Angela is the author of the mystery novel, “Schooled in Lies, A Kendra Clayton Novel.” She joins us here today on her first virtual book tour through the blogosphere.
Here a brief synopsis of her book:
GED instructor Kendra Clayton’s high school days were nothing to brag about. So she’s not too thrilled when on top of having to take a class to renew her teaching certificate or be fired, she gets roped into serving on her high school’s reunion committee.
Spending time with her former classmates is even less fun than having a root canal. Then to make matters worse, Kendra and the other committee members start receiving strange messages and having freak accidents. When one of the accidents results in a death, Kendra is convinced it’s murder. Unfortunately, neither the reunion committee nor the police take her seriously.
Angela is here to give us some insight into the problems authors face when getting their books published.
Before I got published, I had a lot of preconceived notions of what it would be like. Boy, was I naive. I’ve learned a lot since getting that first book deal; most of it was learned the hard way. I thought I’d share what I wish I’d known before getting published. So, in no particular order, here they are
1. Authors have no control over their book covers.
It always makes me crazy to hear criticism about an author’s book cover. Most of us have no control over cover design. At best we might get a questionnaire about our cover. But that doesn’t mean the art department will have the same vision that we do. Mostly, we have to take what our publishers give us. Many covers have nothing to do with what the book is about. Many books have the same—or very similar—cover art or stock photography as other books on the market. I read someplace that the average book cover costs about $3,500 to create. So you can see why publishers aren’t bending over backwards to change them at the whim of every upset author. Unless you have control over cover design put into your book contract, which I hear is hard to get, don’t expect to have any say in what your book cover looks like.
2. Sales and marketing departments are where much of the power is at publishing companies.
Once upon a time, editors wielded a lot more power than they do now. They had their own budgets and if a manuscript came across their desks that they were excited about, they could acquire it, no questions asked. Those days are long gone. Now, committees make decisions on what editors can acquire, with the final decision usually coming from the sales and marketing departments. In nutshell, an editor can fall in love with a manuscript and badly want to acquire it–and it can be an excellent manuscript by a very talented writer–but if the sales and marketing department don’t think they can successfully market it, the editor will have to pass on it. The sales and marketing departments also have a lot of influence over cover design, book titles, and print runs.
3. There is an author hierarchy.
There is a definite author hierarchy in place when you get published. At the very bottom of the pile are debut authors with no track record or sales history who’ve yet to make a name for themselves.
Next in line is what 99.9% of all authors are, myself included, and that’s a midlist author. Being a midlist author just means your books sell consistently but you’ve yet to achieve bestseller status. By bestseller I mean making one of the major lists like the New York Times, or USA Today lists. A lot of us will always be midlist and never break out to bestseller status.
At the top of heap you have the top tier authors like James Patterson, Stephen King, and Stephanie Meyer, who consistently hit the major lists and whose books sell like hotcakes. These are also the authors who will be getting the most in terms of marketing and promotion from their publishers. Why? They’ve achieved household name recognition, and have solid, impressive sales. In other words, they are making their publishers money.
4. Publishing is a business.
All of the things I’ve mentioned above are connected to one very big reality that most authors don’t truly get until after they get published. And that is the fact that publishing is a business. Publishers are in the business of selling books and the things I’ve talked about in this post are the means with which they feel they can make money. That’s the biggest thing I wish I’d known.
Thanks Angela for sharing this information with us. There’s a lot that goes into getting a book published.
For a little background on Angela, she was once told that her past life careers included spy, researcher, and investigator. She stuck with what she knew because today she's a mystery writing librarian, who loves to people watch and eavesdrop on conversations. She's the author of four mysteries featuring equally nosy amateur sleuth Kendra Clayton, and is also the founder of the award-winning MystNoir website, which promotes African-American mystery writers, and was named a "Hot Site" by USA Today.com.
When she's not working, writing, or practicing her stealth, Angela loves to travel, is connoisseur of B horror movies, and an admitted anime addict. She lives in Ohio and is currently hard at work trying to meet her next deadline. You can visit Angela online at http://www.angelahenry.com, http://www.angelahenry.blogspot.com
Janel is the winner of Kate Collin's "Evil in Carnations" book giveaway. Please send me an e-mail with her name and address so we can get your book in the mail. Congratulations!!