||Jerry D. Simmons
||May 1, 2007
An Important Success Tool, the secret path authors and writers must follow to get their book accepted, published and to succeed as a published author.
Information is the key to becoming a successful author. From acquisition to marketing, Jerry D. Simmons exposes the inner workings of the publishing industry. Simmons, a noted speaker and former publishing executive, shows writers how to separate their books from the competition and succeed in the
A true insider’s look at the world of corporate publishing. How authors can navigate the Big Publishing Houses from acquisition, working with your editor, through the marketing, and finally what to do when your title hits the retail shelves.
An All-In-One amazing and highly readable guide that shows authors and writers the way to success!
marketplace—whether they are self-published, working with a small press or a large publishing house. Knowing what goes on behind the scenes and understanding the market for selling books is crucial to success. What Writers Need to Know about Publishing gives authors the entire package. Here is what three New York Times bestselling authors has to say:
Sandra Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author, says, “Told in a straight-from-the-hip manner. New writers take note. Simmons speaks from years of experience, as well as with a genuine caring for the would-be-published writer.”
Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author, says, “The information was absolutely incredible! I would recommend this book to all aspiring and new authors.”
David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author and creator of “Rambo” says “As the publishing world changes drastically and daily, this book brings all writers, beginning and established, up to speed on what editors and agents assume that authors know.”
Publishing should be about writers and their books. However, the competitive nature of the industry—combined with the ever-changing opportunities involved in getting a manuscript published—makes it imperative writers understand the basics and the power of the business of book publishing. The creation of this book and its accompanying website WritersReaders.com was conceived and developed for one simple purpose: to help writers make informed decisions. Whether you want to self-publish, get your book published
by a small, traditional publisher, or land a contract with a major trade house, this book is for you. My goal is to share essential information that can—and most certainly will—have
a huge effect on your career. By providing valuable inside information, this book will serve to improve your chance at achieving the ultimate goal: to become a successfully published author.
I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for writers whose talent and command of language identify them as the most creative in the world. Listening to these writers describe how they write and the inspirations for their work made for interesting discussion during book tours around the country.
Over the years I have been fortunate to have worked on books written by such best-selling authors as Sandra Brown, Scott Turow, Nelson DeMille, Michael Connelly, Nicholas Sparks, Alice Sebold, David Baldacci and James Patterson, to name but a few. I have also been involved with such multi-million copy bestsellers as Bridges of Madison County, Scarlett, Simple Abundance and Lovely Bones, as well as one of the longest running bestsellers in publishing history, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Our sales group launched the mass market paperback edition of Presumed Innocent, the first blockbuster legal thriller. I’ve helped to market and sell such books as Absolute Power, Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls and The Notebook, all of which became major motion pictures. I have watched the classics To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye sell hundreds of thousands of copies and I was honored to be part of the team that assisted Disney in the marketing of The Lion King.
Helping writers turn their stories into successfully published books was one of the most rewarding parts of my career as a sales representative In New York. Now it is my turn to give something back to those who made my more than twenty-five years in the business an enjoyable experience.
Publishing at the major trade level has become a production process for the printed word. Publishers no longer take great care of authors and their books or offer the author every opportunity to succeed in the marketplace. That kind of support has all but vanished and the reality is that most writers don’t realize what lies ahead once the contract has been signed. Simply put, the process of taking a manuscript from contract to published book can be a difficult obstacle course to maneuver unless you have the right information.
Working within the publishing industry has given me first-hand experience in how books are published, sold, marketed and distributed. I can recognize the pitfalls from a publisher’s perspective—pitfalls authors unknowingly face. Most importantly, I understand the industry as a whole and know your dream of becoming a published author can be damaged by the business of publishing—unless you have the right information at the right time in your journey towards publication.
This book will provide you with an in-depth view of what occurs behind the scenes in book publishing. It is important to know how a publisher will handle your book and how your hard work—sometimes a lifetime of work—can be damaged or destroyed through decisions often made by in-house staff without a thorough examination of the consequences. These decisions are sometimes made in an instant and are often intended to benefit a few interested parties, but end up being at the expense of many. Those affected have no recourse if they have only limited knowledge of industry basics and do not understand how publishers
There is a big difference between being a writer and being an author. Writers love to write and write for the sake of writing. Authors are writers who have been published. Many writers become authors, yet remain writers because they are dedicated to their craft. They just happen to be published authors, but will forever remain writers. Some authors, somewhere along the line, decided publishing their work was all about obtaining notoriety and money. They forgot they were a writer first; their success in being published and, in a few cases, becoming a celebrity caused them to turn away from their craft. If you ever become an author, never forget what it was like to be a writer first—a struggling writer—and
how you became an author.
