Close your eyes for a moment and imagine your favorite bookstore. What do you see? Shelves, endcaps with new titles prominently displayed . . . and the dreaded “bargain bin,” where no author hopes to go.
Now look at these two pictures. What do you notice? The first one is a marketer’s dream: Just a few books on the shelf, all faced out to entice the reader. “Bring me home!”
The reality for most stores is the second picture: Books closely packed together, spine out. Just a tiny bit of real estate … a reader really has to know what she’s looking for to find it!
In his recent article “Demand Creates Supply,” Tate Publishing specialist Terry Cordingly (smart guy) points out that “Bookstores display books. They do not SELL them.” If a book doesn’t move, in a matter of weeks it goes back to the publisher.
Because of the large quantity of books published every day, publishers have to be confident that both the writer and the project will be a good “fit” before they invest in it. For the author, the investment is two-fold: the time and energy it takes to write the book, and the time and energy it takes to help that book find its audience. Promoting a book involves a partnership between the author and the publisher, and before investing in the book the publisher needs to know you are capable of holding up your end of the deal.
So . . . where do you begin? It all begins with the “front cover” of your proposal … the query. We’ll talk more about that in the next post!