The Circuitous Route from Pitch to Publish

I once took a non-credit, continuing education class at the New School called From Pitch to Publish. It was about developing and pitching personal essays and narrative journalism pieces to print publications, but I feel the simplicity of the name hints at the vision many of us have of the book publishing process, too:

1. Develop idea.

2. Write proposal.

3. Pitch agents.

4. Get agent.

5. Pitch publishers.

6. Get publisher.

7. … or don’t. The End.

In reality, the journey can be far more circuitous.

Awhile back, I shared this story on a pair of authors who got their book published… eventually. As I work on my own book, I’m also finding that the process is not as straightforward as I once expected. Instead of simply facing the possibility of publishing or not publishing my book, I find my book… changing. [Read more…]

How To Make Your Marketing Plan as Much Fun as a Glitter Hula Hoop Dance Party

It’s no secret that publishing houses’ promotional budgets have shrunk, making it necessary for authors to act as their own publicists. Hell, when I was a mid-level marketer for an academic publisher five years ago, I was often frustrated by the limitations placed upon me when it came to promoting my authors. What I was able to do then is very similar to what most publishers are limited to now:

  • sending out review copies and press kits to a select group of media outlets
  • writing copy for forthcoming catalogs
  • if the timing was right, sending copies of the book to BEA, or to relevant professional conferences
  • and maybe — just maybe — sending out direct mail pieces focused on the book

It’s not much. But I don’t see these limitations as reason to abandon the traditional publishing model entirely. [Read more…]

How an Author Can Be Her Own Own Best Publicist

Blogging buddy and author Brette Sember has about 40 titles to her name at this point, a number that often serves to make me feel like a lazy-ass bum. Like, what have I been doing all these years!? Her output has been so extensive that her published books fill one and a half shelves on her office bookcase.

She published her first book when she was home on maternity leave from her law practice in 1998. A publisher called and asked if she was interested in writing a book about how to file for divorce in New York. She never looked back. Now, she’s spending time promoting her latest book — The Muffin Tin Cookbook, due out in April — and she’s finding the publicity process wildly different from what it was just 14 years ago. Lucky for us, she’s willing to share what it’s like to be your own best publicist. [Read more…]

Job Hopping for Word Nerds: An Ebook-in-Progress

Hey there guys — I need your help. Here’s the story: I’m working on an ebook. It’s called Job Hopping for Word Nerds, and I’m writing it with the intention of creating a go-to resource for those interested in finding work within the publishing industry…anywhere in the publishing industry. I plan on including descriptions of the positions available in book publishing, magazines, newspapers, etc. More importantly, I want to create a monster resource manual, filled with links to professional organizations, databases, job sites, blogs, powerful tweeps, and more. In short: I have a vision. 🙂 The resource appendices of self-help books have typically been my favorite part of said books, and that’s what I want to focus on here.

[Read more…]

Are You Scared, Too?

me and magazines

I’ve always had a thing for glossy magazines.

It started with Highlights and, since then, I’ve subscribed to maybe 30 or 40 different titles (seven of which I’m still subscribed to now). And while they’ve never held the same allure for me as those thick paperbacks I’m constantly losing myself in, they provided me with something even better: a vision of my future as a writer.

I was going to write up a different post today. One on the benefits of online education. But then I was blindsided by the news that Conde Nast is folding Gourmet, Cookie, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride, and I felt a sharp pang of sadness, followed by a little shiver of fear.

Have you guys felt it, too?

[Read more…]

Coffee Break: The Death of All Media?

Now, I don’t actually think that my field of choice has no hope left. I mean, my employer folded. Gawker Media fired a bunch of people. Sex writers are dropping in droves. The Star-Ledger almost went under. The world is coming to an end.

But, still. Things will bounce back. Right? Right???

[Read more…]