An Amazon search turns up more than 10,000 books with “dog” in the title

These are meaningless statistics. You need to show that your ideas are not just pie in the sky, but real action steps that will lead to concrete results and a connection to an existing readership. Book proposals are used to sell   nonfiction   books to publishers. Your memoir is not salable unless you’re confident of several things. (In some   cases, a ghostwriter may come into play, but this typically requires deep pockets on the part of the author or a very motivated   publisher.)
The biggest mistake writers make in their book proposals
It’s natural to assume the book proposal should discuss what your book is about. No following/friending required; just show up on my Facebook page at the appointed hour. The writer hasn’t articulated a clearly defined market or need—or the writer has described a market that’s too niche for a commercial publisher to pursue. The most important thing is to show how your book concept will play out from beginning to end, and strongly convey the scope and range of material covered. Some agents may even ask for both the proposal and the complete manuscript if you’re an unpublished author. A U.S. Your offline following—speaking engagements, events, classes/teaching, city/regional presence, professional organization leadership roles and memberships, etc. But this is a mistake. You have to convince agents and editors you’re the perfect author for the book. It can be very tempting to make a broad statement about who your audience is, to make it sound like anyone and everyone is a potential reader. You should be able to clearly   differentiate your title from the competition, and show why there’s a need for your book. More resources on book proposals

Agent Ted Weinstein outlines the necessary parts of a book proposal, and also   offers an audio recording of his 90-minute workshop on proposals. Publishers don’t need to be given broad industry   statistics; they need   you to draw a clear portrait of the specific type of person   (beyond “book buyers”) who will be interested in   your book. Would you be OK reading a serious   guide on how to invest in the stock market by someone who   is living in a van down by the river?)
Some types of nonfiction   can be credibly pitched   by anyone with proven journalistic or storytelling skills. Big houses may want to sell as many as 20,000 copies in the first year to justify publication; smaller presses may be fine with a few thousand copies. If a publisher is convinced by your argument, it contracts you and pay you to write the book. Chapter outline (or table of contents)
A chapter outline works well   for narrative or meaty works, especially those that are text-heavy and anticipated to come in at 80,000 words or more. Make it concrete, realistic, and attach numbers to everything. The most common problem leading to rejection: no author platform
A sizable platform and expertise is typically required to successfully sell a nonfiction book to a major publisher, especially for competitive categories such as health, self-help, or parenting. You might be okay discussing just a few titles if your book is on a specialized topic or for a very narrow audience. (Would you, as a reader, trust a health book by an author with no medical experience or degrees? Eastern. The   problem with pitching memoir
Submission guidelines vary tremendously when it comes to pitching memoir. Addiction and cancer memoirs, for example, are common, and will put you on the road to rejection unless you’re able to prove how yours is unique or outstanding in the field. My favorite comprehensive   guide on book proposals is   How to Write a Book Proposal   by agent Michael Larsen. Weak
I plan to contact conferences and speak on [book topic]. A book proposal argues why your book (idea) is a salable, marketable product. Plus, given the significant change in the publishing industry, authors shouldn’t consider a print book their first goal or the end goal, but merely one way,   and usually not the best way, for making money. It’s still necessary to prove there’s a market for that story, but you won’t be successful in your pitch if you can’t deliver on the writing. For each entry in your competitive title analysis, begin by listing the title, subtitle, author, publisher, year of publication, page count, price, format, and the ISBN. Strong
I have also guest blogged every month for the past year to reach another 250,000 visitors, at sites such as [include 2-3 examples of most well-known blogs]. Note from Jane: I’m offering an interactive course on nonfiction book proposals that begins   June 5. Looking for more help? Note:   You may occasionally hear someone refer to novel proposals, which typically includes a query or cover letter, a synopsis, and a partial or complete manuscript. Never discuss what you hope to do, only what you can and will do (without publisher assistance), given your current resources. Professional, published writers can typically sell a memoir based on the proposal alone, if they clearly have writing chops or publication credits to back up the proposal. At the publishing house I worked at, this was called “evidence of need.” Why this book? It’s not out of the question for a   proposal to   reach 50 pages   or more   for complex projects once sample materials are included. Traditional houses are pickier than ever; producing anything in print is a significant investment and risk. If there are truly no competitors, then your book might be so weird and specialized that it won’t sell. Many people write their marketing plan in extremely tentative fashion, talking about things they are “willing” to do if asked. The secret of a marketing plan isn’t the number of ideas you have for marketing, or how many things you are willing to do, but how many solid connections you have—the ones that are already working for you—and how many readers you NOW reach through today’s efforts. If you have a way to reach readers, without a publisher’s help, then you’re more likely to get a book deal. Competitive title analysis
This section analyzes competing book titles and why yours is different or needed. Rather than focusing on the content, focus   on why the content will benefit the reader or why the reader will care. But don’t just copy and paste your bio into the proposal and consider the job done. The writer wants to do a book based on his or her own amateur experience of overcoming a problem or investigating a complex issue. If your book doesn’t require a narrative structure,   then your skills as a writer mainly   have to be up to the task of producing and revising a book manuscript with an editor’s or agent’s guidance. Especially in fields such as health, self-help, or parenting, your credibility and platform as a professional in the field may be   most   critical; your background must convey authority and instill confidence in the reader. If properly developed and researched, a proposal can take weeks   or longer to write. Strong
I am in contact with organizers at XYZ conferences, and have spoken at 3 events within the past year reaching 5,000 people in my target audience. Always discuss the content in relation to the reader’s need or society’s needs. This is deadly language. You don’t need to list things such as Amazon ranking, star rating, or reviews. It acts as a   business case or business plan for your book that persuades a publisher to make an investment. Target market or target audience
Who will buy   your   book? Instead, you need to be confident, firm, and direct about everything that’s going to happen with or without the publisher’s help. Some agents don’t require a book proposal for memoir, while others want only the book proposal and the first few chapters. The book proposal persuades agents/editors that   readers   will pay $20 or more for the benefit that your book provides. Many book ideas I see pitched should really start out as a site or community—even if only to test-market the idea, to learn more about the target audience, and to ultimately produce a print product that   has a ready and eager market once it’s published. (Here’s a definition of platform.)   An agent or editor is going to evaluate your visibility in the market, and will want to know the following:

The stats and analytics behind your online following, including all websites, blogs, social media accounts, e-mail newsletters, regular online writing gigs, podcasts, videos, etc. Author bio
It can be helpful to begin with a bio you already use at your website or at LinkedIn. For each chapter, you write a brief summary of the idea, information, or story presented, usually 100-200 words per chapter. Weak
I plan to contact bloggers for guest blogging opportunities. Avoid it. Sample chapters
If you’re writing a narrative work that has a distinct beginning, middle, and end, then include sample material that starts at the beginning of the book. Eastern on June 1. (You can see this played out in the rejections received by award-winner Rebecca Skloot.)
If your book’s purpose is to   impart useful information or to benefit readers’ lives, then you’re selling it based on the marketability of your expertise, your platform, and your concept. Also don’t worry about including the sales numbers of the competing titles. Marketing plan
What can you specifically do to market and promote the book? Avoid generic statements like these:

A Google search result on [topic] turns up more than 10 million hits. They need to know there’s an audience waiting to buy. Show how your expertise and experience give you the perfect platform from which to address your target audience. Then comes the   most important part: for each competitor, you   briefly summarize the book’s approach in relation to your own (about 100-200 words per title). The New York Times recently wrote about the increased interest in military memoirs; [X and Y] media outlets regularly profile soldiers who’ve written books abour their experience. Instead of writing the entire book, then trying to interest an editor or agent (which is how it works with novels), you write the proposal first. What need does it fulfill? Recent reviewers of [X books] complain that they   are not keeping up with new information and trends. But having the manuscript complete does not get you off the hook when it comes to writing   the proposal. Keep in mind that for some nonfiction topics and categories, the availability of online information can immediately kill the potential for a print book. The   analysis typically includes   5-10   titles. If you’re told the market isn’t big enough, maybe you approached too big of a publisher. If you’re writing about situations that affect thousands (or millions) of people, that’s not necessarily in your favor. Avoid generically describing the book buying audience in the United States, or—for example—broadly discussing how many memoirs sold last year. Resist trashing the competition; it will come back to bite you. And if you want to use both, that’s completely acceptable. I offer book proposal consultations and critiques if you have a proposal draft ready for review. Finding a   literary agent (and do you need one?)
If you are   writing a book that has significant commercial value, or   you want to publish with a New York house, then you’ll need to submit your work to literary agents. And don’t skimp on your title research—editors can tell when you haven’t done your homework, plus fully understanding the competition should help you write a better proposal. Your presence in traditional media (regular gigs, features, any coverage you’ve received, etc)
Your network strength—reach to influencers or thought leaders, a prominent position at a major organization or business
Sales of past books or self-published works

You typically need to be visible to tens of thousands of people, with   verifiable influence, to interest a major publisher. Also, you can join me for   a free introductory session on getting your nonfiction book published and ask questions during my Facebook Live session on Thursday, June 1, at 7 p.m. It needs to sing and present a water-tight business case. The most common   book proposal sections
While there’s no single “best” way to write and assemble a book proposal—it will depend on the   category, the author, and the publishers’ submission guidelines—the following sections appear   in almost every   book proposal. We need to be able to envision who the readers are   and how they can be marketed to. While proposal length varies tremendously, most are somewhere around   10 to 25   pages double-spaced, not including sample chapters. If writing a chapter outline seems redundant or unnecessary for your book’s content, then use a table of contents. That is: To learn how to lose weight, readers don’t need a poet; they need a clear communicator who can deliver her ideas and methods in a way that will help readers achieve their   goals. If your memoir is your very first book or very first writing attempt, then it may not be good enough to pass muster with an editor or agent. Common problems with book proposals

They’ve been submitted to an inappropriate agent, editor, or publisher. Don’t try to get off easy by using the introduction; this is your opportunity to show that you can deliver on your book’s promise. Travel is a good example—its print sales have declined by 50 percent since 2007. The proposed idea is like a million others; nothing compelling sets the book apart. If it has a specific edition number, include that, too. Projects that don’t necessarily require agents include scholarly works for university presses, books likely to be published by regional or independent presses, and other   niche titles   with little commercial value. Is there a smaller publisher that would be interested because they have a lower threshold of sales to meet? For professors and academics, I recommend taking a look at The Professor Is In. Overview
This comes at the very beginning of your proposal; think of it as the executive summary, around two to three pages. Why will it sell? (No expertise or credentials.)
The writer concentrates only on the content of the book or his own experience—instead of the book’s hook and benefit and appeal to the marketplace. Strong
Within 6 months of launch, my blog on [book topic] already attracts 5,000 unique visits per month. Why does it matter? I have invitations to return on each site, plus I’ve made contact with 10 other bloggers for future guest posts. The following statements show better market insight:

Media surveys indicate that at least 50% of quilters plan to spend about $1,000 on their hobby this year, and 60% indicated they buy books on   quilting. The concept is too general or broad, or has no unique angle. Your writing must be outstanding. While everyone expects the writing to be solid, they’re probably not expecting a literary masterpiece. If this is a weak area for you, look for other strengths that might give you credibility with readers or help sell books—such as connections to experts or authorities in the field, a solid online following, and previous success in marketing yourself and your work. New, emerging writers who have no publishing track record will likely be asked to submit a complete manuscript to prove they can write,   sometimes in addition to the book proposal itself. (I discuss   the research process here.)
Whatever you do, don’t claim there are no competitors to your book. There’s no way for an average author to find out that information, and the agent or editor can look it up   if required. Census shows more than 20 million people in this demographic. Your proposal must focus on these questions, and not   get lost in explaining your book’s ideas. Join me for a free Q&A on Facebook

All that’s required is that you visit my Facebook page at 7 p.m. This bears little to no relation to a nonfiction book proposal. In as much detail as possible, discuss an   identifiable market of readers who will be compelled to spend money on your information or story in book form. Weak
I plan to register a domain and start a blog for my book. New writers might find it easier to simply write the book first, then prepare a proposal—which isn’t a bad idea in the case of narrative nonfiction, since many editors and agents want assurance that an unknown writer has sufficient writing chops to pull off their project. You must have a compelling and unusual story to tell. I suggest you write it last. Your business case may matter   more than the writing
People don’t like to hear   this, but for many nonfiction books, the   artfulness of the writing   doesn’t matter as much as the marketability of the book or the author. You have the start of a   platform. (Think of a narrative nonfiction book, such as   Seabiscuit.) If your book must succeed based on its ability to artfully weave a story,   then your strength as a writer becomes more and more important. If your work isn’t a narrative, then write or include a sample chapter that you think is the meatiest or most impressive chapter.