There is yet another distinction between being a published author and a successfully published author. You will discover the difference as you read this book and you will be savvier about publishing, more informed about the process and armed with the knowledge that will help you to eventually become a successfully published author.
Please do not be disappointed I am not an editor or a publisher. Many writers do not realize the process of getting a book published is affected primarily by the last group to handle your book before publication: the marketing group that sells and distributes your work. To successfully navigate the publishing process, a writer must understand the influence of every person in every department who has a hand in publishing their book and especially how books are marketed and sold.
What Writers Need to Know About Publishing
It is said that a good business book can change you, if you let them. And the same principle applies to Jerry D. Simmons' little gem What Writers Need to Know About Publishing.
Simmons began his career as a sales representative for Ballantine Books, a division of Random House. Subsequently, he joined the book division of Independent News, one of the distribution groups at Warner Communications, where he spent more than twenty-three years in sales and management. Simmons’ sales team distributed over a thousand titles a year from a number of large publishing houses and imprints, including Little Brown, Warner Books and Hyperion. In 2003 he retired as VP, Director of Field Sales. He is a well-known speaker and founder of WritersReaders, an informational website for writers.
The organization of the material of What Writers Need to Know About Publishing divides itself into five sections, Writers and Books, The Acquisition, The Marketing of Books, Understanding Numbers and Participate in Decisions. As Simmons points out and elaborates in the book, there is a distinction being a published author and an author that is successful. The latter is proven by retail sales.
Consequently, the objective and focus of the book is to provide the reader with an in-depth summary of what occurs behind the scenes in book publishing. If you are an author, it is imperative that you understand how publishers handle your book and how it is possible that your hard work can be damaged or even destroyed by the mishandling of your book. This often comes about due to bad decisions on the part of in-house staff without fully understanding the ramifications. Just remember, as Simmons mentions, when a major house purchases your manuscript, it is the end of one road and the beginning of another.
It is quite interesting to learn from Simmons that fundamentally the basics of how books are sold, marketed and distributed has just about remained the same for the past twenty years. However, what has changed is the way in which business is conducted. Publishers try to resolve the same age-old problems that have encountered for years with the same tired, worn-out solutions, struggling to grow a business that is nearly impossible to grow.
Within the sections of each general topic there are sub-sections that explore the mechanics of the business of book publishing, its language and the principal actors. We learn about agents, editors, book buyers, booksellers, book scheduling, budgets and their importance, three seasons, sale of your book, marketing and how it is done, bestseller lists, strengths and weaknesses of major publishers, six “P's” of marketing, coordination and creativity, understanding the numbers, market share, opportunities, when a book gets special attention, how to overcome a bad sales history. The final section offers great suggestions to the author in how he or she can offer suggestions to the publisher.
Once you have an understanding as to how the process works, your chances of becoming a successful author will improve immensely. You must inform your agent and the publisher that you are willing to participate in the process of publishing your book. As mentioned, one of the biggest mistakes writers make is leaving all of the details of the book's publications to their publisher.
What really adds a great deal of value to this book is its many interesting revelations. Did you know there is a 90/10 rule? Each season, on every list of books, the top 10% of the titles get 90% of the orders (the “buy”) from the book seller and, this represents 90% of the billing. The remainder of the titles on the seasonal list can be subjected to negotiation between the sales representative and the book buyer. It is imperative to know if your book falls into the 90% category and what you can do about it.
Another recurrent theme is that “publishers in today's competitive market need to generate revenue by increasing billing, which is the direct result of shipping large quantities of books. This has become the focus of all the major publishers and is the goal of the entire marketing effort.” How is this accomplished? It is done by selling and shipping as many copies as are possible, and to a large extent, selling more copies than their customer can reasonably resell. The result is over distribution. Which today is the model for all publishers. You are probably asking why would a bookseller or retailer buy more copies than they can sell, and the answer is to raise their effective discount. It should be pointed out that book resellers and retailers are guaranteed the sale and are often paid inducements, they keep the payment for buying an over abundance of copies and they are able to return the unsold product.
Simmons has provided his readers with an in-the-trenches overview of the publishing industry. This book will probably prove to be an eye-opener, whether you are an author or just someone interested in the book publishing industry.
