Look for Books Like Yours
If you recall, Phil, an editor, and I have been through his pages. We sorted them into four parts. I’ve read the parts through again and begun the process of fine tuning the order. This will get us to the final book map. We also checked the market at Amazon to see what books like Phil’s new book were doing. . . .
I promised to tell you more about that.
When I started in publishing I was a freelancer. I read everything I could about writing and one bit of advice always confused me:
Go after the publishers who already sell the kind of book you want to write.
To me, that advice seem counter-intuitive. Why would a publisher want another book about writing if they already had a list full of them? Shouldn’t I go to where a publisher didn’t have any?
Where Do You Look for Shoes?
I was looking at things from the wrong end. The answer is marketing. It’s in where people expect to find things. If I’d thought about how I bought books, I wouldn’t have been confused.
- If I bought one book like this, chances are I’ll buy another.
- If a publisher spends marketing dollars marketing one book to me, they can market ten that go together. Ten that go together is a marketing savings.
- When I want that second book, I go back to where I found the first one.
- If what’s there is something new, the publisher has to change my mind and sell me all over again.
I wouldn’t look for shoes in a bookstore.
It’s a bookstore, Why would I look there?
Even the best shoes don’t belong in a bookstore.
Go after the publishers who already sell the kind of book you want to write. That’s where the customers will be looking for you. That’s where the publisher will be spending money on marketing.
You probably knew that already, didn’t you?
Why did it take me so long to figure it out?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you’d like Liz to help you find or make a book from your archives, click on the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
Bookcraft 2.0: Find a Book in Your Archives the Way a Publisher Would
Bookcraft 2.0: How Many Words Does It Take to Make a Book?
Bookcraft 2.0: The 90% Rule of Repurposing Content
Bookcraft 2.0: Book Research at Amazon, the Data Giant
ann michael says
“Why would a publisher want another book about writing if they already had a list full of them?”
That logic (which I shared when I first heard that same rule of thumb) shows someone is learning. Not only are there all the benefits you described above (they have a market, economies of scale, etc.) but writing is a BIG topic!! There is a lot of room for very different sub-topics and styles within that topic.
I see this line of thinking in lots of industries – someone new to the industry tends to paint it with a broad brush while the producers (and sometimes consumers) see the nuances!
ME Strauss says
I always enjoy your comments because of the perspective you bring. You see the points of reality and translate what I’m saying so beautifully.
I always find myself thinking, “Yes, that’s exactly what I was trying to say! Oh and look at how you’ve expanded it!”