Recommended: “Sell Your Book Like Wildfire”

Not sure why author Rob Eagar  chose this metaphor, but he refers to fire a lot in this book. The full title. though, tells the real story: Sell Your Book Like Wildfire: The Writer’s Guide to Marketing and Publicity.

It is true that buzz  — word-of-mouth, —  viral exposure is exactly what you need to get your book noticed. And his book will give you the spark to start that fire.  Here are excerpts from a full review I did at BlogCritics Magazine.

Yet, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, is not about sales and not about marketing after your book comes out.

Concepts covered include:

  • working with a publisher,
  • use of social media,
  • turning your book into a brand,
  • exercises to make sure you know where the value is in your product,
  • and how to convey that value.

And that is where the author, Rob Eager, provides the best advise.  The core of his strategy is to help you find the real value in your book. It involves an honest evaluation of how to find your market, know what they want, and deliver.

“You have an author brand whether you know it or not. …
Why be bland when you can have a brand.”


Beyond the E-hype

When you write a book, today for the first time, there seems to be an extreme sense of urgency. Not only are people choosing to self-publish to avoid the often fruitless agent/book deal dream, but because time wasted is lost opportunity in today’s fast-moving digital book marketplace, they are often skipping print and going straight to ebooks..

But resist the urge to rush through the writing and production process. You don’t want to publish a book with poor editing, or a bad cover, just to get it on the market while ebook sales are soaring. Ebook sales levels are still a small part of the overall book market. Good writing will last forever, but poor production or obsolete formats will go to the digital dump, just like cassette tapes and previous media fads.

Pen to Press Symposium

Here’s where I am today: The Pen to Digital Press: DIY Publishing in the Digital Age conference – so expect lots of good information to follow. I’ll be scheduling a series of posts on discussions regarding author rights, the digital tangle with ebook piracy, and much more. This event, sponsored by Lawyers for the Creative Arts presents the most relevant information for authors and publishers today. We’re fortunate to have this group in Chicago.

Areas covered include contracts, protecting your ideas, collaborating, use of third-party content, and a host of social media issues. I’ll also be back with lots of good information to share.

Slow news day: Let Jay Konrath take over

This from Jay Konrath’s “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.” as published Tuesday:

“Right now I’m looking at the Top 10 Kindle bestsellers in occult fiction.

Every one of them is self-pubbed. In fact, there are only three legacy authors in the Top 30. I count only ten legacy pubbed in the Top 100, and most are brand names.

That’s… staggering.

It also doesn’t bode well for legacy publishers.

Long ago, I said ebooks aren’t a competition. But that only applies when they are affordable. Once an ebook costs over five bucks, readers become choosy. The above list is proof. There are ten ebooks on that list priced more than $4.99.

Bet you can guess which ones. Hint: none of the self-pubbed.

At the moment, legacy publishers seem to be content with their ebook sales. They boast how ebooks are exploding, while print sales slip more and more.

And yet, they obviously aren’t pricing ebooks competitively. I’m outselling King, Harris, and Preston & Child. That’s odd, since they kill me in paper sales. But it doesn’t matter, because bestselling authors sell at any price, which publishers are aware of.

Midlist authors do not. Midlist authors right now are getting screwed by their publishers, earning far less than they could. It’s bad enough they’re only getting 17.5% of the list price; when the list price is ten bucks it is leaving a lot of money on the table.

So why aren’t legacy pubs pricing their midlists and backlists competitively? Are they still trying to preserve paper sales? Or have they crunched the numbers and figured out $7.99 to $14.99 is the sweet spot for profits?

Whatever the reason, it is misguided. Here’s a look into the future:

1. Amazon is the #1 ebookseller in the world. Its bestseller lists are prime real estate, allowing browsers to peruse genres and discover new titles to buy.

2. Free and cheap greatly improve a title’s chance of getting on a bestseller list, which leads to more awareness and more sales.”

