Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Plan, Give us a Plan, Man

We at Martin Brown Publishers, LLC require that authors we publish have a marketing plan. Your marketing plan must show us you understand how to reach your reading audience. A marketing plan begins by having a thorough understanding of what you’ve written and who will buy it.
Some authors wait until they have a book in their hands before even thinking of who might buy and read a copy. If you wait until your book is published, you're too late to get any buzz started—way too late. So waiting until you’re published is not an option with us. We want you to begin marketing YOUR AUTHOR SELF as soon as possible.

Selling your author self should begin when you first sit down at a keyboard and seriously begin to craft a saleable work. It probably wouldn't hurt to think about who might buy something you've written when the muse first hits. Getting a blog and a Web address is not a bad idea even if you never finish the novel. Getting known doesn’t hurt no matter what profession you are in. Writing content to put on your blog and learning how to promote it teaches you necessary internet marketing skills. These skill are a must when you try to sell a book.

It is a necessity to be known if you are planning to become a successful author. Writing is entertainment. An author is an entertainer. Have you ever thought of yourself this way? To be successful, you must.

Entertainers, to be successful, must be known. Can you imagine a comedian, for instance, considering a career without being known? How about a musician or an actor? Can you imagine these entertainers not having a following? I can't. 

Authors are no different. Many, many authors throw a novel together and self-publish the results. Then they sit on their hands and wait. As time passes, they are sadly disappointed when no one buys a copy. Why? Because books are like falling leaves on an October day. There are that many of them. Can you imagine your reader sifting through a huge pile of leaves and picking your book? 

Your reader must know YOU first.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

To Critique or Not to Critique

I follow Write Me a Book John’s blog. Yesterday he wrote about critique groups, so we at Martin Brown Publishers, LLC thought we would chime in with our take on this subject.

Our publisher, Robert, belonged to a critique group for many years. The one he joined did him no good. Yes he made some friends, a few of whom he still has today.  But friendship wasn’t the reason he attended. He recently told me the reason was needed someone to help him see things that he couldn’t see because he was too close to his writing. But that never happened.   

In my opinion some critique groups work, but most don’t work as well as they could. The ones that do work usually have a good mix of published and unpublished authors in attendance. Robert states his was a great mix of wanabees.  

Great critique groups also have participants writing in many genres.  His  was made up of children’s authors, a category in which he didn’t write.

The perfect critique group, in my opinion, would be one peopled by those who look for faults in substance rather than just grammar errors.  The perfect critique partner should be one that can tell you your work sucks and not be afraid you’ll get angry or cry. 

So I guess there aren’t many perfect critique groups or partners, are there? Most authors don’t want that kind of criticism.  In most cases, isn't that what’s needed. Novels and books must be read and thoroughly analyzed by someone who can spot structure problems and explain how to fix them. The unseasoned author should seek out this type of critique if he or she is going to move from writing awful stuff to writing something that has a chance of being successful in this very crowded marketplace.  It’s very rare that a beginner can write perfect prose. Even when beginners do understand the fundamentals, most still need a good critique partner.

The critique group Robert says he longed to was made up of nice people who always wanted to please. This is why no successful authors emerged from this group.

Time and Money

I’ve been asked recently why Martin Brown Publishers, LLC are so picky about what they accept for publication. The answer is very simple. Risk.  As the saying goes, time is money. At this point, seeing I’m at the beginning of this post, I have to ask a question. Would you be willing to work for nothing? Yes I know, you’ve devoted many hours writing a novel. That’s wonderful. But if writing was what you do for a living, would you write for free?

I make my living publishing books. Put another way, what do you make your living doing? Are you retired, do you teach?  What do you do to pay your bills? I pay mine with revenue from books. When I publish, I expect a return for labor expended. If a novel is in horrible shape, time has to be expended to get it ready for publication. On the other hand, if a novel is practically print ready, I expend less time. Time is money. Of course, as with all things under the sun, there are exceptions to this rule.
Suppose, as a for instance, I’m queried by an author who has a huge social network following.  

 Although she’s never published, her name is out there as a budding author. The odds are very good, in this person’s case, that if I publish her, even though I’ll have to invest time in fixing her novel, I’ll get a return on my money because of her platform. Will I take the risk, probably.

But let’s take the other author; the one who has no social footprint and whose work is in bad shape. Will an publisher, or even an agent, take a risk on his work? The odds are stacked very much against. Time is money—or not in many cases.