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Newsletter Dated: 1/2/2004 9:36:43 AM
Subject: Soup's On
Andrea Campbell’s Newsletter
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, family member, professional friend of Andrea’s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine. I am excited about this venue because it gives me the opportunity to reach larger numbers of people in a much shorter time. It will also contain more personal content and address things I don’t discuss on my web site.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input and never turn down helpful hints. This newsletter is a continued work-in-progress and I hope you will stay around to see new features in every bi-monthly issue.
In this issue:
• From the Author*s Desk
• Feature: A Day in the Life (Acquisitions Editor)
• On The Road
• Promo, Market, What’s the Diff?
• Other Authors (and Me)
• Sleuth Sayer
*** From The Author*s Desk ***
Happy New Year!
This issue is especially interesting this month because of my featured guests. They have made it easy for me to provide you with important publishing information. You, too, may contribute (and get a little exposure in the process). Please feel free to submit ideas or just musings if you wish.
And a New Year’s wish for you all: May this year bring you success—real success that will help to fulfill your dreams and provide some contentment. One caveat though, before this message goes from my lips to God*s ear, may you have the patience, inspiration, and wherewithal to pass on your gain in another form to someone else.
*** Feature: A Day in the Life of an Acquisitions Editor by Paula Munier ***
What does an editor do all day? Why doesn’t she return my calls? How can it possibly take six months to hear back on book proposal?
These are the questions I know writers ask, because I’ve asked them myself. I am a writer, too, one who still writes by night but serves as an editor by day—and not just for the medical insurance. I actually like being an editor; it allows me to mid-wife books I’d never be able to (or even care to) write myself, and it allows me to work with writers, my favorite people.
Currently I’m an acquisitions editor for Fair Winds, the mind/body/spirit imprint of Rockport Publishers (owned by Quarto, the U.K. based book packager and publisher). This is a non-fiction line of primarily New Age categories. I have also edited fiction (mostly genre), as well as other types of non-fiction (from computers and business to pop psychology and biography, and everything in between).
Here’s how my day at the office usually goes—and it’s not that different from the way most editors spend their days.
I arrive at work at 8:so a.m. I have my own office on the second floor, which looks as you’d expect it to look—chock full of manuscripts, books, and endless paperwork. I spend the day reading and evaluating book projects, editing manuscripts, going to (often pointless) meetings, negotiating contracts, fielding dozens of phone calls from authors, agents, and attorneys, reading and answering hundreds of e-mails.
I am responsible for conceiving of, developing, signing, and producing 50 books a year--that's a book a week. To get those 50 books a year, I have to pitch 150 books a year to my editorial board. That means coming up with the ideas for the books, researching those ideas, examining the competition, preparing market analyses and developing chapter by chapter outlines of 150 books a year. More than half of the books on the list are based on my ideas; the remainder are based on ideas from writers via agents, colleagues, other writers, e-mail, snail mail, etc. The ideas I develop in-house mostly originate with me, but they also come from colleagues, sales and marketing, even the CEO. What makes an idea good for us?
A number of factors:
• originality (but not too original, “the same but different” is best, which means similar to or a new twist on something we know has worked for us or another house is best)
• competition (can the market bear another book like this one?)
• suitability for our list and our resources
• knowing the right writer for the project
• affordability (we are not Random House)
• marketability (we are not Random House)
• packaging & price point
• international sales potential
• book club and other special sales potential
Once a project is approved, I have to find the right writer, negotiate the contract (the most frustrating and time-consuming part of the job for me) and hold the writer's hand through several drafts, copy edit, proofing, design and layout, printing, and then promotion. I read every word of every book at least 5 times during this process, sometimes more if the writer is particularly inept, inexperienced, or just plain lazy. I have to evaluate the manuscripts at every stage of the process, and help the writers fix them, which can mean basically teaching them to write, since many are beginners and/or experts who don't have much writing experience. I am their shrink and their coach, their nemesis and their savior, as well as their editor.
At any given time, I am responsible for 200 full-length books: 50 in conception, 50 in development, 50 in production, and 50 in promotion. I also have to write the catalog copy, the jacket copy, oversee the cover and interior design process, and lead each book by the hand from idea to bound books and book signings at your local bookstore.
