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Anthology News News

Meet the Authors Behind Writing Bloc’s Escape! An Anthology

Cover for Escape! An Anthology by The Writing Bloc

Writing Bloc’s Escape! An Anthology is available for preorder now for your favorite ebook format (the Kindle link is separate, just click here)! The ebook is only $2.99 during this preorder phase, which is a steal for all of the stories you get from the amazing authors below. On New Year’s Day, the price goes up to $5.99, so grab your ebook today! Be sure to check out all of the author bios below, visit their sites, preorder Escape! An Anthology, and get the book to download automatically to your e-reader on New Year’s Day! Keep your eye out for the upcoming announcement about the print version…details coming soon!

For now, cheers to all these wonderful authors for their contributions to this amazing collection of short stories!

Jason Pomerance, Author of “Mrs. Ravenstein”

Photo Credit: Steven Murashige

Jason Pomerance has written film and television projects for numerous studios and production companies, including Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, FremantleMedia, and Gold Circle Films. His first novel, Women Like Us, published by the Quill imprint of Inkshares, debuted in 2016, and his novella Falconer was published in four parts on Nikki Finke’s site for showbiz fiction, Hollywood Dementia. He’s currently working on a new novel. Visit Jason at www.jasonpomerance.com, or on Instagram (@whowantsdinner), and Twitter (@whowantsdinner — and yes, Jason is always hungry!).

Jason’s “Women Like Us” on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/womenlikeusnovel/

Buy Women Like Us in our store!

Susan Hamilton, Author of “Chrysalis”

Photo Credit: Dean Cerrati Photography

Susan K. Hamilton is the author of Shadow King, Darkstar Rising, and the forthcoming The Devil Inside. She lives outside of Boston with her husband, Jeff, and their cat, Rio. An avid equestrian, when she’s not tapping away at a computer, chances are you’ll find her at the barn. She loves fun movies, pizza, and pretty much any furry creature on the planet, and is currently working on a new, follow-up project to Shadow King.

Susan Hamilton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RealSKHamilton

Susan Hamilton on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hamiltonsusank/

Michael Haase, Author of “Cedric”

Photo Credit: Margaret Haase

Michael Haase is the author of the forthcoming book, The Man Who Stole the World, to be published by Inkshares. Michael is a happy husband, father, musician, and spontaneous comedian who does nerdy stuff like study computer programming in his spare time. He lives intentionally near Cleveland, believe it or not

Michael Haase on Twitter: https://twitter.com/authormikehaase

Michael Haase on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelHaase/

Michael’s blog: https://talltalestold.com/

 

 

Peter Ryan, Author of “The Time Behind Dying”

Photo Credit: Neil Cole

Peter Ryan is a sci-fi lover, motorbike rider, darts player, and T-shirt designer, as well as being an English professor at a university in South Korea. He grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and has traveled much of the world. While on the move, he has done a variety of jobs, including sales support at an insurance company, laborer on the building sites of London and Melbourne, chauffeur/minder for an English lord, and business English consultant in Shanghai.

Peter Ryan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SyncCityJack

Peter Ryan’s website: http://www.synccityjack.com/

Buy Sync City in our store!

 

Deborah Munro, Author of “Ambition”

Deborah Munro is a scientist and biomedical engineer from Oregon who recently expatriated to New Zealand. She is passionate about writing, especially hard science thrillers that engage readers on current issues.

Deborah Munro on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebMunro_Author

Deborah Munro on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahMunro.Author/

 

Durena Burns, Author of “I Wish It Happened”

Durena Burns currently lives in Southern California and has worked for special education in elementary. She mostly writes biographical stories about her family. Her first published book ‘Call Me Whitehead’ is about her late uncle’s experiences as a black man in the Vietnam War.

