LiteraryArchitects

Literary Architects, LLC works with authors to combine the quality and standards of traditional publishing with the flexibility and control of self-publishing. Literary Architects' publishing professionals specialize in selecting and partnering with committed authors to produce trade-quality books, consulting with authors to plan and execute custom sales and marketing strategies, and providing authors with fulfillment and distribution of their books.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Blogfest

While we're adding blogs, here are a few more:

The Long Tail: Everyone is talking about The Long Tail. With a book coming in the fall, here's the blog that started it all. Development of customized products with great customer service targeting niche markets is something near and dear to our little company's heart. And imagine, it's all a part of the long tail.

Bob Bly's Blog: Robert Bly is a well known author, marketer, copywriter, and while I haven't worked with him directly in the past, my former group published a couple of his books. His blog is an educated resource for general marketing tips and techniques for anyone with their books in the marketplace.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Welcome to Another Blog

We sent out our quarterly Friends and Family update this morning and I got to hear from some great folks I haven't heard from in a while. One of them, author and editor, Terry Whalin sent a note to say "hello" and asked us to check out his blog. What a plesant surprise! The Writing Life is terrific! Nice work, Terry!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Face Time in Chicago

I had a great drive up to Chicago last week to see a couple of new, prospective authors. In corporate America, we very rarely had budgets for travel and when we did, I had no time. So, over the years, I learned to live without face time, but I can honestly say now that I've met more authors face-to-face in the past year than I have in the past five years.

It was a great meeting and a chance to not only communicate via a long distance call, but a chance to really see expressions and body language and workspaces and more. It's always worth it!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Important is an Author's Platform? Critically.

I've been talking to a lot of authors lately about "platform". Many don't understand it, recognize its importance, or have a clue how to create it. I know it's frustrating as an author to be turned away by every agent and publisher you talk to, but when they say "You don't have a platform," it's time to think about how to come up with a solution.

What is your platform? Your platform is who you are in relation to your topic. How much of an expert are you? If you're offering your readers a solution to a problem (or giving them a treatise on your topic of choice), your platform is what makes you a reliable source. Do you have training in the field or industry? Are you an "expert"? Do you have experience other than just "I did it and want to help others do it, too"? Do you have a following? Do you speak? Do you blog? Do you have a website? Do you have readers for a newsletter, or hits on a web site, or great quotes from names who say "this person is terrific! Read what they have to say!" Your platform is your base of credentials. It's your credibility on a topic. It's your position in the industry, your company, your topic. It's any related certifications, degrees, speaking experience, work, or involvement. What difference does it make to the success of your book? All in the world.

Can you create a platform for yourself? Of course. But only you can do it -- no one else. A publisher can create a great book for you, but they can't create a market for it out of thin air. If you have no platform, we won't be able to find a way for your readers to understand why they should pick up *your* book. If readers can't understand who you are and what your connection to the topic is very clearly, they can't understand your perspective on your book. Lack of significant platform is probably one of the top reasons manuscripts are rejected by any kind of house that's selective about what they publish.

So how does one create a platform? Become an expert, get certified, take classes, become known and credible in the community based around your topic, create a website, start a blog, speak, volunteer, teach, lecture, travel, network, get to know everyone of importance in the world of your topic area and have them know you. If you publish with a traditional house, your publisher is going to want to know who you are within the context of your topic. (If they don't care, then you have a whole other problem.) Be creative about yourself and where you fit! Have fun and become passionate about your topic. You'll have your platform built before you know it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

From you to your website to MP3s to my iPOD

I get it. I so get podcasts. Tonight, after yoga, I asked my instructor when she'd have her website up. She's a step ahead of me. They're already working on MP3s. It's purely selfish on my part. I just want a recording of her talking through the relaxation that I can download and burn to a CD to use at home.

Done right, ancillary content can really work for your book. Downloadable supplemental articles, teacher manuals, audio files, podcasts, pronunciation guides, discussion questions all work for me. Keep you readers coming to you. It will be perfect if she ever does a book on yoga. She'll have a built in audience to her website ready to go!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dan Brown Wins Case

Sky News is reporting that Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, has won his case in England against the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. At stake was not a simple plagiarism issue, but a potential precedent-setting decision that could affect many authors of historical fiction based on supposed or speculative history. More from Sky and more on the case from NPR.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Research Research Research

As an editor, some days it feels like I do nothing but research. On authors, their markets, their books -- it's all research. We're constantly looking at competing titles, shelving requirements, category overviews, market data, trending reports, growth numbers, and more. Why? Well, publishing is guess work. No one really knows what's going to succeed or fail in the marketing place. All we can do is try to make as educated a guess as possible -- then do everything we can to support the book in its journey. Sounds a little like parenting when you put it that way. (I guess all my analogies about finishing the book being like giving birth aren't completely off.)

The other night I spoke to a group of non-fiction writers and had to remind myself to explain research and why it's important. To the uninitiated, it's hard to understand that you don't just write a book and throw it out into the world. Writers need to know their section, genre, topic, and niche. They need to know who's doing great work and who they like. First thing? Know your space. Where is your book going to go in the bookstore? If you can't figure it out, chances are an editor isn't going to be able to either. Get familiar with bookstores. Know where your section is in Borders and Barnes and Noble. (Hint: the sections aren't the same. Some books fall in different categories at one or the other.)

Know what books are shelved and what appears to be selling. Who's popular? If you're a self-help author, you can't help but know Dr. Phil is popular! What format is most common for books in your section? Softcover? Hard cover? Mass market? Get to know what's on the store shelf versus what's out there on Amazon. Then figure out where you fit.

Know your competition, and know who's doing great work in your category. Zero in on the top factor your book will need to succeed. If you're doing non-fiction travel narratives, understand that these books shelve in the travel section (usually) and their success hinges on great writing (usually). Who do you like? Peter Mayle? Francis Mayes? If you know, you'll increase your chances for being successful. Until you do your research, you don't really know what you've got. In order to explain your book to me, you need to know how it fits in context with other books on the topic. I don't necessarily care if the book directly competes with Suze Orman or not. I do care if you don't know.

Books can be daunting. It seems like it can be discouraging. But the best way to face a large project is to tackle it in small pieces, and doing your research can help you have a better idea of where you stand -- and where you know you can fit in!