…continue here:

Have a good week,

Helen Gallagher

Make Your Own Rules for Success

Here’s an old bon mot:

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

— W. Somerset Maugham

Use it as your motivation to make your own rules, find your own path, and make 2012 the year you move your writing ahead.  Get an article published, research the requirements for a book proposal or charge ahead on the path to seeing your book published. A year is a long time, and that time will be filled with a myriad of obligations and surprises. How you use your time to push closer to your goals will detemine the outcome for you at year-end.

I’ll get off my soapbox now!
Best regards,
Helen Gallagher

Eager to get noticed?

Jane Friedman has a powerful article in the  July-August 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest, entitled “Revising Your Path to Publication.” On the site, Brian Klems posted this excerpt. Take it to heart, and see what you can do today to get a little closer to these milestones in your writing career …

6 Signs You’re Getting Closer to Publication
September 20, 2011 | Brian A. Klems | Comments: 2

Be on the lookout for these signals, which may indicate that agents and publishers are starting to take notice of your work.

  1. You start receiving personalized, “encouraging” rejections.
  2. Agents or editors reject the manuscript you submitted, but ask you to send your next work. (They can see that you’re on the verge of producing something great.)
  3. Your mentor (or published author friend) tells you to contact his agent, without you asking for a referral.
  4. An agent or editor proactively contacts you because she spotted your quality writing somewhere online or in print.
  5. You’ve outgrown the people in your critique group and need to find more sophisticated critique partners.
  6. Looking back, you understand why your work was rejected, and see that it deserved rejection. You probably even feel embarrassed by earlier work.

This article was written by Jane Friedman.

12 steps before you’re ready to publish

My colleague, Stephanie Chandler, author of “BookedUp,” offers a thoughtful post on her blog here.  Her “12 Tasks Every Author Should Tackle Before Publishing a Book” is terrific. The advice includes many of the items I tell clients every week: Start a blog, Find a way to stay visible on social media,etc. But Stephanie goes much farther. She helps you understand how to prepare for a launch, create marketing materials, and really understand the commitment to making your book a success.

Again, Stephanie’s full post is here. Learn more at her site, Authority Publishing. She is a master at author marketing.

BookedUp” is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.


Good tutorial on book proposals

The folks at Writer’s Relief work full time helping authors produce queries, book proposals and other services.

If you’re working on a book proposal, use this 2008 post as a guide. It’s filled with sound advice on the critical proposal components to attract an agent.


The Art of the Non-Fiction Book Proposal – Writer’sRelief lives at

Reader question: What is Submishmash?

One thing about the internet, it sure makes creative use of the alphabet. Those 26 letters get rearranged and combined to make clever company names faster than ever before.

One clever name, Submishmash, is an online submission system you’ll soon encounter. It allows you to submit queries or stories to online magazines in an perfect format. Unlike the dreaded slush pile, Submishmash lets editors view, log, and respond.

Magazines, book publishers and websites use Submishmash to accept pitches and content. They don’t need to waste time downloading anything. They view your submission in a perfect format. Then they track, store, edit, and prepare to publish, all in one online content management system.

I use it to submit essays and articles to magazines and enjoy knowing there will be no formatting glitches or incompatibility problems. Watch for it as an option the next time you submit an article or manuscript.

Catch 22: The value of a good title

The August 2011 issue of Vanity Fair has an excellent article on Joseph Heller and the writing of Catch 22.

Here’s the catch… He named it Catch 18 and (as I tell clients not to do) he grew too fond of that title.

His editor suggested it would be confused with a new Leon Uris book about to be published, Mila 18. Two novels on the market with ’18’ would clash in the market.

The Vanity Fair article reprints a note Heller sent to his editor…

“The name of the book is now CATCH-14. (Forty-eight hours after you resign yourself to the change, you’ll find yourself almost preferring this new number….”

Heller’s young agent weighed in with a better idea, puzzling over the 18, and unaware of the 14, as she was trying to fall asleep. In the morning she phoned Heller. “I’ve got the perfect number. Twenty-two, it’s funnier than eighteen.”

So, even if you love the working title for your book, think about how it will stand up to the market, and make sure it has the strength to last for generations, as Heller’s work does.

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