be looked over by browsers.