Sometimes authors   think there’s a secret to producing more that they don’t know yet. by Jason Mrachina / Flickr
In my author consultations, I’m hearing more often about the pressures that writers feel   to produce more product more quickly, in order to keep up with the competition and stay front-of-mind with readers. This is the topic of my latest column at   Publishers Weekly, where I recall one of the first business principles I learned: “Fast, cheap, and good—pick two.”
Read the entire column. Whenever you produce titles fast, you’re making trade-offs. There isn’t one.

Thus, the vendor’s payment will have paid the publisher and thus the author. Only offers for new books are eligible to be featured.”
At the heart of the matter for publishing people is the question of “new.” If   that book is in fact new, then it will have been bought from the publisher (or an official wholesaler/distributor) by the third-party vendor. Over the last month, there have been a couple publishing stories receiving wide play across mainstream news sites such as The Guardian, Vox, Huffington Post, and others. The Concern about UK’s “Screen Fatigue” Report
The latest UK   Publishers Association’s report   included a purported rise of 8 percent in physical sales (to the highest level since 2012) and a 17 percent drop in the total consumer ebook market. Let’s start with Amazon’s statement to the press on this: “We have listed and sold books, both new and used, from third-party sellers for many years. He suggested that they might have “considered ‘bookstore fatigue’ or ‘high prices fatigue’ while they were brainstorming.”
And at the Bookseller, editor Philip Jones, arguably the single most astute of all UK industry observers, noted that,   when the Publishers Association report announces falling ebook sales, they don’t count Amazon’s numbers, of course, or Bookouture’s, or those from Head of Zeus, Endeavour Press, Amazon Publishing, or self-published writers. While that problem can be laid at the steps of Amazon, it’s the job of publishers associations to characterize what data they do have on digital sales as only partial, and to be wary of contributing to overstatements of what’s known about ebook sales and print supposedly blasting back. Are they being sourced legitimately? As usual, without an understanding of context and nuance, the mainstream media waded right in for the latest doom-of-the-ebook wallow. David Vandagriff at the Passive Voice blog wryly posited that “screen fatigue” sounds like a marketing phrase. The recent changes allow sellers of new books to be the ‘featured offer’ on a book’s detail page, which means that our bookstore now works like the rest of Amazon, where third-party sellers compete with Amazon for the sale of new items. Not coming clean about this is misleading to their own customers, as well as to the culture at large. In every part of Amazon’s far-flung retail operation, third-party vendors “compete with Amazon”—that’s Amazon’s own language—to be the default sellers of items in a product’s buy box—the box that contains the purchase button and indicates the seller and purchase price. This wasn’t the case for non-used books, however, until earlier this spring, when Amazon introduced this same capacity for third-party vendors to be made the seller in the buy box of new books. The publishing industry in the UK and US has a real problem—not necessarily of its own making—in trying to assess its digital reach, given the lack of accurate digital sales data from online retailers. It’s well known that Amazon and other online retailers don’t make ebook sales data available. The dust cover and original protective wrapping, if any, is intact. “Were we a little clearer about this missing bit, we would not today be reading about how … the ebook was dead (again),” he wrote. (I’ve addressed this problem before.)
Here are the latest stories that are causing confusion—and sometimes   moral panic—where it’s not deserved. So, the question is: Are these new books really new? Michael Cader at Publishers Lunch   has reported that Penguin Random House is asking Amazon re-sellers “specifically how and from whom you are acquiring our books.”
Coverage from Publishers Weekly has included a precise definition from Amazon of new as “brand-new, unused, unread copy in perfect condition. His listings have been removed by Amazon, he says, “because of complaints about used items sold as new.” In the course of this exchange, you see the vendor being told by colleagues that he should have an invoice “directly from the publisher” as protection, to prove the books were legitimately bought new, if Amazon inquires. Chief among these was the Guardian’s piece proclaiming that ebook sales have plunged in the UK “as readers return to print.” In that story, Publishers Association chief Stephen Lotinga speculated that “people are now getting screen tiredness, or fatigue, from so many devices being used, watched, or looked at in their week.” This, of course, as every other screen-distributed medium seems to thrive. The Guardian published another story on the same day in which it asserted that ebooks have “lost their shine” because “Kindles now look clunky and unhip.” More such misinformed coverage could be found at CNNMoney and Engadget: the pile-on was underway as print fans rejoiced and yet another industry report left the unseeable   unsaid: we can only guess at how many ebook sales are out there unless Amazon suddenly becomes more transparent. While such outlets may be respectable and   have the ability to get most stories right, in the publishing industry, two problems often come into play:

A lack of understanding   of industry statistics—and an inability to put them in their proper context
Knee-jerk judgment   regarding anything Amazon does

Publications with business models that predominantly rely (or did rely) on print also have the “nostalgia” problem—where they’re particularly prone to latch on to any story that indicates a possible resurgence of print or decline of digital. It’s not clear yet how much actual impact this may have on revenues for authors and publishers if third-party sellers are indeed held to dealing in actual new books. And the retailer isn’t the only one inquiring. That said,   at the heart of the disturbance is a mystery as to how third-party vendors can sell new books at the low prices they charge (and still make anything) and how they’re obtaining the books they say are new. Amazon says it’s working hard to be sure that books offered as new are actually new. This change has kicked up a firestorm of complaint in the publishing community. If you enjoyed this analysis, try a 30-day free trial of The Hot Sheet. If anything, this development will lead to a healthy tightening of some publisher’s own sales policies—particularly as it relates to advance review copies, hurts, and remainders—as well as to tighter controls on what books are sold as new on the Amazon platform. (Note that the following material is adapted from The Hot Sheet, the subscription email newsletter I run with journalist Porter Anderson.)
Amazon’s Buy-Box   Policy Change for New Books
A lawn-mower vendor or a light bulb manufacturer could have told you this was probably coming. All supplementary materials are included, and all access codes for electronic material, if applicable, are valid and/or in working condition.”
As is frequently the case, reaction to Amazon’s application of its standard buy-box policy to books is probably overheated. And rather than explaining that we simply don’t have adequate data to assess how much of the market is going to ebooks, publishers’ trade organizations tend to favor the narrative that supports the concept of the print resurgence dear to many. In this seller forum thread, you can see a third-party seller (called “tomepusher”) working through a long exchange with other vendors.

For example:
“We chatted briefly at the San Francisco Writers Conference reception, where I bought you a glass of merlot. However, some agents (and editors) have spoken out against customization or personalization, going so far as to say such   methods backfire. Have you heard any helpful advice   on personalizing queries? Some people customize their queries by saying something like, “I see from Writer’s Market that you’re looking for thrillers.”
Well, so what? It’s much better salesmanship to have some level of customization that demonstrates appreciation of the recipient’s needs and wants. For instance:
“I follow your blog and know you are currently looking for paranormal romances—without vampires or werewolves—and want to offer my novel for your consideration.”
There’s a bit of a wink and a nod here, and it’s unlikely to be annoying to an agent who likely appreciates someone is paying close attention. Do mention specific books represented or published, but don’t overly flatter. (“You’re the greatest and have the best clients!”)
In fact, that   last bit is a good rule of thumb for any personalization: The more you could potentially lift that language and insert it any query, regardless of who is receiving it, probably the less meaningful it is. Photo credit: Fotografik33 – via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND
When I worked at a mid-size commercial publisher (from 1998-2010), one of my primary responsibilities was acquisitions. I’m following up with the requested materials.”
There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules as to what’s “too much,” but don’t try to affect an intimacy that doesn’t exist. If it was a rejection, I tried to explain the honest details of why and, furthermore, if I could see a way to successfully reposition the book for our needs. For more help on queries

How to Write a Query Letter: Novels
How to Write a Query Letter: Nonfiction and Memoir It shows you’ve done your homework and you’re selecting the recipient with some care. Some writers will try to go a step further, look at the agent’s submission guidelines, website, or blog, and then insert the agent’s own language into their query as a way to personalize the letter. Again, you’re telling the agent something they already know. Personalize or no? At best, it’s probably neutral information; at worst, it could be annoying. 2. This is why I often counsel writers to personalize their query letters, whether they are approaching an agent or an editor. 1. However, there can be ways to do this that are charming or effective. This works best if you can be specific, rather than saying something that could be lifted and placed into any query letter for any agent/editor. When I speak or work with writers, there is understandably some confusion as to how to best proceed. When you mention this sort of thing, you mainly want to do it to spark their memory: “Oh, right, I remember this person from the San Francisco pitch event.”
But it’s possible to go too far and evoke a coziness that isn’t really appropriate. However, avoid buttering up or flattering the agent to a degree that makes you look silly or subservient. Whether the materials were hard copy or digital, one thing was the same: very few were addressed to me personally unless they came from a literary agent. It’s hard to find an agent or editor who doesn’t like it when you demonstrate knowledge of their clients or list. And even fewer seemed to demonstrate a good understanding of what types of books my company published. But it’s not mandatory. That’s not particularly convincing or interesting information to the agent. Talk about their list or their clients in a way that shows you have knowledge of the literary landscape or that appreciates their place in it. It doesn’t say anything about you or your work that they wouldn’t pick up from the rest of the query. Avoid first name only, since it may come off as too casual. Avoid being too personal or chummy. Share in the comments. The bare minimum
At the very least, address the agent by name. This is simple: you’ll always be a better sales person when you’re aligning your pitch with the stated desires or submission guidelines of the recipient. If the agent or editor has said publicly they don’t like personalized queries, don’t do it. 3. And spell the name correctly! It must be hard to travel so much for your work.”
“We chatted briefly at the San Francisco Writers Conference reception and   later I pitched you [such-and-such work]. Sometimes it’s great to open with a paragraph that acknowledges that you met the agent, conversed on social media, or had some other kind of interaction. It’s ideal if you can reference such work in relation to your own, or express enthusiasm for it in some way that might connect it to the work you’re pitching. My novel is set in Italy…”)
4. I evaluated queries and proposals coming in and also recruited writers I wanted to work with. Especially if you’ve never met the person in question, tread carefully—it’s easy to come off as creepy if you’ve been stalking someone online and found details they wouldn’t want or expect you to reference in a query. If your personalization is weak, don’t bother. Whenever something came in that demonstrated the writer or agent understood what   we published—and could explain why the proposed book was a good fit—I immediately paid close attention and put more thought and care into my response. (“I see seven years ago that you went on a long vacation   in Italy with your family. I hope your two schnauzers didn’t miss you too much—I can’t bear to be away too long from mine. The answer can be complicated and is based on the following factors.

Celebrity-status or brand-name authors. You won’t find a universal, agreed-upon definition of what it means to “traditionally publish” or “self-publish.”
It’s not an either/or proposition. Avoid companies that take advantage of author inexperience and use high-pressure sales tactics, such as AuthorSolutions imprints (AuthorHouse, iUniverse, WestBow, Archway). Potential for media or review coverage declines when there is no print run. Legitimate small presses do not ask authors to pay for publication. My chart   divides the field into traditional publishing and self-publishing. Self-Publishing: DIY
Key characteristics

Authors manage the publishing process on their own and hire the right people or services needed to edit, design, publish, and distribute the book. Each hybrid publisher has its own distinctive costs and business model; always secure a clear contract with all fees explained. What to watch for

Author receives an advance against royalties, but most advances do not earn out. However, the same is true for most publishers, regardless of size. Examples of good assisted services

Matador, Mill City Press, DogEar, Radius Book Group, Book in a Box, Girl Friday Productions. Diversity of players and changing landscape means contracts vary widely. Most services are automated and offer little assistance. Writers of commercial fiction or genre fiction, such as romance, mystery/crime, thriller/suspense, science fiction and fantasy, young adult, children’s. Who they work with

Authors who write mainstream works, as well as those that have a more niche or special-interest appeal. With either approach, there’s a risk of paying too much money for basic services, and also for purchasing services you don’t need. It is available as a PDF download—ideal for photocopying and distributing—plus the   full text is also below. Writers of commercial fiction or genre fiction, such as romance, mystery/crime, thriller/suspense, science fiction and fantasy, young adult, children’s. Value for author

Get a published book without having to figure out the service landscape or find professionals to help you. Your choice should also be guided by your own   personality (are you an entrepreneurial sort?)   and experience as an author (do you have the slightest idea what you’re doing?). Mid-Size & Large (Traditional Publishing)

Who they are

Not part of the Big Five, but significant in size, usually with the same capabilities. They make money on charging authors for the services provided (editorial, design, marketing, and so on), not on copies sold. What to watch for

Same as Big Five, but advances and royalties from mid-size publishers may be lower than Big Five, especially the more specialized or enthusiast publishing houses. Such books will almost never be stocked in physical retail bookstores, although in some rare cases, it may happen. They take a cut of every book sale. Some mid-size publishers may be more open to innovative or flexible agreements that feel more like a collaboration or partnership (with more author input or control). Hybrid Publishing
Key characteristics

Author funds book publication in exchange for expertise and assistance of the publisher; cost is often thousands of dollars. What to watch for

Some self-publishing (assisted publishing) services have started calling themselves “hybrid publishers” because it sounds more fashionable and savvy, but such companies may be nothing more than an assisted self-publishing service. Nonfiction authors should have a book proposal. The author is responsible for producing ebook files, uploading marketing copy, ebook metadata, etc. Author receives better royalties than a traditional publishing contract, but makes less than if self-publishing on their own. This is   an increasingly complicated question to answer because:

There are now many varieties of traditional publishing and self-publishing—with evolving models and varying contracts. See the submission guidelines of each press. How to approach

Doesn’t always require an agent; see submission guidelines for each publisher. Crowdfunding. DIY   ebook publishing services

Primary ebook retailers that o er direct access to authors: Amazon KDP, Nook Press, Apple iBookstore, Kobo. Authors must raise money for the publisher to contract the work. Also think carefully   before signing a   no-advance deal or   digital-only deal. With well-established small presses: editorial, design, and marketing support that equals that of a larger house. (See this interview with CJ Lyons.)