I spend just as much time coming up with ideas and keeping current--I have to be an expert in all my fields of acquisition--which runs the gamut from cooking to Shakespeare to psychology to Zen to Kabbalah to feng shui to Pilates to every disease known to man and woman. Not to mention the ubiquitous sex, angels, and yoga. And then there's the mail--the hundreds of manuscripts and proposals that come in every week that must be read, evaluated, and (usually) sent back with a kind word. Most of this reading happens on the weekends.
So that’s why I’m not apt to return your phone calls too promptly; try e-mail, it’s faster. Let me say this: There is nothing an editor loves more than working with professional writers. If you are good, and good-natured, you will get published eventually. We get enough bad stuff that the good stuff really stands out, and we love good writing. It’s why we’re editors (and writers) to begin with. It’s not much different for fiction editors, although typically fiction editors work on no more than 20 books a year, and spend even more time in development. The writing must be very good to begin with though, and you typically write the whole novel to sell it if you have no track record in fiction.
If you’d to send me a book proposal, take a look at the following, which is what I tell writers who ask:
What Should Go in Your Book Proposal
a. An overview of the proposed book that summarizes what the book will be about, explains why it should be written, and briefly describes how it will be completed.
b. An author’s background section that includes a list of the Author credentials and explains why he/she should be the one to produce the proposed book.
c. A market and competition section that compares and contrasts the proposed book with similar existing books.
d. A chapter-by-chapter outline that includes short, two- to three-paragraph summaries of each chapter of the proposed book.
e. A sample chapter of the proposed book.
Paula Munier is a veteran writer, editor, and book doctor who’s worked in newspapers, magazines, and book publishing for fifteen years. During her stints at Prima Publishing (Crown), Adams Media, and now Fair Winds Press (Rockport Publishers), she’s acquired, developed, and edited both fiction and non-fiction across all genres and categories. In addition to her acquisitions and development work, Paula has written hundreds of news and feature articles for publications ranging from Cosmopolitan to High Tech Careers, and worked as a newspaper and magazine editor (Good Times, San Jose Magazine, Las Vegas Weekly, Small Business Reports, among others), as well as book doctor and ghostwriter.
Her young adult novel EMERALD’S DESIRE was published by HarperCollins in 1995; she contributed the four chapters on fiction, which appear in THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO GETTING PUBLISHED. She is an experienced speaker and teacher, having run a number of workshops and seminars at such events as the Mendocino Writers Conference, the Southwest Writers Conference, Selling to Hollywood, the High Desert Writers Conference, and more. She lives and works in Massachusetts.
*** On The Road ***
Well, I did it again, I was asked to be a moderator for a panel for next year’s ASJA Conference in New York City and agreed.
My topic is Finding and Managing Sources and, again, I lassoed some really stellar panelists. First there is Steve Weinberg, colleague and author of THE REPORTER’S HANDBOOK Steve is also a book reviewer and occasionally teaches at the University of Missouri Journalism School; next there is Dan Forbush. Dan is President of ProfNet, a service that connects reporters with news services from all over the world along with a database of 11,000 expert profiles. Also, I invited and snagged William Bastone, Bill is editor of TheSmokingGun.com and one of the founders of the site, which has become an enterprise in its own right, featuring a special on Court TV, a twice-monthly column in People, a weekly radio segment for Infinity-owned stations and a book expected sometime next year. And, finally, we have Roger Johnson, President and founder of Newswise, an international organization that provides source information and press releases for journalists. I’m a daily digest subscriber of Newswise and a big fan of its services.
