Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, July 6, 2009

Guest Blog Week: Book Sales Demystified

by Eric

I’ve followed Nathan’s blog for close to two years now, and he has done an admirable—nay, outstanding—job of outlining, explaining, reiterating, and overall demystifying the somewhat byzantine method by which manuscripts (produced by you, the author) are acquired, auctioned, sold, &c, and eventually transformed into finished books (purchased by you, the consumer). So first of all, thank you, Nathan, for all you’ve done to make this business a little clearer to the rest of us.

The very last stage of this process, though—the sale of books from publisher to book store to consumer—isn’t really the focus of the blog, and so has received relatively little treatment so far. With Nathan’s permission, I’d like to shed a little light on this last leg of a book’s journey.

I work as a sales assistant at a major trade book publisher (feel free to insert your favorite name here: Penguin, Random House, HarperCollins, &c), which means that my job mostly involves 1.) preparing sales materials for the sales reps who sell the books to a given account, and 2.) keeping track of the promotions we run at said account. Since the account I work on is a national chain (e.g. Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million), this is a fairly involved process. How does this affect your book once it’s already survived the gauntlet of critique group, literary agent, and editor?

First, the sales materials. Each book that we publish is grouped according to its on-sale date, usually by month but occasionally by span. (There are three spans: Spring, Summer, and Fall.) Within a certain month or span, different sales reps are responsible for selling different subsets of books to the account (for example, the two reps for whom I work divide the list of one imprint; one sells the hardcovers, the other sells the trade paperbacks and mass-markets). For each title in a subset, it’s my job to create a sales kit. My sales kits generally consist of:

- A cover sheet, unique to the account, that breaks out basic information (author, title, ISBN, &c) and provides the book’s subject code, which determines which buyer at the account is responsible for it and what section of the store the book will eventually live in. Each buyer usually specializes in just a couple of genres/categories.
- A kind of “fact sheet” that summarizes all the important information about the book: title, author, ISBN, &c, as well as marketing information, quotes/blurbs, copy, and “comp” information. Alas, yes, your book will be “comped” to a previously published title—either your last book, if you wrote one, or a book that is similar in content, format, and span/on-sale month, if you didn’t—and the comp’s sales figures factor into the account’s initial buy.
- A full-color copy of the book’s cover.
- Any other promotional materials (additional praise/quotes/blurbs, sell sheets, &c) that may be useful.

The sales reps then meet periodically with the buyers at their account and “pitch” them each title. (You thought the pitch was over with the editor’s acquisition. You were wrong.) These meetings are referred to as “selling in” or “sales calls” and they are the meetings at which initial orders are decided. Simply put, the initial order is the number of copies the account’s buyer wants to purchase in time for the on-sale date; any later orders are considered reorders and are used to replenish stock when it runs low. The sales kits are essential to these meetings—the rep uses them to get the buyers excited and to push them to order quantities that are in line with the publisher’s expectations. This generally involves convincing buyers (via cover images, sales data, praise and quotes from famous critics or authors, &c) to purchase more copies than they otherwise would.

So let’s say your book, I AM PRETTY AWESOME, a literary memoir, gets a 2,000-copy buy at a given account. Not bad! Your previous book, I GUESS I’M OKAY, sold 1,500 copies in its first four weeks and has experienced 80% life-to-date sell-through. (Sell-through is the percentage of books an account sells compared to how many it bought.) Not only that, but a couple of big-time authors have come out to praise it and it got a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. Both the rep and the buyer are confident that 2,000 is a good number based on this information.

After the sales call, the reps will either enter the orders into our computers themselves or ask me to do it. At this point, the order quantity is called an estimate, since we estimate this is how many copies of each title the account will initially order. (Keep in mind that we tend to sell books to our accounts about five months before they go on sale, so it’s possible substantial changes can occur to the order quantity between the sales call and the placement of the actual initial order.) Once the order comes in, it is compared to the estimate, any discrepancies are worked out between the publisher and the account, and the books are shipped in time for their release date.

In summary: sales of your previous books, sales of “comp” titles, your platform as an author (as described on the fact sheets), the book’s cover, the current economic climate, events in the news, &c all contribute to how many copies of your book a given account will buy. If you’re lucky—either because you’re a big shot or because you happened to write a book about the life and times of Michael Jackson a few months back—the orders for your book could be HUGE, say, 10,000 copies. This will qualify your title for promotion, e.g. placement on that magical table at the front of the store, and so brings us to the second half of my job: promotion, through a system we call co-op.

Co-op, in short, is the process by which we work with an account to determine which of our titles get special treatment: placement at the front of the store, on endcaps, in special displays, &c. The account is paid for running these promotions for a set amount of time, either flat amounts or a certain amount of money per book. Any time you see a title on a major front-of-store display, it’s because that book’s publisher paid the account for the promotion. Stephenie Meyer doesn’t magically get her own table, and those “New Release” tables aren’t populated by the store staff’s personal favorites. The publisher and the account agree on time tables, promotions, and monetary reimbursement, and the account is paid upon completion of those promotions.

Of note: co-op is formalized through a legally binding contract process, so it’s not treated lightly by either the publisher or the account. Once the deal is inked, titles are promoted, and once they’re promoted, the account is paid.

Your next question, I imagine, is probably something along the lines of “holy hell, how do I make sure my book gets co-op? How can I help decide which titles it’s comped to?”

Alas, I’m afraid the answer is: you can’t. The vast majority of titles go to their section (science fiction, literary fiction, biography, &c) at on-sale, and the Grishams, Meyers, and Evanovichs receive co-op. To be sure, they’re not the only ones; new authors do get co-op for their titles. It’s relatively rare, though, so don’t be disappointed if your book isn’t front-of-store come release day, especially if it’s your first one.

I hope I’ve helped dispel at least some of the mystery surrounding book sales without dismaying too many of you—the business side of publishing can seem remarkably dispassionate compared to the creative side. Please leave any questions you have in the comments, and I’ll try to answer as best I can.






176 comments:

Mira said...

Eric, wow.

This is so much information - and so helpful! Awesome - I hope Nathan adds this to the writing advice database....or well, somewhere.

I do have a question. You said that you're involved in 'pitching' books to buyers, in order to get them to buy more copies.

What works best? What tactics tend to influence a book store to make a larger order?