Durena’s “Call Me Whitehead” on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CallMeWhitehead/

Ferd Crôtte, Author of “Captiveedom”

Ferd Crôtte is an Internal Medicine hospitalist physician and is the author of ‘Captiveedom’ in this anthology. His debut novel, Mission 51, is currently in production by Inkshares. Ferd and his wife Gail live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Ferd Crôtte on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FerdCrotte

Ferd Crôtte on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FerdCrotteMission51/?ref=br_rs

Christopher Lee, Author of “The Gilded Tower”

Photo Credit: Stacey Eichenauer

Christopher Lee is the independent author of Nemeton and Bard Song. Outside of his gig as an author, he is an avid history buff, amateur mythologist, bardic poet, Holistic Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Mindfulness Practitioner, and keeper of the old ways.

Christopher lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two cats.

Christopher Lee on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristLeeEich

Buy Nemeton: The Trial of Calas in our store!

Mike Donald, Author of “Something In Mind”

Mike worked for the BBC as a sound mixer, wrote for comedy sketch shows, and developed sit-com ideas. Brought up in Scotland and England, he worked as a script analyst for gap finance company Aramid Capital, and has written many award-winning screenplays.

Mike Donald on Twitter: https://twitter.com/smokingkeys

Mike Donald’s website: http://www.touchwoodpictures.com/

Buy Louisiana Blood in our store!

 

Christopher Hinkle, Author of “Cowboy For A Day”

Born in the backwoods of West Virginia, Chris Hinkle is a country boy down to his molecular structure. He now lives in New Zealand where he works for the Government and puts forth a reasonable effort at masking his inner-hick for the benefit of those around him.

Christopher Hinkle on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christopherhenckel

 

 

Evan Graham, Author of “Breach”

Photo Credit: Plain Jane Photography

Evan Graham is the author of upcoming science fiction thrillers Tantalus Depths and Proteus. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Education Studies from Kent State University, where he triple-minored in English, Writing, and Theatre. He currently lives in rural Middlefield, Ohio and is extensively involved in local community theatre, both on the stage and behind the scenes.

Evan Graham on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEvanGraham/

Tahani Nelson, Author of “The Faoii Of Ashwood”

Tahani Nelson is a Writer, Teacher and Nerd in rural Montana. Her debut series, The Faoii Chronicles focuses on strong female warriors in epic fantasy.

Tahani Nelson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TahaniNelson

Tahani’s “The Last Faoii” on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLastFaoii/

Buy The Last Faoii in our store!

 

 

Michael James Welch, Author of “Convict 45”

Photo Credit: Annette Sargent

Michael James Welch is a proud Western New Yorker, an even prouder snowflake, and above all, husband and father to a wonderful family. His first novel, PrOOF, will be published by Inkshares in 2019-20. He feasts on your derision and bathes nightly in your disdain.

Michael James Welch on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikexwelch

 

Cari Dubiel, Author of “Art Imitates”

Photo Credit: Ed Dubiel

Cari Dubiel juggles writing, librarian-ing, mom-ing, and bassooning in Northeast Ohio. Her novel, How to Remember, is in production with Inkshares. She is a past Library Liaison to Sisters in Crime and the co-host of the ABC Book Reviews Podcast.

Cari Dubiel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/caridubiel

Cari Dubiel on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caridubielauthor/

Becca Spence Dobias, Author of “Aspirant”

Photo Credit: Linda Abbott Photography

Becca Spence Dobias grew up in West Virginia and now lives in Southern California where she writes hard and moms harder. Her debut novel, Rock of Ages, is in production with Inkshares.

Becca Spence Dobias on Twitter: https://twitter.com/totallynotbex

Becca Spence Dobias on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeccaSpenceDobias/

 

 

 

 

Grace Marshall, Author of “The Marking”

Grace Marshall is an author, mother, and TV enthusiast. She writes technical documentation as her primary profession but has also been known to post randomly on her site escapeoftheinnermonlogue.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Lee, Author of “A Grave Ordeal”

Photo Credit: Megan Annis

Daniel Lee is the author of the novel AFTER DEATH, which won First Place in the Nerdist Sci-Fi Contest and is forthcoming from Inkshares. He lives in Los Angeles, where he makes his living as an editor of movie trailers. See more of his work at Dan-Lee.net

Daniel Lee on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dannyboylee

Patrick Edwards, Author of “Wendell, Wendell, & Wendell”

When he’s not busy mushing words into silly stories, Pat spends his time battling inter-dimensional shadow monsters and having tea parties with his two daughters. His debut novel, Space Tripping, is currently available wherever books are sold. Check him out on Twitter @ThePatEdwards

Buy Space Tripping in our store!

