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How I got Published – part four

Posted in: Journal by LaRene Ellis on May 04, 2010

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Journal

I’m a published author with four books and two more on the way. They say it is easy to become a published author. Yet, it can be very difficult. For this amount of money, we can help make the experience easier for you. Is it really true?

People come up to me all the time and tell me that they have a story they want to have published. I see apprehension and excitement in their eyes and I know what they are feeling. When I decided to get my story published, I found it daunting.

For help, I turned to a few books. The first book I read was written by a literary agent and he was very discouraging. According to his book, he receives 5000 requests a week for his services. You can only imagine how many rejection letters he sent out on a daily basis. A literary agent will not take a new author unless they find a publisher first. Most publishers will not look at you without a literary agent.

After reading numerous books, I decided to publish my book myself. With my background, I probably have put more deals together than some literary agents. The biggest problem with self-publishing is you can and usually do make expensive mistakes. This is why I decided to mentor people. I would have loved if someone reached out and talked me through the process when I started. It cost me money and it was very emotional. I never felt so alone in a business as I did during this time of my learning.

Since I love to learn, I decided to go out and see if the books were telling me the truth. I hired someone to get me into some important places. My journey started in New York City. On this trip, I saw and spoke with people who educated me.

The first person I saw in New York City was an associated editor at Scholastic Magazine, named Lisa Feder-Feitel. As we got off the elevator, Scholastic’s offices took me back. I didn’t expect the bright colors and the décor. For a moment, I felt like I was in an elementary school. I had expected to sit in an office. Instead, we sat down at a table where our knees barely touched the edge of it. I expected any minute to have kids join us with their crayons and coloring books. It was really fun and Lisa was very warm and wonderful to talk with.

On this trip, I visited with Mark Schoenwald, an Executive Vice President of Thomas Nelson Publishers. I learned how a large publisher works and how they view new authors. You can read more in my e-book.

My visits didn’t stop with Thomas Nelson Publishers. I spent time with Peter Cannon of Publishers Weekly magazine. He was one of their editors and I learned a lot from talking with him. Publishers want to get a good review from Publishers Weekly on their new book. It helps stores buy a book they have coming out. I thought it was interesting to talk with him. For me, I never bought or read a book because of a review. I bought it because someone I trusted recommended it.

From Peter’s office, I went to a meeting with Bowker. They are the source for ISBN numbers for your books. They have other services that are important to the success of your book as well.

After I met with Bowker, I went into an hour-long meeting with Barnes and Noble’s head and regional buyers. Now, I understand how they work. Before the meeting, I bumped into Barnes and Noble Vice President, Robert C. Knowles, and I had a nice chat with him.

Now, I understood how large bookstores handle buying books. I wanted to know if it was different for small family-owned bookstores. I stopped in and interviewed numerous bookstore owners across the nation. Every bookstore owner had the same attitude on how they chose their books.

While I was there, I had some owners give me the names of independent distributors. Then I called them up to learn what challenges they had working with bookstores. They have a hard job and I really appreciate what they do.

I love the business side of publishing as much as I do writing. Most authors aren’t wired for business. Since I have so much vast knowledge of the publishing field, I decided to mentor others. It made sense to use the Internet. This way, I can mentor and still have a career and life.

If you are interested, contact me below and tell me what you are looking for.

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