Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Journey to Publication Part V

Now I have a book deal and an agent. What’s next – the contract? Well yes and no. I was told by Ms. Jossell during the “call” that I wouldn’t receive my contract until March because of something or other. I don’t recall, but I knew it wasn’t coming right away. However, in the meantime, I had an assignment. I had to write a Tip Sheet. A tip sheet is a sales thing. It’s something you complete about your novel so the sales team (who won’t read the book) can pretend that they did when they’re standing in front of B&N, Borders, and all the other many book buyers. I was like “Oh you mean someone’s going to sell my book?” Oh joy! I was thrilled. I’m not sure if all houses ask the authors to do this. I do know other authors with other houses who provide some input into the Tip Sheet, so I’m thinking yes it’s something you do. Well no matter, I was glad to do anything to get this book train out of the station. Ms. Jossell asked me to do the tip sheet right away just in case my book got moved up in the roster. “Moved up?” I thought. “That’s cool. Up from what?" It’s almost March and nobody has told me when my book coming out. I knew Urban Christian (UC) had a lot of authors. I was given an invitation to join a Yahoo Group for UC where we authors meet and chat and share and receive directives from the editor. When I joined in early March the first thing I did was count how many people were on it, but even with the many names (near 25 I would say) I didn’t expect her to tell me February 2010. I mean, for goodness sakes, it’s March 2008, but so it was. I did end up getting moved up to December 2009 obviously, but I was still quite disappointed. I wanted my book out! Now! Or at least in a year. It was not to be. And this is common in publishing. Many houses are 18 months to 2 years out. I was just hoping…

Lesson #11 - It's not all writing. Be prepared to do things for sales early on in your book deal. The tip sheet instructs you to think about the book from the salesman's point of view. You have to figure out how to make it stand out from amongst the many, many books the buyers are hearing about or reading about in the sales catalogue. Make it what I call sexy. Christian fiction can be sexy. Sexy just means alluring, attractive, magnetic.

The next post will be the last and I'm just going to kind of go through a list of things that happened next and wrap this series up. Thanks for reading. Don't forget to click to pre-order Secrets and Lies

Many Blessings,

Rhonda McKnight


PatriciaW said...

Thanks for the continuing ed class, Rhonda. I know what you mean though because as soon as I sign a contract, even knowing that it could be as much as 2 years, I'm going to be anxious to see my book in stores.

Ty said...

That is a long time! I'm glad they moved up your release date.

I guess you have to think in terms of marketing at this point as you wait. I can see why publishers would emphasize writing the "Tip Sheet."