Thursday, January 23, 2014

Say It Ain't So, Joe. 5 Reasons Why a Publisher Might Reject Your Textbook Proposal

Sometimes it's really easy to reject someone's proposal for a textbook or reference book. Mostly, though, it's difficult. We publishers would much rather accept and publish than reject.

Sometimes, though, the idea just isn't right. Here are five common reasons your textbook proposal might be rejected.

Reason #1: Lack of preparation

This one's easy. If you've sent a proposal to a publisher who doesn't publish books for the markets you're aiming for, you'll get rejected.

Do your homework. Look at the publisher's area for authors, we all have one. Use it.

Reason #2: Poorly presented proposal

Go ahead, write a proposal with tons of grammatical mistakes, misspellings, and punctuation errors. See how far that gets you.

Reason #3: Too niche or not niche enough

This is a tough one. Some publishers succeed really well publishing books for tiny markets. Others need books with a broader appeal.

A proposal that falls outside the publisher's comfort zone probably won't get accepted. That's not necessarily your fault. It's just that you need to find the publisher for that particular market. Keep at it.

Reason #4: Great book that people won't buy

Maybe you've got an idea for a great book designed for a market right up the publisher's alley. People should really know the material you'll present in the book. The publisher may still decide to reject the proposal, typically for one or more of these reasons:
  • There might be a perfect time for the book, but it isn't now.
  • Maybe people should buy the book, but there isn't a reason compelling enough for them to actually pull out their credit card.
  • The market, rightly or wrongly, gets enough of that kind of information from other sources and doesn't think it needs a book dedicated to it.

Reason #5: Right book, right author, right market, wrong publisher

You could have a terrific proposal for just the right book at the right time for the right market, and you're just the person to write it. And the publisher still might reject it.

When that happens, it's nothing you did or could have done; it's the publisher. Maybe they don't have enough penetration into that market to warrant signing another title. Maybe they have too many similar titles. Maybe the publisher knows something about to happen in the company that he can't discuss.

There might be several other reasons why a great proposal is rejected, but one thing will be clear.

It's not you. It's us.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

This is Why Printed Books Will Be Around for Another Generation

Digital books are taking over the world!

Printed books are DEAD!

Out with paper, in with e-ink!

Digital Book World Study
Bunk. When you read pundits who declare print dead, stop and think about actual humans. A new study from Digital Book World and a consulting firm called PlayCollective, indicates that a growing number of children are reading digital books.

A growing number. Which means there are still many kids reading just print books; a third, to be exact. And of the kids reading e-books at least once a week, many if not most are still reading print books as well.

Which means that print books as an experience remain embedded in a child's determinative years. Which means, in my respectful opinion, that some people will continue to enjoy print books on some level their entire lives.

Now, when you can't hardly find a kid reading print books anymore, when they're introduced out of the cradle to e-books and never have a chance to hold a print book, then we can talk about the death of print books.

Until we're much closer to that time, if in fact that time comes at all, I'll remain a print book lover who also reads and appreciates e-books.

Monday, January 6, 2014

How to Make More Money from Your Published Textbook

Congratulations. You're a published textbook author and are now promoting your book everywhere. You're contacting colleagues, e-mailing friends, and posting links to your book in as many social media outlets as you can find.


But jeez, Louise, don't send potential customers to Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any other discount retailer. Send them to your publisher!


First, your publisher has just spent, most likely, many tens of thousands of dollars creating your book and ancillaries. It's trying now to not only recoup that investment but also generate profit. Without that profit, you will no longer be a published author. At least of that book.

Mostly, though, you and the publisher are both losing money. Publishers give Amazon and similar distributors sometimes absurd discounts to have their book listed. The distributor then charges customers considerably more. No problem there, that's how they stay in business, and sales through these distributors can really help publishers make money.

But every book sold through, say, Amazon instead of your publisher takes money right out of your pocket. You get paid, probably, on how much money the publisher receives for each book sold. Books sold at a discount put less money in your pocket (and the publisher's, of course) than books sold at or near list price.

So do everyone a favor. When you include a link to your book somewhere, use your publisher's product page address, and not Amazon's!

You're welcome.