Getting Your Book Published

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Getting Your Book Published

Post by Fate Flyer on Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:26 am

It's the dream of just about every writer to get their own book published. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get your own dreams realized and your books published!


Glossary


Handling Writer's Block
Choosing A Book Title
Writing A Query Letter
How Copyright Works
Finding An Agent
Finding A Publisher


Last edited by Fate Foretold on Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:48 am; edited 9 times in total
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Re: Getting Your Book Published

Post by Fate Flyer on Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:30 am

Handling Writer's Block



Writer's block is a condition, associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task in hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked" writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers.

Writer's block may have many causes. Some are essentially creative problems that originate within an author's work itself. A writer may run out of inspiration. A project may be fundamentally misconceived, or beyond the author's experience or ability.

Other blocks, especially the more serious kind, may be produced by adverse circumstances in a writer's life or career: physical illness, depression, the end of a relationship, financial pressures, a sense of failure. The pressure to produce work may in itself contribute to a writer's block, especially if he is compelled to work in ways that are against his natural inclination, i.e. too fast or in some unsuitable style or genre. In some cases, writer's block may also come from feeling intimidated by a previous big success, the creator putting on him/herself a paralyzing pressure to find something to equate that same success again.

Recently, the writer and neurologist Alice W. Flaherty has argued that literary creativity is a function of specific areas of the brain, and that block may be the result of brain activity being disrupted in those areas.

Some authorities have recommended the following to those suffering from writer's block:

  • Scheduling time to write and work, regardless of the quality of the output. Find writing lessons, resources, exercises, and tips online.
  • Engaging in brief periods of free writing or "mindwriting," in which people impulsively write whatever comes to mind.
  • Join a traditional Writing Group or join a free online writing group.
  • Hire a writing mentor to encourage and guide you through the writing process.
  • Make yourself write something new by entering a writing competition.
  • Challenge negative thoughts about your skill or ability to write.
  • Use writers' exercises, such as "chunking" or focus words. There are many websites that contain numerous creative writing exercises.
  • Take a break, meditate, or do relaxation exercises to relieve any pressure on yourself and on the writing.
  • Do something out of the ordinary. If writer's block comes from a lack of new ideas, attempts to spark creativity by going somewhere new or doing something different can be useful.
  • Return to the writing after a lapse of a day or two.
  • Write a basic plot outline of the story if having problems keeping the story on the rails.
  • Brainstorm at the beginning of writing can help the writer by relating every point to another.
  • Read, watch movies or plays, or do similar activities that might bring inspiration.
  • Go out to get some fresh air.
  • Similarly, diet and exercise are linked to optimal performance of mind and body - thus, keeping oneself in good health is important for creative output. Aerobic exercise oxygenates the brain, and walking in particular is a time honored remedy for creative block.
  • Set your writing down, go out and do something that will keep you busy, and then come back in a few hours with a fresh mind.
  • Try asemic writing.
  • Review, and if necessary, reorganize source material or notes.
  • Listen to music.
  • Draw the story.
  • Take your focus away from the main story and work on the more fun, yet none-the-less needed, side stories; the legends, myths, backstories and simple histories of things. The break from the concrete storyline can allow for a restoration of creativity.
  • Break the vicious cycle and retake your self-confidence by writing something entirely unrelated to your usual field of word. For example, for someone blocked in the writing of a novel, write cooking recepies, political opinions, anything else. The idea being simply to reconnect with the energy of feeling able to create and write.


Last edited by Fate Foretold on Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:31 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Getting Your Book Published

Post by Fate Flyer on Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:37 am

Choosing A Book Title



It is critically important that you choose the best possible title for your book. It is amazing how much people judge a book by its title (never mind its cover)!

You probably have had a working title from early on. Movies always have working titles while they are being created, but often they get a new title at the last minute. This is normal, and while it can be a difficult emotional move for you, it can be critical to the book's ability to sell.

First, you want to make sure your title catches the eye and is immediately meaningful. If you have a title that is confusing, people won't bother to try to understand. Look at movies - many people feel the "Shawshank Redemption" would have had huge sales if it had been titled better. People often won't try to understand something confusing. You want the book to be as pick-upable as humanly possible.

Title the book something meaningful. Magazines can afford to have cutesy titles for their articles. Books cannot. Books need to be immediately obvious.


Here are some helpful tips for writers in choosing the right title:
  • Less is better. Try to keep down the number of words to a precise and evocative few.

  • Don’t rely on the subtitle to explain what the book is really about. It’s the title itself that people see first when scanning a catalog, bookstore shelf, or online store.

  • Research the title on Amazon or Google. You can’t copyright a title; therefore you’ll often notice there’s more than one book with the same one. Avoid taking a title that’s been used too many times or already belongs to a famous book.

  • Try out your title on a variety of people, including people with different tastes, people who are not family and friends, who are educated about the subject or not, who are cool and uncool – be curious and open to the market.


