One of the most frustrating things for best-selling authors and publishers alike is many authors only writing for a career. There are countless blogs and articles written by famous authors that say writing should happen as a hobby or passion, not to pay the bills, and if it turns into a career, that is a fantastic plus! Here are a few things to have in mind when you’re writing a book! Disclaimer: this is not to say that your book will not sell or become a bestseller. We’re just working on the odds of 3 million books released a year and only a handful of those go onto sell very well and create a platform for the author.
The Market is very saturated
As we said, there are quite literally millions of books out there. So, standing out can be very difficult. It is possible, but luck usually has a big part to play.
Big VS Indie Publishers
Just like most people will get their coffee at Starbucks and Costa- many big authors and big books are published with the big publishers; you know who they are. So being an indie publisher can be difficult. In many ways, we are thriving due to the increase of readers from younger ages and the rising popularity of reading again. But there will always be struggles being an indie publisher. E.g. your budget will not be as large. The good side of being with a smaller publisher is your experience will almost definitely be more personal as you’ll be able to speak to your publisher and not feel like one of the thousands of authors.
Think of what you would buy!
We love memoirs and autobiographies/biographies but remember this. When was the last time you were interested in purchasing a book by someone you didn’t know? The market for biographies alike is a celebrity – Robbie Williams, Princess Diana or Madonna biographies will always have a market, but if you do not have a certain status, it will be hard to sell.
Poetry is a difficult one.
Same as biographies, poetry can be very difficult to sell. It very rarely gets into the charts and when it does it is usually because it is joined with beautiful illustrations, making it more of a coffee table book. The sad fact of life is many people just don’t read poetry anymore. As we said, anything is possible, we have had poetry sell well, it is just rare!
Children’s Books Need Illustrations
Unless it’s more of a novel format, it is almost impossible for you to submit a 3- or 4-page story, as amazing as it may be, without pictures or illustrations and get a traditional contract. It’s an unfinished book. When you go into any bookshop and approach the kids’ section, you will see stunning books all complete with very different, high-quality illustrations. When you think of The Hungry Caterpillar, you think of the pictures, when you think of any book by Roald Dahl, you also think of Quentin’s drawings. Get an illustrator to have the best chance.
Publishing is not a charity.
Publishers will not publish your book if we don’t think it will sell. If we are unsure, a contribution may be offered, this could be to cover the fee from our illustrator (almost matching it) it could be a great book that requires a lot of proofing, amending and copyright checks, again, a traditional is unlikely. If it falls under the genre of poetry and biographies, again – it’s too risky to publish it traditionally.
What can I do to get published traditionally?
Look at what is trending, look at what you can do e.g. starting a blog, Twitter or Instagram to get a following and understand promoting work, work on your book and don’t listen to your friends or family’s advice, listen to professionals – take a writing course!
How can you sell more?
Be proactive, help your publicist set up things locally, they will always write and email around, but you can do what we can’t – walk straight into your local bookshop/newspaper and ask to be featured. Brainstorm ideas with us, think about paid marketing, contact local book clubs!
We will leave you on this note:
It’s well known that it’s hard to make it big as an actor and singer. Not everyone will be the next Beyoncé or Robert DeNiro, there are hundreds of thousands of actors and singers, and only a small portion will make it, it is exactly the same for the writing industry. Write because of your love of writing! If you are writing for money and fame you are doing it for the wrong reasons.