There is no one path or service that’s right for everyone; you must understand and study the changing landscape and make a choice based on long-term career goals, as well as the unique qualities of your work. Physical bookstore distribution nearly assured, in addition to other physical retail opportunities (big-box, specialty). Example: Inkshares, Unbound. 2016 Key Book Publishing Paths
The Key Book Publishing Paths (2015)
4 Key Book Publishing Paths (late 2013)
5 Key Book Publishing Paths   (early 2013) Traditional publishing:   I define this primarily as not paying to publish. If not, you’ll have to hire assistance. Each author has to decide which distributors or retailers they prefer to deal with. Value for author

Possibly a more personalized and collaborative relationship with the publisher. Best chance of mainstream media coverage and reviews. Not all hybrid publishers are created equal. Authors must exercise the most caution when signing with small presses; some mom-and-pop operations offer   little advantage over self-publishing, especially when it comes to distribution and sales muscle. Examples: SheWrites Press, Greenleaf. The best and most expensive services offer a quality experience that is comparable to working with a traditional publisher. (Meaning: The advance is likely to be the only payment the author sees from the publisher; it does not have to be returned if the author does not earn out.)
Publisher typically holds onto all publishing rights for all formats for at least 5-10 years. Such   arrangements   reduce the publisher’s risk, and this needs to be acknowledged if you’re   choosing such deal—because you aren’t   likely to get the same support and investment from the publisher on marketing and distribution. Nonfiction authors with a significant platform (visibility to a readership). Primary ebook distributors for authors: Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Pronoun. Nonfiction authors of all types. Big Five (Traditional Publishing)

Who they are

Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan (each have dozens of imprints). Ideal for an author who has more money than time. DIY print publishing services

Print-on-demand (POD) technology makes it affordable to sell and distribute print books via online retailers. Many decisions are out of the author’s control, such as cover design and title. Novelists should have a finished manuscript. Traditional print runs

Some authors may hire a book printer and manage inventory, fulfillment, shipping, etc. One of the biggest questions I hear from authors today:
Should I traditionally publish or self-publish? To check the reputation of a service, check   Mick Rooney’s Independent Publishing Magazine. Such books will rarely be distributed into physical retail bookstores, although in some rare cases, it may happen. Looking for earlier versions of this chart? Examples of hybrid publishers

Curated. If you have printer-ready PDF files, it costs little or nothing to start. Below I’ve pasted the full text from the chart. What to watch for

Most marketing and publicity service packages, while they can be well-meaning, are not worth an author’s investment. How to approach

Almost always requires an agent. Often more friendly to experimental, literary, and less commercial types of work. Some companies are run by former traditional publishing professionals, and offer high-quality results. How to approach

Rarely requires an agent. An older term for this would be “vanity publishing.”
Contractual arrangements vary, but the best services charge an upfront fee, take absolutely no rights to the work, and pass on 100% net royalties to the author. Services most often used: CreateSpace, IngramSpark. I’ve broken this down into hybrid publishing models, where a   publisher   is positioning itself as a hybrid approach between traditional publishing and self-publishing, and self-publishing. Small Presses (Traditional Publishing)
Who they are

This category is the hardest to summarize because “small press” is a catch-all term for very well-known traditional publishers (e.g., Graywolf) as well as mom-and-pop operations that may not have any formal experience in publishing. If you can afford to pay a publisher or service to help you, then use the very detailed reviews at   Independent Publishing Magazine   by Mick Rooney to make sure you choose the   best option   for you. Nonfiction authors should have a book proposal. Who they work with

Emerging, first-time authors, as well as established ones. Authors can find themselves unhappy with the level of marketing support received, and that their title “disappears” from store shelves within 3-6 months. It’s formatted to print perfectly on 11″ x 17″ or tabloid-size paper. Celebrity-status or brand-name authors. You can do both. Research carefully. and sell print copies via Amazon Advantage. There is no contract. Since 2013, I have been annually updating this   informational chart   about the key publishing paths. Fees dramatically vary and quality dramatically varies. Novelists should have a finished manuscript. These companies are selective or may have editorial guidelines to follow. Alternatives to traditional   publishing: I define this as paying to publish or publishing on your own. Scroll to the bottom of this post. Self-Publishing: Assisted
Key characteristics

Similar to hybrid publishing: authors pay to publish. Ebook retailers and distributors that directly serve the author market operate primarily on a nonexclusive basis and profit by taking a cut of sales; you can leave them at will. Ideal for an author who has more money than time. University or scholarly presses typically pay low advances and have very small print runs, typically with a focus on libraries, classrooms, and academic markets. Who they work with

Authors who write works with mainstream appeal, deserving of nationwide print retail distribution in bookstores and other outlets. Given how easy it is in the digital age for anyone to start a press, authors must carefully evaluate a small press’s abilities before signing with one. Value for author

Publisher shoulders financial risk. There may be no physical bookstore distribution and/or the press may rely on print-on-demand to fulfill orders. Value for author

Get a published book without having to figure out the service landscape or find professionals to help. For more information on getting published

Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published   (traditional publishing)
Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book
How to Evaluate Small Presses
A Definition of Hybrid Publishing
Should You Traditionally Publish or Self-Publish? Your royalty rate may be higher to make up for it. Value for author

Identical to Big Five advantages. What to watch for

You may not receive an advance or you’ll receive a nominal one. Be very protective of your rights if you’re shouldering most of the risk and effort. The services mentioned above can make your work available to order through online retailers and bookstore outlets. Many assisted publishing services have different packages or tiers of service, while others offer customized quotes. Earlier versions of the chart
Click to view or download earlier versions. Feel free to download, print, and share this chart however you like; no   permission is required. Examples: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic, Workman, Sourcebooks, John Wiley & Sons, W.W. Norton, Kensington, Chronicle, Tyndale, many university presses (Cambridge, Oxford).

Now what? Today I’m happy to share an exclusive with my readers: a detailed look at how NetGalley’s Stuart Evers and Myfanwy Collins went from manuscript to publication. 10:00: The conventional approach
12:30: Tips for finding an agent
19:00: What happens if a publisher accepts you
22:50: The slush pile blues
25:30: How work is submitted
28:45: Submissions tools
32:30: Pre-publication marketing
39:50: Marketing tools and activities
50:00: Q&A Myfanwy Collins is the author of a novel for adults, a collection of stories, and a novel for young adults, as well as the office manager at   Firebrand Technologies   (NetGalley’s parent company), and manager of social media for   Bookish   (NetGalley’s sister site). They offer a comprehensive look at their publishing experience, including marketing and PR advice. Stuart Evers is a former commissioning editor and now author of two collections of stories and a novel, as well as the   NetGalley   UK Community Manager. Here’s an overview of what you’ll find in   the hour-long discussion, with time stamps:

1:45: How to write a book
8:30: Your book is ready!

What is it that makes a hit of the book the publisher pays the huge advance on? More generally, whether it’s your editor relationship or no, publishers do more for authors they like. Try to get an agent? That’s usually more powerful than seeing an ad or reading a professional review. For authors who are worried about whether they’re doing enough to market   (or if they’re doing the right things), it’s best to consider it a long game. The ones who compete best are typically prolific and succeed financially by having a considerable amount of product on the market, usually one or more series. I’d say there’s more attention paid to making good business decisions. (An agent can play a role in getting marketing support from the publisher!) At some point, money usually speaks loudest, and authors go with the publisher that pays the highest advance, which then can help ensure sufficient attention. (For people curious about this, I have a free 30-minute discussion that gets a little tech oriented.)
Brand-name writers with instant recognizability in the market should and will be marketed differently than the debut novelist who doesn’t have any name recognition with readers. One thing I’ve noticed about many breakout authors, though, is that we’re rarely seeing an overnight success. As longtime readers know, writer Kristen Tsetsi   is the host of a regular   author Q&A at this site, 5 On, that asks 5 questions about writing and 5 questions about publishing. People who think traditional publishing will die underestimate how difficult it is for a successful author, who has built her career on that system, to go about the process in a different way, with a different team. But here’s the other side of the argument: most Big Five publishers, after your book has been out three months, they’re done with you. It’s that old cliche: luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. Interviews on daytime talk shows? The former is likely to have a more mass-market, advertising-driven approach; the latter should probably use more high-touch and targeted approaches (whether to independent booksellers, book clubs, librarians, specific blogs and online communities, etc). For example, the ebook royalty rate isn’t negotiable for now because every single author with a decent agent has a clause that says as soon as another author at the same house receives a higher rate, they’ll get the higher rate, too. (Here’s my post on evaluating small presses.)
People scoff at debut authors who want to negotiate with publishers over, for example, conditions related to film rights: “It’s your first novel. They also know why things might not be negotiable. They have to be continually drumming up support, or demanding attention. You need to figure out if you’re an “A” title, “B” title, or something further down the ladder. I think the most recent one we’ve seen is Girl on the Train, and that was released over two years ago. Unfortunately, the books that agents and editors fall in love with and champion—and that receive superlative marketing support—are   about   as likely to sink as those books that   receive little support. But the rights won’t revert to the author, who might want to find his/her own way to make it available. But you don’t hear about the failures; everyone would prefer to forget them. You won’t find many “small” presses. Kristen: Authors published by a Big Five publisher are often responsible for much of their own marketing and publicity, and chances are slim that their novel will be the one that takes off and veritably markets itself. If you become someone your editor doesn’t like—if you become the “difficult” author—that may dampen their enthusiasm, and thus their motivation to talk you up to the rest of the company. Don’t even worry about film rights and just be happy to have a publisher. While there   are books that have tried to break it all down into a formula—what are the universal qualities of a bestseller?—the results are disappointing. How does a publisher decide which books they’ll devote full marketing energy (assuming the author isn’t a known entity), and does their active promotion determine which book will become a title everyone has heard of? That’s an investment and risk on the side of the   publisher, since it requires doing a print run of books that may not sell as expected, plus all books are returnable by bookstores at any point for a full refund. Why does this happen—that is, how does it benefit the publishing company? It’s up to the editor to relay their enthusiasm for your book to the sales and marketing team. A Big Five publisher does not have time to take a customized approach to every title on its list; as you say, only a few get the attention they truly deserve, and it tends to be based on who received the highest advance, because that’s where the most risk resides. Query Amazon’s traditional imprint? Have three books and a following before you start thinking about film rights.” However, debut novels are optioned: Melanie Raab’s The Trap,   Michael Hodges’s The Puller,   Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Because authors get so concerned about seeing their print book in stores—it’s the “dream” and offers validation of their status—they’re unfortunately blind to the truth of the industry: Physical bookstore sales aren’t where most trade books sell; they constitute maybe 30-40% of sales. For more information on book marketing and publicity, check out these posts   by Jane:

Book Marketing 101
Book Marketing Resources for Authors: The Best of 2016
3 Things Your Traditional Publisher Is Unlikely to Do Focus on building your immediate network; in-person local and regional touch points help lead to national opportunities over time. While I had some success earlier on with marketing (podcasts, WNPR, local TV, newspapers), those features and/or interviews did nothing at all   to sell the self-published book I was promoting at the time. But it’s not the publisher who pulls the book. Early on, authors need to figure out where they’re at in the publisher’s pecking order, preferably after signing the contract. So far, I haven’t addressed the subjective issue of quality or how certain books excite people more than others. Because it could happen, then, however unlikely it may be, shouldn’t each contract be approached with that potential in mind? When you find out, do that.”
I tried explaining the combination of commercial appeal, word of mouth, and luck, but I don’t think he believed me. Also, publishers more actively go after deadbeat authors for advances when no manuscript is delivered. [A title everyone knows about.] How did Eat, Pray, Love become a hit? Your relationship with your editor, and how much of a champion that editor is for your book inside the publishing house, well, that can be just as huge. Rather than trying to cast the widest net possible, focus on those people who are loyal and devoted to your work and can help spread the word. The approach may be more thoughtful and customized. A smaller press may have more time and bandwidth to spend with you both prior to launch and after, in order to find the audience. Next time you’re in a chain bookstore, study carefully the front-of-store tables and look at the publishers. Authors with a track record—who represent reliable, ongoing income to the publisher—do have the ability to make demands or threaten to walk away, switch publishers, go to Amazon Publishing, self-publish, etc. That speaks volumes. If you’re easy to work with, they’ll be more inclined to work with you. Do they not even try—do they just make the book available for sale on Amazon or available through Ingram, and call it a day? Buying enough copies to call it a New York Times bestseller and doing TV commercials? One of the complaints I’ve heard and read about traditional publishers is that if they buy the book, sell it for a year, and determine it isn’t doing well, they’ll pull it from stores. That doesn’t mean the author’s or publisher’s books will sit on the shelf of most (or even a few) bricks-and-mortar bookstores in the country—just that the book can look and appear like any other when viewed in an industry database. But the truth is that unless you’re a highly desirable author, or unless you have an agent who is able to leverage their influence on your behalf, sometimes you have to accept terms that are less than satisfying. When you’re playing that kind of game, the Big Five publishers have a huge advantage—their sales teams pitch books for placement at bookstore accounts, big-box stores, specialty retailers, and so on. Is it the marketing that pushes a book into everyone’s hands, or is it really just that perfect, unpredictable, magical combination? The 25% ebook royalty rate is not negotiable, no matter who you are. Readers are their focus and they know how to ensure their books rank well and are visible on Amazon. That can help an author better understand where to find their readers and to be smarter about finding and targeting them, whether online or offline. (You can browse them here.)
Recently, Kristen sent me questions related to book marketing that she wanted answered, but didn’t know the right   person to ask. The great marketing advantage (and curse) for   today’s author is the incredible social graph and reading   behavior available to them: that is, the   online breadcrumb trail left by people as they buy books, review them, tag them, and talk about them with each other. About the last question: What inspired it was a conversation my husband and I had after I told him I had no idea what to do with what I’m writing once I’m finished. Editors and agents are exposed to thousands of projects every year, so they have a sense for when something special or different comes through. As I reviewed them, I decided that I myself might be the right person to address them. An author publishing with Random House might have a better reason to at least hope for a Today Show or NPR interview, sure, but obviously most Big Five authors aren’t interviewed on the Today Show or NPR. You won’t hear back from the publicist or marketing team unless your book has gained traction and the publisher sees an opportunity to build further sales and attention. That’s why the rights aren’t reverting to the author. It has to be the   right book at the right time with   the right attention. So, my husband asked, “How does a Jonathan Franzen book become a Jonathan Franzen book? You can’t do everything, but you can focus your energies on what’s sustainable over a long period of time and what helps nurture readers who will evangelize on your behalf. You’re not going find Jonathan Franzen–style indie authors out there, taking five or more years between books—not any making a living. Word of mouth is more likely to be sparked through cultivated relationships, directly with readers, as well as with influencers, rather than through efforts that involve mass outreach or loose targeting, where you don’t have any   idea of who you’re reaching or if they even care. This is where having an agent is invaluable, because they know from experience where and when a publisher is willing to negotiate. All things inaccessible to the tiny writer? If their response is tepid, this is not the time to strut, make demands, or pout and ask, “What have you done for me lately?” Publishers are more inclined to help authors who can first help themselves. My rule of thumb is always “Assume everything is negotiable.” However, in every industry, there are some things that basically are not negotiable, especially if you have little or no leverage over the publisher. Partly I think it depends on the author’s personality and how they’re best complemented by the publisher, and maybe even who their agent is. But it’s interesting that we really haven’t seen that happen; most authors develop a close relationship with their editor, whom they’re loath to separate from. That way, when the publisher calls on the buyer at Barnes & Noble, they can say, “The author has this fabulous thing planned, and it’ll help sell books because…”
If you wait on your publisher to do stuff or tell you their plans, you may be waiting a very long time. Does a larger publisher sell their books for them to store accounts? Or, if your publisher is truly dropping the ball, and you need someone to hold their feet to the fire, talk to your agent—they should have a good idea of what can be reasonably asked for, and when, and how to make a request that maintains a good working relationship. Agent Donald Maass, in his various fiction writing books, tries to discuss why some books capture people’s imaginations, and result in tremendous word of mouth (“You must read this book!”), while others—most others, in fact—receive a more tepid response. But those failures were necessary to produce a work that would wildly succeed. What steps did publishers take to make that happen? Where the playing field is not even is when we look at how print books get sold and purchased in advance of publication, then stocked on physical store shelves. Do authors have any more negotiating room these days simply because there are so many publishing options available? It sounds like your husband must be an engineer or a programmer, but we’re talking about something that’s distinctly unquantifiable. We tend to hear about and focus on the successes, but it’s important to understand that the New York Times bestselling novel   by a relatively unknown author that suddenly everyone knows and talks about is pretty rare. Self-publish? When considering a small press, you should figure out how their books get sold into stores. I distinctly remember a couple years ago hearing about a debut novel by a high-profile editor who worked in New York publishing, and it received   all this pre-publication attention and publicity, as you would expect. We can take this partly as a comfort: writing and storytelling aren’t so formulaic and by-the-numbers that you can engineer a bestselling title. Retailers such as Barnes & Noble commit to purchasing hundreds or thousands of copies of book, prior to knowing how successful it will be, and their commitment is based on how persuasive the publisher’s sales pitch is. It’s that the retailers return stock that doesn’t sell quickly enough or they stop ordering it. Jane: Much depends on what we mean when we talk about a “small press with decent distribution channels.”
First, and most critical to understand, is that the playing field is more or less even when it comes to retail distribution, or what I might call “availability.” Any self-publishing author, and any small press, can make their books available to be ordered or purchased in the same retailers as a Big Five publisher if they’re willing to use print-on-demand technology. So is it worth the trade-off? But it completely fizzled. (See Nora Roberts.) Furthermore, well-established authors always have an agent who is probably not enthusiastic about seeing their clients divest themselves of traditional publishing. Query smaller (university) presses directly? When high-earning authors do part ways with their publisher, it’s often because of editorial restructures that affect how their work is handled, marketed, or championed. After the book’s launch, within that three-month window after release, if positive things happen, whether on purpose or by accident, the publisher will revisit the situation and decide if more investment would bring greater rewards. You can’t measure them by New York Times bestseller appearances, because that list is biased against lower priced ebooks that   sell primarily on Amazon—but indie authors may end up earning far   more money than a traditional author. If your advance isn’t much of a risk (let’s say $20,000 or below), then you may be better off with a small press if they offer more personalized marketing attention or support, or better and more informed reach to your particular readership. What, then, is the benefit of publishing with a major house versus publishing with a small press with decent distribution channels? But to talk about that bookstore space for a moment: a year of availability on a shelf is probably too generous! I also wondered whether an individual small press or self-published author, absent publishing house funding, could replicate what publishers do—contact these people, get this kind of interview, make a video, etc. So it is possible for an author who is not initially “A” list material to quickly become the focus of the marketing department if they break out in some way. Those publishers have paid for that placement. You have to be in front of your audience pretty consistently as an indie author, with new stuff to offer, at least once a year if not several times per year. Favorable (lower) pricing and promotions also encourage people to take a chance on a new or unknown author. Stores can only stock so many books; the shelves continually have to be cleared, to make room for new titles or old titles that backlist well—there always has to be room for evergreen bestsellers such as What to Expect When You’re Expecting. And is there a way around it? (As novelist and marketer MJ Rose often likes to say, no one buys a book they haven’t heard of.) When lightning strikes—as it did in the case of a self-published book such as The Martian—you can’t replicate that process, step by step, to create another success just like it. My thanks to Kristen for sparking what I think is an important—and I hope useful—discussion. So they jump to another house. If anything, it happens less than before, given ongoing consolidation and risk aversion among publishers. When publishers invest a lot in a little-known author’s advance, it’s usually because they think they’ve got something amazing—it sets off their “quality” or “commercial appeal” radar. I recently browsed the Publishers Marketplace deals database for major deals for debut authors ($500,000 advance and higher), and most of the books and authors I had never heard of. This is why word of mouth—the recommendation of someone you trust—is so often talked about. Is there a formula? Thus,   in a strange turn of events, I am running an interview with myself at my own site. That’s not a deal breaker (and the majority of all book sales are through Amazon any way!), but for authors who place a great deal of importance on seeing their book stocked in physical retail stores, then the bigger your publisher, the more muscle they probably have to get that nationwide store distribution, and possibly pay for displays or other merchandising during your book’s launch. WHAT WORKS? But all of that did make me wonder about the overall effectiveness of any marketing. Because whatever you were doing didn’t work. If your book doesn’t establish itself as a decent seller in that timeframe, it will be marked, fairly or not, for return. Little-known   or early-career authors don’t have any more negotiating room than they did before. Publishers do still fight over manuscripts from “hot” authors and you still see agents taking projects to auction, with advances being paid that may never earn out because of over-exuberance. You have to take the role of proactive author especially when you’re not an A title, and let the publisher know what you’ll be doing to support your book, many months in advance of publication—before those sales calls happen. It’s part of their job to get the biggest sales commitment possible in advance of publication. In most cases, that author has labored for years on projects that failed or were mediocre in their reception. Is it ads in the New York Times? You’ll find that Big Five and mid-size houses or strong independent houses (such as Sourcebooks or Chronicle) dominate. Do publishers (typically) fight for manuscripts these days if they’re not written by someone well-known, or could they take or leave most authors? So a Big Five author is more likely to see a cookie-cutter approach to their book’s launch unless they’re an “A” title (one of the most important titles that season) or otherwise selected for special treatment. Imagine that! Or is it strictly a matter of good luck and word of mouth when a novel becomes the novel everyone is talking about, making the possibility of this happening the same for a Big Five author as it is for even a self-published author? And how do publishers decide which books—excluding those by famous people, and specifically fiction (nonfiction seems like an easier sell)—will get the larger advances and the subsequent marketing push? Positive reviews and media appearances help, too, but for someone who is an unknown in the market, it usually requires many instances of exposure—the old “seven impressions” rule—for someone to remember and then make a purchase. That said, editors and agents can also be out of touch with what pleases the average reader, and here   50 Shades of Grey   is always trotted out as the stereotypical example. I’ve mentioned the role of the advance earlier—that’s a significant factor, but not the only factor. If you present them with your plan—what you can accomplish on your own without their help—they will often look for ways to amplify what you are doing, and combine forces. Do they have their own sales team? So indie authors compete in a different way, and their visibility is different, too. To ameliorate that, an agent can say, “We know you’re not going to budge on the ebook royalty rate, but that means you need to do better on these   other terms.”
It never hurts to ask for what you want, to ask “Can you do better?” and to get an explanation for why your requests aren’t reasonable or standard. The other 60-70% are happening through online retail—primarily Amazon, whether in print or ebook form. This feels like many questions, but I think the TL;DR version is probably, “Is a book’s success all luck, even if ‘luck’ includes hitting the right subject matter at the right time, or is it marketing—and can an indie author in any way compete with a publisher?”
I don’t want to make it sound like a crapshoot, but to some extent, yes, we’re talking about something that is unpredictable and perhaps magical. So, you need two things: a great book that   inspires readers   to evangelize for it and press it into the hands of friends and family, and some amount of marketing to   help get the ball rolling. Professional indie authors effectively   compete with traditional authors, in every way, but they have a   different approach, since they mainly reach their readers online, don’t devote much energy to the physical bookstore market, and mostly eschew mainstream media coverage and reviews. And this is not to dispute the issue or throw a tantrum, but to be prepared and set your expectations accordingly. It’s not logistically complicated or expensive. There’s not one   answer to that question. It’s different skill set that’s required and it’s a different kind of career. Granting ebook rights along with print: it will be demanded. Maybe four to six months? You can read John Scalzi on this to get a sense of what I mean.