Titling, as with so much else in the book business, is an art, not a science.


Last edited by Fate Foretold on Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Getting Your Book Published

Post by Fate Flyer on Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:41 am

Writing A Query Letter



You've written the perfect book, and now you want to find a publisher to promote it. Here are tips on writing a query letter.

A query letter is what sells your idea to the editor. It needs to get the editor to that next step - contacting you for the full book text. It needs to:
  • be compelling reading
  • excite the editor into wanting to know more, arousing their interest
  • entice them to make the effort to contact you


Remember, the editor doesn't have you read your whole letter. They can read the beginning and chuck it out immediately. You need to convince them, every step of the way, that it's worth their time to continue.

The lead must be relevant. Start immediately with the topic at hand, not your own background. Grab them with the first paragraph and then give them a crystal clear story description.

You must include:
  • Theme and slant of your book
  • Source of any stats or info you list in the query letter
  • Your credentials to write this content
  • Photos / artwork / etc. you can provide


Your query letter should be:
  • a single page only
  • single-spaced with eye-appealing paragraphs
  • on ordinary white bond paper, black ink


Last edited by Fate Foretold on Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Getting Your Book Published

Post by Fate Flyer on Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:45 am

How Copyright Works



Your work is copyrighted and owned by you the moment you finish writing it. There's no need to file any paperwork or add any symbols to your material. You wrote it, you own it, and you hold the copyright.

The US Copyright Office maintains an FAQ on their site:
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html

Note that the US office maintains relations with just about every other country's office, so you don't have to worry about copyrighting your information all around the globe.

The only reason you would ever have to file a copyright is if you wished to sue someone who had stolen your work. In that case, you would file to be on record as the legal owner before you headed into court.

If you get a copyright (which isn't necessary if you're only submitting to mainstream publishers) don't put the notice on the manuscript. It marks you as an amateur.


Last edited by Fate Foretold on Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Getting Your Book Published

Post by Fate Flyer on Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:54 am

Finding An Agent



Just what is an agent? In essence, an agent is someone who helps to sell your book to publishers. They know the publishers, they know how to talk to them, and they can help smooth the way of your book into an acceptance. Think of them as a paid salesperson.

Agents vary in price, but typically cost a few hundred dollars. Good agents don't charge up front. They take a percentage of the earnings. If you expect to sell to a small publisher, don't get an agent, because they don't work with them. The very largest, today, frequently work only with agents. Choose your hoped-for publishers, and then check their requirements. An agent will do all the work for you, contacting publishers and letting you know which ones they wrote to about your book. Sometimes, no publishers may accept it.

That's the problem. How can you really know that a given agent is going to do a good job? Just because they sell another person's book to a publisher, there's no guarantee they will sell yours. True, some publishers will only work through agents, for the same reason some companies only hire through headhunters. They don't want the grief and trouble of dealing with millions of bad book proposals. They want someone to weed through the applications for them, that they can trust.

Yes, the publishers could hire a staff of 20 people whose sole purpose was to read applications and figure out which were worthy but it's cheaper for them to go with agents - who they don't have to pay but who they trust - and have the writers paying the agents.

So it comes down to (as in most of life) money. The publishers want great, top selling books. They don't want to deal with millions of bad book submissions. So they use a "free" cadre of agents. The writers pay the agents. So the book publishers get - for free - a weeded-down list of only the higher quality books, that they review and examine.

So, should you hire an agent? You might want to try contacting perfectly matching publishers yourself first. You can go through the Writer's Market and find the 5 or so most perfectly matched publishers that would be perfect for your book. You can hone a perfect query letter and send it to them. You, of course, have to choose publishers that accept direct submissions, but there are certainly a lot of those out there. It's recommended that you resort to an agent only if months of serious effort do not get results, and you decide that the only remaining perfect matches are ones that require an agent.


Last edited by Fate Foretold on Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Getting Your Book Published

Post by Fate Flyer on Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:57 am

Finding A Publisher



When Harry Potter was first written, over 12 different publishers turned this book down - they thought nobody would buy it. Obviously they were very wrong! Publishers make mistakes all the time. If you get turned down by one, or ten, or twenty, don't get discouraged. You'll find the right publisher - and the fit will work perfectly.

The key is to start with a directory of publishers like the Writer's Market. Go through and figure out which publishers are best for your book. If you have a bad fit, they'll never accept you. Research what they currently carry. Then write a specific, unique query letter to them explaining why the fit is so great. That is your responsibility - to show them your enthusiasm for your material.

Remember, you don't need a publisher. A publisher takes a huge chunk of your profits. In return, they supposedly help to promote and push your book - but a lot of publishers don't do that very well. You might do just as well selling your first book on your own, getting yourself known, and then have publishers coming after you for subsequent books. What publishers are good for is helping with publicity (in small companies--in big ones you have to be already famous) and the distributor issue.
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