Publishing Facts

ISBN 10, ISBN 13, and Those Pesky X’s

(or…Get Your Info From Knowledgeable Sources) A client wrote me sounding a teeny bit worried: A friend of mine who used to be a bookstore manager mentioned the “X” that shows up after my ISBN number. She said it might be a problem when ordering books for the store because it indicated my book was…
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What are Remainders?

Richard wrote:Could you explain “remaindering” in a future post? I wish I could recall the poem I’ve heard Jim Bell quote that begins, “The book of mine enemy has been remaindered, and I am glad.” “Remainder” means that the publisher has too much stock of a book, so they sell it off at a very…
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Sell-in, Sell-Through, Earn-Out

(and Returns) Today I want to explain some publishing terms that sometimes get confused: sell-in, sell-through and earn-out (and I’m reluctantly throwing in returns at the last minute.) SELL IN: This is the number of copies ordered by retailers (or any other entity) prior to publication of the book. Sometimes this number is called the…
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Reversion of Rights

Blog reader Sue Harrison said: I’ve found myself in a frustrating situation with a publisher regarding the definition of “out-of-print” [and not being able to obtain] a reversion of rights to two of my novels. These novels have earned back their advances but are no longer available to the public. I’m guessing this situation has…
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Q4U: Too Much Information?

I’m wondering if the plethora of publishing blogs and the wealth of advice available for aspiring writers is making it more difficult for you, rather than easier. It seems the more information and advice we give via our blogs, workshops, webinars and books, the more writers clamor for even more detailed advice. It also seems…
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Stuff You Pay For

A client of mine was reading over his contract with a Big Six publisher and he emailed me wondering, If my book needs an index, do I really have to pay for it myself? “Yep.” And how much would it cost? “Depends, but most likely in the neighborhood of $500 to $1200. Don’t worry, the…
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A Splash of Cold Water

Some of you may have read the post from agent Kristin Nelson last week about agents fighting over writers. She wrote that every single time she offers a writer representation lately, she ends up competing with several other agents who want the same client. You can go read her post now: Hot Commodity In response…
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What About Market Research?

I’ve been asked this question several times by various people outside the publishing industry: Why don’t publishing houses do more market research? Most industries that sell to the public invest heavily in things like focus groups, surveys, and product testing. This is even done with TV shows and feature films. But it doesn’t seem the…
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It’s Not Like Other Businesses

I get weary of hearing people complain about publishing, comparing it to other industries and saying, “In no other business…” followed by whatever their complaint is. People even go so far as to claim the entire publishing industry is “incompetent” because it doesn’t work like other industries with which they’re familiar. To me, those complaints…
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Publishing Smackdown: Let the Games Begin

If you think things were starting to get crazy in publishing, the last week just turned everything upside down again. As you know, Apple introduced the long-awaited and much-hyped iPad (here’s a quick overview from PW), which looks to me like it’s going to live up to the hype. (Watch this video if you haven’t…
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Finances of Publishing:

Answering Questions from Last WeekI’m glad my two posts last week, How Do Book Royalties Work? and Is Your Book Worth It? seemed to be helpful. There were quite a few questions, a few of which I’ll try to answer here. Sara asked: If an author wants to help sell their own books (lectures, readings,…
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Is Your Book Worth It?

Yesterday I told you how book royalties work, so today I want to go further and explain a little more about the finances of publishing, this time from the publisher’s perspective. One of the things that’s hard to remember is that the publisher makes a significant financial investment in each writer, with no guarantee that…
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Myths vs. Facts of Publishing

The comments on Friday’s post confirmed that myths about publishing are alive and well, as they always have been. Of course, every myth has its basis in some kind of fact, and it’s not always easy to tease apart the truth from the lie. I’ll address a few common myths here, but just realize, for…
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My Tweets from QueryDay

As you know, Friday was QueryDay on Twitter. I think it went exceptionally well. Lots of great questions from authors, lots of agents and editors chiming in with answers. An incredible wealth of information was passed around! Several people asked me to compile my tweets from the day. So here they are. Just a whole…
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