Category Archives: Business of Writing

Expanding into Hardcover

Hardcover books on shelves in the background, open hardcover books on table in foreground, and the post title 'expanding into hardcover' is superimposed on the front.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig,o9

I’ve recently been interested in expanding my books into every format that I can.  Who knows how someone might want to read my books? I’m in digital, print (paperback), and audio. I’ve made my books accessible to an international audience and now the Myrtle books are being translated into Spanish (more on that in a later post).

But I’d never really thought about hardcover. It seemed like a very expensive option to buy. I know that, aside from gifts for family, I haven’t bought a hardcover book in ages.

As part of my expansion into other formats and to other markets, however, I realized that my books (through PublishDrive) are doing very well on the OverDrive platform.  That’s a major distributor of digital materials to libraries. (More on OverDrive in this post.)

If my books were doing that well at libraries, I figured that it would make sense to have them also available in hardcover. Perhaps an acquisition librarian would note that my digital books were circulating to readers and decide to purchase a hardcover for the stacks.

Things to consider: 

If you’re on Ingram, you’ll need to have ISBNs for your books (not the free ones from CreateSpace or Smashwords…which actually show CS and SW as the publisher). And, even if you have your own ISBNs, because this is a different format, you’ll need new ISBNs for the books for this particular format. I’m buying ISBNs from Bowker in bulk. Continue reading Expanding into Hardcover

Expanding into Audio

Young woman, wearing headphones and looking down at her phone,sits on her floor. Superimposed is the post title, 'Expanding into Audio'

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

When I was a traditionally-published author, I remember my frustration that I didn’t hold any audiobook rights.

My publisher held them, but never exploited them. And I regularly had readers asking if they could listen to my books.

When ACX first opened to independent authors, I jumped at the chance to have my self-published novels in audio format. The main thing that I was worried about was the cost. I was delighted to discover that I could choose an option where my only cost was to have my cover adapted into a square for audio. That’s the royalty-share option (more on that, below). Continue reading Expanding into Audio

Why Did I Get a ‘No’? – The Do’s and Don’ts of Query Letter Writing

Man typing on a laptop that's sitting on a desk. Superimposed is the post title: Why Did I Get a ‘No’? – The Do's and Don’ts of Query Letter Writing

by Mark Gottlieb, @Trident_Media

As a literary agent in major trade publishing at the Trident Media Group literary agency, I often have to explain the elements of a good query letter to new clients. This article is intended as a description of what goes into a good query letter, for new authors unfamiliar with what literary agents and editors are looking for in a query letter intended the book-publishing world. For a writer who might be currently querying literary agents, or even contemplating that process, this might be interesting reading. Considering the high rejection rate in the book publishing industry for writers trying to become debut authors, this article will hopefully be enlightening for the countless writers who are experiencing rejection due to a poorly-constructed query letter.

A lot of authors dread writing query letters. I know many authors who can write a novel in a matter of months, but who could endlessly spend years toiling over writing a query letter. My advice to authors along the querying process is to really nail the writing of that query letter. A query letter that reads well is usually a good indication to the literary agent that the manuscript will similarly read well, inclining the literary agent to request a manuscript. Often the query letter can go on to become the publisher’s jacket copy, were the publisher to acquire the manuscript via the literary agent.

The Do’s

A good query letter is: upfront in one-two sentences what the book is about in hook or elevator pitch fashion (should mention the title, lend a sense of genre, and contain one-three competitive/comparative titles that were bestsellers or award-winners, published within the last few years). If the author has pre-publication blurbs, those can appear before those first two sentences. Continue reading Why Did I Get a ‘No’? – The Do’s and Don’ts of Query Letter Writing

Copyrighting Our Books

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

When I was first signing a book contract in 2008, I remember that the industry generally scoffed at writers worried about copyright issues. Some writers wondered if they should register a copyright on their manuscripts before submitting them to agents and publishers. There was even a line of thinking that authors could simply mail their manuscripts to themselves to acquire a ‘poor man’s copyright’ through the postal service.

Acquiring a copyright to send work to a reputable agent or publisher was probably overkill. But the problem now is more insidious: there are cases where retailers like Amazon have challenged writers to prove a book’s content is theirs after receiving challenges from unscrupulous writers.

I’d been meaning to copyright my books for some time, but it became a higher priority after the copyright challenges became news. And I hopped right over to the US Copyright site after reading a post on Joanna Penn’s blog: an interview with attorney Kathryn Goldman. I recommend you read or listen to the entire post.

Continue reading Copyrighting Our Books

Listing Your Books With Google Play

A laptop faces the viewer with the words 'Listing Your Books With Google Play" superimposed on the dark background.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Although I was late to sell my books on Google Play, I’ve discovered that my books have sold well there.

I was a something of a skeptic about the chances of my success on Google Play or, really, any non-Amazon retailer.  My Nook sales (as, I think, everyone else’s) have been decreasing for years and I was never able to get much traction at Apple.

I’d also heard writers complain about problems with Google Play in the past. I’ve heard they deeply discount our books (without our approval) and then Amazon price-matches them. I’d also heard that they could be slow to pay.

Regardless, I decided to give it a go since I was also hearing positive things from other writers about their income through Google Play. Continue reading Listing Your Books With Google Play