I had no previous book publishing experience.
In fact, when I first started working with Chip MacGregor, I wasn’t fully sure what an agent did.
So how did I get to become a book agent? We discuss my journey in this week’s episode of the Gatecrashers Podcast.
Authors are told to write what they’re passionate about, but many times this leaves them confused. “I have so many book ideas!” many of my authors have told me. “How do I determine which one to write?”
I’ve known authors to struggle with questions like should I write mystery or fantasy? Romance or women’s fiction? A book on parenting teenagers or parenting toddlers? Should I do a cookbook or a fitness book? A Bible devotional or a trade book?
Sometimes the answers to these questions can be found in the author’s online analytics.
In this update we share information that was provided by Penguin Random House, looking at at the book categories that have taken the biggest hits along with the ones that have done well.
We also discuss why the “free ebook” movement at the beginning of the pandemic turned out to be a bad idea, and we offer a bit of good news as bookstores begin to reopen and the Big 5 Publishers put in place initiatives to help keep independent retailers afloat.
These doubts are normal! They’re part of the process.
But sometimes those doubts point to more than a healthy (or not-so-healthy) lack of self confidence. Sometimes they point to real trouble areas with your idea or writing.
So how do you know when the doubts are more than just doubts? How do you know when it might be time to trash your working manuscript or idea and move on to something new?
I’ve worked with many authors who have said that the whole “publishing thing” didn’t feel real until they received their cover art. Maybe it was finally being able to visualize the book as it would be in stores. Maybe it was seeing their name in specialized fonts. Whatever it was, receiving covert art is a turning point for many authors. It’s when the process goes from dream to reality.
While the cover art process is an important one, few authors know what to expect, how to navigate it, and, if they’re self-publishing, how much they should expect to pay. In this week’s episode of The Gatecrashers Podcast, we discuss all that and more. Listen in on our conversation on book cover art.
Most authors dream of getting a movie deal for their book. For years, that dream was near-impossible. Sure, the project may get picked up by a production company, but the chances of it making it to screen were small.
And then things changed.
With the rise of streaming services has come a greater need for visual content. Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Video are buying up projects left and right, employing small production companies to do most of the work for them.
Sure, the big deals with big Hollywood companies are still hard to come by, but as Tiger King showed us, selling a project to a streaming service can be just as much of a success as landing a feature film.
So what does the book-to-film process look like? What should authors know?
Some publishers are laying people off.
Some bookstores are launching GoFundMe campaigns to stay afloat.
And many authors have seen massive income hits.
In this week’s episode of our Gatecrasher’s Podcast, Amanda Luedeke and her cohost Charis Crowe discuss a number of publishing headlines as they relate to the current worldwide pandemic.
For quite awhile on this blog I had a weekly column entitled Thursdays with Amanda. I’d talk primarily about marketing, since that was my background, and try to help authors navigate what can oftentimes seem like a mystery. It led to a book and countless conversations with authors who wanted to better understand how to be smart about book marketing.
Then, some years ago we decided to take a break from blogging. It was taking up a lot of time and Chip and I were both busy pursuing career growth.
But last fall, I got the itch to once again share what I know with authors.
And so The Gatecrashers Podcast was born.
This isn’t your typical podcast of author interviews or happy talk. This is an industry-focused weekly show in which we “storm the gates of publishing and dare to talk about the realities of the industry.”
Some of the topics we’ve covered include:
- How do publishers determine marketing budgets?
- What agents aren’t telling you …
- The biggest mistakes you’re likely to make …
- How will COVID-19 affect book publishing?
- And more.
My cohost, Charis Crowe, brings insight from the self-publishing world while I offer ten years of experience in the industry as a book agent and now V-P of MacGregor & Luedeke.
I hope you’ll give us a listen. And if you’re on Facebook, find me at Facebook.com/AgentAmandaLuedeke. There, I post my deals, share info, and interact with my followers.
We have a new logo and a new partnership!
For the past ten years, we (Chip & Amanda) have worked as colleagues, serving authors and doing our part to make books happen. We are thrilled for this next chapter.
As announced last week, MacGregor Literary will now be operating as MacGregor & Luedeke. Amanda has been made partner, further solidifying her role with the agency.
Agenting continues to be our passion. The industry is constantly changing, but we continue to do business we’re proud of, representing authors and projects we believe in.
To the future!
Chip MacGregor & Amanda Luedeke
This month I’m back to trying to get to all the questions people say they’d like to ask an agent, if they could just sit down with him or her for a few minutes and talk privately. In light of some of the notes Steve Oates, the VP of Marketing at Bethany House, shared on this blog last week, here are some questions that people have asked recently…
So are the low costs of e-books costing authors money?
Sure. (Expect to see a bunch of indie published authors tearing their hair out over this response, because they tend not to want to hear about economics, in my experience.) Okay, if a retailer sells a book for $20, the royalty paid to the author is higher than if the publishers sells it for $10. The average e-book is way down — many below $5, and often you’ll see a slug of books for 99 cents. That doesn’t leave much for an author. So earnings are down across the board, but they are more spread out among a wider group of authors — that makes it feel as though there’s more money being paid out. Economically, it’s not true. The overall sales numbers are fairly stable the past couple of years. So with all the low priced ebooks and mass market titles earning less per book, the overall income of authors is actually down.
Saying that doesn’t make me negative on indie publishing, by the way, and certainly not on genre publishing. Anyone who knows me or has read the blog for any length of time knows I have long been a fan of indie publishing, and I’ve represented a ton of category fiction. The concern is with the low price point, which has lowered the earnings of authors — particularly established authors. The argument is made that people want a deal, and low prices build readership by finding readers who will