Entangled publisher Liz Pelletier let us in on what goes on as a book moves through a publishing house and onto the bookshelves.
The path to a published book ::
1. Query letter. This is the basis for the blurb for most publishers. Make sure it will sell the book. Include a positioning statement on your story might be marketed, a high concept that will help your editor. Readers of SEP will love this heartwarming sexy contemporary. (facebook followers, twitter, platform, tribe, served on boards, memberships)
2. Editor makes the request to see more. When it comes it, it is sent to two interns (Entangled has 45). Interns read and writes a letter explaining yes or no. Two no means a no, a split vote gets a 3rd intern, two yes means it gets sent to the editor to read. The intern summary lists five things they love and five things that need work. From that, editors can gauge how long it will take to fix it. Sometimes, an agent will get an editor excited about it and the book might skip the interns.
3. Acquisitions form where editors have to present to the board (which includes marketing and finance) with 5 swaying reasons why they want to buy your book. (platform, marketing, multi-published)The more you can put in your query to help the editor pitch it in the meeting, the more likely your story will be contracted.
4. Key titles – every season a few books are selected and the majority of the marketing effort for a publisher goes into those titles. The books that are thought to sell the most.
5. Cover – the cover should sell the book not represent it. It is just packaging.
6. Distribution catalog – someone in production has to pitch it to the sales force. 43 sales people, 13 directors, 60 seconds per title to make them think this is the hottest title ever. Then marketing has 60 seconds to work that angle with promotion (sales, book tour, advertising, etc). They call out numbers…B&N, Booksamillion, Airports, big box, amazon, grocery…or they ‘skip’. This gives a general sense of the print run.
7. Co-op. Table space, faced out, new release shelf and end caps. Publishers pay for the space at the front of the store to build interest. Publishers have to be nominated by the distributor, and then the book store decides who they would like to feature. There is a lot of money involved in getting your book positioned in the book store.
|Our industry peeps really enjoyed sitting in the back of the workshop
When writing your query, and writing your book, look at it as a business.
We can release fast enough to ride a trend, but mostly you make your own trends. Like aliens in high school…maybe hackers will be next.