Thanks for all the information, I can totally see why Nathan selected you out of the 250!

Jessie said...

Very informative.

Do you like your job?

Rhonda said...

Thanks. I've actually wondered about all of that. I think maybe if I admitted that to most people I would be placed in the "nerds" section of the bookstore though.

Meg Spencer said...

Interesting post - nice pick Nathan! As a former employee at a small town independent bookstore (sadly now out of business) it's interesting seeing how the process is different at the big chains. In addition to the owner we had one full time employee and three or four part timers, including myself. Our new displays worked much more like people probably imagine (ie. ooh, that looks cool, hey boss, can we put it up front?). It's not surprising that at a place like B&N this would be big business. I wonder, do coop agreements go down to the level of what books end up face out on shelves or on shelf ends?

Maya / מיה said...

Great post! This is kind of discouraging... with so many people pitching a book in any sale, it feels kind of remarkable that books ever get to the reader. (Btw, I think this also partly explains why the percentages that authors get of the profits on a book are so small... a LOT of people are involved in selling a book. And I don't say that with much bitterness... more like awe.) However, this was a really great demystification and reality check-- I think I'm starting to understand why getting on Oprah and the NY Times bestseller list might not be quite as easy as it seems. ;)

I have a question... do you have any idea if the first book by Stephanie Meyer (or insert another breakout other) was originally a promoted co-op, or did it start out back in the stacks? I guess my real question is whether books that aren't co-ops regularly/ever make it out of those back shelves.

Thanks for taking the time to write such a great post when you weren't even sure it would be used! Do you have a blog?

Victoria Dixon said...

This was so helpful and informative, Eric. Thank you! I plan on sending today's blog out to a lot of people!

Cynthia said...

Great post--thanks Eric.

Question: What formula or relationship determines co op dollars for a given title?

RW said...

You said that once bookstores are ordering a large # of books that "qualifies a book for promotion." That sounds like a discouraging Catch-22. I assume that publishers think the vast majority of the authors they've signed who don't get those big initial orders also qualify for promotion in some way.

Otherwise, I get the impression that there is some basis in reality for the reputation that publishers are getting for signing large numbers of writers they have no real commitment to and throwing it all at the wall to see what it sticks.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Eric, for this extremely informative post - which is both demystifying and dismaying. So, what you're saying is that we should try to make friends with you and/or your bosses... or did I miss something? :-)

Seriously, thank you for the insights. It's frightening, though helpful, to know that making it past the "gauntlet" of critiquers, agents, and editors is not the end of our heart-stopping work. I realize that, nowadays, authors are responsible for their own marketing and promotion - whether online or otherwise - but it's scary to think that big decisions (about covers, comparisons, etc.) are being made without an author's input. Guess we just have to hope that a sales rep is really excited about our title (even a debut one) and is willing to do everything in his/her power to push it to the buyers.

Bane of Anubis said...

Thanks Eric -- quite informative rundown.

Eric said...

Hi Mira--

While there's a veritable arsenal of sales tactics that can be employed, some of the more effective (in my opinion) are:

1. Promise of major publicity (e.g. Oprah)--of course, only if it's true. It's also great to have existing interest for a book that happens to be timely (such as Ian Halperin's forthcoming "Michael Jackson: The Last Days").

2. Telling the account that their competitors are taking much stronger positions (i.e. buying many more copies) than they are--again, only it that's true--so that the account buys more in order to maintain or increase market share.

3. Excellent sell-through of previous/comp titles, which relies on striking a balance between faithful comps and comps that have good sales figures.

Eric said...

Jessie--

Yes, I do. It can be frustrating at times, since my own tastes run toward literary fiction and sci-fi--neither of which sell as well as, for example, paranormal romance--and it's hard to see the books I love not making the kind of sales I think they deserve, but you've gotta give the people what they want.

Eric said...

Meg--

Yes, they do. Endcaps and in-section face-outs aren't as pricey or as common as front-of-store and BOGO (buy one, get one) table promotions, but they are very much a part of co-op.

Margaret Yang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

This is fantastic information Eric, thanks so much!!!

Kristin Laughtin said...

Interesting post, thanks! We all seem more worried about the getting-an-agent stage, but it's good to be at least somewhat informed of the process after you get the deal.

Eric said...

Hi Maya--

I don't know whether Stephenie Meyer's first book had co-op, but I'm willing to bet that it did. However, it's not uncommon for titles to move from their sections to FOS (front-of-store). This could happen if:

1. The author's title suddenly becomes hugely popular (either by word of mouth, i.e. the Rowling Effect, or due to events in the news that generate a lot of interest in the author, the book, or the book's general subject);

2. The author writes a second book that receives co-op, so the previous ("backlist") title is brought out with it;

3. The book's subject is seasonal (e.g. Christmas-themed titles going FOS in November).

Jessie said...

Thanks for your answer Eric. Although I am still curious. What do you like about it? Are you a writer as well?

Eric said...

Hi Cynthia--

I imagine it's different from house to house, but you might see something like:

$1.00/book for hardcovers;
$0.50/book for trade paperbacks;
$0.25/book for mass market editions.

Eric said...

Also, Maya--

Yes, I have a blog of sorts, but it doesn't pertain to my job and would be very boring for anyone other than me to read. I could, however, be persuaded to start a blog pertaining to book sales, if there were enough interest.

Kiersten said...

I had no idea about comp books. How...strangely terrifying. Thanks though, this was very interesting and helpful.

Lupina said...

Amazing what goes down in the life of a book! Now I understand why that bookstore manager got his undies in such a twist when I sneakily set the copies of my book face outward. I obviously had no co-op! Yes, I truly did that, I admit with red face. Now I know better.

Eric, thanks for the great info. Nathan, excellent choice for Monday, can't wait for Tuesday's.

Rick Daley said...

Ahhh...So this is why my entry did not get picked ;-)

Great post, this was useful insight into the "other side" of publishing.

Fresh Water Mermaids said...

Hey Eric!
Thank you for this most fascinating blog post.
You have opened up a window into that world.

Eric said...

Hi RW--

Sorry, I think I was unclear. The publisher formulates initial print runs and "pub goals"--estimates of how many copies it believes the account should buy--which are based on previous sales figures and various profit-and-loss analyses. The reps, therefore, already have an idea of what promotions they'll ask for when they go into their sales calls, assuming the account roughly agrees and buys enough copies--it's when the publisher and the account buyer(s) substantially disagree that promotions can get hairy.

Eric said...

Hi Laura--

Haha yes, well, being friends with me will get you something--not much, but something. Being friends with my boss(es) will get you slightly more.

The real power, though, if you want to know, lies with the buyers at the accounts. While they can be persuaded, nudged, cajoled, &c, their final decisions are what determine how many copies go to the account. If they're convinced it won't sell well, the initial will be low.

The theory is that if the book surprises them and goes viral via word-of-mouth, reviews, &c, they'll run out of stock and will have to place several reorders, thus setting the stage for a much larger initial when the author's next book comes around.

thoughtful1 said...

Thanks, Eric,

I submitted a manuscript to an online publishing organization which outlined its procedures and policies clearly. The manuscript passed round one and I had to decide if this was the way I wanted to go. The organization required assistance from the author on the business end of selling the book and asked for a commitment to travel to stores and market my book. I decided against this. Is this kind of a publishing organization legit? They have honored their policies and procedures and not contacted me with any pesky emails. Seemed legit, but not for me. What do you know about this?

nkrell said...

Wow. Thanks for all of the information. I can totally understand why Nathan picked you. This was very helpful and it sounds like you have an interesting job.

allegory19 said...

Just when you think you know all about publishing... you realize you don't know much at all.

Thanks Eric for the post. I'd definitely be interested in following a blog about book sales. Anything that helps me understand this crazy industry is a plus. I find it all really fascinating. You really know your stuff.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so what happens if an author's first book has had good sales and continues, a year and a half later, to sell well, but with the second book the sell-through thus far, due to the economy, hasn't been what they hoped. It's time to sell the buyer on a third book, coming out in 2010, which should appeal to fans of the first book

How much will the second book sales vs. the first book sales come into play as they make their decisions?

Margaret Yang said...

@thoughtful1, look up "author mill" on Wikipedia. It should answer your question.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Eric, I'm SO glad Nathan chose you. As an author, this gives me a behind-the-scenes peek of a part of the process I've always wondered about.

Thanks for the great information!!

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Good stuff, Eric...
When a book goes co-op, is that expense charged against author's royalty?

Haste yee back ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thank, Margaret.

Eric said...

Margaret--

Great answer. Beat me to it.

thoughtful1, while this particular case sounds like a vanity press to me, it's not unusual for authors to do a fair amount of self-promoting; for example, last month I accompanied one of our authors while he signed stock at some of the local stores.

Amanda J. said...

Wowzer. I learn something new every day!

This was a fantastic post, Eric. Thanks a bunch for writing it, I'm glad you got picked!

I know I'd definitely like to read more about the post-agent pre-publish process, even if it is a little daunting.

Thanks again for all the info!! :D

Eric said...

Hi Anonymous @1:24 PM--

Sales are compared year-to-year, but they're also compared to general sales and market trends for the current year. The short answer: I think most publishers and account buyers will be more apt to attribute the second book's less-than-stellar sales to the general economic climate, meaning that if they expect economic rebound in 2010, the third book's initial will be more in line with the first book's sales.

Keren David said...

I think Stephenie Meyer's agent had already sold the film rights before the first book was published. So that would help with orders and co ops I should think.
Thanks Eric for a really interesting post.

Eric said...

Hi Jessie--

I really enjoy working in the industry, and while I never would have pegged myself as a "numbers guy," I have to admit I like knowing, numerically, exactly how our books are doing in stores.

While I would eventually prefer a move to the agenting or editorial side of things, I'm happy to be on the front lines for the time being. The experience is invaluable.

And yes, I am a writer, more or less.

Eric said...

Haste yee back--

No, it's not. (I think I heard the collective sigh of relief!) The funds come from the house's marketing department, and the theory is that all money spent will be recouped by increased sales due to the promotion.

allegory19 said...

Hey Eric,

What's your bosses names? Hahaha J/K

But seriously though, in your opinion, how much does networking influence buyers at the accounts?

I'm just curious. They always say it's who you know in the publishing business. I wonder if it's the same when it comes to buyers.

Thanks

Melanie Avila said...

Eric, this is amazing! Wonderful post -- thank you so much for the breakdown. I've read bits and pieces of some of this, but never all in one place.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful information!

Victoria Dixon said...

Hi, Eric. I have a friend who just mentioned that she once had a book (early in her career) and when she talked with her store owner, she found out the rep hadn't alerted the area stores that she was local. Is that common and something writers should watch for? BTW, I think the amount of chatter over your entry today is evidence you should start a blog on this process. LOL!

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

That was a fascinating read - but I'm possibly more mystified than before.
Perhaps hiring the services of a good astrologer might be the way to cut down the odds of getting a book published.
Concept - execution - agent - co-op .... OK

Thank you for the illuminating beam cast upon this, even more, shadowy state of Writerdom.

Anonymous said...

Eric,

Thanks for the information! I appreciate any information regarding the business side of publishing.

Great job.

AM

Matilda McCloud said...

Thanks for the great post. When I worked in publishing, I had to prepare what we called tip sheets or book briefs for each title (children's books) for the sales dept. I think it would be a useful exercise to imagine what might be on a tip sheet for one's own book, ie what are comparable titles, how well have they sold, author platform etc. I'm having a hard time imagining this with at least one of my WIPs, so this is definitely something I need to think about....

Eric said...

Matilda--

Absolutely. When I refer to a "fact sheet," I also mean "tip sheet" (as far as I know, the terms are interchangeable).

Victoria--

I'm thinking of fact/tip sheets now, and I know they list the author's hometown. Attentive reps will do everything they can to let book stores know if an author is local, but with the hundreds upon hundreds of titles reps sell each year, some of the smaller ones (in terms of initial buy) are bound to fall through the cracks when it comes to things like this. (I'm the first to admit it's embarrassing, though, especially if the author's hometown book store doesn't have the book in stock!)

And honestly, if the demand is there, I'd be happy to guest blog again--or even start my own.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Eric
These are the problems we are aspiring to - worrying about product placement would be one worry I'd love to have.
Stop replying...go set up the blog already! :)

chris bates said...

Great stuff, Eric.

Thanks for putting the effort into submitting this to Nathan.

Victoria Mixon said...

Eric,

This is wonderful stuff. Thanks for writing it! You absolutely should do a blog on it. I'll link to you!

Great post--

Victoria Mixon

abc said...

That was awesome! Also, how did you know my book was titled I AM AWESOME? Also, thank you, Eric!

This is fun!

JJ said...

All things I did not know. Thanks so much.

Here's to all of us experiencing this first-hand someday soon...

Carolyn said...

Eric,

Thank you for your most informative blog post. I would love it if you started a blog on this topic.

I think most authors, myself included, wish we knew if there was anything we can do that actually works with respect to promotion. For example, is it worthwhile to send our own promotion kits to the buyers? Would sending you cookies do any good?

Suppose a book is released and gets stellar reviews -- does it make sense to get those reviews to the buyers as well as one's agent and editor?

Etiquette Bitch said...

Informational, and hilarious! I love the "titles" of the example books. I can think of a certain whiny "memoirist" who probably wants to title all her books "I AM WAY AWESOME!!!"

Thanks for my afternoon chuckle!

Ms. S. said...

Question: I know for Non-fiction, when you submit the proposal, you need to show you will promote the book. I tend to mention things like in-store appearances, seminars + talks, etc. Does the author get any say in doing anything like that, or should I just stop mentioning it in my proposals altogether?

Dawn Maria said...

Thank you so much Eric! Very interesting information. It really is an amazing process.

I'm curious (and apologize if this got covered in an earlier comment) about how author websites and blogs factor into the sales fact sheet. Do you look more appealing to the account if you're actively involved with promotion?

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you so much for the informative post, Eric. Your post definitely meets the Nathan Bransford standard.

A book sales blog sound fascinating!

: )

Rogue Novelist said...

WOW! Thank you for the in-depth info. I'm glad I've completely avoided that scenario. It's all so CORPORATE and completely discounts/ignores the important and intelligent writers and novelists. Personally, I go the Book Club route; promoting my books to book clubs and in turn the club members promote my books to their friends and neighbors who belong to other book clubs. My books have sold well over the past two years, which keeps me in $$$ so I can continue to write more novels.

Thanks again for reaffirming that corporate America defines what the general public likes to read.

Christy Raedeke said...

Based on this feedback I think you'd get a large blog following right away! This is great stuff. Thanks for sharing your knowledge - I hope to see even more on a dedicated blog.

Sara Tribble said...

Wow this is a great post! No wonder you were picked! =D

You did a great job of breaking it down to simple terms for all of us to understand and it's cool to see this part of publishing industry. Thanks so much for the info!

Eric said...

Hi Carolyn,

Once your book is acquired and marketing/publicity are under way, I think it's certainly appropriate to approach your agent and ask if working on your own promotional materials would be helpful. I imagine this is different from agent to agent and house to house, but it certainly doesn't hurt to ask. I know several of our authors contribute enormously to their own promotional material.

As for stellar reviews--always, always, always bring these to your agent/editor's attention. Nine times out of ten these have been picked up by the reps and are already included in the sales kits, but on the off chance they're not, you've just added one more voice advocating your book to the buyer(s).

Eric said...

Caveat--don't drive your agent/editor insane. Starred reviews in PW, yes: panegyrical tweets by your mom, no.

Eric said...

Ms. S--

I'm not sure how agents treat this (Nathan?), but from what I've heard in my department, the more willing an author is to market him/herself, the better.

As long as you're not impolite or needy, it's really difficult to be too enthusiastic.

Jen C said...

Awesome post, thanks Eric! I'm always fascinated by processes, and doubly so when it comes to publishing.

I'm with a few others here that I'm a bit surprised that there is so much riding on things that the author has so little control over, i.e. the cover, comps etc. I wouldn't think it would hurt to give the author more of a say over these things.

I guess you just have to hope that your rep is really on your side!

Eric said...

Hi Dawn Maria--

Blogs and author websites are viewed as a plus, but I'm not sure how much of an impact this has on the buyers. With so many authors now blogging, tweeting, and maintaining their own web sites/RSS feeds/message boards/Facebook events/who knows what, I think it won't be long before having these things is considered a given, and not having them is considered a detriment or a sign that the author is some kind of Luddite.

In short: it can't hurt and probably helps, but I don't think it's a major factor.

Rachel said...

Thanks for the post, Eric. I appreciate how highly informative it is, as well as how thorough your answers to previous comments/questions are.

Strange Fiction said...

Thanks for the good info! Scary--but good.

careann said...

Excellent information, Eric. Thanks! The more we know about all aspects of the publishing industry the better prepared we'll be when our time comes.

Careann/Carol Garvin

Robert A Meacham said...

Eric,
Thank you for writing such an informative piece. I would guess that most people did not have a clue about this step in the life of a book.

I am involved with buying for a major retailer in Texas and you are spot on with a book's journey. I am the fellow that determines what spot a book or series gets showcase and which gets a normal setting. I suppose that could be another blog.
Thank you for an interesting blog. Nathan has to be pleased.

Eric said...

Hi Rogue Novelist & Jen C--

You both have good points. Being a fan of literary & science fiction, I'm consistently frustrated by the weaker sales they generally exhibit (when compared to genres like thriller, romance, &c).

The important thing to realize, though, is that the account buyers are attempting to buy what they believe will sell based on previous sales; this tends to limit the marketplace and produce a lot of books that are very similar. Consumers then pick from this limited selection, generating new sales numbers that are used for future titles. Yes, chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble determine what the public reads, but the public, in turn, more or less determines what the chains buy. It's a vicious cycle.

Moreover, individual consumers tend to buy the same thing over and over, exhibiting terrific author and genre loyalty (see the comments on Jessica Faust's latest post at http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2009/07/meaning-of-different.html for confirmation) and, among other things, really do judge a book by its cover.

So, yes, many aspects of book sales seem rather terrible, but they're firmly rooted in what the public, in general, is willing to spend money on.

marye.ulrich said...

Thanks Eric, great information.

Wondering, what is the difference between trade paperbacks and mass-markets?

Mary

Michelle Moran said...

Wonderful guest post, Eric!

Incredibly insightful!

Tomas said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this lucid and informative essay. It's esp. interesting to me since my first (novel) book will - in a few months - be put through its paces.

I have four questions:

- if only name writers receive coop placement, how do new writers ever break out and become name writers?