 

 

Kendra Namednil, Author of “Catching”

Photo Credit: Arthur Koch

Kendra Namednil was born in Northern California and began writing when she was 26, publishing her first full novel at 30. She has volunteered for many organizations, though her greatest joy was working with behavior-plan dogs with the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Kendra Namednil on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kendra1337

Buy Borehole Bazaar (A Vow Unbroken) in our store!

Jason Chestnut, Author of “Like Clockwork”

When not working on computers to pay the bills, Jason Chestnut is a writer, musician, avid reader, and gamer. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife Shannon, their two kids and lazy pug.

Follow Jason Chestnut on Twitter: @atomicboywonder

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to preorder “Escape!” NOW!

Price goes up to $5.99 on New Year’s Day, so preorder your copy NOW for 50% off!

Just click here for Amazon or here for all other ebook readers. Only $2.99 for the ebook!

Thank you for your support!!!

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Anthology News News Writing Life

ESCAPE! Cover reveal and ARC giveaway!

Here at The Writing Bloc we have big plans, starting with an Anthology we are releasing in the New Year. On 1 January 2019 we are publishing Escape! An Anthology featuring twenty diverse stories by a great cohort of writers.

“As readers, we open books ready to be swept out of our seats and deposited in a world entirely new and exciting. Reading is an escape from our normal lives and thoughts,” says Michael Haase, founder of Writing Bloc.

Inside the book, you can expect contemporary fiction, westerns, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal fiction, as well as genre-bending tales. We have stories by published authors such as Tahani Nelson, author of The Last Faoii, Jason Pomerance, author of Women Like Us, and Patrick Edwards, author of Space Tripping. We also have stories from a number of talented emerging writers who you’ll want to get to know. You can read the full press release here.

Today, I’m excited to reveal our cover!

Cover for Escape! An Anthology by The Writing Bloc

ARC Giveaway

Would you like to receive one of 100 free advanced reader copies we’re giving away? You can sign up on this form here.

 

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Author Interview

Interview with Jason Pomerance: On Writing and Marketing

Today, Jason Pomerance is here to talk about his journey publishing his debut novel, Women Like Us.

Welcome Jason. First, I want to say congratulations on the release of your novel, Women Like Us, which hit shelves on July 26, 2016! How does it feel to be a published author?

Thank you for having me! I think pretty much almost nothing compares with holding your book for the first time. Most authors spend untold amounts of time — years most likely — thinking about his or her book, writing it, rewriting it, editing it, editing it some more, so that when it actually is a physical thing that you can leaf through it’s pretty astounding. Here it’s almost two years after pub date for Women Like Us, and sometimes I’ll pick it up and leaf through it and I still can’t believe it’s actually in my hands. Then other cool things happen — you see it on the shelf of a bookstore, or you see it’s been shelved at a library, or you look at reviews that pop up on Amazon or Goodreads, and if somebody really connected with it, that’s another totally sweet thing. Oh, and when it crossed over from hundreds sold into thousands. That was a nice moment.

Can you tell us a little bit about Women Like Us and what inspired the story?

The book actually began its life as a screenplay. I had in mind to write a mother/son road trip movie, but when I was outlining it, I just kept writing and writing until it began to feel more like a novel. So I just went with it and kept writing. But I have to say the whole thing didn’t really take off until the character Edith Vale started to take on a bigger role than originally envisioned. She sort of sprung to life fully formed; if you read the book you’ll see she’s quite bossy, and it’s like she started telling me what to do!! Anyway once she took on a life of her own, it became not just a story of a mother and son, but a story of a mother and her ex-mother-in-law. And people seem to love Edith, even though, quite frankly, she’s a little bit crazy. But probably everybody knows a person like her.

