Below, links to some interesting and useful articles and blog posts that I've encountered recently in my travels round the Web:
- On Nathan Bransford's blog, guest blogger Eric, a sales assistant at a major book publisher, provides a primer on how publishers sell books into bookstores. An eye-opening post that points up, among other things, the vital importance of sales reps.
- As a new author, you're an unknown quantity--which means (from publishers' and agents' perspective) that you're a risk--but also, possibly, that you could break big. Once you're published, however, you are largely defined by your sales numbers. If you're a US-published author, how do publishers and agents know your sales numbers? From Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70% of all bookstore sales in the USA. Bad BookScan numbers can torpedo your next sale--and if you think you can just change your name, or slide on over to a new agent or publisher, think again: they have BookScan too.
But how accurate is Bookscan, really? It doesn't, for instance, track sales from big-box retailers like Walmart, so if you're lucky enough to get placement for your novel in one of those stores, those numbers will be missing from your BookScan total. Even for bookstore sales, BookScan may not tell the whole story. This interesting series of posts from agent Andrew Zack, sparked by his discovery of a major discrepancy between the BookScan numbers for one of his authors and the author's actual royalty statements, explores that issue.
- From the Shelftalker blog, the do's and don'ts of promotional emails--very good advice for authors (and publishers) looking to promote their books.
- From Editorial Ass, a balanced post on when, why, and possibly why not to hire outside editorial assistance.
- Ever wondered what the heck a blog tour was, and how to organize one? The Book Publicity Blog answers all your questions.
- From John Scalzi, why "new" novelists are often kinda old.
- For the procrastinator in us all, a wonderful essay from author Ann Patchett on the scariness of starting a new book: Why Not Put Off Till Tomorrow the Book You Could Write Today?
- What do writers really do with their time? Novelist J. Robert Lennon lets you in on the secret. I absolutely adore this article--if anyone ever asks me about my writing process, I'm just going to refer them here.