A brief but comprehensive survey both of the crisis-beset book-publishing industry and of strategies for authors and publishers to get books on the market.
A rule, or so we wish, of how-to books on writing should be this: If the author has not written a prior book other than that how-to book, then it’s not to be taken seriously. So it is with publishing. The market is crowded with how-to-get-your-book-published books written by people with no discernible credentials, which is emphatically not the case with marketing guru Kampmann (late of Viking, St Martin’s, Simon & Schuster, etc.) and writer/editor/publishing insider Atwell. Their approach assumes no prior experience, for there is a fine line between professionalism and cluelessness, and it judiciously divides the landscape of publishing into the traditional and the new—and largely unexplored. They counsel that a new author might wish the shelter of a major New York trade house, with the proviso that “the biggest downside of being published by traditional publishers is that a title can easily get lost in the pack, creating the probability of very disappointing results.” True enough, as every midlist author knows. On the self-publishing front, the authors wisely advise that no book should go out the door without having been professionally edited, and they add plenty of other useful bits to the mix. A highlight, for instance, is the marketing timetable, which will be of tremendous help even to authors working with the majors and wanting to be sure things are happening when they should. The “success stories” that close the book are of a lily-gilding variety, however, and one wishes that the space had been given over to more of Kampmann and Atwell themselves.
A how-to book that belongs on many shelves.