Sunday Business Sermon: Open Q&A (June 2021)
Alright, everyone. Welcome to today's today's q amp a session. This will be a full 60 minutes of Q amp a assuming we have enough questions to keep going that long.
We've already got a few questions here in the q amp a box. For those of you who might be watching through facebook I will get to your questions as time allows the people who are attending. me here in zoom get first priority.
So those of you here in zoom please put your questions into the box. I will take them basically in the order that I see them, although I will pay attention to questions that are uploaded and look at those more quickly. So, without further ado, I'm going So, without further ado, I'm going to get to the first question, which is from Valerie approached me and spring 2019 she didn't want to sign a contract. Until she shopped my memoir around what she did at that time, six ounces had positive responses but past because they felt my platform wasn't strong enough. After about 18 months that agent tried to persuade me to publish at my own cost through the company she had just started and at that point I decided to end the relationship. And we AMicably parted ways, so And we AMicably parted ways. So
Valerie's question is since the project has already been shopped project has already been shopped around. Does she mentioned this experience in the query to new agents or wait until they expressed interest. If an agent is excited about a project, Am I not even thinking they should offer suggestions and helping build my platform.
Okay, so there's a few answers in Okay, so there's a few answers in here. I think, first I would like to say that I think you were right , probably to walk away from that agent if she was persuading you to publish through the company she had just started that sounds a just started that sounds a little odd not wrong but you know if she had just started company I don't know how great of a job. She might have done on the book. Who knows. So, if you're querying new Agents.
Agents. I don't know that you have to get into great detail about what has happened with the project but I do think you need to at least in a sentence indicate it's been represented before and it's been turned down from some places. You don't necessarily have to list what they are but here's, here's the problem that you face here's the problem that you face. Most agents are not crazy about taking on a project that's already been represented and shopped around probably to all of the places they would ordinarily go themselves. I have to assume that the agent you had did a reasonable job and covering all your bases and going to all the places that might take it. So once it's a rejection from a publisher or an editor.
to change the fortunes of the project project to change the fortunes of the project with that publishers so project with that publishers so it. What you're banking on here is a new agent, having new ideas or new places to go that the former agent didn't think of or didn't have access to. Obviously I don't know who this first agent wise and how diligent or throw they might have been. But, it's gonna you're in a really difficult position and if it were me I would probably be thinking about approaching publishers on my own, rather than finding an agent who's who's in an agent who's who's enthusiasm will definitely be dampened because it's already been wrapped and it's already gone out on submission. So, the next piece of the So, the next piece of the question if an agent excited about the project in my night even thinking they should offer suggestions and helping build platform.
I mean they might have a conversation with you about that. But they're, you know, it's, you know, and by Conversation I mean they might mention it. You know in a half hour phone call or in a one hour phone call and suggest what needs to happen but they're not going to give you hands on help, you know, they're probably not going to do a lot of heavy lifting there, they might brainstorm with you and then you go back to them and six then you go back to them and six months or 12 months or however long it takes you to execute some sort of platform building activity. So I hope that helps Valerie, I So I hope that helps Valerie, I think my bottom line here is that I'm not sure going down the agent path is going to be terribly fruitful especially since you've already had around it rejections. I would be thinking about small publishers independent publishers that you could approach on your own that don't require an agent, as if not your next step. The next step after you try The next step after you try another round of agents if you feel like that first one didn't go to enough places to begin with. And if you haven't
already figured it out or asked or whatever you need to get a list of the places that first agent went to so that the next agent has that on hand. That's one of the first things they're going to ask for is where has this book ask for is where has this book already been shocked because they don't want to knock on the door, a second time. Okay, so next question is Okay, so, next question is from Wendy, what type of email Program or system do you recommend for Connecting with readers. This can be pretty personal This can be pretty personal decision there's not one size fits all here. I'll mention the ones that are most popular with authors, and why they're popular with authors.
Right now some stack is getting a lot of attention. It's, it's easy to figure out, you do It's, it's easy to figure out, you don't have to pay for it and there's the possibility of charging people for your email newsletter down the road. So for that reason a lot of people are trying out some stack, it's pretty low risk, but it's, it's very writing driven, which may or may not be There's not a whole lot of design flexibility, it does it's not as fully featured, or as. Let's say as advanced from a marketing perspective as marketing perspective as something like a MailChimp, which I have a lot of experience with or like a mailer light, which is one of the popular email marketing services that authors use. So if you want something that is more marketing oriented, I would look at mailer light as probably your first stop I believe it's free up into 1000 names. You could also look at mailChimp although I've pulled back myself from that service.
And then who else. Those are the top choices Those are the top choices they're, they're definitely others out there but like i said it's a it's a personal personal decision, maybe I'll give a shout out to convert Kit and something that is pretty sophisticated. And also, I think, pretty easy for authors to use that is more marketing oriented so if you're looking for more heavy duty marketing, email service. Convert Kit might be the way to go for you. you, Tom says, I've published, nine novels Tom says, I've published, nine novels, with imprints of penguin random House and simon and Schuster and written for spawn at. image Comics. I've
image Comics. I've had for agents. that long. I've just had an agency that long. I've just had an agent say she can't read me, because I have since then because I have since then published indie books, self didn't sell well enough, is my career just over, what are my options.