- I've noticed at "my" bookstore (Book Soup, in L.A.) there are multiple tables around the store ie., YA in the back, non-fiction off to the side, art/photo books to the other side. Is the exact definition of coop only the entrance / register area?

- what sort of weight i.e., reputation, does a publishing house bear on the order process?

- and, given the entry of bloggers into the handselling of books, how is their anticipated participation calculated with MSM into the order process?

& all said, at the end of the day, I'm amazed any books are sold, ever ...

CKHB said...

What does $1/hardcover in co-op costs MEAN? Is that $1 per sold copy of each book that is put on the table/faced outwards? I don't understand how these costs play out.

Thanks! This is great stuff.

Leona said...

Thank y ou for this insight into the world of 'after' publishing. My book is a science fiction (Rebellion on Piza 7) book that may or may not have made it on your list. However, locally, it's doing well :)
I appreciate the knowledge given about the lifecycle of the book's placement, but feel as others here have already expressed - how in tarnation are we supposed to get on your sales lists as new authors? I make a mean chocolate chip cookie... *big grin*

And to Robert A Meacham, I have a very good friend (since fifth grade kind of best friend) who lives in San Antonio TX and really wants my book and would promote the heck out of any place that carried it since she's my unofficial publicist for the southern states. I wouldn't mind being placed in any of your retail sites :) (It's easily found on Ingram...)

http://leonabushman.com/Welcome.html

Leona said...

OOPS Forgot to add that I would be very interested in reading any blog you started regarding the business, Eric. I spend a large portion of my time learning about any end of the business I can because I don't like being ignorant :)

madison said...

Wow. Thank you. Your post was so helpful! Would you like to be my sales rep? :)

Kristin Tubb said...

Thank you for sharing, Eric. Great post.

Nancy Coffelt said...

Okay, now I don't feel bad at all over not being picked.

I'm all about info over ego. Thanks for an interesting and very informative post.

Phil said...

Eric, nice article, but could you have kissed a little more Nathan ass? Are all these entries going to begin with a tribute paragraph from his sycophants?

Mike said...

Great post Eric - thanks so much! I'm curious if you think author tours (or especially pre pub tours for debut authors) meeting with the buyers of these chains or big indies makes a difference? Seems like it can be so hard to stand out as an author!

Eric said...

Hi Marye (Mary E? Sorry)--

Trade paperbacks are the "quality" paperbacks, usually priced in the $10-15 range, and have a trim size that isn't much smaller than a traditional paperback. Think paperbacks by Michael Chabon, Junot Diaz, &c.

Mass markets are the "rack-size" or "airport" paperbacks, usually very thick and much smaller than hardcovers, priced in the $4 - 8 range. Genre fiction (romance, sci-fi, &c) is usually published in mass market form when it goes to paperback.

More information can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paperback

Kristi said...

I can attest that the FOS placement works, as I happened to be browsing in a "major chain" bookstore today and bought the first book that I saw at the front of the display table (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Thanks for the great info, Eric.

Lucy said...

@ Phil

Now, I know why I didn't make it: I mocked him mercilessly. (Note sarcasm here.)

Seriously, Eric, that was a great post, and I really appreciated all the information. Nathan was quite right when he said that he was leaving the blog in good hands. :-)

Eric said...

Hi Tomas--

1. Name writers receive the bulk of co-op placement, but they don't receive all of it; many titles by debut authors are selected each year for promotion. Also keep in mind that reviews, word-of-mouth recommendation, Oprah, &c also get a book "out there," and so co-op isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all of advertisement.

2. Co-op includes, but is not limited to, front-of-store promotions. (It's just the one that comes most easily to my mind.) Virtually any display placement that isn't regular, spine-facing-out in-section placement is co-op at work.

3. I think the reputation of the house only factors into the initial buy insofar as that name has a certain amount of money and advertising clout behind it; while the buy primarily reflects the book's market viability on its own, the house's ability to pay for co-op, marketing, attract publicity, &c is also considered.

4. The book industry is something of a dinosaur; I'm not sure the pressure of blogs (aside from blogs run by publications that already have something of a monolithic presence) factors in that heavily--yet.

Eric said...

Hi CKHB--

In the example of $1.00/book, the amount of money paid for the promotion would be one dollar for each copy in the initial buy, generally under certain conditions (e.g. the book must be promoted front-of-store for at least two weeks). So if the account buys 2,000 copies before on-sale, they get $2,000 as long as they meet the house's conditions.

Eric said...

Hi Phil--

It was a mixture of genuine gratitude and an attempt at humor. Sorry if it didn't read as such.

I work in book publishing. We are a socially awkward folk.

Eric said...

Hi Mike--

Yes, this certainly makes a difference. The catch is that buyers don't generally meet with authors unless the author is receiving a major push (that is, alas, already has some kind of co-op placement). 99% of authors who meet buyers are:

1. Already hot shots, like Meyer or Grisham;

2. Not necessarily established authors, but are celebrities (politicians, actors, athletes, &c);

3. Debut authors whose titles have attracted so much enthusiasm in-house that the house is devoting a larger-than-average percentage of resources to them. (I imagine THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY is one such title, judging from the Nielsen Bookscan numbers.)

Again, unfortunately, the vast majority of published authors never have direct contact with their sales rep or any of the buyers at the major chains.

Happy said...

This was an interesting post and as a buyer for a successful independent bookstore it was a little sad as well. Do I need to wonder how often when publishers try and buy their way to strong sales they fail?
Hey Authors! Independent bookstores sell books too and they often times are able to make those books into bestsellers.
Want to know how we do it? By reading. Go figure. Sales reps call on us too and they show us flashy sales material, but we buy what we believe in and what we think our custoimers (who we spend a lot of time with) will like. When the titles come in we decide where they going to go in our stores. Yea us!
So write lots of good books and we'll sell them for you.

D. G. Hudson said...

Interesting post, Eric. Your clarification of the sales process is appreciated.

In light of your experience in the sales arena, would you say that sales of books by new authors are declining any more than sales of books by established authors? I'm seeing a lot of well-known authors in the sales bins too.

annerallen said...

So much important information here that most writers (and readers) don't have a clue about. Book sales have changed so much with the demise of the indie stores. The "comp" system explains why thousands of identical books get published while innovative, exciting stuff languishes.

