Monthly Archives: August 2012

Playing Publisher, Agent, Publicist

The book is written. Many sleepless nights have gone into the masterpiece, many readers have given their feedback, and a release date has been set. Now the entirely agonizing part of the entire process, publication.

The fun (fun used almost sarcastically here) is doing hours of research to ensure I don’t miss a single integral process in the entire bout of publishing. Had I managed to have an agent most, if not all, of the process would be covered. I could sit back and wait for requests for verification on page proofs, story flow, accept editor’s feedback and only tweak the novel minutely upon the agents request. Currently I have submitted myself to a flow of multiple projects at one time in the light of one major project, my publication. There are many major points that I have to ensure to hit, all of which could make or break my books chances at success. I took the liberty at compiling a brief list of these chores which I will undoubtedly have to accomplish.

Get the Book Edited

One item that had gone through without major attention to detail with my past projects. Though I had a publisher to take care of these things, it was at best; sad. Realizing that not only is my grammar terrible, but punctuation fails almost to a fault. There would be no possible way for me to go through the entire contents of two-hundred fifty pages and catch all the most glaring mistakes let alone the little technicalities. With that I have researched many editors, some charging upwards of $1,000 for a 90,000 word novel! I was lucky to find one who would only charge a minimal fee! Now I just have to scrape the barrel to get even that for her.

Pre-Publication Reviews

A most vital and important step in the process of rolling out a book. This involves knowing this book is in it’s final stages and in near pristine condition before sending it off for Magazines, Newspapers, and Reviewers to determine my fate. If two or more magazines who published a review were not favorable, chances are the book would sink before it even had a chance. Believing in my work this is something I am more than willing to take on. But with that are more interesting things.

Typesetting

Any novice to publishing would easily look this over. They believe all they have to do is convert a word document into a pdf and voila! That assumption is terribly wrong and will undoubtedly turn a tale of amazing talent and artistry into a slushpile inhabitant. Simply opening a book to the first page or two will tell any publishing industry insider whether it had a professional do the work. No worries, most typesetting jobs will only set you back roughly $800 (or maybe $5 a page).

Advanced Reader Copies

These little buggers are a ton of fun! Almost all magazines and reviewers have different terms and submission requirements for these copies. Some say it must be a mock up with ARC written on the back cover with a fact page including word count, page count, ISBN, distribution centers, publisher information. While others ask it be an in-tact book autographed by the author (They usually assure you that the book won’t be sold as it’s against their policy), and that this is a courtesy to someone willing to take time out of their lives to review your work (Fair, I say). So for the ARC’s not only is it best to have the book in the best condition it can be in (I would hope a few edits have already been done, typesetting somewhat apparent, and cover design set), but it should be sent out to the reviewer 4-6 months prior to the month of publication.

So now the Pre-publication work is done (somewhat) as the publisher, now on to Publicist!

Find Shelf Space

This is the main hurdle, and many of the items listed following this all help to gain that much needed shelf space. The point being most books have a month AT BEST to sell. If not, they are returned. And don’t think a book store will stock your book without a book return policy in place. This is only the mom and pop stores! Trying to get into B&N and Borders is something similar to a battle between David and Goliath.

Research and set up Radio Interviews

Having a target market helps to get this part in play, but still nothing can quell the magnitude of listing the hundreds of talk radio shows out there for the contact. Best part, I’m pushing my own book! Nothing worse than saying “Hi! Have you heard of the amazing new book written by none other than me!!!!” Something is just off about it. I like to stick with emails, but I have a feeling if I had a good pitch letter drawn up I might be able to call some stations and cement time blocks rather than sending electronic mail into the abyss of the internet. Even when I do find a station, I have to find an angle relative to the listeners and style of show they have set up to ensure I not only sound informed, but also don’t kill the pitch of my book by sounding like a babbling idiot.

Press-Release

Another extremely important aspect of the process. Drawing up the words that will help to sell the book while informing of any upcoming events. As in, have my events planned out well in advance, and make sure I keep the facts straight for the press-release. Nothing worse than attempting to fix a spelling error in a press release once it’s already been sent to the printer! It’s also gotta pop, no sense in writing an awesome book if the Press-Release is gonna drool.