It was one of well-being. In his answer—in the practiced manner he delivered it—I could tell this was an issue he had to address with many patients, a   shame that adults in particular may have in   seeking non-essential treatment. What Vaz discovers is that the act of writing each story can be a vital exploration about the nature of truths you might not   even know you carried. The orthodontist gave an answer that was immediately empathetic: This wasn’t a superficial concern. Now, twenty years later, I’ve sorely regretted my lack of diligence. The easiest thing would have been to dismiss him out-of-hand. It reminded me of how I find myself addressing student writers (of all ages) who are often   reluctant to write about themselves—they believe they   have led ordinary lives that would bore others. Also this month in the Glimmer Train bulletin:

Why I Shouldn’t Be a Writer by Courtney Knowlton
How to “Write Science” Without Becoming a Lecturer by Stefani Nellen
Daily Momentum: A Little Progress Goes a Long Way by Andrew Roe But I asked him   if this was indeed what he wanted to write about—he did—so I asked him to tell me more about that night. Photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA
When I was a teenager, I had braces, but quickly stopped wearing my retainer after the braces came off. Read the entire essay. In   an essay at Glimmer Train, writer Katherine Vaz tackles this issue in part, when she discusses an assignment that is given to every student at her university: to write about   “the most important thing ever to happen to me.” Immigrants may   have breathtaking and heartbreaking stories, she notes, but what about the average student, a “So Cal surfer guy”? [One student]   wrote that the most important thing ever to happen to him was…the night he and his pals got drunk and knocked down the mailboxes in the neighborhood. So I visited an orthodontist for a consultation, and sheepishly alluded to my vanity-oriented goals. Vaz asks:

What’s the nature (or even the point) of truth-telling here? It turns out that   teeth have a long memory about where they used to be, and wander back to their original starting   position.

We remain small and focused on our mission so that everyone has our goals in mind and a voice to manage their domain of interest. We don’t have requirements—we all do that we can, in   between driving kids to school, working, teaching, and wiping mud off our dogs’ feet. We’ve seen a direct positive result on sales figures, attendance at live events, social media engagement, and our fundraising goals for our charity partner, Room to Read, as philanthropy is an important part of the Poppy mission. Kelly: One of the most gratifying things that’s happened is that we are now working with celebrity authors and   high-quality national sponsors. Note: Today’s post is an extended version of an item originally published in The Hot Sheet, a subscription newsletter I run in partnership with Porter Anderson. The Tall Poppy network helps us control a small part of the process and this can be wonderful for the entire publishing experience. Recently, Garvin and members of her group—including Amy Impellizzeri and Kelly Simmons—were kind enough to answer some of my questions about how their group operates and what success they’ve achieved. We see immediate changes in ranking on Amazon when our Poppy network get behind a title and that eases the mind of the author. Of course, we would like to sell books but our primary objective is to give our readers access and personal interactions with authors. Wait, is that socialism? Could you see a publisher doing something like this as successfully—establishing a collective among its authors—or do you think the power of this group grows out of it being author-managed and author-directed? We hear from new readers every day that Bloom has become one of their favorite corners of the social media world, and that they have been thrilled to discover authors through the Tall Poppies that were not previously on their “to-be-read” lists. It works on several levels. We are friends and we do this for each other. Kelly: The group is very democratic in that everyone is expected to work hard and everyone is listened to. You don’t have to be a Poppy to play with the Poppies! To that end almost every Poppy has a “job” but we don’t monitor that job. Ann: I have to stop myself from inviting everyone to be a Poppy. If a publisher has like-minded, committed, generous authors who enjoy social media it’s possible they could mimic what we do. Ann: Because of this, our goals are different from a publisher’s goals. I’ve found that I can keep about fifty Poppies organized in my mind and probably because I’ve been a professor of very large classes for many years. I’m also wondering how big the group can grow while still being manageable and effective. There is no anxieties related to wondering if we could or should do more. What’s the criteria or how do you add new members? Certainly in the self-publishing community, authors have been helping each other from the very beginning, and you can see active examples of it through Kboards and countless Facebook groups. Our authors enjoy a wide degree of latitude in making decisions and working on projects autonomously. This takes a lot of organization and self-monitoring and our authors are committed to making this work. Kelly: For now, we’re holding at the 50 mark. They claim to be the only national author marketing co-op in the United States, and as far as I know, that’s true. So, yes, Tall Poppies is author-managed, but more importantly, we are reader-centric. There are so many wonderful authors who we wish we could bring in. Because we’ve loosely assembled around our expertise—our goal is to have people do what they are good at—be it networking or computers or public relations. (If you can point to other examples, please comment!)

Jane: As Mike Shatzkin recently wrote, groups like Tall Poppies are filling a need that publishers and agents aren’t meeting. We would be able to ask one of our historical writers to help with that. That is extraordinary progress. So in 2017, we have focused our collective social media efforts on an interactive and innovative Facebook group called Bloom, and we have been so gratified by readers’ responses in the short time that Bloom has been live! We know that everyone is bringing their best to the table when they are able. It’s torturous for me because building community is where I get all my energy from. Long have they heard authors’ frustrations with efforts to get their book in front of readers and the Tall Poppies is trying to channel that frustration into an organized system. When an author goes forward in search of an agent or a publisher she is not alone and this is all part of the platform that we hope helps authors build their careers. Have you or group members received any feedback from your publishers/agents about your efforts? Amy: In recent years, the Tall Poppies have become increasingly visible to readers through live events, press features, the various Tall Poppy pages on social media channels, and regular giveaways with one-time marketing partners including Storiarts, Grace & Heart, and Vacay Style, just to name a few. Its founder is Ann Garvin, who started the group in 2013 by asking other women authors if they wanted to be part of a collaborative marketing effort. Ann: We do have a core leaders who help with initiatives, organization, and general operations and in that way, we function just like any group with goals. But for all the advances of modern technology, we have long lamented that it is still so darn hard to connect with readers the way we writers crave doing. Kelly: A publisher’s group will always have a pre-determined agenda: There are books they want to succeed, and books they know will have short lives. But, I do know my limits. What is each member’s responsibility to the group, or what requirements do members have to meet in terms of marketing and promoting each other? This email provides everything we need to promote an author’s big day. What’s the most successful initiative you’ve launched thus far—where you’ve been able to see or measure progress or sales? I’m wondering if they’re largely excited about your collaboration, or if they might be a little anxious! Ann: In conversation with agents and editors, it’s clear that they think that the Tall Poppies is a great idea. Is there an organizational structure or hierarchy to your organization? We utilize online administrative tools and have real estate in several of the major social media networks: Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads. We want our stories to resonate and getting to know our readers help us do that. Ann: We have All Hands On Deck emails that go out when a Poppy has a launch.  
Kelly: Authors help the group efforts daily, and help each other individually whenever a book is launched or there is major news. How do you facilitate initiatives? Everything we do, and everything we succeed at, is done through the prism of a reader’s experience, not a writer’s, not a publisher’s. But Shatzkin pointed to an excellent example—on the traditional publishing side—of an author marketing co-op that’s becoming highly visible: Tall Poppy Writers. As this group becomes more well known, I have no doubt many authors will want to join. Kelly: Being a Tall Poppy has been a boost to many of our authors—it’s like a Good Bookkeeping Seal of Approval! The group now has about 45 members and specializes in books by women, for women, especially women in book clubs. We all have many commitments and we try to be the kind of place that is understanding and fosters autonomy. But even though we’re technically not adding members, we’re still adding friends and doing initiatives with other female authors all the time. But in the traditional publishing community, that kind of activity is harder to find, with the best example probably being Binder Full of Women Writers and all of its attendant subgroups. I have a laissez-faire leadership style which is based on trust coupled with a strong framework and tools. Ann: Our writers must be fairly savvy regarding the use of social media to foster relationships. Bloom is like an all-day slumber party. Cool brands who will add tremendous value and fun to the Tall Poppies & Bloom community. What feedback have you received, if any, from readers, about this group and your activities? We have a schedule of launches and a buddy program so that the author with the book coming out doesn’t have to also coordinate the Poppies. Last month, industry analyst Mike Shatzkin wrote a long and essential post discussing how authors still need help with their digital presence (and related marketing), the kind of help that traditional publishers are rarely providing. They were drawn not just by our numbers, but also by our style, influence, and genuine relationships. That said, we are always on the look-out for like-minded, generous authors to interact with. To that end, a Tall Poppy Author is invested in relationships and not only the kind of relationships where money changes hands. It signals to agents and publishers that we have that author’s back and will help her succeed. While he advocates that publishers devote more resources to “author care” functions (something I encouraged in a 2012 industry talk), Shatzkin also discusses the potential for authors to collaborate amongst themselves to improve their situation, without the involvement of agents or publishers. Everything they do is reader centric: their group email newsletter reaches about 20,000 readers and their new book club has 3,500 members. Every week, a Tall Poppy Writer takes over the Facebook group (sometimes with the help of a guest celebrity author) and shares insider information, comical anecdotes and other conversation starters. If an author continues to interact with us, we notice it and try to help them as much as we can. When we work together, we know we are giving it our best effort.

In addition, throughout the summer, I’m teaching a series of online classes with the Authors Guild on the following topics—all free to members. I’m delighted to announce that   I’ve been working with The Authors Guild on the creation and release of their new resource guide on self- and e-publishing,   available for free to active members. You may be wondering: how does one qualify to be a member of The Authors Guild? The guide is roughly 40,000 words and covers the following areas:

Evaluating what publishing help you need
Understanding the service landscape and most commonly used services
Finding the right   assistance (agents, freelancers, hybrid companies)
Setting up a small press   and other administration
Producing and selling print and ebook editions
Learning the ins and outs of ebook files and metadata
Marketing and promoting your work—in traditional ways as well as digital-first methods

Learn more at The Authors Guild site. Fortunately, in recent years, the guild has rolled out additional   membership categories so that all types of writers are welcome to join. I may be biased given my partnership with the Guild, but now is a great time to join! (If you’re not a member, registration is $49 per class.)

Best practices for author websites and blogs
Email marketing 101 for writers
Social media for authors: how to make it worth your time
Self-publishing 101
The basics of marketing and promoting your work online

Learn more and register. Even non-members can get a sample chapter for free. Learn more. The Authors Guild has recently amped up all of its author education resources, and is extending its writers’ resource library with an excellent range of business information. These include:

emerging writer memberships ($100/year), for those who are unpublished
student writer memberships ($35/year), for   college students

Professional memberships ($125/year) are available to self-published authors and freelance writers who have earned at least $500 in the last 18 months from writing.

