As a publishing industry professional, I’m often asked, “How do I get published?” Here’s my second post on what you can do now to help your chances of getting out of the slush pile and into the bookstores. This is focused on how to be published with traditional publishers, but these tips will help you with self-publishing too.
“How Do I Get Published?” See Your Name in Print #2:
Prove That Your Book Has Sales Potential
One way to convince a publisher to publish your book right now is to have solid data showing that there is an interest in buying it. The way most writers approach this is through tip #1, Establish Yourself As An Expert, but it’s not the only way. The way we’re looking at today is showing how similar books sold well.
Smart publishers will look at how well comps (industry term for competing titles in the same category) have done. A perfect pitch would mention one or two books on the same subject that have sold well. If the publisher can’t find comps that cover the same topic, they try to bring up several books that cover similar themes. In addition to comps with poor sales, a red flag is if there are fifty comps (too much competition) or if the big sellers have some exciting extra characteristic, like they’re written by a celebrity.
It is perhaps odd for me to write a eulogy for Kathi Kamen Goldmark because in truth I barely knew her. I can say this: she always volunteered to speak or answer questions for the NCBPMA, and because of her friendliness and approachability she was one of the first local producers I knew by name. She was one of those vivacious people that seems to be everywhere, and always smiling to boot. Being a producer is a tough job, and yet she never hesitated to answer a question or offer an explanation about why a certain guest would or wouldn’t be a fit for her show. She somehow managed to do this job while writing books and performing in the literary group the Rock Bottom Remainders.
As I’ve embarked on this journey in the Bay Area publishing world, I always imagined the day when Kathi and I would be friends. Not because she was some milestone of important authors (though she was!) but because she had that kind of warmth that made me think I could do this, that the writing and publishing scene isn’t a clique, but a community.
In the coming weeks there will be numerous posts from people who knew her well, that will explain better than I ever can why the loss of this luminary light will affect the Bay Area forever. I only wish to contribute this to make it known how many lives she touched, even among her acquaintances. It breaks my heart to know that I will never be able to tell her what a role model she was for me, and for so many others. But perhaps if you are reading this now, it will remind you of all the lives you may touch, and the special place you may find if you keep following your dreams. A space that is all your own—like Kathi, whose presence in the literary world is irreplaceable. Kathi Kamen Goldmark, you are missed.
If you were born in the 80s or any time thereafter, you probably loved Where the Wild Things Are when you were a child. Which means today is a sad day for you. Did you know Maurice Sendak was gay? And snarky? Is the “Wild Rumpus” a euphemism for sex? Check out this interview Stephen Colbert did with Maurice Sendak.