Saturday, August 21, 2021

Are You Writing A Perennial Seller?


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

In the last fifteen years, the publishing world has changed. In the past, self-publishing was the poor step-sister to traditional publishing. These self-made titles often looked poor and were not accepted in libraries or bookstores. As book production has improved, this attitude is shifting. There are still poorly made self-published books and the average self-published title sells less than 200 copies during the lifetime of the book

My bent in this area is for you to get the largest distribution and produce the best book you can produce. It's why I continue to encourage authors to create a book proposal and work with traditional publishers as well as explore other models like Morgan James Publishing (where I've worked for over nine years).

While there are many ways and companies to help you create your book, at the end of the day, the key question relates to sales of that book. Is it selling? Are people buying it on a consistent basis? Are you as the author promoting your book consistently? After all, as the author, you have the greatest passion for your book—whether you went with one of the big five publishing houses or a small publisher or self-published.

One of the best ways to learn about publishing is to consistently read how-to books about writing or marketing. As you read these books and take action from the information, you will grow as a writer. I've got stacks of these types of books that I read.


Several year ago, I learned about a book from Ryan Holiday called Perennial Seller, The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts. Books that last and continue to sell in the market are rare. Traditional publishers are known to be fickle in this area. I have seen it when I've worked inside publishing houses (not Morgan James). You work hard to get a book published and into the market, then for whatever reason it does not sell, then a publishing executive writes a letter to the author or literary agent and takes the book out of print.

Every day thousands of new books enter the market.  Which books become continual sellers? Bestselling author Ryan Holiday has studied these details with his own books and with other books. Perennial Seller is loaded with the details for every author or would-be author to read. Ryan has a keen sense of what it takes to create an excellent book and each of his sections includes gems of information for the writer.

While many writers believe their key failure is in the marketing areas, Ryan writes in the opening pages, “Promotion is not how things are made great—only how they are heard about. Which is why this book will not start with marketing, but with the mindset and effort that must go into the creative process—the most important part of creating a perennial seller.” (Page 19)

Also for those writers who believe they can quickly crank out such a book, Ryan cautions, “Creating something that lives—that can change the world and continue doing so for decades—requires not just a reverence for the craft and a respect for the medium, but real patience for the process itself. (Page 29-30)

No matter who you are working with to get the book out there, Ryan is realistic in Perennial Seller encouraging the writer to take their own responsibility rather than feel like they can delegate it to someone else. In the section on positioning, he writes a section called “You’re the CEO” saying, “If the first step in the process is coming to terms with the fact that no one is coming to save you—there’s no one to take this thing off your hands and champion it the rest of the way home—then the second is realizing that the person who is going to need to step up is you.” (Page 67)

Wherever you are in the publishing process, you will gain insights reading  Perennial Seller. I found the book engaging and valuable—in fact, maybe a book that I will read multiple times (unusual for me). I highly recommend this title.

Whether you read Perennial Seller or not, I recommend you get the free gift from the back of this book. You subscribe and confirm to be on Holiday's email list, then you get a series of case studies which were not included in the book—yet from experienced publishing people.

Are you writing or dreaming of writing a perennial seller? What steps are you taking as a writer to make that happen? Let me know in the comments below. 

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page
.  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. On October 5th, his classic Book Proposals That $ell will be released. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

9 comments:

Karen Cioffi said...

Terry, it's so true that marketing has changed. It's an uphill battle for authors to continually sell their books. Perennial Seller sounds like it has some useful tips. Thanks for sharing!

Terry Whalin said...

Thanks for this comment, Karen. I have read the book but also listened to the audiobook version. I hope it will encourage authors to succeed.

Terry

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Yessss. And after you have that book produced so or matches expectations of the pulling industry and hopefully makes your heart sing, please consider reviews as a primary way to make it a perennial seller— or as A classic. Publishing expectations are high there too. But reviews are forever if we maximize using them and keep at it! Bit.ly/GreatBkReviews. It includes expected journalism standards — not what you think— and how not to make deadly launch booboos. And more!
Best,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Terry Whalin said...

Carolyn,

Interesting comment about reviews and how they can help push your book sales. Thank you,

Terry

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Terry, yeah. Lots of authors don’t get that reviews are useful long past launches and most don’t get the review aspect of their launches until it’s too late for the big journals like library journals!
Best, Carolyn

Kay DiBianca said...

Thanks for this article, Terry. I have a copy of "Perennial Seller" at home (along with shelves of other craft books), but have only started it. I need to make time to get all the way through it soon. Thanks for the motivation!

Terry Whalin said...

Kay,

I have several how-to-write books on my shclf that I need to read--so I understand what you said about having this book but haven't read it. I appreciate your stopping by and this comment. Keep reading these how-to books then applying them to your writing life.

Terry

deborah lyn said...

Thank you Terry
This is an interesting and helpful article for all writers. May we treasure the creative process, stay engaged and author books that live on.

Terry Whalin said...

Deborah Lyn,

Thank you for the feedback.

Terry

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