You could use access   to a difficult-to-find source (something I have done) or access to a celebrity   who doesn’t give interviews often. When I first started, I was   spending almost 80-90% of my time pitching. Diversification   is something freelancers should look at. If you get hired,   it will be because you have a story to tell that only you have   access to   because of your location. Jane: One of the   complaints I hear from freelancers is that online writing doesn’t pay. You might have technical knowledge about a   subject that   most writers don’t. But I’ll also add that I have been able to use my   journalism   experience to break into the content marketing field and the top   agencies and markets in that field continue to pay $1 per word or $200-300 per   hour to writers who can demonstrate expertise and experience in specific   industries. Mridu: In my experience, whether a publication will   pay well (or at all) will come down to how it’s funded. What do you   wish you had known about making freelance writing pay when you started out? $1 a   word.)
Specializing in a subject or region can also be   helpful. Most writers are pretty intimidated even   thinking about pitching these   publications. The way to break into top publications as a new   writer is to give them something unique, something no one but you can offer. Mridu was a   successful freelance journalist for twelve years before starting The International Freelancer. Definitely. Last week, she released   a list of 70+ publications that pay $1 a word or more (or a $500+ flat rate). If you dream of a full-time freelance writing career—but have felt discouraged by the largely negative messages about how difficult it is out there (many of which come from freelancers themselves), then allow me to introduce you to Mridu Khullar Relph of The International Freelancer. Could it work as a pitch for an agricultural magazine? I do find that original reporting is almost   always going to be something that’s valued and we’ve seen that shift recently   in the minds of consumers. I was told I couldn’t do it from   India. When   considering the practice of professional full-time freelancers, how much time   would you say is spent working on pitches (and researching pitches or   publications) versus the actual writing and revising? By that I mean that I’m a big advocate of making sure you do your research   before pitching   and approach ANY magazine with your best ideas, even the local   ones, even the ones that don’t pay as much. (I talk about   that here.)
I’m now more focused on books but in 2014,   which is the last year I was making my entire income from freelancing, I would   have pitched less than 20% of the time. That’s important to remember. And here’s the way I think you’re going to be   able to do that as a new writer: Come up with ideas editors can’t say no to. I’ve worked with nonprofits, national governments, and big   organizations working in the fields of agriculture and solar technology and   been paid incredibly well for that work. I was told that if you   wrote stories about social issues, you wouldn’t get paid for that work. While obviously you’d want to do your research before pitching,   and approach such magazines with only your best ideas, what else can a writer   do to be taken seriously by   such publications, especially early in their   career? I wish I hadn’t listened to all the experts and   the advice about starting with local publications and the “realistic” advice   about freelancing not being a viable career. I feel like it might be a mistake to categorize   markets as deserving of higher or lower quality pitches based on what they pay. I was told   you could chase the awards or the money but not both. You have a   good number of A-list magazines on your list of 70 publications   that pay $1 a word—such as New York Times magazine, Oprah, The Atlantic, and so   on. So   they grow organically and often take time to become high-paying markets, if at   all. That an editor in New York may not have heard about,   for instance? That’s just one example. If you have any freelance aspirations at all, be sure to visit The International Freelancer. Always be willing to put your best   work out there and not skimp on any part of that effort because when you   do   your best with absolutely every pitch and every assignment, you’re adding to   your learning and your clips. She   put together this list in defiance of everyone who says it’s “impossible” to make a living as a freelance writer and to provide a helpful resource to the wider community of freelance journalists and writers who are looking for ways to earn more. As one   becomes more   established, do you think less time is spent on pitching and researching   publications (because you have relationships in place)? (We forgot to add them to our list, but they too pay approx. She built her career from New Delhi, India, writing for top US and UK publications, including The New York Times, TIME magazine, The Independent, CNN, Forbes, ABC News, The Christian Science Monitor, GlobalPost, and more. She is   currently based out of London. (My   highest-paying assignments have been about human rights issues.)
The hardest thing for me, personally, was   learning to trust my gut and to allow myself to follow my own path, even if   that meant that I had falls along the way. Online publications such as Ensia, which I’ve   written for, will often pay   for well-reported, well-researched stories, for   instance. Can you comment on the types of online writing that   can and do pay, versus those that don’t? Do not be intimidated! That   isn’t true in my experience, although I can understand why that   belief is widespread, especially when good online   publications fold (e.g., The   Toast) for lack of funds. While I love the   startup and issue-based feel of many online publications, they are typically   run by people passionate   about a topic and who have access to limited funds. Mridu was kind enough to answer my questions about the freelance life. (More on that here.)
I think that’s key to talk about, too. When you   send that pitch, you won’t get hired because of your credits. It   happens more frequently than you think. For me, it is both. Or   what lesson was the hardest to learn? The appetite for them seems almost   endless, but perhaps for   that reason personal essays, unless they’re going in the   back pages of national magazines, aren’t incredibly high paying. I didn’t have any work and I wasn’t   writing the best pitches, so I was sending out five pitches a day as a matter   of practice. If it’s a   big   enough trend and growing, could it work for a news publication? This list we’ve published is all about   $1-a-word publications and as someone who is incredibly passionate about   telling stories   from the developing world, I have found that news magazines,   online markets, and consumer publications have been a fantastic source for   feeding that passion. I was told it was   impossible to make a decent living with it. I routinely negotiated double the initial pay I was offered simply   because I was a journalist in India working for US and UK publications and   translating East to   West was something I did well for my clients and I was   often one of the handful of people doing it. Right now, personal essays are   everywhere and writers love writing them. In terms of the kind of writing, I think it   often comes down to supply and demand. Once that’s done, I advocate to my students   that they stop overthinking the whole thing and simply start getting their work   out there. She’s won several awards for her journalism, including being named Development Journalist of the Year in 2010 by the Developing Asia Journalism Awards for her work on wastepicker women in India. If you’re a writer in Ohio, is   there a new trend or   farming technique that you might be able to report on that   has national relevance? This was partly because of   relationships with editors   but it was also because I had introduced content   marketing into my business and I was getting a lot more regular and high-paying   assignments from those clients. Unique ideas that they don’t have access to. Many of my students have started off getting   paid $500 or $1 a   word for their first, second, or third assignments. Because now I am proof that it doesn’t   have to be love or   money.

New Bob Marley Autopsy Documentary

by Contributed
Watch this new documentary: Autopsy – The Last Hours Of… Bob Marley”A documentary series that reveals the truth behind the controversial deaths of global icons and people whose untimely deaths were surrounded by scandal and intense media attention.”

SHARE / Apr 10, 2017 11:01 am

Autopsy ~ Bob Marley

She says:
A novel I’m working on began two and a half years ago as an eighty-four-word list divided into nineteen “items” that became chapters…. In other words, you would never have the following to-do items:

Buy a house
Write my first novel
Build a website

Instead, you would break these enormous projects into the smallest possible components, starting with to-do items such as:

Research real estate agents in my area and create a list of candidates to contact
Visit the library and see what books are available on novel writing for beginners
Visit writers’ websites that I like and make notes on what I   want my site to do and look like

Breaking large projects down into small steps (into lists!) makes them less intimidating, and—most importantly—helps you make progress with less anxiety. Related (and nearly a decade ago), I learned about an important productivity method—perhaps the most important I’ve ever learned—and it boils down to this: Never create a to-do item that is actually   a project. Instead, use to-dos that are specific action steps. The universe is working serendipitously this week, because   Yelizaveta P. Just yesterday, at this site, I featured a post by Cyndy Etler on how list-making can help you manage the overwhelming process of trying to write a memoir, or any story about your life. Renfro just published a piece over at Glimmer Train on the magic of list making. Slowly, each of the nineteen items expanded into its own list, a nesting-doll regression to smaller and smaller units, to scenes and paragraphs and sentences, until each word was in place. As Anne Lamott says, you tackle things “bird by bird.”
Also this month in Glimmer Train:

On Form by   Peter Ho Davies
The Secret Lives of Novellas by Daniel Torday

There is likely some false modesty in this claim, but the deeper implication that mastery is never the goal, that one is always learning and relearning one’s craft, is more to the point. Which is to say, might we always look forward to that next book? I have been thinking about taste. Yet sitting there, awaiting my turn, I realized that lately Didion had not been affecting me as she once had, that I was growing tired of her. I am reminded of the violin lessons I took as a child. Such evolution is partly a function of age and the fact that the more we live the more we understand about life and thus the more of that understanding we bring to what we read. To lose that sense of wonder—that sense of admiration and aspiration—would leave me nothing short of bereaved. Once a week, my mother would drive me to Mr. This may sound defeating; it doesn’t have to. Taste. Zadie Smith excels at this. Lately, however, the bulk of Glass’s sentiment has become muffled in the back of my mind as those first few phrases—the first thirty seconds of the video—have taken on a sharper pitch. After being picked up by a few prominent websites, the video went viral. I worshipped at the altar of Didion at a time when I was struggling with the clarity of my sentences. When I do, I sense that my students appreciate it, that it softens the blows of teacherly criticism when they inevitably arrive. And what does it mean for our development as writers? Well, first, it’s subjective. Nevertheless, it’s snappily-produced and the sentiment expressed in Glass’s trademark cadence, complete with rhetorical pauses on the off-beats, struck a chord. Today’s guest post is by Nell Boeschenstein, who is teaching a 5-week memoir writing class that begins April 17. He explains how reaching the level of skill and accomplishment to which one aspires takes years, that this is normal, that it took him – he, Ira Glass – years to get to a place that satisfied his own qualitative ambitions. For me, they tend to oversimplify. The latter is a more accurate description of what has been my own experience. While I will always love Jane Eyre and dislike Lord of the Flies, more interesting are the shifts in my taste, the slippages from Didions to Smiths that reflect my ongoing education. Instead of taste as the aspirational fixed endpoint described by Glass, a more apt analogy may be the horizon line – always ahead, never reached. What fresh discoveries of my own abilities awaited? The video itself is not remarkable. There are few feelings I love more than that of finishing a book or short story or poem or essay and being so moved that I sit dumbfounded and wondering, “How did he/she do that?” That mystification is, for me, part and parcel of the pleasure of reading something beautiful and dreaming up how match it. Find out more. Temperamentally, I have a knee-jerk aversion to inspirational quotes. Jane Doe might love E.M. That said, I’ll admit a fondness for this one. Might we always look forward to what it has to teach us about our tastes—about ourselves? Is fulfilling one’s artistic ambitions not a recipe for a kind of complacency to be approached with as much skepticism as an inspirational quote? Because the transcribed text is the sole visual element, it seems more an exercise in animating typography than anything else. That pitch reaches its peak with his articulation of the word “taste”. What would I do next? Unlike the textbooks that occupied my academic hours, the sense of accomplishment I felt upon finishing one Suzuki book and moving onto the next was enormous. He implores his audience to push past this point. Find out more about Nell’s writing class starting April 17. These days, corralling complex thoughts while maintaining narrative and balancing tonal elements of gravity and levity are my intellectual albatrosses. I was on a writing panel and someone in the audience stood up and asked to which writers we found ourselves repeatedly returning. I know many writers—accomplished, wonderful writers—who have told me that every time they start something new they feel again like complete novices. What rankles me about the Glass clip is that he seems to be implying that taste is a static, reliable inclination—that Doe will always prefer Forster and Roe, Greene. He seems to be describing a fixed endpoint toward which one toils away as opposed to a target that moves constantly over the course of a lifetime. Or rather three million. Several years ago, a designer created a one-minute, forty-second video that animates a quote from an interview with Ira Glass on storytelling. Aging aside, such evolution is also the definition of learning. Forster and Jane Roe may prefer Graham Greene but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Forster is empirically better than Greene or vice versa. The question clicked for me last June. Instead, I realized that I was increasingly rereading Zadie Smith’s essays, that Smith was my new Didion. I like that, from the get-go, Glass included himself among those who have struggled toward mastery for years; I like that he places high stock in time, patience, determination, production. Or as Glass calls it, “killer taste.” What is it, exactly? When I was younger Elizabeth Bishop’s famous villanelle “The Art of Losing” left me cold. Today it has more than 1.4 million views on Vimeo with a corresponding 12,400 “hearts” and an additional 1.65 million views on YouTube. For these reasons, I am sure I am far from alone among English teachers when I say that I’ll cop to playing this video in class from time to time. That is the very nature of taste. Now, having lived longer and lost more, it devastates and astonishes me with its brilliance in equal measure. It was exhilarating. In past years, I would not have hesitated: Joan Didion, short and sweet. Hers are crystalline and had much to teach me. Lind’s studio and wait in her parked car for a half hour, while, over the years, he shepherded me through the Suzuki method, a classic memorization-based technique that takes students from the basics of bowing “Twinkle, Twinkle” to the gymnastics of Shostakovich, via a seemingly never-ending series of slim instructional volumes. Specifically, good taste. The animation begins: “Nobody tells people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me, is that all of us who do creative work, like y’know, we get into it and we get into it because we have good taste, but it’s like there’s a gap….” Glass goes onto explain that when one first begins creating, the gap between what one knows to be good and the disappointing products of one’s efforts, is the point at which many people quit.

To survive minimum wage increases, Shelf Awareness reported that booksellers seek to add products with a better profit margin than books: “Books Inc. (It is not allowed to discount ebooks.) So it’s clear that consumers are unwilling to pay more, or about the same price, for an ebook as they do for print. The   bookstore chain Indigo in Canada is showing growth, although that growth is from non-book merchandise. whether the most voracious ebook readers have switched to ebook subscription services such as Kindle Unlimited or Scribd. Kindle Unlimited (KU), Amazon’s ebook subscription program, is estimated to represent about 14% of all ebook reads in the Amazon ecosystem. While I’m not at proclaiming the death of print   or traditional publishers, few media outlets have an understanding of the big picture. During the holidays, the chain reported that comparable-store sales were down 9.1 percent versus 2015. All the books are face out, so the emphasis is on curation, and no prices are listed. (Their ebook sales are believed   to have increased about 4%.)
When Amazon discounts the print edition, it often ends up undercutting the (high) ebook price. There’s a whole universe of independent publishing that remains untracked because the titles don’t carry ISBNs—and most of those titles are not getting carried in your average bricks-and-mortar bookstore. [They] would highly recommend that any bookstore not selling gifts do so.”
Additionally, booksellers are hoping for better terms from publishers, which isn’t necessarily wishful thinking; in 2016,   HarperCollins launched the New Bookstore Development Program to support the opening of new independent bookstores or those expanding to new locations. Above,   we see how the share of   Big Five publishers has declined by 12% between 2012-2015; small publishers and self-published authors gained 23% market share combined, due to their lower pricing. Also, not many people are aware of what an active publisher Amazon itself is. Nook sales (which include devices, ebooks, and accessories) declined by 25.7 percent. Eight of the top 20 Kindle sellers in 2016 were from Amazon’s own publishing imprints, and Amazon now has 13 active imprints. For independent bookstores reporting to Nielsen, unit sales increases in 2016 were around 5%, compared to a 6.4% increase in all US print book sales. (Amazon has been opening its own   bricks-and-mortar bookstores across the country. In 2016 alone, Amazon Publishing released more than 2,000 titles. Once you factor in the nontraditional sales (self-published titles and Amazon Publishing titles), it would be within reason to expect about all fiction sales to be about 70% digital. What’s even more astonishing is that Nielsen’s figures primarily give us a look at very traditional types of publishing, or books with ISBNs. Prices are variable and depend on whether the customer is an Amazon Prime member.)
At a recent conference, ABA CEO Oren Teicher said that the average profit margin of an independent bookstore is 2.4%. KU costs $9.99/month and is strongly dominated by self-published books—none of the major publishers participate. If you enjoy this post, I highly recommend subscribing to The Hot Sheet, an email newsletter for professional authors that I write and edit with journalist Porter Anderson. But reports estimate that Amazon’s print sales in 2016 grew by 15%, primarily driven by their own discounting. If you’re interested in ongoing analysis and information about publishing industry, start a free 30-day trial to   The Hot Sheet. The latest B&N quarterly earnings report showed a retail sales decline of 7.5 percent. The ebook sales decline (to the extent it’s real) relates to traditional publishing and its high ebook pricing. Therefore, even small changes in costs—such as wage or rent increases—can quickly make a store unprofitable. This post first went live in June 2016; I’ve updated it with more recent industry statistics. However, even though memberships at the American Bookseller Association (ABA) are up, stores still face issues of long-term sustainability. (Book sales remain flat at Indigo.)
Independent bookstores are doing OK, but just OK
Over the last few years, one of the feel-good publishing stories has been the rise of the independent bookstore. Barnes & Noble is   losing market share to Amazon
Throughout 2016, the biggest bookstore chain in the United States struggled. However, this decline is attributable to higher ebook prices from traditional publishers. As you can tell from Nielsen’s graph above (which   tracks sales of titles with   ISBNs), the flattening of ebook sales started happening back in 2013. Barnes & Noble’s sales declined by 6% in 2016, and sales from mass merchandisers (Target, Walmart, etc.) also declined. Ebook market share has drifted toward   “nontraditional” publishers. Fiction sales are about 50% digital for traditional publishers
Often you’ll see figures that indicate that ebooks account for about 25% of all book sales for the major publishers, as in this recent graph from Nielsen, presented at London Book Fair in March 2017. However, print book sales grew largely because Amazon sold more print books.   Most of it is wishful thinking rather than an understanding of what’s actually happening. They sell predominantly through Amazon. [in San Francisco] has increased its sales mix from about 2 percent in gifts to around 15 percent currently. B&N stated, “Despite post-holiday sales improvements, trends softened in late January and into the fourth quarter.”
Meanwhile, print book sales so far in 2017 show that the industry is not suffering that same rate of decline—so B&N is losing share to its competitors. Two other   unanswered   questions:

