6 benefits of NOT having a Literary Agent

Most blog posts on publishing related websites talk about how important it is to have Literary agents represent authors. So it is only inevitable that the reverse question comes up frequent, specially from authors who’ve tried their best to reach out to the best literary agents in town (and outside) and haven’t had much luck.

Aren’t there any advantages of not having a literary agency offer representation? You bet there are.

Read more

Book editing services in India: Are you paying too much?

Freelance book editors provide services to authors before literary agents or publishers come into the picture. The assumption here is that the original manuscript has potential that can be accentuated with a little help.

There are many subjective and commercial aspects you need to consider before you decide to hire a book editor. Some of the subjective elements were covered in an earlier post titled ‘Hiring a freelance editor for proofreading & editing your book’. This one focuses on the commercial perspective.

Read more

Average word count for books: How long should a novel be?

This question came in as a reader comment on one of the earlier blog posts. This question about average word count was on my mind as well, when I started writing my book. Most blogs and writer websites had the more-or-less the same advice – forget the length and the average word count of your novel. Write your story and forget the rest.

I wouldn’t dispute that rationale to a large extent. But the follow-your-heart recommendation needs to be considered in the context of commercial and business interests of the publishing company too. So I continued searching for the other side of the story. Where word count translates into a specific number of pages, which in turn influences how painful it would be to publish your book.

I found several high level guidelines on the internet. These were to do with whether the book would be categorised as a Novel or a Novella or an Epic or something else. In this post, I’d like to share some thoughts on word count considerations.

Read more

10 depressing facts about the book publishing industry

Steven Piersanti (President, Berrett-Koehler Publishers) recently published a top 10 list on the trends in the publishing industry. Though the numbers that are cited in the article are from the US, I’m guessing that some trends might be applicable to the world market as well.

First a quick summary of the post and then we move on to what new authors can do apart from popping anti-depressant pills.

Read more

Book publishing industry: How the revenue pie gets shared

In traditional book publishing, authors get the short end of the stick. You already knew that. We are talking about income in the form of book royalty.

So if an author does all the hard work of writing the book and the reader does the (harder?) work of patiently reading it, where does the rest of the money go?

This is where the supply chain comes into picture and it might help understanding the behind the scenes dynamics, so you are better positioned to write that bestseller.

Read more

New writers & authors: Ready to be a book salesman?

When it comes to selling novels, there is a common assumption (and practice) in the publishing world. After the author has received his share of limelight and media exposure during the book launch event, he goes back to his high pedestal to work on the next masterpiece while his humongous fan following flocks to the bookstores to buy the book.

As an author, while you put on the sunglasses to protect your eyes from all the flashbulbs going off in your face, the reality is – most book reviews and press exposure will fizzle out faster than you assume. Then it’s just you and your books lying on their respective pedestals gathering dust. Unless you do something about it.

So last week, I thought, let me try out an experiment.

Read more

Hiring a freelance editor for proofreading & editing your book

Freelance editors work with new writers (or even experienced ones) to polish their novel or non-fiction manuscript before it gets submitted to literary agents or publishers. They could charge on a fixed fee or an hourly fee basis. Like in all fields, the editing business has a few good editors who know their stuff (and can really make a difference) and a whole lot of mediocre and opportunistic ones who’d be happy to take your money.

Here are a few perspectives for you to think about before you take the decision of hiring a freelance editor for your book.

Read more

How to write your first book and FINISH it

Advice on how to start writing a book is quite different from tips on how to finish a book. What genre your novel will fall in, how long it should be and what writing style should you follow are questions that the author is best qualified to address. The bigger challenge for most first time writers working on their novel or non-fiction books is about putting the lid on the project and completing the book.

Read more

Query letter rejections: How writers can deal with it

Query letters for books need a lot of TLC (tender love & care) to create. Getting the mailing list of the best literary agents and publishers to send your carefully crafted query letter takes longer. Waiting for the publishers and the book agents takes forever.

So no matter how determined you are in wanting to get your novel or non-fiction book published, rejections can be very disappointing.

How you deal with rejections and move on is an important part of the learning curve. Here are a few things you can do to help you put things in perspective and improve your book proposal or query letters.

Read more

Book promotion: Will you give away your book for free?

After you’ve spent hundreds (thousands) of hours working on your book and getting it published, what would your reaction be if you saw it available for free download on a peer-to-peer file sharing site? My guess is, you wouldn’t be too happy.

Piracy is a big problem wherever Intellectual Property Rights come into picture. This applies to books, music, movies, software and many other products where an idea or concept is packaged usually for commercial gains.

But there’s another school of thought that’s finding new followers (some very prominent and well-respected ones) each day.

Read more

Writing a book: How to choose a genre?

How you write and structure a book has a lot to do with what genre you choose. This decision will also have a big influence on another aspect that’s important for publishers – your target market size. For many new writers there’s a natural inclination to be drawn towards a specific genre like romance, thrillers, science fiction, young adult, chick lit or any of the numerous other broad or niche genres available.

A big influence on choosing the genre might be the kind of novels, non-fiction books and online stories you’ve been reading for a long time. Reading bestsellers is a great way to get the pulse of the reader and the market. But it’s also got its pitfalls.

Read more

Vanity or subsidy book publishers in various forms

For authors who are exploring self-publishing options, vanity publishers are waiting with their arms outstretched. But across various websites and author forums, vanity publishing started getting a bad name due to the operational model they follow.

Rather than targeting the regular readers of a book, for vanity publishing companies, the primary customer is the author. These are publishers who have no interest or incentive in seeing the sales numbers for your book sky rocket.

Many vanity publishing players, aware of the stigma associated with the label, started presenting themselves in new ways to break away from the clutter.

Read more