Is there a primary message in Women Like Us?

I believe there is. Women Like Us is really about family. Oh, it’s a fractured family to be sure, but it’s a family that comes together in a time of crisis. In any family good things happen and bad things happen, and I think the message is that even though bad things might happen, good can also come. It’s sort of a circle-of-life kind of thing too.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

I think all authors put something of themselves into their characters. And of course often we’re writing from experience, even if the experience may be altered a little (or even a lot!).

Have you ever incorporated something that happened in real life into your story?

Yes!

If given the opportunity to start over, would you change anything in your book?

I still look through the book and find things I wish I could say differently — you know, a different word in a sentence, or a different sentence altogether. When it came time to turn the book in after the final edit, they pretty much had to pry the book from my hands. I love to tinker with words and sentences.

People believe that being a published author is glamorous, how true is that?

I’m pretty sure it’s glamorous if you’re lucky enough to get on a best seller list, but I think most authors toil away in a degree of obscurity that’s not exactly glamorous. But like many writers I’m sure, I’m not doing this for any other reason but to get a story out that I want to tell. For me, anyway, that’s the most important thing.

Do you enjoy book signings? And what is your setup?

I didn’t do a whole lot of book signings unless you count Goodreads Giveaways of signed books, which I actually love and did a lot of until Goodreads changed the price structure on giveaways. But I’ve been asked on a few occasions for signed copies, and I’m always happy to sign.

Tell us about an interesting encounter you had with a fan.

I posted about this on my instagram recently. I walk our beagles by several Little Free Libraries that have sprung up around our neighborhood. One lady had seen me leave a copy of Women Like Us in one, and after she read it she asked if I had written it. When I said, “Yup,” she said how much she enjoyed it and asked for a signed copy, So I was happy to oblige.

What do you do to market your own books yourself? Any advice on that front?

If you’re published under the Quill imprint of Inkshares you’re mostly on your own for marketing so, yeah, I’ve done tons of stuff. Closer to when the book was coming out, I did I whole bunch of guest blog posts — I reached out to a ton of bloggers really and got a good amount of responses but it’s a ton of work. I reached out to a bunch of local newspapers, big and small, and managed to get a little bit of press. Also, we decided to lower the price of the eBook, which I think is critical, unless you’re a brand — people are way more willing to take a chance on your book if it doesn’t cost them a whole lot. And if you want more readers, and you’re not a brand, I think there’s no other way. Then you have to get on a whatever discount ebook email blasters are best in your genre. I’ve had very good luck Book Gorilla and Ereadernewstoday. Promos on both got Women Like Us into the top 100 on Amazon in it’s top sub genre. Which was pretty amazing.

­Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts and started from scratch?

I started and stopped and restarted Women Like Us many times until I got the right tone but I’ve never totally destroyed a draft.

When can the readers expect another book from you? Any details that you can share?

Hopefully soon!! It’s written, although I’m still sort of tinkering and editing. I’ve been in a long agent query process and it’s down to about one or two agents who are reading. If they pass, I’ll go indie and put it out probably via Ingram Spark for print and eBooks. I’m hoping not to have to go that route, but I will if I have to.

Some details? It’s called CELIA AT 39, and it’s sort of SWEET HOME ALABAMA meets MOONSTRUCK. It’s definitely more of a Rom-com than anything else. It’s about what happens when a package mysterious shows up at a front door 40 year after it was mailed. When Celia Bernhart (successful in her career and engaged to marry her longtime boyfriend) decides to try to deliver the package to its rightful recipient, her whole life is turned upside down!

If you were given the opportunity to join a book club with your favorite authors, dead or alive, who would you want to become a part of the club?

I’ve said this elsewhere, but I’ll say it again — I worship at the altar of Anne Tyler. I’m just such a huge fan of almost every one of her books, and I read and reread them over and over again (which I think any author should do). So Anne Tyler for sure. Charles Dickens, of course, because Great Expectations is probably one of my all time favorites, and then maybe one of the hard-boiled noir writers like James M. Cain, who was just brilliant.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with or follow you (website, blog, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) and links?

