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Monday, August 21, 2006


Myths of Publishing Part 2

When I started working as an editor just over a year ago, I began to learn about the strange world of publication. In this series, I'll be your inside man on books. I'll get you the hook-up, the scoop, the hush-hush, the low-down. This is part two of a five or six part series where you'll learn the real deal.


I don't mean readers are a myth, of course. Without readers no one would publish anything!

I just mean a publisher's inquiry into your target audience has a different purpose than you might realize. It's pretty much commen sense when you think about it. In every good book proposal, the author will discuss market and genre.

Consider Michael Larsen's advice for the general market, Penelope J. Stokes' advice for Christian markets specifically, and Michael Hyatt's advice for submitting to Thomas Nelson.

One of my friends in publishing told me the hard truth about books one day on the phone. He said, "Look, Marcus, publishers will talk about the quality of writing and the value of literature all day. And they believe in those things. But they are not in the literature business. They're in the business of selling books."

Publishing is a business. Don't ever forget that. When a publisher asks about your target audience they want to know who will buy the book. That much is obvious.

But they want to know something else, too.

Who is your audience now? A teacher who has been on the convention circuit for five years . . . already has an audience. A business consultant whose leadership seminar fills up an auditoriums . . . already has an audience. A politician who is about to spend three months on a campaign tour . . . already has an audience.

If you already have an audience now, you can bring two assets to the publisher--your manuscript and your audience.

If you already have an audience, you already have a living, breathing market, with arms and legs and hands and, of course, pockets.

Marketing your book is no longer about turning an abstract audience into a real one. It is simply a matter of telling your current audience, "Hey, I have a book."

So, right now, who's your audience?

HillCountryWriter Category: Publishing
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