A book rep. blog. Yes. You must do one. You've got a whole community out here who need you.

Thanks Nathan, wherever you are, for choosing Eric's great post!

Victoria Dixon said...

And since I now see that there really was a Victoria Dixon AND a Victoria Mixon in this competition, I will post my blog address and encourage you all to drop in sometime this week anyway. I'm at http://ronempress.blogspot.com. The entry I sent was actually something I'd already blogged on. It's a Writing Quiz titled "Are You Getting Started As A Writer?". It's really pretty simple and I was surprised it might have won when I saw how good Eric's blog was today. I look forward to the rest of this week's entries and congratulations, Victoria!

Mira said...

Victoria - I'm so sorry. That mix-up really sucks. But I am so impressed by your gracefulness. I will definitely check out your entry!

Anonymous said...

Eric, I'd read your blog!

Layne said...

Eric:

Bookscan doesn't track ALL booksales. Are sales from other avenues considered when determining how well a book has sold?

Miss Mabel said...

As someone who's worked in a large format bookstore (in Canada) for 12 years, I'd just like to add:

- Believe it or not, booksellers in chain stores read too! ;-) We handsell our favourite titles like mad, make sure our faves are reordered in large quantities, and face them. I check on my "babies" regularly. So yes--it is possible to by-pass coop. When I saw Twilight first start to take off, it was being driven purely by word of mouth amongst booksellers. We also listen to customer recommendations, and promote those too.

- The entire book industry is filled with book lovers. If your agent LOVES your book, she'll champion it to editors; if an editor LOVES your book, she'll champion it to her company; and so on through the reps, the buyers, etc. Chances are the cooped books contain a lot of loved titles.

- Books faced in the section are rarely cooped in Canada, though it works out to the same thing since larger quantities are the ones to get faced first (and the larger buys are based on the system Eric has described.) But, speaking as a manager, I would never get mad at an author for facing her book! Heavens. I'd stick some "local author" stickers on it instead, and more power to her.

Blee Bonn said...

Eric,

This is an awesome, awesome post. I think you have definitely created a following.

Thanks to Nathan for picking such a great one.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Doesn't this new information make you want to find the book that is upside down and back to front on the bottom shelf just to see?!

Kia said...

Hi Eric,

Thanks for a great post.

I have two questions I was hoping you/other readers may be able to help me with.

1. Is it a good idea to release a non-seasonal book in December? I'm not expecting it to get a lot of co-op for my psychological crime thriller (I'm being published by a small press) so I'm wondering if it will drown among the Christmas releases. I've been told by a literary editor friend that it's 50-50 as there are fewer books being released in December so the likelihood of getting press (over shelf space) is greater. Any advice/opinions would be helpful.

2. How far in advance should we revamp my website? This is obviously a more general question but any opinions would help. Say the book is being released in December, if we revamp my site now, complete with new author images, book jacket cover etc, will people lose interest by the time the reviews etc are solicitied (say October) or is it a good idea to start early? I'm planning a mini-revamp now and a big revamp in October.

Thanks,

Kia

Emily Cross said...

Eric - really interesting post, well done!! and i would be very interesting in a blog which deals with this end of the publishing chain.

I was wondering in regards to promotion, for deput books etc. would suggest authors hire their own PR if the publisher isn't going to shelve out the money?

Eric said...

Hi Layne--

You're correct. Although Bookscan has been continually improving since its inception, it still doesn't capture 100% of industry sales. (It's probably more like 75%. On a good day.)

My company does solicit daily sales information from its accounts, so for any title we've published, I can look up daily, weekly, and yearly POS (point of sale) and market share information. This can even be broken down to the level of individual stores.

However, for titles we have not published, Bookscan is the best tool we've got—although I believe an editor will consider royalty statements from an author whose books have been published by other houses as proof of sales, assuming the author believes Bookscan isn't a fair representation of his/her sales.

Roger S. Williams said...

Good discussion here. As a former sales director for a major publishing house, it would actually be interesting to run through the steps that are really involved in coming up with the print and goal numbers. Eric mentions that the numbers are derived from prior sell through and P&L models. However, there can be some interesting variations which are determined in a series of meetings that begin over year before the final print date.

Also, if any of you think this whole process seems daunting. Wait until you hear about the returns process! Yuck.

A misinterpreted wave said...

A really interesting read. I am with a few of the others, that it was a bit disheartening to read that some parts of the process are so clinical (for want of a better word. However, I think that ignorance was not bliss, and it is certainly better to know what is happening out there.

Eric my question is about the process. Does it differ very much from country to country? Or is this pretty much standard practice in the big companies, no matter what country the company is working in?

Thermocline said...

Eric,

Thank you for writing this great post. Reading information like this makes me less surprised how long it can take from getting signed with a publishing house to seeing a book on the shelf.

Eric said...

Hi Roger--

Exactly. If I do decide to write a blog--and it looks like there'd be an audience for it--I'd definitely touch on print meetings, the back-and-forth between publisher, rep, and account, and the convuluted return system (among other things).

Eric said...

Hi Kia--

1. Non-seasonal books are released all the time in December, so I wouldn't worry about seasonality in particular. Be aware, however, that this fall is something of a "hail Mary pass" for many of the big publishers, so you'll be in direct competition with the likes of Dave Eggers, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Dan Brown.

2. I actually have no idea on this one. If someone with experience in this arena could leave a comment, that would be great.

Eric said...

Miss Mabel--

Good points all. It's worth noting that (at least in the US) as long as, say, an in-section face-out doesn't subtract from space allocated to another title with paid co-op, I think the staff (particularly in independent stores) is more or less free to face-out whatever they choose.

The display tables, though, are pretty strictly controlled.

Joseph L. Selby said...

Thank you very much for your comments, Eric.

Eric said...

Hi Emily--

That's certainly your option, although I don't know how many of our debut authors go that route. It's something you'd want to discuss with your agent, probably five or six months before on-sale (although earlier can't really hurt).

Eric said...

I'd like to second Miss Mabel's comments. I've worked in a bookstore and there's always a square-peg/round-hole problem with co-ops--not every store has the same tables and endcaps.

Stop in your local stores and sign copies, and call ahead to stores in places where you'll be traveling and ask if they'll order a few copies for you to stop in and sign.

If a hole opens up, your book may get put there. Sometimes we even put the books up at the information desk with us.