Readers can find me several ways!!

Instagram: @whowantsdinner

Twitter : @whowantsdinner

Website: http://www.jasonpomerance.com

Facebook: Women Like Us has its own page here: https://www.facebook.com/womenlikeusnovel/

Goodreads (author page): https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15205951.Jason_Pomerance

About Women Like Us

 

Order Women Like Us Today!

Susan Jones, a brash and ballsy chef who hopscotches from one demanding restaurant job to the next, was barely in her twenties when she married and had a son, Henry. But after her marriage to Andrew fell apart, she ceded most of the raising of the baby to her mother-in-law, the very opinionated Edith Vale, a woman as formidable and steely as her stiff blond bouffant, the veritable helmet that helps her soldier through life. Now, after letting Henry drift away, Susan is determined to make things right. But just as mother and son seem to make headway after embarking on a cross-country road trip, things take a dark turn. When the family reconvenes in California, everybody must fight to find courage and humor in the face of a situation that threatens to change them all forever.

 

 

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Writing Life

How to Win at Conventions

So, you want to go to a convention. Maybe you’ve attended conventions before, but now you want to go professionally — to make contacts, sell books, or to be a celebrity. Depending on the convention you attend, a booth/table could set you back a lot of money, so how do you make sure your con is successful?

We’ve spoken with several members of the Writing Bloc community who have attended conventions and compiled their tips for planning and executing a successful convention.

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Author Interview Writing Life

Interview with Cari Dubiel: Marketing books at conventions

This interview is part of a short series looking at marketing and selling books at conventions. You can find my interview with Rick Heinz here and my earlier interview with Rochelle Campbell here. In this post, I talk to Cari Dubiel. Stay tuned for my consolidated advice article dropping in the next few days.

Cari Dubiel

Cari DubielCari Dubiel is the author of How to Remember, forthcoming from Inkshares/Quill. The novel was the winner of the Hugh Holton award from the Mystery Writers of America – Midwest Chapter in 2017. Cari’s previous works include All the Lonely People, a book of short stories, and several other short stories found in anthologies and online magazines. Cari is also a librarian, and she served as the Library Liaison to Sisters in Crime for five years.

 

What conventions have you attended? Why did you pick those conventions? In hindsight, were those reasons valid?

I’ve attended the American Library Association and/or the Public Library Association conference every year since 2012. That was the year I started as Library Liaison to Sisters in Crime, which is a national organization of mystery readers and writers. My term ended in 2017. In that role, my job was to bring writers and librarians together – to help writers sell books and make partnerships with librarians, and to help librarians make connections with writers for their collections and public programming. Since I am both a writer and a librarian, this was an ideal way for me to get started learning about the convention experience. I’ve met so many interesting people and discovered some amazing books, and I’ve learned about the promotion experience from the writer’s side – something I didn’t know about at all before I joined Sisters in Crime. Since then, I’ve also attended some strictly writing conventions, and it’s been a strange but rewarding experience to switch back and forth between the two parts of my identity. This has been a fabulous experience for me, and while I might make different decisions if I were to do it again (see below), it was the right path at the time.

What were your objectives for the conventions you attended (e.g. Direct books sales, online sales, Facebook likes, email list sign-ups, etc.)? Do you feel you achieved those objectives?

We could not sell books directly at the conference, but we wanted to get face time between the librarians and the authors, so we set up signing times for each author with book giveaways. We also collected e-mail addresses. Each author was allowed to collect their own data, since we didn’t want to share organizational data due to privacy concerns. Authors would often have a newsletter mailing list for librarians to join. They also had bookmarks that librarians could use to order the titles when they got back to their library.

It was very tough to measure the success of the booth, because we didn’t have the sales data to draw from. I talked to every author after their signing time. Some were happy and others were… not so happy. I learned a lot about managing author expectations.

