Publishing Facts


Whenever I (or other bloggers) write about marketplace realities in publishing, there are always a wide variety of responses, ranging from pragmatic acceptance to mournful disappointment to angry lament. My observation – and I could be wrong – is that the sad and mad responses are from writers whose passion for being published burns hot…
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How Long Will It Take?

One of the most frequent questions I get is, How long? How long should I wait before following up with an editor on a submission? If I get an offer from a publisher, how long before they send a contract? How long until I see my first check? When will my manuscript be due? When…
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I Am Not a Gatekeeper

People in and around this business have long used the word “gatekeeper” when referring to those in publishing tasked with choosing which books to publish or represent. Since the rise of self-publishing, it has become a debate—often heated: Down with the gatekeepers! Hooray for the gatekeepers! But gatekeepers are not what you think. There is…
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How Do Book Royalties Work?

Sometimes there’s confusion about how book royalties work. Thought I’d clear up this mystery for you. Generally the author earns a percentage of the cover price of every book sold. In Christian publishing, authors typically earn a percentage of the net price (not cover price). That is, the price at which the publisher sold the…
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How to get published

How to Get Published

I get emails every day asking for advice on getting published or getting an agent. This is the post for people needing an entry-level introduction to publishing. Dear Writer, Congratulations on your decision to pursue publication. Before approaching literary agents, you’ll need to create the appropriate materials: → If you’re a non-fiction writer, you’ll need a…
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All the Publishing Information You Ever Wanted

Many of you have been reading my blog for a while, but you might not be aware of how much information is available in my archives. Just as a refresher, I wanted to highlight some posts you might find helpful. Have you seen my DEFINITIVE post on How To Get Published? Do you need to…
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Will My Publisher Let Me Self-Publish Too

Will My Publisher Let Me Self-Publish Too?

These days, I’m sensing that many authors are gung-ho to write and publish as much as possible. Now that the term “hybrid author” has been coined, referring to those who are both traditionally and self-published, everyone thinks they want or need to be one. As one author put it, “It seems like the time is now! It’s…
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How Does Your Publisher Make Money?

If you read the publishing blogs and follow industry Twitter feeds, you’ve no doubt gathered that there’s a firestorm of controversy over Pearson, the parent company of Penguin Books, purchasing a company called Author Solutions (ASI), a well-established self-publishing company. You can read numerous diverse opinions on this acquisition and plenty of astute commentary (links…
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How Does a Publishing Auction Work?

One of the things that always generates excitement among authors is the prospect of an “auction” between publishers for their book. But there’s also a mystique surrounding auctions, and many writers wonder how they actually work. So let’s pull back the shroud of mystery and peek at what an auction looks like. Why are auctions…
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Poor Sales Can Affect Your Future

Yesterday we talked about how it can be difficult to get an agent or traditional publisher if you had a self-pub book that didn’t sell. But that begs the question: What if you have a traditionally published book (or multiple books) that didn’t sell very well? Will that cause problems selling future books? Absolutely. In…
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Promoting a book

Do Publishers Market Books?

A couple of days ago, Michael Hyatt had a terrific post on his blog, Four Reasons Why You Must Take Responsibility for Your Own Marketing. He reiterated truths about the important role you, the author, play in the promotion of your own book. He reinforced what we’ve all been hearing: Publishers don’t market books. It’s all…
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When Agents Have Bad News

or… Don’t Shoot the Messenger Did you know that I invented publishing? Seriously—book publishers, agents, querying, marketing—the whole shebang, I thought of it, created the system and built it from the ground up. Wait—what? I didn’t build the publishing industry? You mean I’m not responsible for the lousy query system, and the difficulty getting published, and the…
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Book Genres and Blog Stats

I had fun collecting stats on my sidebar polls last week. Thanks to all 1,453 of you who answered the questions! Turns out: → 93% of you are writers→ 85% of you are writing fiction→ 73% of you are not yet published→ 77% of you are writing for the general (not Christian) market By far…
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Should Publishing Be Compared to the Music Industry?

(Maybe Not) Continuing on the theme of how publishing is evolving, you probably know that many people are comparing our current situation to the music industry’s revolutionary changes over the last dozen years. If we’re smart, the wisdom goes, we’ll carefully study how things have gone in that medium and see what we can learn from it. I’ve read many, many articles…
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