Sunday, 25 August 2019

T The Pro-Active Author

Are You Doing the Hard Work?

I understand my work in publishing is not easy or simple.  It is not. There are a number of things which I don't do easily—but I still do it and that is my encouragement to you.

For example, I'm not crazy about making phone calls yet yesterday I spent several hours on the phone making calls. The majority of the time I left little upbeat messages to authors. Why? Because from my years in publishing I know how rare it is to get a phone call from an editor at a publishing house. My intention is to stand out and be the exception. I understand this business has a lot of rejection—people saying no thank you and passing on your project. 

Our model at Morgan James is different from others (something I spend a lot of time talking with authors and agents about). You may not like all the details of Morgan James, but we are providing opportunity for authors and making incredible books in the marketplace. Do all of these books succeed? No because we can make books but can't make them sell. In the process, I try and manage expectations for authors and tell them that 80% of the work is up to them. Yes Morgan James can sell the book into the brick and mortar bookstores—but it is the author who promotes and drives readers into the bookstore to actually buy that book (through many different ways such as social media, radio, magazine articles, public speaking and much more). 

A number of the authors that I called yesterday have not returned my calls or answered me via email. In a number of cases, I've called them multiple times over the last few months and left these messages.  Each of the people I called have received a contract from Morgan James—but for whatever reason they have not signed or negotiated this contract. Maybe they are looking for an agent or a better offer or haven't finished their book or ??? (multiple reasons). The main purpose of my call was to let them know that I still believed in their book and wanted to help them get it published and into the world.

Let me tell you about two authors I worked with recently. One author I met at least five years ago and haven't heard from in a long time. She reached out to me and asked if our contract had changed in the last four years. Her book has not been published. Four years ago the timing wasn't right but now she is ready to move forward. I checked with my colleagues and a new contract was issued and sent to this author. Will she sign and move forward and get her book into the bookstores? I don't know but she now has a new opportunity.

Also this week I spoke with another author who has a literary agent. A year and a half ago, I had lunch with this agent and he told me the author wasn't a good fit to publish with Morgan James. I listened and accepted this decision and moved on working with other authors. Then a few weeks ago, this author reached out to me. She has the same agent but the book hasn't been published and she wanted to explore Morgan James. I spoke with her and have now moved this book into the process where my colleagues look at the author and the book to see if they will issue a contract for this novel. I have no idea if Morgan James will publish this book or not but again I am providing the opportunity.

What is hard work for you? Are you doing it? Maybe you don't like social media or marketing or creating an email list or any number of other tasks. Are you doing these hard tasks? My encouragement is for you to keep moving forward every day. Your steps may be small but continue to move forward and eventually you will get it done. Keep growing in your craft and reading and learning more about new aspects. Keep broadening your connections and network and keep looking for new opportunities.

I understand that some of the process is not easy but you can do it. If I can help you in the journey, let me know. My work contact information is on the bottom of the second page of this link. My encouragement is for you to keep moving forward and that you can do it.


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Columnist: Terry Whalin

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W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former  magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. To help writers, he has created 12-lesson online course called Write A Book Proposal. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com.

 

 

 

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