What was your strategy for engagement at the conventions? What did you have on display? How did you draw people in and engage? Did you have any incentives? Did you have physical copies of your books on hand?

Yes, we had tons of swag and giveaways. I mentioned the bookmarks – we also had pins and tote bag freebies. We allowed authors who couldn’t be there to send in copies of their books for giveaway. The free books were the biggest draw, especially when the author was there in the booth to sign them. Librarians – and I think readers in general – love to interact with writers and get personalized books. We also had an iPad giveaway for getting on the mailing list, so we usually collected about 500 e-mails per conference.

What did you feel worked well?

The quality of the interaction between the author and the reader was key. ALA brings in about 25,000 people per year. Not everyone who came by the booth wanted to talk to us – they grabbed free stuff and disappeared. When we were able to talk to readers and librarians about what they wanted, and people were able to make connections, cool stuff happened. I made connections with lots of people in the publishing industry, which has ultimately helped me to promote my work outside of conference-land. I hope the other authors I’ve worked with over the years have had similar experiences.

What didn’t work, or not as well as you had hoped?

My main concern was that we were not reaching everyone in our target audience. Not everyone can afford to travel and come to a big conference. I felt there were other ways to reach librarians online or through state and local conferences. When I transitioned my role over to the new Library Liaison, Shari Randall, we talked about ways to do that more strategically. I’m meeting up with her at this year’s ALA to talk about ways we can use our data and experiences to reach more people.

What other lessons have you learnt?

Authors have to think critically about how they use their conference time and how they distribute their swag. Bookmarks, while great, did not get taken as often as they hoped – and they’re expensive! Free books are also expensive, but readers love them, and if they read them, they might review and pass them on. Choosing the right conference/convention is also critical. Because I’m a librarian, ALA worked well for me, but I struggled in the writing-only space. I’m still getting used to that, and I still have a lot to learn in that arena.

I’ve seen some of my friends who write fantasy have great success in fan conventions and medieval faires. That, too, is part of knowing your audience. You have to go to the place where your readers go. ALA was a good opportunity for Sisters in Crime members because librarians and library patrons love mysteries.

Do you plan to attend more conventions to promote your book?

Yes! I won’t go to ALA every year now that I have stepped down from SinC, but I’m going to New Orleans this summer, and I can’t wait. I’m also looking forward to learning more about how to sell books at conventions and conferences!

How to Remember

Book Cover for How to RememberThank you to Cari for sharing her experiences with us. Cari is the author of How to Remember, which is currently in production with Inkshares. I encourage you to check it out.

2017: A woman tries to find out what happened to her during the year she lost her memory. 2016: A man tries to find out who killed his mother. They fell in love once, but she doesn’t remember it.

 

 

You can also find Cari online in the following places:

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Author Interview Guest Post Writing Life

Guest Post: A Writer’s Convention Survival Guide, by Christopher Huang

Continuing our series on marketing yourself and your books at conventions, we have a special guest post from author Christopher Huang. In this article Huang summarizes his experiences with mystery and crime conventions, which, as he tells us, can be very different to a popular culture convention. It’s all about knowing the event you are attending and your reasons for being there. I’ll let Chris take it from here…

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Author Interview Writing Life

Interview with Rick Heinz: Selling your book at conventions

This post was originally posted here and is part of a series looking at marketing and selling books at conventions. You can find my earlier interview with Rochelle Campbell here. In this post, I talk to Rick Heinz. Stay tuned for next week’s interview with Cari Dubiel and my consolidated advice article.

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Writing Life

How a manuscript becomes a book (Traditional Publishing Edition)

How a manuscript becomes a book by Robert Batten is a refresh of one originally posted on robertbatten.net late last year.

September marks the beginning of Spring in my home state, and the arrival of the Tasmanian Writers’ Festival. Last year, I was lucky enough to score a place in a masterclass on publishing for authors, run by Bradley Trevor Greive. If you don’t know the name, he’s the world’s best-selling humorist, having published 24 books and sold more than 30m copies in over 115 territories. That’s a lot of books — if anyone could help me understand the publishing industry better (and how to get my books into the world) it’s him. So I turned to him to clarify for myself, exactly how a manuscript becomes a book.

The session did not disappoint. My debut novel has been picked up by a publisher, but it got there through a fairly non-standard path, leaving me clueless about the traditional process. I still have a huge amount to learn, but I know a lot more than I did before the session.

The great news is BTG is a wonderful person who gave me permission to share his most useful tips on my blog, so here we are. Absolutely all credit goes to Mr. Greive, who not only shared this content, but was generous to donate his time at the festival so the proceeds could go towards the local writing community.

Note: the following has been written by me from the notes I took during the session, it isn’t an exact reproduction of BTG’s words (nor the entire course). I feel the need to point this out so you understand: a) any genius here is all his; and b) anything that doesn’t make sense, or is plain wrong, is my error.

Further note: if you ever get the opportunity to attend a masterclass with BTG — I strongly recommend doing so.

Yet another note: this post is entirely concerned with understanding the traditional publishing process. It doesn’t look at self-publishing or any other model, but that isn’t a judgment on non-traditional publishing.

Without further prevarication, I give you the most important tips and takeaways from the session (according to me).

Be a pack

“There is no such thing as a lone wolf.” I’m paraphrasing BTG here as I can’t remember the exact words, but the message is important (and mirrors my experience); making a book is a team effort. Even if you write a perfect manuscript, there are a myriad of tasks that must be done to make it a successful book. Self-published authors take on many of the activities usually handled by a publisher, but even there, the most successful usually rely on others for at least part of the process. So, if you accept you need to work with a team, it behooves you to know who they are…

When I started this process, I had little idea how the publishing process worked, nor how publishing houses were structured. Here are the basic departments:

  • Editorial: your editor, editor’s assistant/reader, publisher, etc. all live here.
  • Design: responsible for the visual design work. The level of exposure and author will have to this department depends on the nature of the work. A novel will typically be mainly about the cover whereas a children’s picture book will be much more involved.
  • Production: these are the people who actually print the book.
  • Distribution: gets your book to warehouses and retailers.
  • Marketing / Publicity: self-explanatory.
  • Legal: handle your contracts, ensure you stick to it, and protect it in different regions.
  • Finance: handle and pay royalties.

There are a range of publishers out there, both large and small. Don’t be surprised if smaller publishers, in particular, outsource some of the above.

Publishers are people, not companies

This is important, and will be mentioned again later. There are two parts to this:

  1. Terminology: a Publisher is a company that publishes books. However, a Publisher is also the title of a senior member of the editorial department.
  2. Strategy: people decide who they want to publish. You need to win over an editor and a publisher (the person) before you get near the publishing board. Every single one has their own tastes and personalities. Within a single publishing house, one editor may dislike your work whilst another loves it. Always remember you are working with people.

Know the steps

This was an eye-opener for me. The process from submission to book publishing in a traditional publisher is likely longer than you thought. Here’s what the process may look like:

  1. You send in your submission.
  2. Submission goes to a reader. This may be an assistant editor, the reception staff, or a volunteer. If the reader likes your submission, they pass it to an editor.
  3. If the editor also likes it they’ll make contact and probably ask for more.
  4. If the editor still likes it, they take the book to their publisher (the person).
  5. If the publisher likes it, they may choose to take it to the publishing board. Note the “may” here — the publishing board is competitive, so if the publisher has multiple “good” manuscripts from their editors, they may only take the one they think has the best chance of succeeding at the time.
  6. The publishing board is made up of the publishers (7-10), plus advisors from other departments (marketing, finance, legal). Each publisher competes against the others, arguing why their book is the one that should be published using the limited funds available in the budget.
  7. If the publishing board decides to go ahead with your book, you receive an offer which you / your agent / your lawyer negotiate and accept.
  8. Editing happens. You forget what the outside world is like, rewriting over and over again, until finally…
  9. 3-18 months later your book is published.

