Why Is Your Book Different?
It’s not enough to have an idea for a book. It’s not enough to have a completed manuscript ready to submit to an agent or publisher. You can have the perfect query, the best chapter-by-chapter synopsis, a killer sample included with your submission… but if you can’t tell your publisher or agent who would want to read your book, why they’d want to read it, what sets your book apart from the rest, and what the demographics of the potential market are for your book — to be honest, you’re just another manuscript on the slush pile.
Marketing is the one area that new writers tend to gloss over or completely overlook when polishing up their book proposals. There are approximately 24,500 listed “publishers” according to BookStats. Now granted, many of these are authors who self publish, but they’re publishing none the less. What does this mean? What does this translate into books in print? Here are some astonishing numbers…
- 300,000 books were published in the U.S. 2003.
- 411,422 books were published in the U.S. in 2007.
- 1,052,803 books were published in the U.S. 2009.
- Approximately 3,000,000 books were published in the U.S. in 2011.
- And while 2012 stats are not out yet, Bowker estimated they would sell 15,000,000 ISBNs for 2012. Did they? Were that many books put out there for consumers? The numbers aren’t out yet, but we’ll see how these break down.
This is the over-saturated market that you have to break into. This is the reality of the publishing business. If you don’t identify a niche, a readership, a need for what you’re offering, your book is just out there swimming with 15,000,000 other books. This is why every step of the publishing process is important — from the manuscript, to the book and cover design, to the marketing strategies publishers employ to make their offerings a success. Gone are the days of the prolific writer hunched over the keyboard, oblivious to the outside world, churning out book after book and allowing the publisher to handle the rest. Publishing is now a partnership and the author has to bear as much responsibility for getting his book in front of the eyes of potential readers as the publisher does.
You need to determine if you’re willing to work hard enough to beat the average statistics of 100 books a year sold for most titles. If you’re not willing to get in there, get dirty, and work as hard and tirelessly as your publisher to make your book a success, then why should potential publishers give you a second glance? Before you submit that proposal, do ALL your homework, do all your research, identify your market.
Then tell me what your market research has shown and highlight the unique qualities of what you’re offering. Publishers want to publish books. We want to sell books. We want you, our authors, to be a success.
But first we have to make sure that your book stands out from all the rest of those 15,000,000 books out there.
Not sure how to target your audience? Not sure how you’ll help market your book? You need John Kremer’s “1001 Ways to Market Your Books.” He has wonderful advice for authors and publishers in marketing to a specific audience or niche.
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