I don't think your career is over. You know, I don't always take You know, I don't always take You know, I don't always trust the reasons agents give for the reasons agents give for what's happening in terms of why they can't represent you, unless you have actual rejection letters from houses or editors i think you know they're they're thinking is informed by lots of subjective factors, how they like to operate factors, how they like to operate the sorts of clients they have not saying this agent was Misleading you exactly but they're going to give you an answer that is the easiest possible answer to give without sometimes not a lot of nuance. So, there may be So, there may be a sales track record issue here, Maybe.
between the commercial fortunes of those two types of publishing and they wouldn't equate one with the other. That said, if you did the self published books and they look, I don't know. They look some par or they just raise flags for some reason I don't know why that might be but who knows that might not be helping you. At the very least, but I'm reluctant to say that just because you Self Published know agents going to touch you because I see self Published authors picked up all the time, with new books, so if you're trying to pitch them on stuff that self Published that's a problem, you have to be going to them with new titles that have not yet, hit the market. So I wouldn't give up.
but you know some authors will decide to adopt a pen name or tried try to tackle this in a creative way that divert attention from whatever seems to be dampening their chances but I don't take one agents opinion on this as Gospel. I would, I would, I would keep looking either for representation as long as, as for it's a new project or look for independent publishers are small publishers that don't require an agent carol asks, Can you talk carol asks, Can you talk about the advantages and disadvantages of setting up a book for preorder when you self publish versus just making it available without a pre order. available without a pre order. I think the big disadvantage I think the big disadvantage is that if you have a really long pre order period on Amazon specifically.
in for an entire year. You're in for an entire year. You're kind of losing that really great punch of sales that happened when you have a tighter preorder window. Now I, I'm not going to talk about traditional publishing strategy, I'm just going to focus on self published authors here but for most self published authors sustaining strong preorder sales, week after week and month after month if it's a full year can be challenging. So, usually want to keep that So, usually want to keep that preorder window. Less than a
month. And that's if you have an established readership that you can market and PRomote to. If it's your very first book, it If it's your very first book. It can be hard to market a pre order because you might not have an established audience yet you might not really have much of an email newsletter social media presence, you might not know what you're doing.
And so it's harder to get those pre orders going, I'm not saying it's impossible, but you would have to know how to light that fire and keep it going over a period of weeks. So if you are doing mean So if you are doing meaningful pre publication marketing, so that would include you know getting blurbs pre publication reviews doing pre publication advertising, having a COver reveal doing these things that generate interest over weeks and months, then the pre order can be it can be okay the pre order can be it can be okay. And it works out fine. But again, if you are looking for a really nice shot in the arm when you're booked first releases. that, that sales juice. The that, that sales juice, the AMAzon algorithm you know recognizes the sales coming in and all hits and you get the big boost in your ranking, rather than having it kind of spit out over many many many many days. So I hope that makes sense. I
was here at focusing on. So it's a little bit of a So it's a little bit of a different game so another factor that plays into this is whether your exclusive with whether your exclusive with Amazon or if you're wide. There's a really good post at my site. site. I would highly recommend taking a look at that post and reading through some of her suggestions my perspective on the issue is, it's similar to hers.
Marissa says you've said a query Marissa says you've said a query is more effective if we write specifics that no other writer would use. But what if we're trying to quickly build suspense with phrases like until now, orbit appearances can be deceiving or but she was far from saved for she refused. How can a writer builds she refused. How can a writer build suspense in a short space of the query, otherwise. Well I think there's a difference here between transition phrases which of course are going to be repeated across queries, and then big abstract concepts or stakes that tend to get repeated again and again cliches. So things like appearances can be deceiving. I can't tell you
be deceiving. I can't tell you how many hundreds of times I've seen that expressed in a query. Now it might be fine and your query. the deception is if you just use way without any specifics. We don't care as much. It's the We don't care as much. It's the
We don't care as much. It's the We don't care as much. It's the story comes alive through specific characters facing specific Challenges. So there
are some things where because you need to condense to save space that yeah you're going to repeat some phrases that are common, especially in transitions or to get some in transitions or to get something across very quickly, but always make sure the story it when you're using some of those well worn phrases. Another one of the well worn phrases in her life was turned upside down. Or she had to choose between, you know, saving her own life for saving her loved what into some of these are just, they fall flat because they get us so often so I'm trying to help I advise writers on crazy I'm trying to help them avoid the things that make their story sounds like everyone else's story. like everyone else's story. So there's sonia's So there's sonia is asking your question that I've been receiving quite a bit of lately.
