Many authors join Texas Authors & Indie Beacon and then abruptly leave as they are expecting to see quick results by us selling their books for them. This quick result concept also applies to when an author goes to a book festival. They expect to sell enough books to at least pay for their expenses. Both of these are short-sighted views on marketing books. Texas Authors & Indie Beacon is about the long-term goal of creating a career as an Authorpreneur. Authors are creative people and want to write stories that move people and sell great numbers of copies. To do this is expensive and many authors want to see a return for their investment (ROI) as quickly as possible. Those authors miss the bigger picture of long-term growth. Just like expecting to earn their money back at the book festival, they miss the fact that someone they may have met may be that one person who loves their book so much that they can’t stop talking about it. That one person could in fact be the person that makes the author famous.
Would you go into a job as a new employee and expect to be promoted to the boss’s job immediately? Would you expect to be earning the top wages immediately? No. If your job required training of some sort, you may have gone to college or spent years doing ‘on the job’ training to become great at what you do and to be able to earn the big bucks. It is exactly the same with being an Author.
While you may be able to crank out a manuscript in a few weeks, months or within a year’s time, this doesn’t mean that it will be an instant best seller. Writing that book in today’s world is only 10% of the work. The remainder of the work is still ahead of you and may take years to accomplish. It is this aspect of being an author that Texas Authors was created for.
It seems almost funny for me, of all people to be typing this, as I am one who is impatient and wants to see results quickly. I have learned over the past 7 years to be patient and to work hard to create an organization that will help authors to succeed. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, and I am more than eager to work hard at times, not at all times, but most. I am willing to continue to work 80-100 hours a week to build several organizations that give authors all the tools and possibilities to succeed if they too are willing to work at it.
I have seen many authors take their time and grow with the organization and continue to grow successfully with their books. Some have won awards over the years, some have seen nice increases in book sales and many have been inspired to become the best Authorpreneur they can be.
Texas Authors and I are always eager to hear of new ideas and concepts that will help our programs, events and opportunities to continue to grow and become stronger. I will test things to see if they work and if they don’t. I will share with the membership my thoughts about those items. I do not want the author to reinvent the wheel. I encourage each author to plan to be with us for more than one year, maybe several years so that as we continue to grow and learn new and exciting things in the publishing world, that it too will help you to grow stronger and better as an Authorpreneur.
Don’t fall for those schemes where someone has a person that sold a million copies of their books and now wants to share how you too can do the same. They just want your money, and yes, a million other people bought into that scheme and made that sales person rich. Remember, of the over 1 million authors in the USA, only 10% have sold more then 100,000 copies of their books. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it does mean you have to work at it, just like they did.
Texas Authors continues to become a serious player in the world of publishing, and as a member, that benefits you in more ways then you may know. That’s part of the team work and family of authors that we have created over the years. We welcome you to not only be a part of it but be a family member for the long term. Families grow stronger together, not apart!
If you would like to be a family member of Texas Authors (for authors inside Texas), please click here: https://txauthors.com/index.php/what-we-offer
If you would like to be a family member of Indie Beacon (for authors outside of Texas), please click here: http://indiebeacon.com/index.php/pages/membership-types
By: Chuck Sambuchino | June 1, 2015
Because summer is a busy time for people traveling to writers’conferences nationwide, I am re-running this great 2014 post. Enjoy.
—————- I’ll admit: I was scared to death to live-pitch my book the first time, and I almost didn’t. I figured I was better with words on a page, so I’d just query the agents I met at conferences. I am a huge proponent of pitching your book in person to an agent, though, because it’s incredibly beneficial. Here are seven tips to keep in mind:
Tip #1: If you can get a pitch session with an agent/editor, do it!
Agents get tons of queries every single day, and a good 90% of them come from people who haven’t worked very hard to perfect their craft. Agents know that if you go to conferences, you’re likely in the 10% who have. If you go to a conference and pitch, you’re likely a top 10% writer who has a book close to being worthy of representation. It also gives both of you a chance to meet each other, and that’s invaluable.
(Do you need multiple literary agents if you write different genres?)
Tip #2: If you don’t register in time to schedule a pitch session, get on a waiting list.
Pitch sessions fill up quickly. People get nervous, though, or don’t get their book ready in time, so they cancel often. They shouldn’t, but they do, and this is good for anyone who is on the waiting list.
Tip #3: Figure out what you want to cover during your pitch session.
Don’t memorize a script, but do memorize the points you want to cover. Then you can talk like a normal person about it. And definitely practice talking like a normal person about it to everyone who will listen. The more comfortable you feel when talking about your book, the better your pitch session will go.
Tip #4: Go with other questions in mind.
I speed-talked my way through my first pitch session, because when I’m nervous I don’t ramble– I leave things out. So my pitch was done in less than 30 seconds. After asking me a few questions, the agent requested my full. Then she said, “Do you have any questions for me?” I hadn’t thought about questions for her! I sat there, feeling awkward, said, “Um…. Nope?” then shook her hand and left, with seven minutes of our meeting unused.
Don’t do what I did! Use that time to ask about their agenting style. Ask about the industry. Ask about the process. Ask about craft. Ask questions about your plot. Ask about anything writing related. Chat. See how your personalities mesh. Just don’t leave seven minutes early. You paid for that time– use it.
Tip #5: Don’t cancel your pitch if your book isn’t ready.
When you signed up for a pitch, it was five months before the conference and you thought your novel would be ready, but it isn’t. Don’t cancel your pitch! (Unless, of course, you’ve signed with an agent since then.) If your book isn’t ready, but you’re working hard to get it there, pitch it anyway. When you send a query to an agent and they request pages, you should get it to them within about 24 hours. When you pitch, you have a YEAR to get it to them. A year! So don’t stress that it isn’t completely ready– there’s plenty of time to make it shine. You are pitching to see if the story idea fits with them, if they think its a marketable enough idea that they want to see pages, and if it’s a story that they have the right contacts to sell.
(Can writers query multiple agents at the same agency?)
Tip #6: Your pitch session doesn’t have to be used to pitch.
That ten minutes you’ve signed up for is YOUR TIME. Use it wisely. You’ve bought not only that agent’s (or editor’s) time, but their expertise. And it is expertise in an area they are incredibly passionate about. They want to help you. If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to pitch your book, use that ten minutes in non-pitching ways. Some examples:
• Show them your query letter, and ask for a critique.
• Have the agent read the first pages of your manuscript until they would normally stop. Then talk about what stopped them.
• If you’re about to start a new novel and are wondering which of your ideas are most marketable, pitch them to the agent, and ask which they think would be best to focus on.
Tip #7: Don’t be nervous. Really.
The most important thing: remember that they are just people. It may feel like they’re rock stars, but they’re actually completely normal. And because they are, they just might be a little nervous, too. It helps to remember that when you’re sitting across a table from them.
So the next time you get an opportunity to pitch to an agent or editor, make sure you seize it!
Publishing execs need to give metadata more attention than lip service
By Thad McIlroy | Oct 05, 2018 | Publishers Weekly
Let’s make metadata great again. Okay, perhaps that’s not the best slogan for my new campaign, but you get my drift. I want some enthusiasm, folks. Metadata for e-commerce has been sitting in the doldrums for too long now, confined to some kind of bibliographic hell, saddled with the ever-vague concept of discoverability. “Keywords” has been the cry: find the right keywords and you can rule the online universe. Is that all there is? Seven keywords and you’re off to the races?
Metadata has been vastly undervalued. I’m here to tell you that metadata is the most important part of selling books today. Bar none. Its power should change the way you market books. It can measurably increase your sales; this has been proven. Publishers have to start approaching metadata as a strategic weapon, not as the digital equivalent of an old library card catalogue.
Publishers Weekly started covering metadata 16 years ago (the first article I can find is dated 2002). “Accurate Metadata Sells Books” is the title of a PW article from 2010. Why, in late 2018, am I still trying to convince publishers that metadata sells books?
Editorial is at the heart of book publishing: if all other factors are equal, the better book will sell more copies. Of course, few of the factors are ever equal, and, in publishing, sales and marketing is mostly concerned with trying to tip the precariously balanced scales ever-so-slightly in your direction.
In a bricks-and-mortar world, the marketing process is well defined and easy to understand: take a good book, seek to influence the conversation via book reviews and the author’s presence, and, anticipating some interest, buy your way to prominent retail display, so the book is visible when the educated customer comes calling.
In the online world, publishers and authors still seek influence but, for the most part, can’t buy prominent display space. It’s a Gordian knot. A book appears most prominently on Amazon because it’s selling well despite not appearing prominently on Amazon.
We saw a vivid example of the problem earlier this year, when bad metadata appropriated the buzz of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House and turned a 2009 book, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942–1945, into an overnight bestseller.
And so achieving prominence becomes a far more complex challenge than it was in an exclusively bricks-and-mortar world. Relationships are established digitally; metadata is the grease on the wheel of online connections.
Metadata is left-brained, dry, and analytical, and publishing executives are mostly right-brained, creative, and sensitive. They don’t understand how metadata really works, and they’ll settle for the 30,000-foot view. And, truth be told, from 30,000 feet, metadata does look like a library card catalogue. Up close, it looks complicated. Metadata is standards based, and right-brained people don’t like technical standards. Going deep on metadata takes you into the realm of ePub, HTML, SEO, and Onix. What publishing executive wants to go there?
The other damning thing about metadata is that the #1 reason publishers need great metadata is to compete on Amazon. And if there’s one thing that makes a publishing executive cringe more than complex technology, it’s thinking about ways to more effectively compete on Amazon. The game is brutal and complex, the rules change all the time, and self-published authors and Amazon imprints keep winning.
The unpleasant truth is that, though online book pages may appear reminiscent of the bookshop on Main Street, they are in fact located at the bookshop in the city of Amazon. The cover still matters a lot, as do the jacket copy and blurbs.
But there’s so much more that happens on Amazon. There are reader reviews—good ones and bad ones—that signal a book’s quality from a customer’s perspective, rather than from the perspective of a doting friend of the author. There’s a dynamic sales ranking. There are multiple formats on sale side-by-side. Complementary titles are found below the fold. There’s dynamic pricing. On the author’s page are videos and links to community pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The big hurdle for publishers is understanding that all of this online information is based in metadata. Metadata has depth and breadth. Metadata should be verbose but accurate. Metadata should emanate outward, linking, constantly linking, to every online way station that a book buyer might visit.
Preparing this article in mid-September, I dived into the Publishers Weekly Job Zone, searching for jobs that I was certain would demand a familiarity with metadata. To my surprise, I found several ads seeking marketing managers, publicity coordinators, and the like that did not list any metadata-related skills or knowledge in their applicant requirements. If it’s true that metadata sells books, then why do none of these marketing positions require metadata knowledge?
Until management prioritizes its managers’ knowing how to compete with metadata, metadata will be a good housekeeping afterthought. Metadata is great, and the publishers who embrace its strategic value will thrive.
Thad McIlroy is an electronic publishing analyst and author, based on the West Coast and at his website, The Future of Publishing. He is a founding partner of Publishing Technology Partners.