Timing

How long each step of the process takes can vary greatly, but here are some rough guides to set expectations:

  • Submission: 4-8 weeks.
  • Offer: Up to 12 weeks.
  • Contract Process: 2-4 months.
  • Editing / Rewrites: 3 months – 2 years.
  • Production: 3 – 9 months.
  • Publication: 9 months – 2 years. Note: there’s usually a clause in the contract which provides a window of time the publisher has to release the book before you can keep the advance and go elsewhere.

Strategy

There’s a heap to unpack here — people have written numerous books on this alone, so again, these are only the top tips I came away with. First up, your overarching strategy:

  • Understand your motivation. Know what’s important to you.
  • Understand the process (above).
  • Know who you are speaking to (the reader, the editor, the publisher, the publisher’s board). You need to keep each of those people in mind when crafting your submission.
  • Give them what they need to succeed. Understand the process and write your proposal to support each step. Make it as easy as possible for the publisher to prepare their argument for the publishing board (i.e. write it for them).
  • Don’t waste their time. Include everything they need, nothing they don’t. Your submission is one of thousands, if yours is too hard they’ll move on to the next.

Be a sniper

Sending out your manuscript to every publishing house you can find like the wild spray of a machine gun is considered unprofessional and can burn bridges. If you want to go down the traditional publishing route, you are looking to build long-term relationships. Do your research, select your target, hunt them down, one by one. No simultaneous submissions.

Remember, publishers are people, not companies. Finding the right editor/publisher is much more important than the imprint they work for, so do your research, build a hit list of editors you would love to work with, and approach them specifically — regardless of which imprint they work for, even if some work at the same publisher.

How do you identify the editors you want to work with? Research your favorite contemporary books from a relevant genre. Who were the editors? Often, the author thanks them in the acknowledgments, so check there first, but the internet is a vast and beautiful resource. Build up your list, identifying the publishing house they’re currently at (for contact details, and to ensure you obey the submission guidelines). When you submit your proposal to them, don’t forget to include why you want to work with them.

Build relationships

As an author, your relationship with your editor (and agent) is the most important professional relationship you will have. Pick these people carefully and treat them with respect. Which brings us to a very important rule: “Never sign on with an agent/ editor/publisher whom you wouldn’t invite home to dinner.”

Hold on to your rights

The big publishers have broad capabilities across multiple regions, but in many cases, your offers will come from publishers who operate in a specific country (or a small number of countries). They may ask you for global publishing rights, but you should be hesitant to grant this. Generally (rule of thumb here), you are better to only sell the rights to publish your book in the regions they operate. Why?

  1. Capability: a US publisher is equipped to produce and sell your book in the USA. But if they have no presence or network in Australia, how can they push your book? An Australian publisher will be better equipped to get your book on shelves in Australia.
  2. Distribution: the publisher will typically have distribution channels optimized for their region. Take the previous example once more: your US publisher may work with major distributors such as Baker and Taylor or Ingram, who distribute to Australian bookstores, so there’s no barrier to Australian bookstores ordering your book. Or is there? Bookstores have arrangements with distributors that if they can’ sell all the books they order, they can return the unsold copies. This allows bookstores to take a chance on new authors. Basically, all Australian bookstores will have accounts with US distributors like Ingrams, but the hidden catch is they can’t / won’t return unsold stock due to the shipping costs. This means they’ll be much more conservative about ordering copies of these books compared to a book with an Australian distributor.
  3. Income: sell your manuscript to a single publisher and give them global rights and you get one advance. However, if you sell to a US publisher and only grant them the US rights, you’re free to then sell it to a UK publisher and get a second advance, then to an Australian publisher for a third advance, and so on.

That’s it for now. The session covered a lot more, including detailed tips and guidance on how to structure and write a proposal and what to watch for in publishing contracts. Again, I want to acknowledge and thank Bradley Trevor Greive for donating his time to the Tasmanian Writers’ Festival, and for giving me permission to share my takeaways. Buy his books, and if you get a chance take one of his master classes

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