Apple has recently announced that they're going to block email open tracking. So can I address how this will affect authors and newsletter writers authors and newsletter writers. So for those who aren't aware, I , in the land of email newsletters and email marketing . One of the Metrics, or one of the things that you can see about your email is how often people open, and it's expressed as a percentage rate. So you have a 20% open rate or if 50 So you have a 20% open rate or a So you have a 20% open rate or a 50% open rate, and it's a really good sign of how well that email has performed. Of course, you know, if you have a better open rates something was going really well with that email.
the email was delivered. So with apple deciding to So with apple deciding to no longer make that information available, it, it sort of creates a big blind spot. And I think the number one concern for most people is that it limits your ability to keep a healthy, or cleaner list because you don't have the most accurate Idea of who's opening your emails. So in other words you if you try to clean your list based on people who aren't opening.
It's going to be really hard to do that when the metrics aren't accurate or they don't tell you who was actually opening. Now I have to add here, a huge caveat that open rates are already not accurate. You know that's.
It's an approximation. It is not it It's an approximation, it is not , it does not offer pinpoint accuracy already, but it's going to get a lot worse when Apple starts report stops reporting these metrics. reporting these metrics. So I think it, they're going to have to, they're going to be other methods that come around, for helping with that clean, healthy list. I think people
are going to be looking a lot more at click based engagement. The probably be more emails asking I think it, they're going to have to, they're going to be other methods that come around, for helping with that clean, healthy list. I think people are going to be looking a lot more at click based engagement, they'll probably be more emails asking people what they want to receive that require clicking. And I think they'll just, you know, other things will happen I think we're going to see this evolve, where people will adapt and adjust. One of the things here is it's simply too early to know how this is going to play out I mean it was just announced, like a couple weeks ago. If not, maybe not even that long ago.
No one's exactly sure how Apple is implementing this or what it will look like. So I think it's still how this is going to play out. But I think for most writers who , if they're not hard marketers, son , if they're not hard marketers, , if they're not hard marketers, sending emails that are meant to sell every time I think the effect is going to be less pernicious. I think it, but the one area where I think it's going to Because of the open rate, but I don't think it's going to be a nail in the coffin or I don't nail in the coffin or I don't think it's going to result in it, and tragedy.
Everyone will adapt, because we, we always adapt and everything's okay and then. Carol's Sue says. Recently Carol's Sue says. Recently, you wrote a book, you wrote about a voice to print or vice versa, app can you tell me again. What it is probably. probably otter.
if I had to guess if I had to guess, otter is a sir if I had to guess, otter is a service that allows you to take for instance of zoom audio recording and turn it into text otter in fact powers the captions for this. So it might be that there's So it might be that. There's also rev. com. those are the first two tools that come to mind. Mary Jane says, I'm brand new to all Mary Jane says, I'm brand new to all of this and have finished my first draft of my memoir, I expect this to be my one and only book that I will try to get published and it needs to be under a pen name per my family's request. What would be the typical upfront costs of trying to self upfront costs of trying to self publish of getting the cover publish of getting the cover designed using a designer to designed using a designer to make my word document feasible for publication.
I'm trying to keep out of pocket expenses to a minimum. So, you know, for most So, you know, for most people if they're tackling self publishing as something that's. Let's say professional grade, the expenses can easily get up the expenses can easily get up to $5,000 if you're hiring a professional editor and a professional designer.
I think the big question mark here is that editorial piece because a traditional publisher will use no fewer than three editors and most cases to go through that work they'll have a development or content Editor a copy editor and proofreader, it gets very expensive very quickly when you're an author Hiring out e services for each stage of the process. So a lot of people will use one editor, a little bit later in the process and, or maybe, combined with some betas and that'll be that with the design the design there are tools that keep those costs in line. So for example, there's Joel Friedlander's book k design templates you could go to book design templates, calm and for less than $100 get something that turns your microsoft Word.
and to a printer ready PDF and to a printer ready PDF that you can upload to Amazon and Ingram Spark. So I would look for book design templates from Joel Friedlander that will get you the interior for your print in your ebook although it won't get you to cover. There's also Amazon's There's also Amazon's There's also Amazon's own tools that will create the book for you it might look a little you it might look a little clunky or than it would if you paid for Joel friedlander templates. There's also a There's also a service by daemon saw that spelled zap good day saw that spelled zap go to Damon's law. com you can find
Damon's law. com you can find that he has a range of packages for self published authors that gives you the cover design and the interior design for both the E book, and the print book, I bought last time I checked, those costs less than $1,000. So, if you less than $1,000. So, if you're going to make an investment in design I would focus it on the cover design that's by far the most important piece here. The interior interior design can whether that's from Joel friedlander's templates Amazon's templates or, you know, just following someone's directions on how to format your directions on how to format your word document. So I hope that helps, Mary Jane.
Matty says I'm trying to get go Matty says I'm trying to get go Matty says I'm trying to get google Play Promo codes into the hands of readers and exchange for their sign up for my email newsletter. I'm not in the tools at our disposal or MailChimp but weebly site facebook but funnel . I'm not sure how to combine these most efficiently to the do several of these in combination. And I'm having trouble finding advice on how to execute the entire process from anyone source. I am probably going to disappoint you, because i don't know i mean i.