Research and Pitch Newspapers and Magazines

For post publication reviews or opportunities at an interview. The research alone is killer, add to it the drone work of writing a pitch letter to them why I would be so totally awesome for their interview is tricky. Anyone can toot their own horn, or you could pay someone to do it for you. Looks like this starving artist is gonna have to toot his own horn without making it seem that way.

So these are just some of the fun things I get to do wearing all the hats. Hopefully if it’s done right, this will be the last time I have to worry about all of this, and can just focus on my new novels, which I have about four new ones started already. I have to get busy with them, not all of this! But here’s to learning.

Thanks for reading!

Caleb A. Mertz

Derrick Handleman

Derrick Handleman, black hair formed perfectly into a wavy fohawk, stood in-front of the mirror adjusting his white bow tie situated comfortably upon his neck, settled on a white tailored dress shirt. The purposeful stubble shaped his angular jaw more so, than the cuts originally made by the god’s. Lite hazel eyes met his stare, as a reflection of his own when he

photo by: Ben Harding via flickr.com

finally became comfortable with the look he so diligently prepared. He stepped back. The shine of the black belt had to be slightly less than the shine on his shoes, which it was. The shirt had to snugly hold his body, embracing it’s v-shape, it did. His dress pants, silky and flowing, had to bulge slightly in the front, and caress his butt, flaunting its tightness, they certainly did. The right corner of his mouth raised slightly as he smiled confidently into the mirror, adjusting his cuffs.

The sound of a glass hitting the marble bar top caught his attention. Joelynn must have been done with her last-minute prepping. Derrick leaned back slightly to look out the door, sure enough through the colorful display of orchid’s he could see her sneakily reaching for the vodka on the top shelf which was center of an accent light. The bottle was deserving of it’s display light as the bottle cost around $150.

Joelynn brought the glass with her onto the step-ladder. Setting it upon a shelf slightly below her breasts, she then reached for the bottle, and slowly took off the crystal decanter style top. She whispered something to herself. Convinced he could easily scare her if he yelled, or snuck up to her, his smile only broadened. He’d wait till the bottle was safely back in its display, and then he’d make the call. She poured the silver liquid into the glass, replaced the cap and set the bottle back, then moved it slightly to the right. She then turned the bottle slightly, twisted the cap, moved it left again, “shit!” She said.

“Yep, you’ll never get it,” Derrick called from his room.

“Shit!” She said now bending over in laughter on the step stool. Her laugh was loud, bubbly, and contagious, “o, no!” She laughed again.

“I saw ya,” Derrick smiled leaving the room and walking over the threads of the pristine carpeting.

“You caught me!” She smiled, then, “you wanna shot? Since I’m up here.”

“No, you know I’m a scotch guy,” he said walking into the bar area of his high-rise suite. The marble bar top rounded the lounge area, which then extended outside to a large patio with fire pit. Three orchids, accentuated by recessed lights adorned the left flank of the bar offering splashes of color against the black and stainless steel kitchen. Glenfiddich would do as it should before the party. The subtle smokiness would zing his lips and pucker his desire for more golden nectar of the ancient bards.

“What are you doing?” He laughed at Joelynn. The first shot must not have been enough as she now tipped the bottle into her shot glass once more.

“Sorry,” she said laughing as she put the bottle back, this time with less effort to situate it perfectly. “Cheers!”

“I hate that you treat it like a shot, rather than enjoying its subtleties.”

“It’s vodka,” she said clinking her glass against his and throwing it back. Her hair, which was currently nicely up and in a bun, was curly and voluminous, and it loved bouncing around at its every opportunity.

Derrick looked out his floor to ceiling windows across to san diego bay. A few lights blipped upon the water of small boats surely full of college kids embarking upon a night of boozing and sex. Drinking and sex, not exactly the worst idea of a night out, rather quite exciting.

“Don’t worry,” Joelynn said now coming up next to him, looking out over the bay as well, “we’ll find you a man.”

“Not quite what I was thinking,” he began. Then he saw the drink she had prepared. “Joelynn! When did you make that drink?”

“Just now,” she laughed, placing the straw into her lips and gulping it down.

“Lord, fish outta water.” Derrick laughed with her. Tonight would be a good night, not just anyone got a personal invite to a Details magazine party. Other celebrities would be there, and fashion icons, and article writers that reveled in the celebrities life. Yet, chances were better that the man Derrick searched for wouldn’t be there this night or any other night, he didn’t know what he was looking for, but it wouldn’t be there.