Write on, Wednesday: Questions to Ask and Editor/Publisher

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By Leslie Lindsay

So, you got yourself a book deal?  Now what?!  Here are some Q&A’s from Kelly Bale, assistant editor at Sourcebooks in Naperville, IL to consider (see last week’s post on submitting your work to a publisher).

How involved will you be in my editorial process? 

Seems like a no-brainer, but in fact you do have to ask this question.  If you are simply assigned a copy editor (to look for grammatical mistakes) and then a typesetter (to make it all pretty on the page/aesthetics) then your editor is not doing her job.  Also, Editors who have been with a company for awhile are less likely to abandon or “orphan” your work.  Thus, they see it through to the end.  Your editor is  your voice through within the publisher’s walls and if she leaves…well then….

How involved will you be in my overall carerr direction (especially if this first book is a flop)?

Is this a a one-book deal, or is there a future to build?  Few authors start “at the top,” What will your editor/publisher do to help you along the path?

How will you “position” and package the book?

“Positioning” simply means, getting it ready for the marketplace.  Is is one the things your publisher is supposed to be good at–setting the book’s title, subtitle, cover design, marketing copy for retailers, marketing copy for consumers, determining the “sales handles” for customers.  What is they first thing you are going to tell a person who may be interested in purchasing your book?  The chance that you know what the cover should look like is slim.  Let the publisher do their job. They are creative.  They have been at this book business longer than you–let them take over.

What wil be the size (efforts, not money) and endurance of marketing and publicity campaigns?  Do I need to hire my own publicist?

As an author, you will do much on your own behalf for the book.  And you should.  But what will your publisher do?  This should be a team appeoaach.  Are they running the standard–sending out review copies and a press release, followed by hope?  Or is there a little creativity involved?  Will you have a publicist after the first two weeks? 

What is your digital strategy?

Let’s face: digital is here.  (I don’t really love, it but…) making an e-book is easy; getting it out in the marketplace–not so.  What about web content partners, web reviewers?  Mixed-media productions like iphone apps…an author today needs a multi-media strategy.  What’s yours?

Go ahead, don’t be shy: ask your editor/publisher these questions right away.  Better yet, see if you can answer them for yourself beforehand.  What ideas do you have?

Write on, Wednesday!!

Leslie Lindsay is the author of forthcoming, “Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech,” (March 2012, Woodbine House).  She feels her editor has done much to help her book be as marketable as possible.

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