My inclination is to back way up in My inclination is to back way up . In fact, and ask why Google Play because it represents such a tiny tiny tiny percentage of overall sales. I would want to know a lot more about the reasons for focusing on those readers. What's going to be gained especially if you're not quite sure how to execute that it just, it seems like a lot of work and effort and question mark for a market that I know is, is incredibly small, so I don't mean to be dismissive of the question but Whenever I see that sort of. thing big question mark surrounding something I have to ask if it's actually going to be meaningful if you manage to execute it. So there there are bigger, more So there there are bigger, more So there there are bigger, more fruitful areas maybe to explore . I really don't know where I would start in trying to accomplish this. I'm sorry I
wish I had a better answer. David asks, do you think AM David asks, do you think Amazon in the Hamptons marketing Programs are worth investing in. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the hamptons program, so I'll leave that unanswered. But for leave that unanswered. But for self published authors and traditional publishers amazon ads are becoming something of a necessity. And that's mainly to get better ranking and amazon through search and to ensure a higher baseline of sales over the long term.
That said, AMazon ads, you know That said, AMazon ads, you know, have to be monitored. It's not just something you can set once and forget it's something you're going to need to revisit have to consider doing short term campaigns. Periodically.
Periodically, Perhaps in conjunction with other promotions, like you might be advertising somewhere else like on book Bob or facebook or. So I do think amazon advertising is becoming pretty important broadly broadly, for, for all types of authors and publishers. Her she asks, my debut Her she asks, my debut paperback comes out spring next year from your experience, what are some things I need to start doing now for a successful launch and sales. your self publishing etc a lot of considerations here, I'll try to mention that thing it's that I would expect from any professional author. So you usually start with an author website if you don't have one, it's time to start one. I would think about the Email newsletter, that's going to help capture the reader's that you get from this book and so you can market to them again for the second book so always be thinking ahead in that regard.
And then one social media outlet And then one social media outlets, where you're okay or even eager to be engaging with other people in your genre or in your community. So, it don't like to be prescriptive here because it needs to be something you can participate in over the long term in order to see any kind of meeting or pay off. So you have to actually enjoy what you're doing. So it could be Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram Tick tock, it's up Instagram Tick tock. It's up to you but I think one place for you to be visible and active is very useful for a launch. So those are that's kind of the, what I call the marketing trifecta when we're thinking about book launches in the online space. Trisha says I plan to release a sin Trisha says I plan to release a series of five YA books, series of five YA books, beginning this summer.
I'm working on the rate of release weighing the pros and cons of releasing 30 6090 and 20 days apart. On the one hand, , I might reach some advantages from the rapid release. releasing their books usually releasing their books usually within a within a month of each other. On the other hand, I don't want to forego the benefits of allowing time to garner reviews allowing time to garner reviews and publicity. So I don't know that there's a right or wrong answer here. here again, there's so many variables with Marketing books.
What else is happening your What else is happening your category or genre, what the readers expect. These are things that, you know, I myself would have to research in order to come up with an educated answer. answer. So, I, I don't know but So, I, I don't know but the one reassurance I can offer you is that if this is fiction and it certainly sounds like it is. No, it's more of a marathon than a sprint, usually the rapid release is to help you with the.
If you have a wide strategy and you have a wide strategy and a very long term organic strategy. , then you know you're going to be marketing and PRomoting these books for years to come. And then hopefully publishing more books. And as that library of titles behind you grows, it's going to become easier and easier to market and promote. So these are the very first So these are the very first books that you're doing you're at the beginning of a pretty long journey.
And I don't know, like, how And I don't know, like, How which which choice you make. I don't think it's going to have a have an effect that you can't change or overcome or build on regardless of what happens. So don't. I think some I think some. Sometimes, when we approach these things we think there's the right way to do it that will ensure success coming out of it. But I think you'll just have to evaluate and.
If you see things are playing out differently than you out differently than you expected being flexible, essentially is what I'm suggesting. I hope that helps. Walter says my first novel came Walter says my first novel came in at 134,000 words, I'm researching and submitting to prospective agents. I've received a caveat that 134,000 may kick my crime novel out of the box right away.
Am I killing the book because of the word count. One person said there are books published out of the range but rarely first novels, Walter says I like the novel but if I've already killed it. And I wonder if I shouldn't go back and do surgery. Now before
I submit it. So yeah so 134,000 words yeah so hundred and 34,000 words as long. Indeed, and you Indeed, and you will increase your chances, if you cut it. I can't lie.
And I know that, you know, there are And I know that, you know, there are many publishers and agents, as well who can point two exceptions to this rule. exceptions to this rule. I just don't suggest counting on you you I just don't suggest counting on yourself as that exception.
So, yes, I would call So, yes, I would. Can you get it down even by 10% 15%. Getting it closer to that hundred thousand mark. I think would be helpful and you may sometimes just going through that editing exercise, actually shows you some things maybe you didn't realize at first, about that novel. Usually tightening things up Usually tightening things up.
