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My first book was published by Eloquent (Strategic Book Publishing) in July 2010, and my second book should be out in Late March 2011. I walked into my business relationship with SBP with my eyes wide open and made the decision to go with them with no regrets. I had received a number of rejection letters from publishers and agents, and SBP showed me a way to get my books published and let my voice be heard. I thank them for that.
During this process, I discovered that the easiest part getting a book published is actually writing the initial manuscript. From then on, you have to be very thick skinned as people give their blunt and honest opinions about your work – especially if they don’t like the work or aspects of the work. You have to be patient as the work is edited and mistakes are corrected. You have to be honest with yourself about why you want the work published and what you are willing to do to get it published. And finally, you have to remember that publishing is a business and you are a partner in that business.
For a first-time author, the publisher is not going to give you an advance and they are not going to put a lot of resources into marketing your book from the beginning. They are going to start small and see how the book does. If it does well in the beginning, then they will assign resources to help it do even better. If it doesn’t do well, they wont. As the author, you have to really work to get the book known. You have to approach book sellers to get them to carry the book and set up author and book events. You have to do interviews, blog, and find effective ways to get word out about your book. You need to tap into your friends and social networks to spread the word and generate interest. You need to approach reviewers to get them to read and write a review about your book. It’s hard work, but if you want to be successful and if you want your book to do well, you have to work hard to get your foot in the door. Publishing is easy. Marketing is hard. If you can’t handle that, don’t start – just write for fun and fine something else to do for a living.
As far as publishing goes, I’ve realized that you need to be patient and check your ego at the door. Whatever you write will be edited, reedited, reviewed, criticized, rejected, and, hopefully, loved. If you can’t handle other people telling you what you did wrong, don’t put yourself out there in the first place.
Thank you for sharing your experience. Since you are conveying a positive experience with Strategic Book Group, could you go into more detail with your decision (“eyes wide open”)? How much investigation did you do? What sources did you evaluate? What ultimately steered your decision to with Strategic Book Group? Did other author related sites factor into your evaluation? What led to you decision to publish an additional book with Strategic Book Group? You also seem to have a good handle on marketing and self-promotion. What, if any, support do you receive from Strategic Book Group? – The Write Agenda
Certainly. I spent a great deal of time researching publishers and agents that specialized in the genre of my books – there were some very good free and fee-based web sites that I used to get lists of companies and their web sites. I also looked at who was publishing and acting as the agent for my favorite authors in that genre. I looked at national companies, regional companies, local companies, and overseas companies because I didn’t want to overlook any possibilities. Once I narrowed down the list, I selected the first group to contact, reviewed their submission requirements, and then started sending out letters and proposals. The rejection letters starting coming back imediately, but I had been warned that it could take as long as 18 months to find a publisher, so I wasn’t discouraged – just annoyed!
I had gone through my second set of publishers and agents when a bit of discouragement began to set in. I was going through the choices quickly with no positive results. Then, I stumbled onto an ad for SBG and a publishing agency they either owned or worked with. I looked at their site, liked what I saw, recognized some of the titles on their list, and submitted a proposal to them as an agent. When they wrote back, they said they would be happy to represent me as an agent, but also wanted me to contact their publishing group directly. They said that if the publishing group was not interested, to come back to them and they would represent me in finding a publisher. As it turned out, the publishing group was interested, and we started work publishing the first book.
My first works were a trilogy that I had completed before looking to get the first book published, so they knew I had three manuscripts ready that I wanted published. Once we started working together on the first book, they assigned a series of coaches to me to help me learn how to get my first book sold. They helped me with reviews, press releases, announcements, shows and events, blogging, social media and web sites, and other marketing activities. They were able to provide the materials I needed for events and shows, ways to improve my visibility as an author, and tips from other authors who had been successful in the past.
There were either fees or costs associated with many of these services, but for a first-time author, I understood that they were there to help me get the word out about my books while they evaluated my success to determine if the books and I were worth their future investment. Through their feedback, as well as the feedback from other professionals in the publishing industry, I determined that a new author with two books is more impressive than an author with only one book, so I modified my marketing efforts and moved forward with publishing the second book in the trilogy. With that book coming out next month, I can now provide a better image to retailers and other book sellers as a good risk. Having already learned SBG’s process, it seemed natural to let them publish the second book, and since I want all three books in the series to have the exact look and feel, my plan is to let them publish the complete trilogy. Once that is done, we can then both step back, look at the experience and our successes, and determine if the relationship is working as-is, or if either of us failed to live up to the anticipated potential when we started this journey together.
I don’t believe decisions can be made based on a single point of data, so I would never make a decision to change publishers based on a single book unless something had gone terribly wrong. As far as I’m concerned, nothing has gone wrong, and I am still getting what I wanted from my relationship with them. I hope they continue to feel the same way since I have an additional four manuscripts finished that I want published. The second book will give me more insight into how we are doing together, and the third book should give us both what we need to determine what happens next. I think it’s the most reasonable approach.
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