Guest Post: 5 Most Asked Questions from Authors - Karen Bultiauw

Hello lovely readers!

I’m so delighted to be able to support Zoe in her 24 Hour Readathon – holy guacamole I think I would not be able to make that, I need TONS of sleep!

Chatting about what the topic of my blog post would be Zoe mentioned that the whole publishing process is a bit of mystery to her. And then it came to me: it was for a lot of the authors I worked with as well! Working for a small independent publisher the realities of budget and the limits of manpower were often a large part of my conversation with authors. The reason everyone knows about those six-figure, multi book deals is because they’re RARE.

So please find below the 5 most-asked questions and my rather brutally honest answers…

Also: please remember that none of this implies that any of my authors are stupid. Quite the contrary and all of them are incredibly lovely and awesome. There’s just SO MUCH to research when it comes to everything to do with publishing that there’s just no time to know everything. I also feel that a lot of these questions often come through family/friends who talk about aforementioned six-figure deals and put a lot of pressure on authors.

Can my book get an ad on the tube?
Short answer: no. Long, slightly politer answer: we don’t have the budget for that unfortunately and we’re not one of the big five publishers (and even they have their limits).

My book came out a year ago and my sales have dropped. What do I do?
Write another book. Seriously. Best advice I’ve given while working at a publishing house. Think about it: writing another book will mean that you have another stream of income plus during the run-on to the release of your new book it’s the ideal time to remind people of your first book – just in case they haven’t read it yet.

Can you submit my book for the Man Booker Prize?
Short answer: no. Seriously, the amount of authors that ask to be nominated for prizes – especially the big kahunas – is immense. They also usually don’t look at the kind of literary books that get shortlisted/win and don’t realize that their book is just not literary enough. Doesn’t make them bad books, just makes them inappropriate to submit.

Also the £5k fee to pay for publicity if the book gets shortlisted and another £5k if the book wins is usually a problem for many publishers…

Why is my book not in every single Waterstones/WHSmith/independent bookshop on the planet?
The struggle for small publishers to get stocked in bookshops is REAL. Even with excellent distribution and a fabulous sales team it’s hard. However because of the aforementioned distribution all our books can be ordered through bookshops but that’s not as fun as walking in a store and seeing it just there on a table or on the shelf of course…

Why are none of the national newspapers reviewing my book?
Okay. This has been one of those questions which is incredibly frustrating because, well, as a publicist I would love every single one of my authors getting featured in every single media outlet of their choosing. However, there are a LOT of books being published every single week. A LOT of them get submitted to all the same book desks at the major newspapers. Only a very tiny amount of them get reviewed because otherwise the newspapers would be nothing but book reviews (I mean, that would be my ideal world but I’m not Queen of the Universe just yet… shame).

I do wish that the general public would realise this because I feel often that it’s because well-meaning aunties and uncles are like: “So when is your review in – add newspaper
of choice – coming out?” So many authors feel like a review like that ads legitimacy to their author status.

So what do I do? I get them to connect with readers and bloggers. The people they wanted to really reach in the first place when they were writing the book. Their (as I call them) best cheerleaders. And long may you all reign ;)

BIO: Karen Bultiauw is a freelance book publicist and you can find her here.

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