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!
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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?
- 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!
Don’t worry: we’re up.
And we’ve got a list of newly released audio ready for your ears. Get ready!
- Alex Rivers // STOLEN SOUL
- Kate Stewart // THE REAL
- Mila Young // CURSED
- Elle Cross // SO DARK THE NIGHT
- Bella Winters // MY BEST FRIEND’S DAD
- Eva Chase // 2 TITLES
- CONSORT OF PAIN
- DRAGON’S FATE
- Gia Riley // WRONG SIDE OF HEAVEN
- LJ Swallow // THE FOUR HORSEMEN: DESCENT
- Jaxson Kidman // 2 TITLES
- Ashley Meira // SMOKE AND MAGIC
- Crystal Daniels & Sandy Alvarez // THE DARKEST OF LIGHT
- Joanna Blake // RIDE WITH THE DEVIL
- Elle Cross // SO BRIGHT THE DAWN
- Jamie Schlosser // TRUCKER
- Jenna Wolfhart // A TOUCH OF STARLIGHT
- Lisa Suzanne // THE POWER TO BREAK
- Mila Young // CLAIMED
- Kathleen Wheeler // BROUGHT TO OUR SENSES
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.
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.
Your 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.
It’s December 1st, meaning there’s only a month left of 2017. Looking forward to the new year, I have been browsing the prediction of publishing trends for 2018. If you’re stuck on what moves to make next in your publishing career, keep reading this post to see what publishing professionals are expecting to see for 2018!
- Digital Fatigue
With the rise of the use of technology, many dedicated readers are taking a step away from their Nooks, their Amazon Fires, or their Kindle apps on their phone to dive back into the good ol’ days of traditional publishing, specifically paperbacks. Since 2016, e-book sales have dropped 35.9% and Nook earnings have dropped 26%. If you’re a reader taking a break from your cell phone or tablet screen and picking up a good book, I applaud you! If you’re a writer and wondering what to do with your fresh manuscript, looking into traditional publishing might be your New Year’s resolution.
- The Rise of Indie & Hybrid Publishing
Indie publishing has taken over the publishing scene, but so is hybrid publishing right there next to it! From what it looks like, hybrid publishing may be bumping indie style out of the way to take the crown. Authors want to work with professionals who are familiar with the craft of publishing and hybrid publishing provides the professionals from the bigger companies to help the indie publishers make their mark in the world. Just keep in mind the market shares for self-published books is 42%, which is greater than the shares for big publishers at 34%.
- Longer E-Book Shelf Life = Increased Competition
E-books enter a digital cloud and it’s pretty hard to delete them from the internet once exposed. With there being millions of books on the Amazon Kindle app, as well as on other platforms, it’s very easy to get lost in the mix. As a published author, if you’re seeing your sales decline/stagnant, revisit your titles and see what you can do. Maybe a new cover? Book description? Or even utilize some marketing resources to revitalize the title of your book. Or if you don’t see any improvement from there, publish more books! The more books you have available to readers, the better chance you have to get readers to buy.
- More Books, Stagnating Readership
Although 73% of Americans read at least a book a year, there are so many books! “Discoverability” should become your best friend as a writer to help gain more exposure with your titles.
- Audiobooks are GROWING
I saved the best for last! In 2013, 20,000 audiobooks were released. In 2014, 36,000 audiobooks were released. In 2015, valued at $2.8 billion, 43,000 audiobooks were released for the growing community of audiobook lovers! Kindle Unlimited is on the rise, as well, with access to 2,500 audiobooks for a great price!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The query letter is usually your first step to seeking a literary agent or publisher. It can be the scariest step you will take because after you hit the ‘send’ button or as soon as you drop the envelope in the mail, you are putting yourself out there for rejection and criticism. But, the query letter doesn’t have to be scary; it doesn’t have to be something that you to lose sleep over. You can’t think of a query letter as your complete life story, but rather a mini billboard sign highlighting what you have to offer. If an agent or publisher isn’t looking for a story like the one you have wrote, then no amount of information is going to convince them take you on as a client or to offer you publishing deal. Query letters should be a short and sweet summary of your manuscript, aim for 300 words or less. Keep in mind that your audience is most like a very busy individual, receiving an influx of other letters from plenty of other decent writers. Stay humble and don’t come off too ambitious. Don’t attach or include a sample of a chapter right away in the first letter; leave a cliffhanger to have the reader of your query letter yearn for more. The more you leave them wanting, the higher chance you have for your work to be reviewed.
There are a few key points to keep in mind when writing your query letter:
- If there is one, add a personal connection with your audience. With a link to the individual, they may be inclined to read your letter with more care than the last one.
- Going off the previous point, even without the personal connection, DO NOT copy and paste 80 of the same letters to different agents or publishers. It makes the letter incredibly impersonal, seemingly desperate for a form of recognition. Think about that particular agent or publisher and why you would be a good fit for them based on their current client and book list. Do you compliment their current author and books well or do you fill in a missing gap they might not have?