It makes things stronger so be open to that if you can if you try to cut it or tighten it try to cut it or tighten it. And it seems worse, then submit And it seems worse than submitted at the full length but I think it's at least worth trying to cut. We have someone anonymously asking a question to agents on a well known podcast refer the narrative and memoir queries to narrative and memoir queries to be written in third person present tense. I know it's usually written in first tense past tense. And this first tense past tense, and this person tried third person, third person present believes that sounds better so should I use this POV for all queries. I mean, I'll see for fiction I do like present tense, without a question for both the query and the synopsis for memoirs, it and the synopsis for memoirs.
I tend to act my personal preference is past tense but it think it gets awkward when ou're pitching a memoir and it's stuff that happened 50 years ago or, you know, many decades ago or, you know, many decades ago it just starts to feel a little weird, but it's not wrong to write it but it's not wrong to write it in first, so I think you should do what you think fits the story best and what seems more natural. nitrous says a high profile agent as nitrous says a high profile agent asked for my manuscript was complimentary about the writing but eventually passed. Can I resubmit to this agent or another at the agency, and if so another at the agency, and if so another at the agency, and if so should I tell them it's been there before. agency, it's in essence in agency, it's in essence querying all agents that the agency, because they share projects amongst each other. So
rejection from one is a rejection from all. So you're gonna have to take a look at what that agency says on the matter. If they say on the matter. If they say
ABsolutely nothing about it, then I would assume you can can submit to other agents at that agency. As far as resubmitting to the exact same agent, unless they asked for revise and resubmit they do not want to see it again. they do not want to see it again. I mean you can try and you're not going to get a black check, or x next year name but it's going to be know if they felt like the manuscript, or the project was worth them seeing again after revision they would have said so. have said so.
I would take it as a no and move on. on Another anonymous question, what are the best self publishing and small publishing companies you keep mentioning them. So for clarity here I'm talking about Traditional publishers who are not the big five, so there are five really large New York Publishers penguin random House I'm going to shoot Simon and Schuster harper Collins hachette macmillan. And under those big
five are hundreds of impermanence, which you really can't approach, without an agent. can't approach, without an agent. But outside of the big Five in New York, there are hundreds, thousands of small publishers independent publishers university publishers publishers that are actually really notable in size, that make millions of dollars in sales every year, and are open to authors, without an agent, so to authors, without an agent. So referring to, I'm not referring to self publishing I'm not referring to hybrid, I'm referring to traditional publishers outside of the conglomerate. So if you're curious about what those companies are there. Far too many thousands for me to name.
You have to look at a database like do a trope calm. In order to figure out which of those companies would be appropriate for your work and good news I just learned that writers market. That's one of the brands I used to work for. It's actually coming back this year the big publishers and all the rest of it. It's now published by Penguin random House one of the big five and they're coming out with a new edition late this year, so you'll be able to also reference that, to find out who all those other publishers are trisha says for an upcoming trisha says for an upcoming release, I've been accepted to receive a new release for less feature from book Bub, are there other new release promotion sites I should look promotion sites I should look into.
Off the top of my head I know think to purchase an alert. I think I'm not mistaken, that tells your book Bub followers that you have a new release coming out, although you may have to have like a minimum of 1000 people, maybe following you on book Bub to take advantage of that promotion. So that's when I would look at.
But I you know off the top of my head I can't think of any others, except maybe written word media I think they have a new release newsletter as well that would be very comparable to the bugs. Emily lombard recently wrote at head I can't think of any others, except maybe written word media I think they have a new release newsletter as well that would be very comparable to the pubs, Emma Lombard recently wrote at my site about her book launch plan as a self publishing out plan as a self publishing out there that she used the written word media new releases promotion, but she mentioned that she wouldn't use it again so it didn't work for her. It might work for you. But I, I would be cautious about new release alerts for self publishing titles. Not because I think it's bad, but I just like Emma Lombard found out with her promotion I find that the fact that your book is a new releases and often what sells it, unless you're a known name or unknown author. I Trisha adds on to that I'm wondering whether I should set up AMazon ads for release week.
In addition to the book Bub, add and facebook, or wait add and facebook, or wait. If you know if you were trying to get on a best seller list or something and you were doing a really strong push. You know, I could see having an ad campaign on facebook or amazon. But I think, you know, it's, I You need to know two things one that everything about that book is positioned and packaged well , and by position and packaging I mean cover design, title, price marketing. is off about that and you have to go back and fix it.
So sometimes you figure that out because of advertising actually because you're doing ads and you realize the ads are performing that well and there's something off about the package or the position and then package or the position and then you have to fix it and the ads perform better. perform better. The other piece of this is add tests The other piece of this is add testing I don't know that a lot of people are testing their ads as much as they need to in order for the ads to be effective. for the ads to be effective. So especially with facebook and amazon it requires testing and amazon it requires testing and maintenance over months if not years so I'm always a little hesitant to suggest ads.
