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Aug 11, 2009

So You Wanna Get Published ~Part Two~ Tips from Author Mary E. DeMuth & the Importance of the Blogger

Please refer to my introduction to this So You Wanna Get Published Series in my Part One Post here at The Burton Review.

Here is Part Two of the Guest Speaker Mary DeMuth, with her insights on how to get published.

Click only the middle red X to play the video. You will also get a pop-up of another window for an advertisement, just close that. Then click only the Green X in the middle of the video. And finally, on the bottom of the video at the left corner, click the play button arrow if it doesn't start playing. YouTube doesn't upload videos longer then 10 minutes so this was my only option.

Part Two (14 minutes long) consists of:

~Continuation of Literary Agents (Regional and small presses don't require an agent)

~Marketing the Book to Publishers

~The possibility of revising what comes naturally to you (set aside your first novel and start another)

~Differences between Non-Fiction Proposals and Fiction Queries

~Breaking into Publication via Local Publications (Check your reference library for how to write a proposal and how to submit it)

~Building your Platform

~Social Networking (online and publicly)

~How to Write Non-Fiction Proposals (PDF file at

~Your Synopsis at Committee

~Editing Process

~Substantive or Developmental Edit, Line Edit

~Editorial letter for Fiction

~Advance Readers Copy (ARC = uncorrected proof)

~Marketing Plan from the Publisher (which continues on Part Three)

The Burton ReviewI am going to jump in here and give some of my editorial (my mini comments are also in the parentheses at the contents list above) at this point to those who are new to the Book Blog world because I do understand the importance of promotion and marketing and of course how the book blogger, such as I am, helps to influence and gain potential readers. If my fellow book bloggers do want to jump in here with advice for new authors, please feel free to comment with your advice and thoughts.

The ARC's (the advance reader copies) have been receiving a wider audience and more emphasis on book blogs, such as this one. These Advance editions can start coming out on an average of 6 months before the official publication date, and some contain many grammatical errors and typos, other are not so bad. I know of several publishers that aggressively seek out reviewers of books, and therefore they are more well known in the book blog world. I myself have been a book blogger who has been reviewing for publishers and authors since about April 2009, yet I am already bogged down with ARC's to review. I also receive galleys on occasion, which are very basic bound pages, generic covers and very pre-publication and it seems more like a final draft of the manuscript. For example, I have a copy of Girl Mary which comes out in September but I had received it probably in May sometime, and I still haven't had a chance to review it. But with the publication date being in September, I like to keep my reviews more in line to those dates so that potential buyers will be able to go out and have access to purchasing the book.
All of my free time is spent blogging, reading, and reviewing (& I work full-time and I have a family) and most book bloggers take this challenge very seriously, even if it technically is just a hobby since we do not get paid for it. A Book Blogger reviews the ARC online and builds a web presence for the book. Book Bloggers also post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, WeRead, Barnes & Noble, etc. as well as twittering about their reviews, which further promotes the book on other platforms besides the blog. The author themselves should also always be in contact as much possible to promote their own book, and should have an interactive platform to build web 'friends', either followers on a Blog, Twitter friends, Facebook, Fan bases on Goodreads, etc. The more friendly interaction that occurs between readers/reviewers and the author, the more positive feedback an author will receive in general. Anna Elliott, author of Twilight of Avalon, has been one of these authors for me. She has commented on my blog, and said thank you to everyone that reviews her book for her, and responds to the comments on her own blog. Medieval historical fiction author Susan Higginbotham also maintains a web presence with her own blog and regularly contributes to discussions within the genre that she writes of.

Freebies are a must do for a new author, and even for an established author promoting a new book. In order to gain readers, the new author needs to be willing to shell out some cash and giving their book out to those that will review it for them. You will obviously get a discount on your books you purchase from the publisher. Buy more, save more. The more copies of your books that you have on hand, the more freebies you can give out. It is common sense, building your readership is key before you can branch out and be a successful author. I understand you wanted to be a published author and make money from that, but with this tough economy readers who do not recognize your name or talent are going to be very hard pressed to shell out cash on your full-priced book. So fork out the cash on your end, aggressively pursue new readers, especially within the ever growing online communities such as the blogosphere. Outside of the online arena of promotion, the book blogger will also share their favorite reads with the 'real-life' friends and family, which is promoting the author's book behind the scenes.
For instance, I went to hear Mary DeMuth speak and then went to lunch the next day with a friend. I told her all about Mary's books, and gave her a bookmark that I received from the event. That full-color glossy front and back bookmark shows the two recent books that Mary wrote. That one bookmark can go a long way in getting noticed by new readers. These little freebie promo's (don't forget postcards, magnets, pins, pens, totes) are a wonderful tool for a new author to use for promotion. I once read an author's blog where he was at the post office and mailing out 15 of his books to reviewers, and the clerk was very interested in the subject matter of his book. He thumped his head and realized he needs to have extra copies of his book in his car so that he can give it out to people like that who would be thrilled and interested in reading his material. A little kindness goes a long way.
Another thing to remember are the giveaways that a Book Blogger does. Once a blogger puts up a review, it is the ideal time to offer up a giveaway to the blogger's followers. Sometimes the giveaway is for 5 copies of that book. The publisher/publicist most of the time mails out the books that are won via the giveaway once the mailing addresses are collected. On a side note, bloggers are generous people and also give away copies of books from their own library in order to promote camaraderie and readership of their own blog. Not only are they giving away a book, they are taking time out of their day to package it, mail it, pay for the postage etc.
Blog Tours are also a big part of promoting a book within the Book blogosphere. This is where a selected group of bloggers publish their reviews or a guest post from the author at a specific date. They link to the rest of the members of the blog tour as well, and a giveaway is most often featured. The guest blog from the author can cover any variety of topics, from what inspires the author or an essay of a particular aspect of the book itself. Instead of a guest post, an interview can be featured instead. A blog tour should be promoted on the author's website and most often in the groups where the publisher is a member of. Hachette Book Group sponsors many of the Blog Tours and their giveaways. Sometimes a blog tour is just the review itself. Here is a link to two of my blog tours with them: Follow Me by Joanna Scott Blog Tour and The Mating Rituals of A North American WASP by Lauren Lipton where each had an average of 50 commenter's. And a link to two of my favorite guest posts by authors Anna Elliott and C.W. Gortner.

All this is old news for my current readers, but I wanted to put this information in here and my thoughts on it while I was here for those who are new to this blog and came here by way of So You Wanna Get Published!
Any questions, and comments are welcomed!