San Francisco, CA, June 10, 2020 – National Book Critics Circle Member and award-winning writer, Joan Gelfand’s new summer beach read, EXTREME, will be released July 14 (Blue Light Press/First World Publishing). Also the published author of three poetry collections, a book of short fiction, and You Can Be a Winning Writer: the 4 C’s of Successful Authors, Joan shares 7 tips to getting your first book published:
Create a Marketing Plan (aka a “book proposal”)
This is the foundation of “pitching” the book to the right literary agent or publisher. They want to know how you, the author, plan on marketing the book, what category it fits in, and what kind of endorsements and media lend themselves to your project.
Find an Agent or a Publisher
As in music and film—there are categories (genres) in the book world. Once you determine which books in the marketplace compare to yours, explore those author websites to find out who represents them. Every agent and publisher has a specialty and preference. You can research literary agents online or in “Publisher’s Marketplace.” Once on an agent/publisher’s website, you’ll see what kinds of authors/book they rep. (Some publishers do not require an agent – the big 5 all do.)
Pitch Your Book
Now you’ve compiled the agents you want to target—and you have your book and your marketing plan all together—pitch the book by email.
Work out a Strategy
Have questions ready for them; such as, “Do you work strictly on commission?” “How long does it take to pitch the publishers?” “Do you share the list of editors you’ll be pitching?” Most legitimate agents work strictly on commission of 10-25% and will be forthright in sharing their list. Most agents require 6-12 months to pitch editors. The current standard dictates that you engage with one agent per project.
Build community and fans on social media and in the book community – now!
Build your social media community while working on your pitch. Fire up your Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Follow people in your area of interest and post articles, pictures and videos. Publishers assume the author’s fans on social media comprise some of the audience who will buy the book—so the more followers the better your chance to sell it. Build your book community by joining local or national writing groups or organizations. Look into PEN/America, The Author’s Guild, Women’s Natl. Book Assn.
Hire a Publicist, Social Media Agency and Web Designer
Nowadays it’s normal for authors to hire a publicist to pitch the book to TV, radio, print, online and bloggers, as well as set up events (virtual or in-person). Hire a web designer or create a simple website as a ‘hub’ for book description/bio/publicity clips/events and contact info.
No Agent or publisher? Consider Self-Publishing!
The Internet’s opened up a huge opportunity for self-published authors. Popular book series, “Elf on the Shelf” was self-published—and sold millions! Although you’ll spend money for a self-publisher to provide the services of a traditional publisher, it will be a greater return on investment; 50% plus in royalties, as well as the artistic and sales control of your book. Good luck!
About Joan Gelfand
Author of EXTREME and The 4 C’s of Successful Authors: Craft, Commitment, Community and Confidence (Mango Press), Joan is also a coach and writing teacher. Her poetry, reviews and stories have won the Cervena Barva Fiction Award, The Chaffin Fiction Award and Red Room Authors award for reviewing. Nominated for three Pushcart prizes, her work has appeared in national and international publications, in-cluding the Los Angeles Review of Books, Rattle, PANK! Chicken Soup for the Soul, Prairie Schooner, Levure Litteraire, Voice and Verse, and the Toronto Review. A short film based on her poem “The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics” won Best Poetry Film at the World Film Festival and was featured at 20 international film festivals. Joan is an active member of the National Book Critics Circle, a juror for the Northern California Book Awards and a contributor to the Huffington Post. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Adam Hertz, and two beatnik kitties.
Blue Light Press/First World Publishing
$21.95, Original Trade Paperback