The 10 Most Important Publishing Lessons I’ve Learned
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At a publishers’ gathering recently, somebody asked me how long I have been in the business. I replied that this is my 17th year with Epicenter Press, a regional trade publisher based in Kenmore, WA, publishing nonfiction about Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
Then I was asked, What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about book publishing? The question stumped me at the time, but it did make me think. And the result are these 10 lessons that apply to our company and perhaps to other publishers as well, especially those that rely on trade markets.
Put the author to work.
The best authors are those who are strongly committed to the success of their books and who willingly and energetically promote them. I know this is not breaking news in our industry, but perhaps it should be stressed. I find myself increasingly reluctant to work with authors who believe their work is done when the manuscript has been completed. I understand that self-promotion is difficult for some people. But this business is so competitive that it makes no sense for us to acquire a title that will not realize its full potential without the author’s help. I confess that I have no problem working with an author who wants to make a contribution to the promotion budget, although we rarely suggest this and never require it. (For guidance on getting the best from your authors, see “Successful Author Promotions” in this issue.)
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