Monday, February 18, 2008

Planning Ahead

Brandilyn Collins passes long this link from the New York Times that answers the question, "Why does is take so long to publish a book?" The short answer is that the space between turning in your manuscript and the time it shelves -- on the average, a year to a year-and-a-half -- is needed for simple marketing / publicity / word of mouth.

It reminds of marketing guru Seth Godin's advice for authors. Much of it is for non-fiction writers, but valid points for novelists include:

2. The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you'll need later.

5. Don't try to sell your book to everyone ... Far better to obsess about a little subset of the market -- that subset that you have permission to talk with, that subset where you have credibility, and most important, that subset where people just can't live without your book.

18. Bookstores, in general, are run by absolutely terrific people. Bookstores, in general, are really lousy businesses. They are often where books go to die. While some readers will discover your book in a store, it's way more likely they will discover the book before they get to the store, and the store is just there hoping to have the right book for the right person at the time she wants it. If the match isn't made, no sale.
I've started working on my Five-Year Plan. (And Ten-Year Plan. And Thirty-Year Plan.)

Related links:
The Biz of Fiction
"Ignorance is death."
Go maketh a plan
It only works if people can find your book ...
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Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction


A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at Watch the trailer on YouTube.