It's the first time you've ever advertised. It's, you know, this is part of a bigger picture right so there are a lot, I keep stressing this there are a lot of variables to consider and figuring out whether advertising it's going to be effective. It has to be one piece of a much bigger plan, so I'm not trying to be wishy washy ads are important, but I hope that when you're doing them, it's that you're doing the testing, and that you also got your position in your packaging correct. Okay. Okay. Someone says, I'm Curious shark, I Someone says, I'm Curious shark, I read that sentence is in Aquarius should be captured under 10 words, each do you agree, no, I don't agree, make your sentences as long as you want, A Kathy says, as a novelist who's A Kathy says, as a novelist A Kathy says, as a novelist whose work in progress, is that in a fictional small town inspired by my own adopted hometown is the normal disclaimer okay, especially if no one is a character from the town.
my fictional town as a florist shop. Not the name of the real one for example is this problematic. I think people write fiction all the time that's based on people they know places they lived. I think most publishers and authors put something that's you know on the copyright page or otherwise that says, All the story is fictional nothing's that, you know, seems like it's. that, you know, seems like it's. I can't remember the exact language but yes the normal disclaimer slide, I guess, is what I would say I don't I'm not even sure, often that you need that disclaimer in the first place, but yes the normal one is fine.
Another anonymous question, I have some essays, based on chapters in my book, and others would it be better to try to publish these before querying for agents and editors to see are closer to my publication date to garner reader interest. Both, and if I'm assuming this is a nonfiction book and you will likely need a platform of some kind. It's hard to get a some kind. It's hard to get a nonfiction book published without some sort of publishing track record in nonfiction.
So I would say yes definitely start So I would say yes definitely start placing some work if you can, and then closer to the release date, you're going to be working with your publisher to get excerpts are essays or guest posts are published. So, yeah, both. Another question from Matt a with a different spin on the Promo code questions since i gave a very non Answered before does giving away a promo code for a free copy of a book on a non Amazon platform violate Amazon's lowest cost rule. list price is the same list price is the same as Amazon's list price so let's ist price so let's say this comes into play with smash words, for example. So Smash words, access both the E book distributor and retailer, and they offer promo codes.
So, smash words will you may have So, smash words will you may have it your ebook listed there for 399 and you're also selling it for 399 on AMazon, but code that effectively reduces the price to 99 cents for free or what have you, does not violate does not violate Amazon's term violate Amazon's terms of Service or the fact that they demand to have the lowest price on the market. And says I have a self published book, for which I filled out forms for Ingram Spark, how does this agency assist with distribution and how is the authors position or duty related. So Ingram Spark as a distributor, the So Ingram Spark as a distributor , that serves specifically self published authors it's part of a much larger wholesaler or distributor. That's one of the biggest in the world Ingram big publishers us Ingram AMazon orders from Ingram bookstores and retailers and libraries order from Ingram every and libraries order from Ingram.
Everyone, basically orders from Ingram. So by having your book in the Ingram system or catalog that makes your book available to be purchased or ordered from to be purchased or ordered from any basically any books. So the fact that you're in the system is all that you really need here. your book will then populate at retailers across across the globe without you having to do anything. So for instance if you go to the bookstore website, and you look up your book, you'll see it there if you go to bookshop, which is an independent bookstore online retailer. You'll find your book there, if it's an ingram, so the surface just works. You don't have to
just works. You don't have to do anything, aside from upload your book for it to be distributed Karen says I'm self Publishing right now and think of right now and think of publisher Might republish it, what should I do to bring that about. So I do have a blog post at my website about how to find an agent for a self published book. to look for a publisher for it.
It is really really hard rock It is really really hard. they would have seen its numbers they would have seen its numbers that this book really belongs in their catalog and there's more money to be made, then you've already made on it, and that can be really difficult case to make. So you're going to have to if it's a nonfiction book, you're going to have to write a book proposal. If it's a novel or a memoir, you're gonna have to write a query, and then disclose the sales history in the query or in the proposals so the submissions process is the same as if you had an is the same as if you had an unpublished work.
You still have to prepare your submissions materials you can't just send the book and have them make a decision you need to Right. Camille says, I recently attended a conference where an agent spoke about the requirements for publishing memoir. I was glad that what you said contradicted what i'd heard he said memoirist can pitch with incomplete memoir.
You talked about needing a platform, not necessarily a social media platform but something, and what do you think, can you pitch in the process of writing the memoir. And what about people who don't really have a platform. So, let me very simplistically divide me very simplistically divide memoirs into two groups, just for the purposes of Answering this question, because there is a lot of contradictory advice out there.
There's one group of memoirs to our influencers have big platforms, maybe they're re celebrities they have name recognition and they've been in the news, whatever it is, they've got People who know their name and are following them. Those people can sell a memoir on the basis of A sample or a partial or a proposal. I think that's who the agent was probably thinking of when he suggested that. I have a following but it's not I really need to have the finished manuscript because I have not proven myself, really, and I don't have a platform for writing and selling a metaphor. So, especially if especially if you are totally especially if you are totally unpublished.
If you have very little or no time If you have very little or no track record is a published writer. If your memoir is your first book. If you don't have any kind of online following. If you don't have demand for the book.
I would finish that book to prove that you can do it successfully. And I think it's necessary to for you as a writer to know how you're going to finish that book out. Some people get to the end and they realized that's not actually the end. So there's a lot of revision that comes into play with any sort of creative work like memoir or novels. That's one of the reasons why it's so important to have it finished, important to have it finished, it has to be fully baked.