whether book readers are transitioning from ebook purchases to audiobook purchases; that’s where most of the sales gains are happening for traditional publishers. When I read mainstream outlets on publishing industry issues (such as The New York Times or   The Guardian), few things are more frustrating than articles that tout   the “resurgence” of print—as well as the related “comeback” of independent bookstores. Here are the recent   data points you should know about. Since 2013, the traditional book publishing industry has enjoyed about a 3% increase in print book sales. While independent bookstores have benefited from the “shop local” movement, better technology for store management and sales, and better terms from publishers, one has to be extremely optimistic to envision them growing in the face of a competitor like Amazon. Bradley Graham, the co-owner of Politics & Prose, told Shelf Awareness that, despite the recent optimism surrounding indie bookstores, they still face serious challenges, and “the industry is not necessarily on firm financial footing for the foreseeable future.”  
Carry a big dose of skepticism, and look at possible underlying agendas, when you hear celebrations about print’s comeback. Jonathan Stolper (formerly of Nielsen)   said at Digital Book World in January 2017, “Price is the most important and most influential barrier to entry for ebook buyers and the increase in price coincided with the decrease in sales.”
If print is   indeed is “back,” it’s because of   Amazon. They’re relatively small at 3,500 square feet; the average Barnes & Noble is ten times that size. The drop was attributed to various factors, including slower foot traffic in stores,   the declining sales of adult coloring books, and no bestselling album by Adele. But note that’s an average across all genres and categories; if you look at fiction alone, sales are about half digital for traditionally published books.

Psychological research can help us, to a point. Actually, the truth is the opposite. Other mode is not a single technique or principle. Here’s an example: His guts twisted in fear. There are three primary paths to producing an emotional response in readers. Stop your story at any point, ask the point-of-view character what she is feeling, and it’s never just one answer. “Why didn’t you replace the pictures of Nikki and me?” I ask. The pink face of Beatty now showed the faintest panic in the door. When all the instruments work together, they lift our hearts. Here’s an example from a master of secondary emotions: Ray Bradbury. It explains that when showing works the thing we should look at is not why it works but when. The woman who lives in the house is warned to leave but refuses and holds up …
An ordinary kitchen match. We are open. The first is to report what characters are feeling so effectively that readers feel something too. Our emotions can be profoundly trivial or so elevated that they’re silly. There are emotions that embarrass us, reveal too much, and make us vulnerable. Each reader has a unique emotional response to a story. He knows the thrill of watching books burn. In this horrific situation we are forced to measure Montag’s emotion against our own. It actually can. God, thought Montag, how true! What we feel is inescapably influenced by our history, morals, loyalties, and politics. Pat’s delusional refusal to accept that Nikki is not coming back to him is plainly evident. A story situation is an emotional elephant. But that way of thinking surrenders too much to chance. Is his excitement what we would feel? The reader reacts, resists, and sometimes succumbs, but thanks to the author’s skill, she can never escape the churn and ow of her own feelings. When outward actions stir us, it’s not the actions we read that have stirred us but that we have stirred ourselves. Human action is also driven by need. Nikki had given Mom the other non-wedding pictures of us, and well, we aren’t in touch with Nikki or her family right now because it’s apart time. Creating that type of experience for readers requires more than just walking them through the plot. It leads to the erroneous idea that emotional effect is accidental. Yes, but it’s also important. It is a vast array of elements tuned like the instruments in an orchestra to create a soaring emotional effect. Do you feel simmering rage? Put on the page what a character feels and there’s a pretty good chance that, paradoxically, what the reader will feel is nothing. To put it simply, when character emotions are highly painful, pull back. With so much rich human material to work with, it’s disappointing that so many manuscripts offer a limited menu of emotions. Research shows that readers want this, too. Do you hope that your fiction can change people or maybe even history? Characters’ emotional states also, by themselves, are limited in their impact. Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook is a novel featuring a protagonist, Pat Peoples, who is certifiably crazy. Probably not. Other things on the page also provoke readers, and these things are the greater part of the equation. Photo credit: jan buchholtz via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND
Today’s post is adapted from The Emotional Craft   of Fiction   (Writer’s Digest Books) by agent Donald Maass (@DonMaass). When readers chew on a story, they are getting not only what they want, but also something good and healthy. Inner Mode: Telling
Writing out what characters feel ought to be a shortcut to getting readers to feel that stuff too, shouldn’t it? Human beings are complex. Instead he portrays a feeling that we don’t expect: Montag’s excitement. So how does one create emotional surprise? That power, however, cannot exist unless and until a story has a strong emotional impact. What is actually happening inside readers as they read? While it’s true that you cannot control what each reader will feel while reading your work, what you can control is whether they will feel something in the first place and how strong those feelings will be. A careless writer would have focused on Montag’s horror at what was about to happen. Other Mode
None of readers’ emotional experience of a story actually comes from the emotional lives of characters. Remember that Montag is a reman who has enjoyed starting fires. There are many ways of looking at and feeling about what’s happening at any given moment. Medically speaking, this is actually necessary for human health and well-being. What gets readers going are feelings that are fresh and unexpected. Or maybe yes, if we were Montag. Meh. She tells me our house was burglarized a few weeks before I came home and the pictures were stolen. Ask two characters what they feel about what’s happening and neither will ever say the same thing. There’s no need. But is that what authors want, too? There’s always a different emotion to use. Or this: Her eyes shot daggers at him. When you read that, do your own guts twist in fear? Yet those feelings also need to be real and true; otherwise, they will come across as contrived—they’ll ring false and fail to ignite the reader’s emotions. All three paths to producing emotional responses in readers are valid, but all three have pitfalls and can fail to work. They want to feel like they’ve been through something. There are emotions that we minimize, hide, and deny. The painful emotional lives of such characters need to become tolerable for readers. That should come as no surprise. It might seem that you shouldn’t worry about what readers feel; they’re either going to feel what you want them to feel or not. In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag is a futuristic fireman who burns books. Mom says the burglar stole all the expensive frames, but she had the negatives for the family portraits and had them replaced. Montag felt the hidden book pound like a heart against his chest. Readers read under the influence of their own temperaments, histories, biases, morality, likes, dislikes, and peeves. This is outer mode, the showing of emotions. Research shows this: Readers expect their experience, naturally enough, to be a positive one. Is it because fire is prettier by night? These are the feelings writers believe they ought to use if their stories are going to sell. Yes, showing and telling are part of what provokes readers to feel, but they are only a part. Mom says she did not have the negatives for the pictures of Nikki and me, especially because Nikki’s parents had paid for the wedding pictures and had only given my mother copies of the photos she liked. The second is to provoke in readers what characters may be feeling by implying their inner state through external action. No! Your hope is not in vain. Pat Peoples amusingly refuses to give up his dream of reuniting with his estranged wife, Nikki, and is convinced that their “apart time,” as he calls it, will end. Captain Beatty, keeping his dignity, backed slowly through the front door, his pink face burnt and shiny from a thousand res and night excitements. They make judgments that don’t agree with yours. Authors want to challenge readers. Action is an opportunity for us to feel something, not a cause of feeling something. After his transformation begins he’s called to help burn a house full of books, and Montag secretly takes one. To learn more about how to make a strong emotional impact in your fiction, check out   The Emotional Craft of Fiction   by Donald Maass. No. Others, like thrillers, either have no time to dwell on characters’ feelings or their authors regard such passages as artless and possibly repellant. Skillful authors play against expected feelings. How can we not? It comes from readers themselves. Not so much. This is other mode, an emotional dialogue between author and reader. Entertainment works best when it presents consumers with novelty, challenge, and aesthetic value, which in turn cause cognitive evaluation. Humor and objective showing create a safety zone. Because Bradbury goes sideways from an expected feeling, we cannot help but feel something ourselves. They go down several emotional layers in order to bring up emotions that will catch readers by surprise. In plain language that means thinking, guessing, questioning, and comparing what is happening to one’s own experience. This objective, wry, reportorial approach serves Quick’s purpose well because if we were asked to swallow the inner emotional life of Pat Peoples, we couldn’t. In that zone readers can process their own response to emotional conditions that are extreme. Quick knows the trick of making a mentally ill protagonist enjoyable to read about: Make him funny. How can that be? Never by day! All evidence is to the contrary, of course, as we see when Pat returns home:
When I finally come out of the basement, I notice that all the pictures of Nikki and me have been removed from the walls and the mantel over the replace. Don’t do it! The feelings that writers first choose to write are often obvious, easy, and safe. Research shows that consumers of entertainment are seeking, more than anything, to have an experience. It’s unpredictable but it’s real. What all that means is that readers fundamentally want to feel something, not about your story, but about themselves. We have emotions on the surface and emotions underneath. This is inner mode, the telling of emotions. The sight of it rushed the men out and down away from the house. The woman’s hand twitched on the single matchstick. Such feelings fail to excite us because, of course, we’ve read them too many times. The fumes of kerosene bloomed up about her. Bradbury, however, knows that the obvious emotion will not have the desired effect. Does “an experience” sound simplistic? I ask why a burglar would want pictures of Nikki and me, and my mother says she puts all of her pictures in very expensive frames. The distinction matters. Some story types, such as romance fiction, necessarily rely on inner mode. Once you know the underlying cause behind the surface effects, you’ll know whether the approach that you are taking on a given page will reliably move readers’ hearts. To successfully use each, it’s necessary to understand why each is effective when it is. Nothing is more valid and vivid than what we can see and hear, right? Outer Mode: Showing
Outer moments in many manuscripts can feel small and self-consciously “written”; in other words, arty more than artful. Pat begins the novel in a neural health facility, from which he is released with the help of his mother. I ask my mother where these pictures went. He enjoys his job until he meets a seventeen-year-old girl who awakens his mind. That’s not really true. An experience, sure, but what kind of experience? “Why didn’t the burglar steal the rest of the family pictures?” I ask. Always at night the alarm comes. This chewing effect has another benefit: Readers are more likely to remember a story when it has made them chew. Notice that Quick does not try to convey what Pat is feeling in this farcical passage. That in turn should stir our own imaginations and churn up our feelings, shouldn’t it? The third method is to cause readers to feel something that a story’s characters do not themselves feel. That need is sensed in subtext and revealed through what people say and do. Sometimes, but not always. More spectacle, a better show? The expression on the face of his chief, Beatty, ignites that feeling again, briefly, even while Montag’s heart is changing. The choice between inner and outer modes is a central one. So how can a writer predict, never mind control, what readers feel? The house and its contents are then doused with kerosene. They want to connect with your characters and live their fictional experience, or believe that they have. They transport us to a realm of wonder. It’s too crazy and painful. They work only with primary emotions because that is what everyone feels, which is true, but this is also a limited view.

