Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How a Self-Published Author Landed a 3-Book Deal with Little, Brown

I love reading self-publishing success stories. Every story is different, and each one contains valuable insights as to how the process of achieving that hard-won, and often elusive, success works.

After reading more than a few of these stories, I have noticed a pattern.

First, the author writes something that stands out, either because it unique, different, or appeals to something in readers in a way that touches them.

Second, the author finds a champion.

Authors, especially self-published authors, need someone to champion them. Back in the day, that job fell to publishers. But increasingly, publishers are doing very little to promote their authors' work. Promotion now falls on the shoulders of the authors, leaving them with a task that is Herculean. How can an author get noticed in a world that already contains entirely too much information?

In all of the cases in which authors have been successful, their success has ultimately been due to someone else taking up the mantle of promotion.

In this case, it was a book store owner. In other cases, readers on Reddit and reading communities have promoted books. Bloggers, ebook promoters, Amazon, and even Twitter have all been instrumental in helping authors achieve success.

The trick is to find champions who can help you get noticed.

Helpful articles:

15 Reading and Writing Communities That Can Boost Your Platform

Twitter: How to Build a Following - for Writers

Reddit for Writers

The 4-Hour Bestseller
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Three-Book Deal in Sheep's Clothing

By Sue Corbett, BookLife, November 16, 2015

John Churchman was sure he had violated it when, in early October, he dropped in unannounced at his local bookstore, the Flying Pig in Shelburne, Vt., with copies of the picture book he had recently published with his wife, Jennifer.

“I’m sure they were thinking, ‘How fast can we get this guy to leave?’ ” Churchman admits. But as he showed the book to store co-owner Elizabeth Bluemle, an eavesdropping customer said she’d buy a copy. Bluemle pulled over another store browser to take a look. That customer bought a copy, too. Bluemle was sold: she told Churchman she’d take another eight for her shelves.

Little did Churchman, a photographer who runs a “picture farm” (more on that later), know just how serendipitous a sale he’d made. Bluemle was so impressed with The SheepOver that she told the Churchmans she’d like to write a blog post about it. “We thought, ‘That is so nice. Of course,’ ” said Jennifer Churchman. “We thought she meant she was going to write about it in the newsletter she writes for the store.”

Instead, Bluemle, a contributor to PW’s ShelfTalker blog, wrote a post about what set the Churchmans’ book apart from many other self-published titles: the beautifully crafted photo-illustrations, the textured backgrounds, the extremely expressive animals, the heartwarming story of one animal coming to the rescue of another.

Bluemle’s blog post, published on October 2, almost instantly made the Churchmans a highly sought-after creative team. Multiple agents contacted them, wondering if they had considered shopping their book to a mainstream publisher. The first to reach them, however, was Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Read the rest of this illuminating article HERE.

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