One of the treats of any writers conference is the chance to hear directly from publishers. This year, one of the plenary sessions at Breathe was a panel discussion with representatives from Harper Collins, Kregel, Discovery House, Tyndale, and Zondervan. The panel was moderated by writer and agent, Ann Byle.
Here were a few of the questions that came up:
What are the considerations that go into a publisher’s choice of new book projects?
- Is the writing good? If so, is the concept salable?
- Is the author established?
- How is their project different from what’s out there?
- How does it fit in with the rest of the publisher’s line? Is there another book to be published that is too similar?
How important is an author’s reach into their target audience?
- This is vital for non-fiction. Authors must have an authoritative voice on their subject matter.
- Fiction is a different animal, but authors must still have access to their readers through online communities. Even if they don’t have 20,000 Facebook likes, they must show intention to grow their community.
What things should a writer not do?
- Lack confidence.
- Rush the process. Getting published is a long journey. Don’t get impatient.
- Quote Wikipedia. Just go find the original source material, please.
- Be inflexible with your agent/publisher/editor.
- Have expectations about the process if you haven’t been through it before.
What can an author expect from a publisher after the book is published?
- If editors make your book look good, marketers make it look better. Show some initiative and be involved in the marketing efforts of your book.
- Author care should include a publisher keeping in touch with you, making sure that you have the information you need along the process.
- Publishers will make sure that authors have a plan for how the book is going to be marketed.
What changes do you see in the publishing world?
- The rise and eventual plateau of e-books.
- The rise of self-publishing.
- The emergence of hybrid authors (authors who use both traditional and self-publishing).
- The downward pressure of price points at determined by e-books.
- The loss of brick and mortar bookstores. Thanks to Amazon, the delivery system for books is still changing.
- The loss of print book reviews due to the death of newspapers and magazines.
I’m thankful that the organizers of the Breathe Conference were able to get such a great panel together. Even though a lot of what they covered is probably common sense, it is good to hear that we needn’t always have the largest platform in the world in order to get published. We need only do our best and show that we are improving.
Well, that and have an amazing manuscript.