Released five years ago as Putting Your Passion Into Print, authors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry helped writers brave the waters and move forward in their quest for publication. Updated under a new title and including timely information about the importance of social media and the larger role for the author makes The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published a go-to book for writers – those experienced and not-yet-published. As social media becomes our word-of-mouth for the book business, Eckstut and Sterry go over how websites, blogging and communities specific to your topic (plus Twitter and Facebook) can help you establish a market and fan base for your book. I found particularly useful the sections regarding the business side of publishing. This is not a book on how to write a novel nor nonfiction title but practical advice on what comes next, taking the idea or finished project to the next step: how to pitch your ideas, finding an agent, connecting to your audience, and into working with your future editor and publisher with a separate chapter on self-publishing.
Interviews with authors and publishing insiders make the book more insightful than a compilation of steps, however. The authors’ own experiences in the world of publishing lends a credibility to the Guide, giving the book a more personal touch than I’ve found with many other authors on these subjects. I recommend The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published as a practical addition to the serious writer’s personal library and will be using their advice in my own work as an author.
Book Review and Giveaway: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published
What’s better than one blog giving away a book? Two blogs giving away books! I’ve partnered up with friend and very funny fellow writer Stacey Graham (from Betwixt & Between) to review the latest must-have writing tool from Workman Publishing and help a couple of folks receive their very own free copy. Giveaway details are listed just after the review.
If someone had handed me a copy of THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry when I was sixteen, my professional writing career would be very different—and better—today. (For one thing, I would have known about the Internet and E-books back in the 1980s, ka-ching!)
I have been a writer for most of my life so far, and I’ve read a LOT of books on the subject. Usually, at some point during the book, I’ll find a passage or idea and call bullcrap on it. That didn’t happen with this book. Eckstut and Sterry covered every base I could think of, and added a few I didn’t know about.
Building platforms, getting an agent, working with editors, understanding contracts, untangling the web of ebooks, tackling marketing and publicity: it’s all here in clear, honest and often funny language. As a humor writer, it takes a lot to make me laugh out loud, and this book did it several times. The authors hooked me with an up-to-date social media section, including an interview with noted author and Master Tweeter Neil Gaiman conducted over Twitter.
As a multiple-year NaNoWriMo winner, I also loved seeing Chris Baty’s proposal for his book, NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM! The book even wraps up with the very proposal Eckstut and Sterry used, so you have two winning examples to use as blueprints.
The self-publishing section is comprehensive; the subject has its share of champions and foes in the publishing world, and I find my own opinion changing depending on the time of day. They explain the different types of self-pubbing, what to avoid, and how to sell successfully.I think one of the most important sections is the explanation between vanity presses and legitimate self-pubbing; if you don’t know the difference, you must read it.
No matter what type of book you want to write and see published, this guide will help you through the process better than any combination of Scotch and prescription drugs.
And now for the best part! Winning your very own copy of THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED! There are several ways to enter:
1. Follow me @plaidearthworm and Stacey (@staceyigraham) on Twitter and mention the giveaway with a link back to our blogs, using the hashtag #GTBPgiveaway
2. Give both sites a “thumbs up” using StumbleUpon
3. Tell us on both blogs why you need this book in our comments section. Be sure to tell us if you are following us on Twitter – please leave your @ID and your email address so we are able to contact you if you win!
4. The winners will be chosen on November 2, 2010, by Random.org and announced on both sites.
Good luck to all of you!
Posted by Beth Bartlett at 7:34 AM
Robert Gray–Shelf-Awareness columnist, writer, and former bookseller–moderated a panel called “Getting Your Book into Print”, on which Arielle sat at the Mountains and Plains Independent Bookseller Association convention last month. Robert had so many interesting things to say about the business that we tracked him down afterwards and interviewed him. Having been at the Northshire Bookstore in Vermont (one of American’s best bookstores) for years, Robert had much to say about how authors should approach independents. And perhaps even more to say about how they should not! We’ve gathered seven essential dos and don’ts here.
Before we get to his list, we wanted to share something Robert said that we love and have used many times since: “Bookstores are the last three feet of the publishing business, the place where the industry and the real world meet.” Bookstores are the rare place where you have access to industry professionals without a connection or having to pay large sums of money. You can’t just call up or pay a visit to an agent, publisher or editor. But you can do this with a bookseller. That’s why it’s incumbent upon authors to consider bookstores sacred spaces and booksellers sacred resources!
And now to the list…
1. Don’t walk blindly into a store. Secretly explore it first.
2. Check out the “staff pick” cards to find a friend–the person who reads the kind of book you’re writing. This person may or may not be a buyer. Then find out when they’re working and start up a conversation about what they’re reading.
3. Whoever you’re talking to at a bookstore, always create a conversation, not a pitch. Booksellers are resistant to pitches.
4. NEVER SAY: Why don’t you have my book?!
5. Booksellers are the most under-appreciated and underpaid people in the industry. They’re expected to have graduate level reading experience at retail salaries. That’s why you must show RESPECT when you approach a bookseller. To receive respect, you must give it!
6. Never go into a bookstore on a Saturday afternoon (and even worse, a Saturday afternoon before Christmas) to hawk your book or get advice from booksellers.
7. Most buyers are not around on Saturdays, often not on Friday either. The exception here is if you’re approaching a very small store where everyone does everything. Ask for the buyer’s email address and try to make an appointment with the buyer. Be a professional.
