Tag Archives: Publishing

14.39: Positioning Your Book in the Marketplace

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

“Positioning feels like the most important question in all of publishing.” — Dongwon Song

In this episode we talk about how to ask and answer the question of positioning, which is “who is this book for?”

Credits: This episode was recorded before a live audience aboard Liberty of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Identify and describe your target reader. Use comp titles as necessary.

14.34: Author Branding

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

Authors have brands whether they want to have them or not. It’s a simple principle of marketing, and the better we understand that principle, the better able we are to control how it affects our careers.

In this episode we talk marketing, and freely use terms like “relationship marketing,” “authentic experience,” and “brand loyalty,” despite the fact that sometimes these words make our inner artists cringe.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

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Identify your brand. Think about the core aspects of your personality which you’re comfortable sharing publicly. Pick at least three things, and document them.

Be aware that “Murder Hat” is taken.

Empress of Forever, by Max Gladstone

14.25: Choosing Your Agent

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

Guest-host Dongwon Song joined us at WXR 2018 as an instructor, and gave great advice regarding the business side of working as an author. In this episode he takes us through a conversation about choosing an agent.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Document the attributes of your ideal agent.

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

Writing Excuses 9.40: Understanding Royalties, with Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens, an editor at Tor, joined us in front of a live audience at Westercon 67 to talk about royalties. After a brief definition of the term, he explains how royalties are calculated, how they’re processed on Tor’s side, and what sorts of things authors should and should not expect.  We talk about contractual terms, advances, the differences in royalty rates between the different mediums (ebooks, audiobooks, paperback, hard cover), and much more.

We’ve had a lot of requests for an in-depth discussion of royalties. This, folks, is very definitely it.

 

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Write the writing prompt that Dan Wells should have given us.

The Hum and the Shiver, by Alex Bledsoe, narrated by Emily Janice Card and Stefan Rudnicki

Writing Excuses 9.39: Publicity for Books

Patty Garcia, Director of Publicity for Tor & Forge books, joins us in front of a live audience at Westercon 67 to talk about what publicity activities look like for commercially published genre fiction books. In large measure, these activities center around driving discussion about the books with the most-followed reviewers, and we talk about what some of those are. We grill her about what sort of criteria we should be using for review copies, and what other activities new authors and established authors alike might consider spending time on.

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Write a short essay that touches on one of your books, and that will drive interest in your book.

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addisson, narrated by Kyle McCarley

Writing Excuses 9.35: What to do when you disagree with your editor

Peter Orullian joined us in front of a live audience at Westercon to talk with us about dealing with editors. We usually talk about craft, but this is a business discussion, and it’s about one of the most delicate and important relationships in the business. He begins by telling the short version of the story, and how he managed one of the worst-case scenarios: asking your publisher for a different editor.

We then move into some take-aways, and some additional experiences we’ve had that will hopefully help our listeners manage this sort of thing in the future.

 

 

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Write a sword-fighting scene, a la Princess Bride, in which the witticisms are part of a magic system, and are part of the fight itself.

Unfettered: Tales by Masters of Fantasy, Written by: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Jacqueline Carey, R.A. Salvatore, Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, Shawn Speakman (editor)
Narrated by: Peter Ganim, Marc Vietor, Bronson Pinchot, Jay Snyder

Writing Excuses 9.24: Side Quests

Side quests come in a couple of forms — they may be something inside the book that takes the characters away from the main plotline, or they may be adventures that take place outside of the book itself.

We talk about the first type, and how to make sure they’re in the book for the right reasons, citing examples from The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, Redshirts, The Way of Kings, and The Hollow City among other stories.

In covering the second type, we talk about how ebooks have made ancillary, side-quest releases more common, and we cite the book trailers for the Partials series, the Glamourist Histories Christmas Stories, Steelheart, and the Schlock Mercenary Bonus Stories.

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Create a story in which you have an incredibly powerful character, and a sidekick, then flip the relationship so the sidekick is in charge.

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy and Todd Harris, narrated by Bronson Pinchot

Writing Excuses 9.1: Chronology of a Book Deal with Eric James Stone

Happy New Year, and happy new season of Writing Excuses!

Eric James Stone joins us to talk about his latest book deal. These things are different for everyone, and the marketplace is changing so quickly that it’s worth noting the differences and the similarities between our deal experiences (three of us were sitting on brand-new deals as of the recording of this podcast.)

Eric in particular walks us through the chronology of his current book deal, from the original writing, through the agent representation and multiple rejections and revisions, all the way to the current contract. Did Eric’s Nebula win (for a different story) help this deal along a bit? Oh, it may very well have done exactly that.

Liner Notes: Here’s Jim Hine’s “First Novel Survey” results page.

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Write a story about someone who has amazing, incredible, wonderful news, but they’re not allowed to talk about it.

Ender’s World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender’s Game, a collection of essays by numerous writers, and narrated by lots of narrators. Both Eric and Mary wrote for this collection. (Note: it’s currently not appearing on Audible’s site, but Amazon shows it as being available through Audible. Weirdness!)