Wow! It’s raining men for me, and, ahem, lots of serious expertise. The conference will be open to the public on Saturday, April 24, 2004. It is held at the Grand Hyatt (near Grand Central Terminal) and advance registration is suggested (the conference has sold-out in the recent past). So, sign-up, come to my panel, and stop by to say “Hello” to me. For more information, go to: http://www.asja.org
*Note: I plan on being in Manhattan for at least a week, and will sandwich in the Mystery Writers of America Symposium, which I believe, will follow the ASJA Conference. But if you would like to meet, go to lunch, or attend the Symposium together, send an email to: email@example.com
*** Promo, Market, What’s the Diff? ***
The following is a bit of information I plucked from one of my e-group’s list serves, the difference between promotion and marketing…
One thing I've noticed in many of the communications on this mailing list is that the terms 'promotion', 'marketing', and 'selling' are used interchangeably. IMHO, each of these is different. Someone once explained them to me in the following way:
Promotion is the responsibility of agents, PR people, publishers, book distributors (on occasion), and of course, the author. The purpose of promotion is to spread the word about the author and the availability of the book to the public through WOM (word of mouth), advertisements, media attention, interviews, appearances, and the like. It raises the level of public attention and hopefully focuses the book buying public on that particular story. If done correctly, it increases the public awareness and can provide greater sales for a book and attention for the author.
Marketing is the process which alerts book stores, libraries, book clubs, book groups, and other potential book sellers to the potential a book has to make a profit. Once a store notices this potential and makes the conscious decision to add a book to its stock, the potential for increasing the revenue/profit to the stores may increase. It's a two part process. The first part (which is the responsibility of the agents, PR people, publishers, book distributors, and the author) is to get the word spread about the book and the author to stores, making each of them sound appealing. The second part takes place once the bookseller purchases the book for the stores. If a store buys a book, but doesn't notify the public about it and its availability the chances of making a profit from its sale diminishes. The book seller must make sure the public knows about the book through the use of displays, posters, newspaper notices, book signing events, etc.
Selling is the responsibility of the bookseller. After all, what doesn't get sold, doesn't make a profit! They're in the business of selling what's in their inventories in order to make a profit. The more they sell, the more money their stores will make. The news of these sales reflects favorably on the author, the publisher and others who were involved in both the promotion and marketing process and can possibly lead to increased opportunities for the all of them.
Some newer authors may not yet realize how each of these steps are different and what they have to do with each other.
One thing which all of these processes have in common, however, is that each one should have the author's input and commitment. The author's commitment doesn't end once the book is written. Quite the contrary, it has just begun. Once the book is published, the author should make a concerted effort to notify all bookstores, media outlets, and broadcast media in his/her area. The greater his/her involvement, the better the chances for a sale and necessary public exposure. Agents and PR people agree that when the author gets involved in each of the three aspects (promotion, marketing and sales) of his/her book, things tend to move smoothly. Authors should remember that there are some avenues open to them, which might be overlooked by the agents and PR people. It pays to cover all the bases.
"And Then You Die" (Final Cut Press, 2003)
*** Other Authors (and Me) ***
I am lucky enough to be featured in three other author’s books, BEAUTY IN THE BEASTS by Kristin von Kreisler, LIVING BIG: Embrace Your Passion, and, LEAP Into an Extraordinary Life by Pam Grout; ANIMALS WITH JOBS: Capuchin Monkey Aides by Judith Janda Presnall, and now a new collection of inspiring stories called LOSS COMFORT & HEALING FROM ANIMAL SIGHTINGS: True Experiences of Animal Blessings by Patricia Spork.
Here is a short description:
Patricia Spork has released her newest e-book LOSS COMFORT & HEALING FROM ANIMAL SIGHTINGS: True Experiences of Animal Blessings (ISBN 0-9712939-7-X). Contributor stories (35) share the special bond between humans, animals, and "souls" when loss affects someone's life. At least one poem compliments each true story, and each story is a blessing in itself. Loss Comfort & Healing from Animal Sightings PDF e-book can be purchased for $5.95 at <http://www.writersgraphicimage.com>www.writersgraphicimage.com. Softcover print books will be available Spring 2004.
*** Sleuth Sayer ***
Happy to announce that I am a new Contributing Editor for Sleuth Sayer, the Official Publication of the Southwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (MWA/SW). My contribution will be a forensic science column under the familiar catch phrase, No Stone Unturned. For those of you who belong to MWA, think about joining your regional group as well, they have a lot to offer.
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters I hope to answer reader’s questions, share a new story or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2003 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.