The most important thing is to not be a jerk. Even the celebrity authors need to treat the book floor sales staff like fellow human beings if they want anyone to mention their titles. You don't have to bake them cookies, just be friendly and understanding if they don't have any copies of your title in stock. If you're cool, they'll probably order some.

It won't get you the broad coverage the marketing department can get you, but it will get the word out and your agent and publisher will know you're serious about the business end. I'll let Nathan and other-Eric speak to that.

Eric said...

*Convoluted. Ugh.

A misinterpreted wave--

I believe the system is fairly uniform across North America and the UK, but I'm not 100% sure. I really don't know how the system is run elsewhere. I imagine it's fairly similar in any country where there are national chains.

Eric said...

Other Eric--

Well said!

Jeff said...

Great post! I always wondered how that part of the business worked. Thanks!

KLRomo said...

Well, Eric, it looks like you spent your entire day answering the comments to your blog - thanks! And thanks for the informative post. I would be interested in your blog, if you choose to start one. BTW, since you like literary fiction, I have a wonderful literary novel for you, if you'd like to read it!:o)

Jenny said...

Eric-

I love that you pointed out THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY. Barnes and Noble had that heavily FOS because it was a Barnes and Noble Recommends title. Big signs. Lots of front space. Many ARCs for booksellers so that they could talk intelligently about it.

And the Recommends display is really interesting because it also tries to keep the focus on new/not-as-popular yet authors.

Eric said...

Jenny--

True! I should also point out that there is some co-op placement, like Borders' Original Voices, that is geared toward emerging/debut authors.

wendy said...

Amen to what Mira said, Victoria D. In fact, on my way now...

Thanks for this information, Eric. Great, but slightly alarming, stuff.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, Eric.

When are you starting the blog?

Jolie said...

Eric,
Question for the comments or for another blog post:
In your experience, how much difference does it make for books to be signed if the author isn't already well known? Do signed book sell better/faster simply by virtue of being signed?

Audrianna said...

Thanks so much, Eric. I've been wondering about the whole process and you pretty much answered every question I had. Good stuff to know!!!!

allegory19 said...

I'm heading over Victoria D - thanks for the link.

Eric said...

Hi Jolie--

Signed copies rely on name recognition to really move stock, so if you're not already a known author, you probably won't see large-scale sales improvement by signing copies--most of the people who will buy your signed book will be members of a loyal, niche audience who probably would have bought it anyway.

However, you should never underestimate the ability of a sticker to attract attention, and that "Signed Copy" sticker can get a lot of people to give your book a second look. (Coming in to sign copies at your local bookstore is also great PR.) My advice? Sign away--it can't hurt and can only help. Just don't get too optimistic about how it will impact overall sales (at least, not yet).

Eric said...

Also, last comment on this post--

I'd never really considered writing a blog, but if would help any of you, then I'd be glad to do it. I can't promise the same kind of regularity and energy as Nathan, but I'll aim for a five-a-week (Mon - Fri) posting schedule and see how that works.

The blog is totally bare bones now, but should be up and running in the next couple of days. Check it out at http://pimpmynovel.blogspot.com.

Thanks to everyone for your great questions and appreciation! I'm looking forward to today's guest post.

Vacuum Queen said...

So, when it's Valentine's day or some other holiday, and the kids' section at B&N has a rounder full of Valentine books (which I assume would normally never really sell), does that mean that those are NOT just pulled at random for a "shot of pink and red" on the table? There's actually a method to it, even for something like that?

Vacuum Queen said...

OK< nevermind. I just read through the comments and read about "FOS" for seasonal stuff. Ignore me. :)

TKA said...

Ditto many of above comments. Very interesting. Great info. Thanks, Eric.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Eric, for the link (BTW, love the name of your blog). I just signed up as a follower!

Mariana said...

Wonderful post Eric. Thanks for sharing!

And thanks so much for giving your readers this space, Nathan.

A J Hawke said...

I can never enter Borders or Barnes & Noble with the same attitude again. The veil has been lifted on the mysterious placement of books and how they got there.

I appreciated the blog post and the comments.

A J

AM said...

Excellent Post. I will be checking back on your blog.

Thanks again.

Laura Martone said...

Okay, I'll say it. Where, oh where, is Tuesday's guest post? I'm itching to read it! :-(

chris bates said...

Bloody Bransford.

Can't rely on anyone in publishing these days!

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Perhaps an 'anti-winner' could post a subversive mini-post here so we'd have something to think about?!
Elaine

Victoria Dixon said...

Thanks so much to all of you for visiting ronempress.blogspot and especially to Wendy for signing up to follow the blog! I realize I probably get more hits than I'll ever know, but it's nice to see a new name or two as well. :)

Mira said...

Oh. Eric, sorry to hijack your thread, but I also want to express weigh in on the missing blog post. I guess Nathan must be having trouble with internet access in South America.

I feel for the person who was scheduled for today. I'm sure it will happen soon though - hopefully!

Anonymous said...

If you look at the top of the comments section in last Friday's post, Nathan writes that the auto-publish function wasn't working and that if there were gaps in the postings, that's the reason.

Kimberly Lynn said...

Lots of great info, Eric.

Thanks!

Renee Collins said...

Oh . . . so just technical difficulties? That's understandable I guess.

*walks away whistling, hiding torch and pitchfork behind back*

Kiersten said...

I'll admit to being the tiniest bit disappointed that my post didn't show up today.

Still, you can always visit my blog for similar wit and sarcasm.

Oh! But, since no one's read it yet, I can pretend like it was BRILLIANT. And every bit as informative as Eric's post! Yes, that's what it was. Pure genius. I've no doubt that if you'd all read it each and every one of you would have a publishing deal within the week.

Such a pity.

Alisa said...

I see you have been flooded with questions already, but I am curious: why does it matter how many books a store orders initially? Surely they will just return the ones they don't sell and order more if they run out?

Kia said...

Eric,

Thanks for your reply. It's definitely reassured me (ignoring the Eggers/Safran/Brown part :).

AM said...

Kiersten,

I hope we can still read your blog when Nathan gets back.

BTW: Where is the URL for your blog?

Thanks.

Mira said...

Oh, I would imagine that Nathan will still post all five.....the question is when...?

Do you think they just decided to wait until Nathan got back?