- When a cliffhanger is added to the quick summary of your story, you shouldn’t give away the entire plot.
- The biography in your letter should include (if possible) your own credibility in writing.
- Keep the tone consistent in your letter. A good letter will keep consistent language; if it’s a lighthearted story, keep a gentle tone – if it’s a comedy novel, include some humor.
- A common mistake is assuming the guidelines to agents, editors, and/or publishers are all the same. Read the guidelines with care…since they do determine your fate with possible representation or a possible book deal!
A query letter is vital to your publishing journey, so take your time to write it. Don’t forget to reread copies of your letters before you send them to your prospective representatives checking for grammar errors, misspellings, and to make sure you are getting the message you want across to the reader. This careful attention could change your fate.
If you’re new to the publishing world, it’s alright to feel completely overwhelmed and lost at times. The publishing world can often feel like a foreign country to beginners or sometimes even its own planet. All the greatest writers had to start somewhere before they became a published author, and trust me they all felt the exact same way you are. At least now we have Google to guide us, right?
The business of publishing is quite interesting from the outside looking in, but if you haven’t had the opportunity to publish your first novel, you may be a little weary of what to do and where to go. The intimidation (and/or high level of anxiety) of sending your manuscript to a literary agency or one of the big five publishers should not discourage you. It’s an exciting time to finally be able to bring your hard work to life. At HRM, we develop submission plans for our authors that would best showcase their work while making sure we target the best potential editors for a successful deal. We have constructed a list of things that we keep in mind when searching for publishers for our authors. Perhaps this will make the submission process tad bit less scary: Who’s going to be YOUR target? Before you even start the submission process, you need to reflect on the manuscript you’ve produced. You probably thought about it before writing it, but if you haven’t, ask yourself: who would I want to read my masterpiece? What genre can I market this book as? These few questions can help narrow down the search in publishing options.
- Be aware of your online presence! In this technology-based era, publishing has turned towards audio, e-books, and other new forms of reading options. As for authors, becoming more active online can help you grow a fanbase much better than word-of-mouth (although that definitely still happens too). This helps publishers see how popular you are amongst peers/fans. If you already have a built in fan base, that’s a huge plus for publishers.
- Know how publishing houses work… Each house is different. Sometimes they market to a certain age group or focus on publishing a particular genre. Search the publishing house website for their company goal; therefore you can compare your own goals as a writer to those of the house.
- Check the performance of the house… Once you’ve narrowed down a list of publishers you envision yourself publishing with, research some previously published books by these particular publishers and how well they sold. See if they marketed the book correctly online as well as how they presented the book to the public.
- If you need help with PR, check out the houses PR department. If online presence has been a struggle for you, a publisher’s PR department is going to be important to you. When you’re checking the performance of the house on their social media accounts, check what they post about, how people react to it, and if it is done effectively. If nothing else, it can assist in your own social media brand and following.
- Don’t feel discouraged from rejection! If there is one thing you should expect in any industry, it is rejection. Accepting your defeat doesn’t mean you’ve given up…it just means you’re onto the next, and hopefully better, one!
- Last, but not least…HAVE OTHER PUBLISHING OPTIONS!!!!! Sending your manuscript to ONE publisher makes landing a publishing deal impossible. Send your manuscript to ten, maybe even twenty possible publishers, and see what kind of reaction you get from there. If you don’t receive any bites, do a second or even third round of submissions. Finding the right editor for your work is a formula that could take months or years to figure out. Be prepared to explore other options, even if it’s a completely different route than you had originally planned. Stepping stones will always assist in you getting to your end goal, even if it takes a few extra steps along the way.
Reading is one of the most important life skills that one will ever learn. Reading creates all sorts of positive changes- from reducing stress, to creating a better sense of self and independence, to empowering our brains to keep growing. We should be encouraging those around us to read each and every day (especially our children), even if it’s just for five minutes, but there is no better day to preach the wonders of reading than this Sunday, April 23rd because it is World Book Day!
As a literary agent, it’s no surprise that this day means a whole lot to me. But, this day goes way beyond my career, it strikes a very personal cord with me. My friends at Amazon are encouraging people to share why they read so well, here it is.
There are so many different reasons why I read, but I think what really hits it home for me is that reading is the easiest and least expensive vacation you will ever get. I don’t think I have ever come out of a reading session more stressed or frustrated than when I started. In fact, I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t noticeably more relaxed after reading just a few chapters of whatever book has my attention at the moment. A book is the one tool that is available to us on a daily basis that allows us to transport ourselves somewhere else. While reading we can visit any place in the world, be whoever we want to be, and experience new adventures. I don’t know of a better “break” from the chaos and natural stresses of our every day lives than that. Reading allows us to totally disconnect and recharge. Reading creates a safe environment where we can just be with ourselves (and the characters of course), which is becoming harder and harder to find in a social media driven world. Reading is the best therapy we can give ourselves.
Why do you read? #LovetoRead