Norm Goldman – BookPleasures.com
What Writers Need to Know About Publishing
It is imperative that writers understand the basics and the power of the business of book publishing, writes Jerry D. Simmons in his essential book What Writers Need To Know About Publishing. The author states, in no uncertain terms, that the writer must understand the influence of every person in every department who has a hand in publishing their book and especially how books are marketed and sold.
Jerry D. Simmons reminds his readership that publishing is a multi-billion dollar industry where sales and marketing of books are crucial to their success in business. As a result, it is vital for a writer to understand how the industry works from the inside. Jerry D. Simmons shares his twenty-five years of experience, in the New York publishing world, with writers to help them and their books stand out in the crowded book marketplace. With thousands of new titles being added to those already competing for buyers and for shelf space, inside information can help turn a book idea into a best seller.
Writers, who seek to become published authors, are often not aware of how many people are involved with bringing their book from manuscript to the bookstore shelves. Getting to know the right people within the publishing house not only helps the author gain better exposure for their book, but helps the publisher to market the book as well. Editors and publishing companies want their books to sell, and to sell in volume. An author who understands how books are marketed to book buyers and distributed through the book supply chain, can help their volume sell more copies. Knowing an author will do what is needed to sell the book is of tremendous value to the publisher.
Jerry D. Simmons takes the reader through the entire process of getting a book purchased and published by a major New York publisher. He starts with meeting and understanding how agents and editors work within the industry. The author follows the book through the crucial in house steps of positioning, book lists, and book publishing calendars. Jerry D. Simmons guides the would be author on through the process to the sales and marketing department as they sell books to the very important book buyers for the major book store chains. Knowing the right questions to ask along the way, about this entire process, will set a writer apart from her peers.
For me, the power of the book was the inside information, about the New York publishing industry and how it really works, that leaps off every page. Jerry Simmons shares the secrets that can turn a book and its creator into a successful published author. The section on how a book is positioned on the publisher's book list is vital information for any writer. Also crucial to an author's success is understanding how the numbers in publishing, especially sales and return numbers, can make or break an author's career. This essential information makes the book a must read for any would be published author.
I highly recommend What Writers Need To Know About Publishing by Jerry D. Simmons, to anyone who seeks a publishing contract with one of the major New York publishers. By applying this must read insider information, the budding author can work productively with the publishing house, as a partner in building the book's success.
Read What Writers Need To Know About Publishing by Jerry D. Simmons, and become the successful published author of your dreams with your literary masterpiece on the top of the best seller lists.
Wayne Hurlbert – Blog Business World
What Writers Need to Know About Publishing
Today's Book Review features Jerry D. Simmons' book, What Writers Need to Know About Publishing. Simmons spent twenty-five years in book publishing (Random House and Time Warner Books) and offers advice from the inside.
Short Summary: Simmons' book lays out the publishing process in a systematic order. He discusses the different ways you can publishing a book: major house, small press, or self publishing. He introduces a number of topics -- acquisition, marketing, understanding numbers, participating in decisions -- and provides vast information on what happens from the writing to bring a book to market.
• "If you decide to find an agent and, hopefully, land a contract with a major publisher, remember that books are products. Knowing how your book should be packaged, priced or marketed and understanding how to make suggestions can help your book sales soar and give you a better chance at a lasting career as an author."
• "One article with your picture in a newspaper holding your book will sell more copies than a paid advertisement in the same paper every day for a week. Consumers are much more drawn to a featured segment such as an article or interview than to an advertisement."
• "As you begin your quest to become a published author, it is crucial you make every attempt to participate in as many decisions as possible surrounding the publication of your book. First, you need to educate yourself about the business, why decisions are made and how those decisions can impact the sale of your book. In order to take part, you must be willing and knowledgeable. If you lack either, you will not be successful."
I think readers will be surprised at how much of the book focuses on things beyond writing. Many writers believe that everything after the writing is taken care of by the publishing company. Simmons works hard to dissuade readers from that path. He stresses the importance of understanding the publishing process if you hope to be successful in your writing efforts.
Simmons expends considerable energy defining his terms ("Announced First Print," "Actual First Print," "Total Shipped."). I think most readers would find this helpful because this is the kind of information that is not taught in MFA programs, but that writers need to know. The one piece I would have added to the book would have been an index because this is the sort of book that you want to be able to refer easily back to concepts taught within it.
Thomas Nixon – Small Press Blog
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