Before the agent or publisher is going to feel confident. Unless , like I said you've already got that following that's just demanding the book now. So I hope that helps Clarify why there's contradictory information about how memoirs get sold or what agents are looking for it it's all over the map. Some people want the full manuscript some want the full proposal and I think a lot of it depends on who you are.
And if you already are commanding and if you already are commanding an audience that wants the book. Amy so she is seeking a reality Amy so she is seeking a reality check. So she signed a book contract that gives the he publisher rights to make any and all changes to the manuscript without her permission dumb. I know. Is this common. She just wants to know that she is not the only one in a been a hard lesson learned.
to ask for your approval over changes, and that they can insert material without your approval. Now any agent who looks at that sort of contract that's one of the first things they're going to modify, they would not allow it, and a good agent would not allow one of their clients to sign that sort of language because it results in disasters things as you've noticed, I I worked for a publisher with a contract that had that language. And, you know, I feel bad that And, you know, I feel bad that we had authors sign it, but you're really then relying on the goodwill of the editor or publisher you're working with, not to take advantage of that clause and do something that you really hate. So, you're not So, you're not alone. But if you had an age But if you had an agent I would hope they would have Negotiated that clause to say something better. So usually there's you
strike, all of that stuff, and you say that the publisher can only make changes. like actual errors, you know like actual errors, you know, things that don't like it would , it's that's part of their job like to fix grammar and errors and things like that, but they can't make those changes. can't make those changes. And certainly, you should never have And certainly, you should never have to allow them to make Changes to content that you don't agree with. There are some crap contracts that even say the publisher has the right to hire another the right to hire another author or person to finish the author or person to finish the book for you, and pay them out of the Proceeds of the Arctic that money put it against your advanced so paid out of the proceeds of the book. So that's even adds the book. So that's even adds
more the book. So that's even adds more insult to entry that you have to pay for that other have to pay for that other person to do to work I hope person to do to work I hope that's not in your contract to. So, I guess I don't know if that's a good, that's probably a good news bad news, sort of answer, so you're not alone. check says any advice if you were banned from Facebook ads don't know why. Jake asked for review and receive the same automated response, ran the same exact ad five times with no issues, and it was banned the sixth. don't know I know that there are authors groups on Facebook that complain about this frequently.
I think people, experts in the area of also complained like david Gagarin i think is another one who's run into this sort of behavior. So I don't, I don't know what to tell you. Although i can say if you were advertising something of, like in Romance or erotica sometimes the imagery runs afoul of facebook guidelines, but it's hard for me to say unless I saw the ad.
As Sonia says, Do you think you need to have an E book in Ingram Spark also so this goes back to the discussion we were having about Ingram spark is the biggest distributor, and the world that definitely in the US, if not the world. I don't recommend Ingram Spark for ebook distribution because for ebook distribution because I think there are other providers that ebook distribution that do just as good a job and pay you more. So draft to digital and smash words or two examples of companies that pay you. I think it's 85%. net.
While I believe ingram Spark While I believe ingram Spark pays like what 55%. net or something like that it's really low in comparison. So from a financial perspective. I don't
think it makes a whole lot of sense to use Ingram spark for a book distribution I would use one of those other companies. Melissa says I've heard many people use draft a digital for wide distribution for ebooks and Ingram for print Only. And would you recommend this strategy for fiction. Yes, just to confirm that's exactly what I would do.
As susan says I prefer not to use AMazon to sell my book how can I sell from my own website is that a real possibility. It is a possibility but you are basically accepting a lot lower sales. You could use shopify to You could use shopify to help you do that. You could use Shopify Express combined with Shopify Express combined with Lulu, to help you do that. You
could use Ingrams tool called area that's h. e, r.io, to help you do that. So , yeah they're definitely tools ct to reader, it's just really high ct to reader, it's just really hard often to make those director reader sales agenda, it says, Is there a difference between a proposal and a synopsis so yes the, the difference between a proposal and a synopsis is that a book proposal is the business plan proposal is the business plan for nonfiction book. of what happens in a narrative so like a novel or a memoir will have a beginning to end synopsis that conveys the synopsis that conveys the entire narrative arc and how the story ends it's usually 500 to 1000 words, a book proposal can be, you know, easily 30 pages that include chapters and it's a business plan. plan, Cynthia says if you're writing an age Cynthia says if you're writing an agent without a referral, what are some effective ways to connect with the agent in the opening of the letter. I actually have a blog post at my site about agent personalization and query letters.
a look at that. So you know, saying things like, I read on your website or. I found you through query tracker aren't particularly meaningful. I think it gets more meaningful when you can point to a specific projects that agent has represented, or the fact that you've heard them speak Recently, and whether that's online or in sorts of things I think are are more helpful.
I certainly asks, What do I think of medium calm she's thinking of doing some writing for this platform. So this is, this is complicated because has now been around for about a decade and it's gone through many many funding rounds. founded by A silicon Valley superstar founded by A silicon Valley superstar, the business has pivoted so many times that most people have lost trust and confidence in it.
