Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Marketing Question

We received an excellent question regarding marketing, and since my answer was lengthy, I decided to make it a separate post.

I read your Guidelines and would like to ask you about marketing. I always thought that the publisher did the marketing because that is always the big problem for writers. You ask the question: "How do you plan to market your book?" I have no idea.

I am also thinking, if I knew how to market my writing, why would I need a publisher? I can get books written, edited and printed myself. It is the marketing that has been the problem for me since I started writing decades ago.

Traditional publishers handle SOME marketing for writers, but not anywhere near what they did in the past. Most of their marketing budgets are spent on the big-name authors who already sell millions of copies of books, because those books pay the costs of the other books they publish.

Writers don't like to do marketing, but writing is a business as well as an art. As the author, you know your book better than anyone else, which makes you the expert. We work with you to brainstorm ideas to promote your book.

The traditional publisher pays lower royalty rates to help pay for the marketing they do, too. A traditional publisher usually pays a maximum of 10-20% royalty on books after the advance is earned back - usually 5000 books. Pix-N-Pens pays no advance, but we pay a much higher royalty and our earn-back number is in the hundreds, rather than the thousands.

Because of that, we don't have a marketing budget, but we can and will promote our books. The way we do it may be a bit unusual, but we work with the authors to determine the best and most creative ways to spread the word.

You are welcome to publish yourself. We're here for the author who wants the foundation of a traditional publisher, but still wants to maintain control of his or her book; for the author who has written a book that traditional publishers may not want to publish because of content (not quality - because our quality will be excellent); for authors who have written a book and wish to earn higher royalties on it, because they're willing to put on a marketing hat for awhile. We're here for authors who have no idea about publishing - the formatting, the printing, the cover design, the distribution - and who want a partner to help them accomplish their dreams.

When I ask how you plan to market your book, I want ideas that you are willing to implement. Are you able to attend writer's conferences? Does your book have a social issue that can be tapped into for marketing purposes? Are you willing to do media interviews if they can be arranged? Are you a member of any organization that gives you an outlet for speaking/teaching/selling? Think of all the various people who might buy your book, then think of ways you could get your book into their hands and tell me about it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve had a slew of questions come in since Friday, so I thought I’d answer them in a post, and then create a static page with FAQs that will be updated as the need arises. Tomorrow, I will also address a marketing question.

Are you going to publish historical novels? If so, what length?

Yes, we will consider historical novels. I inadvertently left it off the list of genres, but that has now been corrected. I realize that many/most historicals have a higher word count than our guidelines, but for now, we are only considering novels 60,000-80,000 words in length, regardless of the genre.

After looking at your submissions page I noticed that in the fiction category you did not list romance, but you do have suspense. Will you be accepting novels in the romantic suspense genre?

We'll publish suspense that has some romance in it, but since other publishers handle romance lines so well (Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense, Heartsong), we're not going to tackle those at this time. In the future, perhaps, but not now.

Will you publish only e-books?

We will publish paperback books that will also be sold in e-book and reader formats.

Will you consider longer manuscripts?

We prefer to stay within our guidelines. But we may make exceptions in rare cases. It really depends on the genre, length, and story. I need to see the proposal first.

Do you want a query first, or just the proposal?

Proposal as outlined on the site - no queries.

Are you hiring? Do you need freelancers?

No, not at this time.

Do you expect the author to edit and treat the book like a self-publishing book or do you edit?

I expect authors to treat the manuscript just like they would if they were submitting to a traditional publisher, because in essence, that's what we are. We are not a self-publisher. By the time the manuscript gets to the contract stage, it should have been edited or critiqued thoroughly. Some authors belong to critique groups and some pay professional editors before attempting publication.

Even after the edits, there will be in-house edits and the final proofreading, of course. We will handle the formatting in-house. The only formatting we want on the manuscript when it comes to us is industry-standard that I outline on the blog. These in-house edits, proofreading, and formatting are done at no charge to the author.

Where do I find an editor?

I recommend authors explore the editors listed at The Christian PEN. There are several excellent editors listed there, and the choice of editor is up to you. In full disclosure, I am also a freelance editor, and own Write Integrity Editorial Services. But I don't insist, require, or suggest you hire me - the editing business and the publishing business are two separate entities, and just because you may hire me to edit your book does not mean I will publish it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Call for Submissions

Pix-N-Pens Publishing is now accepting proposals for manuscripts - fiction and nonfiction. Our first books will be released this fall.

Please read our Guidelines and Submissions pages before sending your proposal.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grand Opening!

As I began writing this post, a chubby little bird landed on a power line outside my office window. As I watched him, he seemed to jump high into the air and then did a free-fall! He finally put out his wings and landed back on the wire, but it sure looked like he was shouting, "WHEEE! It's SPRING!"

After I stopped laughing, I realized that could very well be ME, today, with the launch of Pix-N-Pens Publishing.

Last year, the Lord popped the idea of a publishing company into my head. Like Moses, I questioned Him. "What? Who ME? But Lord, I don't know ..." The questions continued, but very quickly I knew I needed to say, "Here am I, Lord" and then I fervently prayed for Him to use me whatever way He saw fit.

Just like Moses, I have a few Aaron's who have helped me get to this point. Deep gratitude for: Jeff Gerke, at Marcher Lord Press, who counseled me and patiently answered my questions as I studied his model for the publishing business; and the original Pix-N-Pens team of Suzanne Williams, Phee Paradise, and Debbie Roome who have blessed me in immeasurable ways - with prayer, advice, wise counsel, friendship, and more. Suzanne designed our fabulous logo - isn't it GORGEOUS?

We want to become a community here at PNP, much like we were over at the original PNP blog. But our purpose here is greater, and carries more responsibility. Our goal is to publish books that help spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Won't you join us?