What a fun and informative time we had today with publishing agent Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube (pronounced ‘lobby’) Agency! My writer’s group, the Northern Virginia Christian Writer’s Fellowship, Johnese Burtram, Director, hosted the 2015 Prepare to Publish Mini Conference in Haymarket, Virginia. I want to thank Johnese and her assistant, Linda McWilliams, for a well-planned event, including snacks and delicious lunch.
An agent pitches your book to a publisher, and there are necessary guidelines to make your book proposal the best it can be. Before an agent even considers your work, he/she will want to know your platform. They will want to know if you have a website, and if you are on social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, etc. Trying to cover all the bases of social media can be a daunting challenge, so Tamela suggested we focus on two, such as Facebook and Twitter, and learn to do it well. She gave us tips on these two media.
Do you write a blog? If so, is it current, or have you let it lapse? Do you send out newsletters? It’s important to have “followers” on your blog to help build an e-mail list so you can send them personal newsletters with interesting information they wouldn’t get from social media. That’s something I’d like to work on. I’d like to greatly increase followers of my blog because traditional publishers look at an author’s readership and how they engage with the author. That’s why comments on blogs are important too.
Our speaker encouraged us not to cover every social media outlet, but to pick two and do it well, have a website, and write a blog. (By the way, knowing what to write weekly on a blog can be hard.) Tamela concurs.
The reason I chose to self-publish with WestBow Press is that it could take years to find a traditional publisher who wants your material, even with the use of an agent. It’s nice to get picked up by a traditional publisher because they pay you an advance on projected sales. But they are very careful to also guard their interests because they are, after all, in the business of making money from your book too. I learned that if a publisher accepts your work and pays you a $35,000 advance, for example, they don’t hand you one check for that amount. The money will be paid over a period of time, so you don’t run out and buy a fancy car. The royalties earned from book sales, up to the $35,000 mark, all go to the publisher. Then after that, you get royalty checks.
I’m not into writing books as a career or way to make money; I want to help people and make a difference in our society. And I’d much rather be creative and write than tend to the business side of things and market my books. But one never knows if or when a traditional publisher will want my work, so it pays to have a good platform — a social presence and reader engagement. (Which means you interact with me.)
So — I’d like to invite you to become a follower of my blog, “Elaine’s Place: Turning Hearts Toward Home” at www.elaine-beachy.blogspot.com, and comment on my posts there. Thank you! It would be much appreciated.