Publicity is the art of creating favorable interest in your book. It’s getting the word out, informing the public about your book and drumming up interest in it. It’s telling the world:
That your book is available, What it’s about, Why it’s important, and The specific benefits it will provide. Publicity differs from advertising. In advertising, you pay media outlets to run your message. You write the message you want the public to receive and you pay publications, stations, Web sites, and other outlets to deliver it. According to the old adage, “With advertising, you pay for it; with publicity, you pray for it.”
In publicity, your message is delivered through the media and through channels such as your networks and your contacts’ networks. In contrast to advertising, you don’t pay the media to deliver your message, but convince it to deliver it in its articles, reviews, and programs. The media may deliver the exact message you provide, or write or present information about your book in its own words, style, or format.
Publicity is effective because the public tends think of information it gets from the media as news. So, it gives publicity more credence than advertising does, which the public knows is bought and paid for by advertisers. Advertising is perceived as being big on hype and short on truth, while information provided by the media is generally accepted as true.
In comparison with advertising, publicity:
Is less expensive Provides wider exposure Has greater credibility because, unlike advertising, people usually consider the information provided to be news Tells your story in greater depth, which is ideal for creating interest in your book Rick Says
To be successful, all books need publicity. Readers are swamped with books. According to estimates, 195,000 books were published in 2004, which breaks down to several new titles being issued each minute. That’s an awful lot of books competing for booksellers’ shelves and readers’ attention. Plus, books face stiff competition from movies, television, newspapers, magazines, sports, the Internet, games, and more.
Publicity is the most effective way to single out your book for recognition and to build its identity and visibility. In publishing, they refer to “breaking a book out,” which means getting it noticed so that it can emerge from a sea of competitors. Publicity is the best way to break your book out and to create name recognition, interest, and sales. Through the wonders of publicity, weak books have been built into huge successes, and great books that lacked publicity have not been widely read.
Today, six huge, multinational conglomerates dominate the book-publishing business; together, they put out about 80 percent of all books sold. Four of these giants are foreign owned, but all have headquarters in New York City, which is the world book-publishing center. As a result, the big six are considered “New York Publishers,” which carries a certain literary cachet, even though they’re actually owned by corporations based in Munich, London, or Sydney.
The six publishing biggies are:
1. Random House, Inc., a division of Bertelsmann AG (a German Corporation), is the world’s largest English-language general trade book publisher. It publishes some seventy imprints, including Anchor, Ballantine, Bantam, Broadway, Crown, Dell, Del Ray, Dial, Doubleday, Fawcett, Fodor, Dell, Knopf Group, Pantheon, Random House, Villard, and Vintage. It also owns the Literary Guild.
2. The Penguin Group, which is owned by Pearson (United Kingdom), is the second largest publisher in the United States and Canada and the largest in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India. Its imprints include Allen Lane, Avery, Berkley Books, Dutton, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Plume, Putnam, Riverhead, and Viking. Penguin also publishes children’s brands such as Puffin, Ladybird, Dutton and Grosset & Dunlap.
3. HarperCollins, a subsidiary of the News Corporation Limited (Australia), has annual revenues of over $1 billion. Its imprints include Amistad, Avon, Caedmon, Ecco, Eos, HarperBusiness, HarperCollins, HarperSanFrancisco, Perennial, Rayo, ReganBooks and William Morrow. Its Zondervan unit publishes Bibles and Christian books, and its e-book imprint is PerfectBound.
4. Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings, (Germany), publishers imprints that include Argon; Bedford; College-Group; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Freeman; Hanley & Belfus; Henry Holt; Hill & Wang; Macmillan; North Point Press; Picador; St. Martin’s; Scientific American; Times Books (partnership with New York Times Group); Urban & Fischer, and Worth.
5. Time Warner Book Group Inc. (United States) owns the Book-of-the-Month Club and the imprints Aspect; Back Bay; Bulfinch; Little, Brown and Company; Press Warner Books, The Mysterious Press and Warner Books (Warner Business Books, Warner Faith, and Warner Vision). It also distributes publishing lines for Hyperion, Arcade, Disney, Harry Abrams, Time-Life Books, and Microsoft.
6. Simon & Schuster, Inc., is the publishing arm of Viacom (United States). It publishes Aladdin Paperbacks, Atheneum, Atria, Fireside, The Free Press, Little Simon, MTV Books, Margaret K. McElderry, Pocket Books, Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Simon Spotlight, Star Trek, Touchstone, Washington Square Press, and Wall Street Journal Books.
A seventh biggie is Disney Publishing Worldwide (United States), a subsidiary of the entertainment giant the Walt Disney Company. It publishes ABC Daytime Press, ESPN Books, Hyperion, Miramax, and Theia.
In addition to the giant publishers, Dan Poynter reports that some 300 to 400 medium-sized publishers exist, along with more than 85,000 small and self-publishers. With the explosion in electronic books, printing on demand, and other innovations, the field continues to expand.
The Agenting Process Explained - Part 4 - Submissions
When agents come up with a list of editors, they usually make multiple submissions of the proposal. Agents will sometimes send proposals to two or more imprints that are owned by the same parent company. However, some companies such as Doubleday and Broadway Books, which are imprints owned by Random House, both have the same editorial board. So an agent would not submit the same proposal to editors at both of those imprints. Unlike writers, agents have this special knowledge, which can save them substantial time, energy, expense and embarrassment.
Before agents send proposals to editors, they usually send them the equivalent of a query letter asking if they might be interested in the book. Queries are sent only when the proposal is ready. Queries can be sent via e-mail or hard copy, depending on the nature of the book and the editor's preference. Editors expect that other editors will have received the proposal and will usually move more quickly on those that elicit their interest. To entice editors and generate more interest in a proposal, agents will tell editors when other editors are interested in a property.
When a proposal includes items such as a self-published edition of the book, illustrations or artwork, they must be submitted in hard copy. Hard-copy submissions are accompanied by a short cover letter that itemizes all materials sent. Sometimes, agents will set time limits in which editors must make offers. When proposals are submitted by e-mail, the cover letter includes a link to the proposal that editors can download. They can also request a hard copy that can be forwarded under separate cover.
Editors are swamped, and it's a challenge for them to read everything they receive. If they're interested, they usually get back to the agent quickly, within a week or two. Many editors have their assistants screen submissions, so if their assistants like a proposal, it may speed up their response time. If editors don't get back to an agent within a week or two, it usually means that the book is not going to sell.
An excerpt from the National Bestseller Author 101: Bestelling Secrets from Top Agents by Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman