Believe It Will Find the Right Reader

So, your book is published. Now, the fame, and the money, and the adulation just start rolling in, right?

Every author out there is shaking their heads, chuckling in disbelief.

Um, nope.

Even with the marketing muscle and connections of a big publishing house or with the maniacally incessant postings of a social media savant, 98% of authors never sell more than 5000 copies of their books.

That doesn’t leave a lot of fame, money, or adulation to go around.

So, what’s the point?

Most authors won’t ever write to get rich (I mean, try as they might, it very rarely turns out that way). Thus, authors have to view it all a different way.

Hopefully, an author got something from the process of writing and publishing of a book. Maybe satisfaction. Maybe challenge. Hopefully, enjoyment. But fame, money, and adulation? Um, nope.

So, take that as a win. You did something as best you could, and you shared your knowledge, or your thoughts, or your imagination.

The authors at Trenton House Publishing don’t harbor the illusion of mass-scale, commercial success, but they have achieved something of which most of them never dreamed: a way to share their stories.

And each author is told that even if the fame, the money, and the adulation never come their way, rest in the belief that that particular book–the one that holds the author’s thoughts and dreams–will make it into the hands of the right reader; someone who needed to hear those particular thoughts; someone who needed to revel in that particular story.

And, if the author believes it–really believes it–that comforting and hopeful belief can wonderfully fill the space they once held open for the fame, the money, and the adulation.

And that’s really the point, isn’t it?

A process for manifesting your dreams

Marla McKenna’s Manifesting Your Dreams on Amazon

What Does it Take to Get Published?

A great idea isn’t enough to get something published.

There has to be an interesting situation (or, better yet, lots of them). There has to be a cast of characters that are relatable or intriguing (or, better yet, both). Your words have to make a reader gasp, or giggle, or reflect, or cry.

Most importantly, your writing has to have heart.

Yeah. Heart.

When an aspiring author submits a manuscript, it’s nice if they know the mechanics of a book–a narrative arc, character development. To be honest, without those, a publisher (or a reader) most likely wouldn’t give that writing a second look.

But there are things an author can revise. They can develop further a character, or be more precise about word choice. They can look to make the book better mechanically. A publishing team makes a wonderful partner in that process.

So, before you submit your manuscript, please make sure it’s been proofread and revised so it’s the most interesting, best book it can be.

Oh, and make sure it offers a great idea.

But you better make sure it has heart.

agents and publishing

Publishing is the goal of many writers. The chance to forever have one’s words immortalized in print, the opportunity to share one’s ideas, one’s stories with the world, is often thought of as the pinnacle in the life of a writer. To become an author.

So, how does that happen?

Well, as you know, it doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of effort and hard work. And, to be honest, some luck, as well.

We met with Tom, a promising writer, this week. His already-published book about a Wisconsin deer hunt places the reader in the crisp air of a Wisconsin winter, the fragrant wood burning hot in the woodstove. Really a solid story with a remarkable sense of place.

So, why wasn’t it selling?

We discussed some realities of the publishing world. The first one being that 98% of published books never sell more than 5000 copies. Ever. Most sell far, far less than that. His publisher was small (as is, presently, trenton house publishing), which most often equates to getting a book published, and you’re pretty much on your own. Some basic marketing is done, yes, but the reach of such a publisher isn’t vast, its connections neither deep.

So, we talked about querying an agent. Years ago, writers could present their works directly to publishers. Now, however, with everyone in the world seemingly with a blog or a laptop, publishers, out of necessity, have to be more choosy. An agent, then, acts as a gatekeeper, of sorts, the first hurdle to clear in the hopes of landing a big publishing house. If you are able to secure an agent, it’s primarily up to them to get you published, and subsequently marketed.

So, how does someone get an agent?

Writing a solid query is key. There are numerous guides to do so available on the web. The queries noticed include 1) a hook; 2) a compelling summary; 3) your bio and credentials. Make sure it’s to the point and includes a variety ways to reach you (even including social media, if appropriate).

Research agents. Do a search for literary agents accepting submissions. Check out print sources (such as the Writer’s Market franchise that now includes a guide to agents). Find one, or as many as possible, actually, that seem like a good fit for your work. Then send out your query. Always make sure to follow requests: i.e., if it asks for “QUERY” in the subject line, if it asks for a couple pages of the manuscript. Don’t give the agent a reason to reject your work before they even see it.

And don’t get discouraged. There are a lot of writers out there doing the same thing. The key is to do it better, more persistently, and with the belief that you’ve made your manuscript the best it can be and that now it’s time to share it with the world.



Some resources for query letters and agents:

How To Write A Query Letter That Works (Step-By-Step) (scribemedia.com)

How to Write a Darn Good Query Letter | NY Book Editors (good info, but most queries are now done electronically)

108 Literary Agents Accepting Submissions [LIST] – ARDOR (ardorlitmag.com)

686 Best Literary Agents Seeking Submissions in 2021 | Reedsy