I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them



In general, the publishers sell at a discount rate of about 50%. So B&N pays $12.50 for a 25.00 hardcover. Sometimes the discount is higher - but in those cases they'll give the book special placement (like a table at the front of the store). This is what's know an "co-op fees" another way to pay co-op fees is to pay a extra 's rather than a higher discount.

Most self-published books aren’t in bookstores. Many reasons for this - most notably they have too many books from big publishers that they can’t fit. But also because most self-published authors use Print-on-Demand which means the books are printed as they are ordered. This type of printing requires the books to be paid before shipped, and bookstores don’t buy books “up front” they sell them on consignment which means the publihsers give them xx books - and after yy time the ones that haven’t sold can be returned “for credit.”

Bookstore shelving is PREMIUM space. Think of it as movies released in theaters vs those that go “direct to CD.” If a book doesn’t sell well, or is from an author that hasn’t sold well in the past, or the bookstore doesn’t think will sell well, it gets no in-store shelf space.


Hello Michael

Thank you very much for the reply, it’s nice to get an insight into the b̶r̶u̶t̶a̶l̶ industry.

It’s much appreciated! I feel like the transparency from publishing houses and agents are very limited!


Hey I’m currently editing and working on the sequel of it (It’s only a 2 part series O.O.) but once the general editing is done and will be looking for a lit agent, will I have to just show part 1’s protagonist before she dies at the end of book 1, or can I put both down in the query, cover letter, etc. ?


Way off topic, but I always wonder about the Oscar for Best Editing. Don’t the voters only see the final product?


Focus on book one in the initial query.


Yes, but the Oscars are voted on by industry insiders. They know what rough cuts look like, and they’ve likely all experienced poor editing – and good editing – in their careers. I expect they know what the editor had his hands in.


How do you offer your novella for free on KDP?


If in KDP you can only have it free for 5 days in 90. To get it “permafree” it has to have “wide” distribution and then you make it free on a site like Apple, and then get Amazon to “price match” to the zero price. They have a button for “report a lower price” but usually their “bots” will find it even without you prodding them.


Usually you query a single book - and mention you have plans for a series of xx titles. The book you query has to be self-contained. So keep that in mind when deciding where the death occurs.


That’s a different kind of editing - generally looking a what how the scenes are cut together. Whether the shot is on the person talking or the person listening. The director may take a TON of footage but the editor (often working with the director) whittles it down to a concise experience. Plus they’ve been around the block a few times and know the amount of film that is generated and the talent it takes to decide exactly which angles to keep and which to throw away.


That’s the way I knew, but I wanted it to be in KU as well so there’s nothing to price match to. Oh well, I guess I can make it $0.99. I don’t care if people buy it. It’s a story to whet people’s appetite about the MC so they buy the series of novels.



Ok, thanks.


Yes if you stay in KU you can’t do the “perma free” thing - but you can make it free for 5 days in 90.


Agreed, it’s better if you can directly compare before and after.


And JUST as importantly, to see what they do to YOUR work. A small sample of 3 - 5 pages is usually something editors will look at as part of the hiring process.


An obvious difference between book editing and film editing is that book editing can be invisible, whereas with film editing, you know when the editor made a decision, because the picture changes. (There is a school of thought that says good film editing is invisible - if it’s done really well, you don’t notice it.)

As XimeraGrey says, the people who vote for the Oscars are industry insiders, so they know what sort of difference a good editor can make. They sometimes see rough cuts of the films they might be voting on later, and gossip gets around about how well (or badly) someone’s new film is going.

It’s not unheard-of for a film to be “rescued” in the cutting room from an inexperienced or self-indulgent director. The assault on the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV (A New Hope) originally had the rebels finding the Death Star in the middle of nowhere and pre-emptively blowing it up. But that made the rebels seem too aggressive and unsympathetic, so someone (I forget who, exactly) decided to change it so that the Death Star had found the rebel base and was about to destroy it. So the rebels were now acting in self-defence. But there was no money left to shoot any new film, so the changes had to be done with clever editing and voice-overs. If you watch that sequence carefully, you’ll see that any dialogue about where the Death Star is in relation to the rebel base, or how long they’ve got before it’s able to attack, is spoken by someone off-screen. It’s not obvious when you’re watching just to enjoy the story, because a lot of the dialogue is off-screen anyway.


I did not know that about Star Wars. I’ll definitely look closely the next time I see it.


There’s this YouTube “video essay” about the more significant changes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFMyMxMYDNk


Here’s a concept: You have a visual idea for the format of your book and the beginning stages of a manuscript - how do you know what writing style will pull in readers and, more specifically, how do you grab the interest of a potential publisher? What are the preliminary stages like of pitching your book and organizing a team (editor/publisher/proofreader/whoever) around said book? How many “no’s” do you often have to go through before receiving a yes? Also, are there any preferences towards individuals with built/thorough careers? How competitive is the writing world?


The writing style is essentially your “voice” - you don’t decide what it’s going to be - it just is. In other words you don’t write your story to fit a given voice you find your voice and that is how your story is told. Will your voice be compelling and attract readers and/or a publisher? Shrug - who knows. All you can do is write the book your heart tells you to…whether it finds an audience is something you can’t control.

I’m not sure who said it and I no I’m misremembering it but there is a quote that goes like this: " “I’d rather write a book with my voice and have no audience than a book that has an audience but not my voice.”

  • Step 1 - write the book
  • Step 2 - edit the book
  • Step 3 - find critique partners to give you feedback
  • Step 4 - edit the book
  • Step 5 - find beta readers to give you feedbakc
  • Step 6 - edit the book
  • Step 7 - polish the book
  • Step 8 - write a query letter, research agents, start submitting

[quote=“RainbowxBuffalo, post:702, topic:2557, full:true”]
How many “no’s” do you often have to go through before receiving a yes?

I’d say 100 - 200.

I don’t know what that is.

Extremely. I’d say 1% - 2% of the queries submitted to agents get representation. I’d say 40% of the books with representation find a publisher. I’d say 20% of the books published go on to make what i would consider a successful amount of money $20,000. If you are talking good money ($100,000) you are probably talking 5% So to make $20,000 your chances are .08% to .16%. To make $100,000 it’s 0.02% - 0.04%.