1. This is the most sensible approach if you put very little time or effort into self-publishing your work, haven’t been on the market very long, and believe self-publishing was a mistake. The entire book? Then pitch and see what responses you get. In other words, if you’re doing well enough to merit a traditional deal, agents and publishers will come to you, not the other way around. It’s important to note when you released the book, what price it’s selling at, how many copies you’ve sold, how many reviews you have on Amazon or Goodreads, and your average rating. Query agents as if you didn’t self-publish. Do not send a copy of the book with your query. If   you’ve given up on the self-publishing route and want to try traditional, then there are several approaches you can take. Do not attend writers conferences or   industry events with your self-published book in hand and try to sell agents or publishers on it in person (unless there is an explicit invitation to do so). The honest truth is that most agents (and publishers) have little or no interest in acquiring self-published work unless it’s receiving significant attention in the media or hitting bestseller lists. Continue marketing your self-pub work. Other times, the author’s plan was to self-publish first and magically attract attention that would lead to a traditional book deal—something that is even more of a rare occurrence than landing a book deal through the slush pile. One of the most frequent questions   in my inbox is: “I’ve self-published, but now I want an agent. If your self-publishing effort has resulted in some recognition or sales, then you should query agents just as you would for an unpublished work, but mention in your query what success you’ve enjoyed with the project. Do not lead your query or your pitch with “I self-published this book and thought you might be interested.” The immediate reaction will be   I am not interested in your self-published book. In other words, the fact that you self-published is NOT a selling point. How to Secure a Traditional Deal by Self-Publishing
Self-Publishing to Land a Book Deal Query with a   new project. Query and mention your self-publishing effort. 2. 3. Aside from hitting bestseller lists, perhaps the best way to land a traditional deal for a self-published work is to secure an agent for a brand-new work. Approaches   to avoid

As stated before,   do not send the book to the agent unless they specifically request it. If interested, the agent will closely scrutinize the work on Amazon and Goodreads—and probably thoroughly research your online presence—so make sure that you’ve spiffed up your website and are putting best professional face forward. It is a negative or at best a distraction if you’re addressing someone in the industry. If that seems like   an exercise in futility, then…
4. Should that happen, the agent will have a conversation with you about your vision for your   career and all of your existing work—and will strategize with you to decide how to handle your existing self-published oeuvre. Pitch the merits of the work, not its self-published history unless you can say, “I self-published this book and have sold 50,000 copies so far.”

For more advice

Should You Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish? (I would also advise taking the work off the market entirely before you query, but that’s not required.)
Prepare a query letter and synopsis (or a book proposal for nonfiction), and   research agents who are interested in your genre, just as you would for an unpublished work. Be prepared to send the work in manuscript format if requested. Usually, your best bet is to continue looking for ways to gain attention and visibility for your work—to try and make waves. First 50 pages? Instead, wait for the agent to indicate in their response what they’d like to see—the first chapter? How do I get one?” Usually the writer wants an agent because they’ve been disappointed by their   sales or have experienced frustration in getting readers. If you’re able to secure interest, you should disclose the history of the project; if the agent is genuinely interested, that history is unlikely to affect their enthusiasm for the work, especially if the work received little or no attention while it was on the market.

Chris Brown flexes Dancehall prowess with Konshens

by Biko Kennedy
Dancehall, the difficult to quantify and forever shape-shifting genre, finds Konshens consistently evolving with its sound yet remaining true to his core fanbase. With a little over a year since its debut, his single Bruk Off grabs an irresistible remix from RnB crooner Chris Brown. “Me love the way your legs slide up,” he croons. “Bruk off yuh back / I love it when you watch your back / Show me that you care when you throw that ass.”Check out the single below and let us know your thoughts! SHARE / Mar 21, 2017 04:55 pm

Breezy flips the original single and gets very explicit with his patois (Jamaican accent).

What should go in the first line of your description? How do you research appropriate categories and keywords? My free half-hour session was on Improving Your Book Descriptions and Audience Targeting. Over the weekend, I was proud to be a participant in the London Book Fair edition of Indie Author Fringe, sponsored by the Alliance of Independent Authors. I review principles and tools to help independent authors master the power of descriptions and reach their target market. If you don’t see the video below, click here to watch for free. I answer such questions as:   Is it better to have a   long or short book description on Amazon?

You pay nothing upfront   and they do not take a cut of your sales. Apple iBookstore. Repeat. Choosing Your   Ebook Retailers and Distributors
Ebook distribution to major retail outlets is free and fairly straightforward, at least once you have ebook files ready to go. For example, you might sign up with Pronoun (because they offer the best royalties   on Amazon ebook sales), but then add in Smashwords to get the library market that Pronoun doesn’t cover. They also offer   data-based marketing insights and tools to help you better sell. Truant
How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn
Let’s Get Visible   & Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
Your First 1,000 Copies by Tim Grahl
Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success by Mark Coker (free)

To Find Freelance Help
Usually a referral is best; ask successful authors in your genre who they recommend. They take a cut of your sales. (While most retailers and distributors try to offer good Word-to-ebook conversion, results and quality vary tremendously. The good news is that you don’t have to choose between working directly with online retailers and using ebook distributors, since it’s rare for any distributor to demand exclusivity. Lan)
10 Ways to Find Reviewers for Your Self-Published Book   (Empty Mirror)
The Indie Reviewers List   (The Indie View)
Author Tools and Promo Sites (Martin Crosbie)
7 Strategies and 110 Tools to Help Indie Authors Find Readers and Reviewers   (Digital Pubbing)
Are Paid Book Reviews Worth It? Gaining ground, international presence. You can also change your   mind   at any time (although not without some administration hassle and sales downtime). Putting Together an ARC Team and Getting Lots of Reviews (SFF Marketing Podcast)
The Ultimate Guide to Goodreads for Authors   (The Creative Penn, Mayor A. Reedsy, a vetted marketplace of publishing-focused freelancers
Bibliocrunch, another marketplace
Editorial Freelancers Association, where you can post your jobs on their job board for free

Great Sites That Cover Self-Publishing and   Ebook Publishing

Alliance of Independent Authors
Joanna Penn
Joel Friedlander
Sell More Books Show (podcast)
David Gaughran
Kristine Rusch
Lindsay Buroker

News & Trends About Ebook Publishing

Digital Book World
The Digital Reader
The Independent Publishing Magazine by Mick Rooney
Mike Shatzkin
Kindle Boards Writer’s Cafe (popular hangout for self-publishers)
The Hot Sheet (my email newsletter for authors, subscription required) No upfront cost; they take a cut of your sales. KDP Kids’ Book Creator: for creating children’s picture books
Apple iBooks Author:   will limit you to Apple iBookstore, but the software is free; supports multimedia
Blurb: produces print + digital full-color books, with distribution to major retailers
Book Creator:   iPad app for illustrated books, great for children’s authors
Again, if you need assistance preparing your ebook files, try eBookPartnership. Creating Basic Ebook Files
Assuming you have a finished and polished manuscript ready to be published, your first task is to create an ebook file; EPUB is the industry standard ebook format accepted by nearly all retailers. About the only thing that remains constant in ebook publishing is that it changes—everything from the services to marketing strategies. Sales have been dropping significantly over the last couple years. Ney-Grimm)
Read in-depth analysis and overview   of major book promotion and discount sites (ALLi)

Getting Reviews
Wondering how to   get readers (and others) to review your book? Write. The largest ebook distributor of self-published titles that’s been around the longest and has the widest reach, particularly to the library market. The Strategic Use of Book Giveaways (Jane Friedman)
Do Goodreads Giveaways Work? Draft2Digital. Publish. Kobo. (Rob Kroese)
How Authors Can Find Their Ideal Reading Audience (Angela Ackerman)
Hit the eBook Bestseller Lists with Preorders (Mark Coker)
Social Media Marketing That Reaches Your Audience
Six-Figure Book Promotion Strategies for Authors (Written Word Media)
How to Write and Market Romance with J.A. For example, you could choose to work directly with Amazon KDP to sell your ebooks on   Amazon, then use an ebook distributor such as Draft2Digital or Smashwords to reach other retailers. Working directly with online retailers usually means better profits, more control, and more access to marketing/promotion tools (but not always). Similar to Smashwords, but smaller and more customer-service focused. 2 ebook retailer in U.S. Key ebook distributors

Smashwords. 5 Ways to Use Facebook Groups to Build Book Buzz (BookBub)
Facebook Advertising for Authors with Mark Dawson (The Creative Penn)
How to Get Your Book Sales Moving with Facebook Ads (The Creative Penn)

Advertising and Other Monetary Investments in Book Marketing
Before you pay to hire help (or to advertise), make sure you’ve identified very   specific goals you want to attain (beyond “sell more books”), and a very specific audience you’ve   decided to target. Creating Enhanced, Multimedia, or Full-Color Ebooks
If you’re publishing a highly illustrated work, such as a children’s picture book, an enhanced ebook, or need to have a fixed layout book—where text doesn’t reflow from page to page—you’ll either need to hire someone or use a special portal for publishing and distributing your work. Optimizing Your Product Page and Description
When you upload your ebook to retailers, you need to craft   strong book descriptions, research your best categories and keywords, and do whatever you can to increase the likelihood that someone who sees your book page on Amazon will make a purchase. Bottom line: There’s no one right way to go about it, since it depends on your time and resources, your books, and your marketing strategy. Working with ebook distribution services usually means giving up a percentage of your profits to the distributor, in exchange for the centralized administration and management of all your titles. (J.M. To work, it has to be done thoughtfully and strategically. You could even choose to use two ebook distributors. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Huss (The Creative Penn)
98-item list for planning a book launch or re-marketing your book   (BookBub)
How an Enterprising Author Sold a Million Self-Published Books (Copyblogger)
How to Self-Publish Children’s Books Successfully (Darcy Pattison)

Giveaways and Discounts
Most self-published authors gain visibility in the market by giving away their work or offering discounts. Or you could choose to distribute directly to Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Nook (by using their do-it-yourself portals), then use Smashwords to capture the rest of the market (such as Scribd and libraries). Important for the Canadian market. Writing Your Book’s Back Cover Copy (Jessi Rita Hoffman)
The Importance of Categories, Keywords, and Tags (M. But it requires you to acquire new skills if you don’t want to waste our time and money. Louisa Locke)
How to Improve Your Amazon Book Description and Metadata (Penny Sansevieri); also here’s another article by Penny on the same topic
Amazon Sales Rank: an explanation of what it is and what you need to know about it (ALLi)

Sales, Marketing, and Promotion
By far the hardest part of ebook publishing is making readers   aware your book exists—then convincing them to buy it. Probably sells 60-80% of all ebooks, more for some authors and titles. Widely considered the No. Otherwise, here are a few options for finding editorial and marketing assistance. Why (Many) Publicists Don’t Work With Self-Published Authors (Dana Kaye)
Top 5 Money Wasters in Book Publicity (Dana Kaye)
Using Amazon KDP Ads to Sell Your Ebook on Amazon (Rob Kroese)
How to Sell Books With BookBub (Skipjack Publishing)
Case Study: Using NetGalley and Goodreads for Book Marketing and Publicity   (Jane Friedman)

Excellent Book-Length Guides on Self-Publishing
These guides give you an overview of what you need to learn and accomplish to sell books, in any format. Here, I regularly update   best resources I know of related to learning   to publish an ebook, finding the right e-publishing distributors and services, and staying on top of changes in the industry. Most important ebook retailers in the English-language markets

Amazon. Some ebook distributors can also reach outlets you can’t on your own, such as the library market, and may offer you helpful tools to optimize book sales and marketing. Use them with caution.)

Vellum: easy-to-use software for Mac users only to produce EPUB files
PressBooks:   a WordPress-based system for producing both EPUB and print files
Scrivener: this writing software is not free, but it can export EPUB files
Apple Pages (can export EPUB files)
Sigil: an open-source software for producing EPUB files, requires some tech savvy
Reedsy: you can copy/paste your work into its free online editor, then export EPUB files
Draft2Digital: you can upload your Word doc for EPUB conversion even if you don’t use them as your distributor

If you don’t want the headache of creating your own ebook files, check out the services at eBookPartnership. An ebook distributor that reaches the key players: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple, and Google. Unfortunately, this cannot be done through a simple Word export, but many tools and services will   help you prep an EPUB file. (Your upfront costs are almost always connected to   the effort of designing, formatting, and producing   those files, whether the cover and the interior—not distribution.)
Assuming you have ebook files ready to go, you have a choice to make: Would you rather deal with each online retailer directly, or would you rather reach them through an ebook distribution service? Indie author Nicholas Erik   offers loads of advice on book marketing and promotion
Is Amazon Exclusivity Right for You? Barnes & Noble Nook Press. (Jane Friedman)

Facebook Strategies
Facebook has more than 1 billion users and can be an important part of your book marketing arsenal. Pronoun.