THE BUSINESS OF BOOK PUBLISHING
Issue #2 of 10
Publisher: Anita Diggs
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In This Issue
2. What Literary Agents Can’t Do
3. What In-House Editors Do
4. Publishing Your Own Book – Step Two
Biographies attempt to reveal the truth of someone else's life. A good biographer should have the skills of a novelist, the curiosity and tenacity of an investigative reporter and a degree of respect for their subject. It is a hard and exciting genre to work in.
Autobiography and memoir are also challenging. Here, you must make your own life interesting and relevant to others. It is nearly impossible to read Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt or A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown without laughing, crying and, finally, cheering when the author finally achieves a measure of peace. Some memoirs are lighter (such as travel) but they all have to have engaging characters, gripping imagery, a strong narrative voice and a journey that unfolds like a well-plotted novel.
2. What Literary Agents Can’t Do
A literary agent cannot sell a book that no editor wants to buy.
A literary agent cannot help if you plagiarize another’s work
A literary agent cannot force a publisher to print more books
3. What In-House Editors Do =======================================
I’ve worked on staff at Warner Books, Random House and Thunder’s Mouth Press. An average day looked something like this:
9:00 AM – Drag myself into the office after staying up half the night reading manuscripts and book proposals.
9:30 AM – Listen to my 50 new voice mail messages.
10:00 AM – My assistant pokes her head in to say that the editorial meeting is starting. I gather the new manuscripts and proposals that I liked and head for the conference room.
NOON – Call agents about the projects that I pitched at LAST WEEK’S editorial meeting if I’ve been authorized to make an offer.
12:30 – Lunch with an agent
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Create profit & loss statements, negotiate deals with agents, licensors, packagers and overseas publishers. Attend the cover design meeting, attend the marketing meeting, attend the production meeting. Return all important phone calls. Soothe writers. Soothe agents. Answer queries from colleagues about the status of my projects.
6:00 PM Read the first few pages of the new material that has come in.
6:30 PM Pack any new material that doesn’t suck into my tote bag. Put new material that does suck on my assistant’s (she will send the rejection letters) desk. Head for the subway.
LATE EVENING Edit projects that are under contract. Read new material and decide which, if any, are worth fighting for at the next editorial meeting.
4. PUBLISHING YOUR OWN BOOK – STEP TWO
Okay, you have a completed manuscript that has been both edited and copyedited. It has been polished until it shines. You have hired a lawyer to help you set up a legal entity (partnership, corporation, sole proprietorship, limited liability corp.,etc). You have opened a checking account in the name of your new business. Now you need to:
1. Hire someone to design (page layout, font, spacing, headers, footers, chapter numbers, etc.) the book’s interior.
2, Hire a graphic designer to create the front and back covers of the book.
3, Obtain an ISBN number, LCCN number and a bar code
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