And here’s one last piece of wisdom from Robert that we didn’t want to lose: You may not realize this, but booksellers, much like writers, are constantly dealing with rejection. Your job as an independent bookseller is to hand sell and create a conversation with customers, i.e. to talk people into buying a book (or, even better, multiple books). Booksellers spend their days pitching books to customers with their hearts and souls and get rejected all the time.
The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: Brainstorms and Bylines In Inspiration, Reviews on October 26, 2010 at 6:30 AM
Good nonfiction books give you information. Great ones give you ideas. After reading The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, I have to say it falls nicely into the latter category. My ARC looks like a porcupine with the all the page flags that are sticking out everywhere.
Originally published as Putting Your Passion Into Print, this latest edition has been revised to include the most recent technological advances in the world of publishing. Like most books in the category, this one covers everything from pitch to print. It leads the reader step-by-step through putting together a proposal, finding an agent, finishing the book and landing a publisher. And then it goes the extra mile with sections devoted to publicity, marketing, social media, self-publishing, electronic publishing and more.
Unlike many books I’ve read about publishing, Eckstut and Sterry don’t pretend that every author is on the path to a smooth publishing experience. Not only do they tell you what to do in the best case scenarios, they address how to deal with the worst-case ones as well. What happens if your agent stops communicating with you? What if you sign with a publisher, deliver the book, and they decide to reject it? It’s in there.
The book’s engaging conversational style makes it an easy and entertaining read. And while the main thrust of the information is geared toward nonfiction writers, there’s something in here for everyone.
The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published
By Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry
THE BIG GIVEAWAY!
How would you like to win a brand new, shiny copy of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published? It’s simple. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. For extra credit (and an extra entry for spreading the word) tweet with a link to this post and use the hashtag #BBbookGiveaway.
I”l draw the winner from my proverbial hat (using Random.org) on November 1st.
Remember, you can’t win if you don’t play.
From New West Books & Writers:
The most entertaining part of the MPIBA writers conference was “Pitchapalooza,” billed as the “American Idol” for books. Each conference attendee was instructed to prepare a 60-second pitch of his or her book to present to a panel for a critique. The writer with the best pitch won a 30-minute consultation with Arielle Eckstut. The panelists included Eckstut, who with her husband David Henry Sterry wrote The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It . . . Successfully, Elizabeth Jordan, the head buyer at BookPeople in Austin, and Katie Schmidt, the Small Publisher Liason for Tattered Cover Bookstore.
Eckstut and Sterry emphasized the importance of authors crafting a polished pitch of their books to use in query letters to agents and publishers, and to present to buyers at bookstores or whomever they happen to meet. Sterry circulated throughout the day, asking anyone who confessed to having written a book, “So, what’s your book about?” He posed this question to me at the coffee station, and I admit that I flubbed it. I hadn’t thought to prepare my own pitch, as I was just reporting on the conference, not participating. His point was made—anyone who is publishing a book should be ready for this question at all times.
Eckstut said that one frequent problem she sees with pitches is that authors sometimes “separate their pitch from their book,” writing a pitch for a humor book that isn’t funny, for example. “The voice of your book needs to come through in your pitch.”
After the introduction, volunteers began to deliver their one-minute pitches while the judging panel kept the time. All the participants had clearly worked hard on their short presentations, each of them delivering a convincing commercial for their books that were lively and frequently funny or moving. After each participant finished, the panel offered their critiques and suggestions, such as advising writers to balance their emphasis on plot and characters in the pitch, or including a comparison to other successful books that share something in common with the book being pitched. Eliza Cross, a Colorado-based writer, won the Pitchapalooza competition. She is the author of, most recently, The Rusty Parrot Cookbook: Recipes from Jackson Hole’s Acclaimed Lodge.
The MPIBA hasn’t yet decided whether they will offer this writers conference again at next year’s trade show, but if they do, anyone who is in the process of publishing a book, either through a self-publishing service or a traditional publisher, will benefit from attending.
From Cultural Festivals St Louis:
July 27, 3:30pm Politics & Prose, Washington DC
September 18, 7pm Brooklyn Book Festival, Brooklyn Public Library
October 19, 20, James River Writers Conference, Richmond Virginia
Here’s what people are saying about The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published:
“I started with nothing but an idea, and then I bought this book. Soon I had an A-list agent, a near six-figure advance, and multiple TV deals in the works. Buy it and memorize it. This little tome is the quiet secret of rockstar authors.”—New York Times best-selling author Timothy Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich,
“It is a must-have for every aspiring writer… thorough, forthright quite entertaining.”—Khaled Hosseini, New York Times bestselling author of the Kite Runner
“Before you write your own book, read this one first.”—Jonathan Karp, editor-in-chief, Simon and Schuster
Here’s an article about Pitchapalooza in The New York Times.
Here’s a link to a blog about their Pitchapalooza at Barnes & Noble 86th St., with publishing titans Larry Kirschbaum and Bob Simon.
Here’s a link to an article about the Art of the Pitch and their Pitchapalooza on Publishers Perspective.
Here’s a write-up of a wild Pitchapalooza at the great book store Book Revue. PITCHAPALOOZA
Here’s a MINI-MOVIE about Pitchapalooza-TRY NOT TO CRY.
We feel that one of our book’s greatest contributions to the morass of writer’s guides is our chapter on social media, aka chapter 2. We interviewed everyone one from Sree Sreenivasan (professor of journalism at Columbia University) to Margaret Atwood to Neil Gaiman (with whom there is an interview over Twitter) and many other social media geeks. The result is a hefty chapter on how to make social media work for you as a writer and author. Check it by clicking here.