Their latest Pivot, which has been within the last year has been to focus on creators. So been to focus on creators. So basically like a sub stack sort basically like a sub stack sort of model because that's hot and trendy at the moment. They have really They have really subverted, the businesses have so many different writers and publications it's at this point that I would really question, oing to write for their platform because at some at some point you're going to have the rug pulled out from underneath you, I do expect the site, eventually to be acquired by some other company or to shut down or who knows, there could down or who knows, there could be lots of ways that it ends that are both good and bad for writers. I don't think People really earn I don't think People really earn money through it, unless they're in sort of formal arrangement with medium or one arrangement with medium or one of its publications. If you go,
writing for medium just because you want that on the chance that they might pay you. You're going to be disappointed if you just want to have a pretty platform for posting some articles. Okay, but at that point I would say, why not do that on sub stack, or why not do that on your own site. I don't think medium is going to give you any traffic or visibility that you wouldn't already have. Otherwise, and it because it's built on shifting sands I think it just puts you in a more precarious position, long term.
Let's see. Looking back at the questions here where we at is, OKay here where we at is, OKay. We're getting towards the end here so I'm going to try and choose some questions that have the broadest appeal. See.
See, lots of questions I know I'm not going to get to. All right. Beatrice says I've, I've written a few chapters of my memoir and I've had several essays and op eds published including one in the New York Times, kudos to you. That's great. And she's got a
couple blurbs from best selling authors that's also great. and she wants to get a book deal now so can I do that or do I need to wait until I'm done writing the book. What could be the best way to go about getting an agent. Now, I do about getting an agent. Now, I
definitely send some urgency around this that you feel like now is the time it makes me wonder if there's a timely angle here and you feel like the book will not be relevant long enough for someone's going to take the wind out of your sails, I don't know , I always get a little nervous for people when they seem really urgent about this because but publishing move slow. You're probably two years away from having a book in your hand So I just want to make it clear that. Sometimes it's only authors who are in a rush. So, you know, I
would just, I would just ask you know. Why the rush, but if you feel like this can't wait. By all means, put your workout on submission, that you need to write a decent proposal to go along with the sample chapters, or along with the sample chapters, or partial manuscript that you have. I do have some guidance on my website about how to write a book proposal. There are lots of coaches and development editors out there but also help you write one, although it can be expensive help like in the four figures, but you can't sell that book with a partial without a proposal to go along with it so that's what I would start working on now. And then you
can shop that to agents. All right. Alright.
Kenny says, My publisher, which is an imprint of simon and Schuster has done nothing for me on my last book seems to have forgotten me though I've done for books with them and the for books with them and the books have won awards and I wonder about staying with them for my new book, which I haven't told them about yet or should I go another path . What I lose too much like Sounds like penny doesn't want to give up for right sales and and having a sales team which. Those are good questions to ask. or would it be an IDea to move up the food chain up the food chain. Somehow or two random House or my Somehow or two random House or. Well, my question here is what does your agent think I have to imagine that if you're with Simon and Schuster, you've probably got an agent. So does
your agent had today feel like you've been forgotten are they you've been forgotten are they thinking it's time to switch houses, I would really strategize here with them and figure out, you know what and figure out, you know what might be a better scenario for you or if you're actually doing really well and maybe you're really well and maybe you're just feeling I don't know. to other authors who you feel like you're getting more attention or having more success, it can result in this feeling that your publisher isn't doing enough or it's time for a change and, and maybe it is. But please ask your agent for them please ask your agent for their take on this. And if you don't have an agent. And if you don't have an agent, you know I'm not gonna say stay where you are doesn't hurt to, you know, put out some feelers. But it's, I But it's, I think I would try and put in concrete I would try and put in concrete terms as concrete as possible.
What terms as concrete as possible. What you're going to get from another big five imprint that another big five imprint that you're not getting now. I think there's a little bit of grass is always greener situation in these in these kinds of I don't think that things actually turn out that better when you switch, which I hate to say. So if you're just going from one big five to another big five. Don't count on things being different. And unless you just have some real hard evidence that it that it will be better for you.
And Pen it confirms she doesn't have an agent which. Wow. Wow. So, is it time to get one. If you've already got several books published with the words, maybe it's time to shop around for an agent. It's at least worth a shot, or maybe you don't want an agent I don't know but that's very interesting issue.
My. I wish you the best of luck that's it's not easy to decide to change houses. would lean toward towards the switch.
Okay, so we're now at the top of the hour at four o'clock I know I didn't get to all the questions, but there will be other opportunities more q and A's in the future. I did want to do just a quick little screen share upcoming sir little screen share upcoming sermons, which you can find ind listed at my site under Sunday business sermons. and I'll. In September, I'll be
talking about sponsors advertisers and affiliates, whether that's for your website blog newsletter or something else. So you can access all those at So you can access all those at my website, I'm going to put the link into the chat here for easy access. If My computer will cooperate. There we go. Alright, so how There we go. Alright, so, have a a wonderful rest of your weekend and I'll look for you