That's a shame - we're more trustworthy than that. Truly. No joke.

Laura Martone said...

Of course, we're still not certain Kiersten's post was next... Nathan told us that the names were in no particular order...

Guess we just have to hope that a new one appears today.

Course, if all five don't post this week, blog links would definitely be appreciated. :-)

--Laura

Laura Martone said...

Mira -

I think Nathan will honor all five postings... there just might not be anyone minding the store at the moment, while Nathan's away. We can be patient - after all, everyone deserves an uninterrupted vacation, and I'd hate to think he's checking in on the blog when he should be playing with the kids!

Kiersten said...

Oh, I absolutely agree that Nathan's got better things to do right now. If, however, you don't, my url is http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com.

I'm sure they'll all show up eventually.

AM said...

Kiersten --

I really enjoyed your blog!

It's so nice to know I'm not alone in my procrastination - I mean writer's block.

Funny!

Laura Martone said...

I read it, too, Kiersten. Funny stuff - and, sadly, true. Thanks for posting the link.

Arno said...

While everyone is waiting for the next post, take a minute to check out a new, innovative publisher: www.arnobooks.com. Arno's accepting queries for fiction now!

Mira said...

Well, it may just be that this Nathan's responsiblity and he is having trouble with internet access.

But on the off chance that this blog is being supervised, and a decision was made to hold off for Nathan: I will make a personal vow, that I, at least, I, Mira, will be just as restrained as if Nathan was hovering over me with that delete button.

It's so exciting for the people who were chosen. It would be great if they didn't have to wait a week.

ElanaJ said...

Eric, this is an amazing post. Thank you so much for taking the time to spell it all out for us!

Chris Eldin said...

Has anyone else participated in the "Travel for Good" program, or something similar? It looks quite amazing.

Steve Fuller said...

I feel like setting cars on fire and flipping them over.

Who wants to riot with me until we get more guest posts?

Jessie said...

I'm with you, Steve!

Anonymous said...

Let's call Curtis Brown.

Ink said...

Damn orphans getting all the attention...



So who has the first Sacramento Kings joke? Reality television is also clearly available for mockery at this point. Cormac McCarthy... no, that's going too far. Plus the Kings provide so many opportunities all on their own...

Laura Martone said...

Ooh, Steve, I'm a pyro for sure! So, count me in!

Bane of Anubis said...

Oooh -- Bryan -- an anti-McCarthy thread -- I like it... :)

Steve Fuller said...

Bryan,

I feel like just mentioning the Sacramento Kings is enough of a joke on its own.

And where is Scott? I know he's flipped over a few cars in his day.

Mira said...

I am absolutely positive that somehow this is all my fault.

But why? Why is everything always about me?

Why am I always the one to break the blog? Why can't one of you break the blog once in awhile.

Anon - I like your idea of calling Curtis Brown. I'm thinking of doing that. I'll introduce myself as Laura Martone and demand the blog be posted.

Jordan McCollum said...

Cars, Steve? Come on.

I have a couch that we could burn, though. They are most flammable.

(DH set fire to a couch on campus in college. One of the many reasons I was under the impression that he thought himself a bad boy.)

I'll patiently wait (on pins and needles!) for my entry to post. Sigh. Until then, feel free to visit my blog at JordanMcCollum.com . I'm doing a series on deep POV this month, and we'd love more voices in the conversation!

Ink said...

Sacramento Kings...

Yeah, you're right, Steve, that is a pretty good joke.

Steve Fuller said...

Jordan,

Maybe even a truck.

Endless Secrets said...

Hey Eric, great post!
I had the opportunity to work in a small independand bookstore in my town for a few months and even had the chance to speak with a few reps from different publishers, some of which included simon and schuster, harper collins and H.B Fenn, it was a great experience and its even more interesting to read your post and I understand the whole process a lot more.

Anyways on to my question, if the publisher decides that your book is not 'good enough' for co-op or advertising, can the author contribute to the cost of the co-op to help promote themselves?

Laura Martone said...

Hey!

I walk away from Nathan's blog for a little while... and somehow, I get roped into Mira's grand scheme to harass his agency. Why do I get the blame?

And, here, sniff, sniff, I thought you were my pal. :-(

Well, poop on you. And I mean that. Sincerely.

Mira said...

What do you mean Laura?
I just thought they'd rather hear from you than from me.

But honestly, just teasing. Nothing to take seriously. Really. If I ever call Nathan's agency, I promise I'll identify myself as Ink or Steve Fuller instead.

Laura Martone said...

You're a real hoot, Mira girl, a real hoot. Harumph! ;-)

Mira said...

:-)

Hugh Howey said...

My response: http://www.hughhowey.com/?p=406

Jordan McCollum said...

Steve—Oh, well, of course trucks. Who brought the C4?

(I'm missing my favorite show right now, Burn Notice, and I'm obviously going through explosion withdrawal.)

Mandy Hubbard said...

wow, super interesting post! I'd definitely read a blog based on this side of the industry-- it's like the man behind the curtain.

I'm a debut author (my book dropped last month). Curious, though, about whether the "new for teens" would be considered co-op. Most of the debut authors I know were put in this section for a least a few weeks...I can't imagine ALL of our publishers paid for that. Perhaps the teen section runs a little differently than some of the others.

Michelle Zink said...

Great, GREAT post, Eric. And A LOT of pertinent information.

It's especially interesting to me since my book is set to release in two weeks. All of this really gave me a bigger view on the process behind the scenes and also made me extremely grateful for the in-house support my book has received from its publisher.

To those who say Publishing is about who you know, I can honestly say that while it might be true in some cases, it's not ALWAYS the case. I'm a veritable nobody who found an agent via the slush pile and then went on to sell a three-book YA series. My book has received tremendous support from the publisher, and I'm continually amazed at the number of talented, passionate people involved in getting it - and others - to market. Clearly you are one of them, Eric!

Thanks for the wonderful post!

Donna said...

I'm starting to think publishing in adult family drama is a dying genre. Everyone wants YA now adays. My one foray into youth turned out to be more likeable to adults than children, or adolescents. I see more people posting that agents picked them up faster for their YA novels than any other fiction category.

And I have five children for God's sake!

Chloe said...

Thanks for the great post!

But pretty please don't use Stephenie Meyer for an example? I know she's a bestselling author, but there are many many many more better ones out there.

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