Nick Harrison, senior editor from Harvest House Publishers, taught a class entitled “How to sell Your Fiction in Tough Economic Times” at the writer’s conference last week. If I may be so bold, I’ll share with you ALL the ideas he shared with us:
1. Look toward future events and write books that WILL BE WANTED in two or three years. Example: in 2012, the Mayan calendar ends. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Two different authors pitched books based on these two upcoming events, and both books will be published in late 2011 or early 2012.
2. Be willing to enthusiastically jump on trends. If you can write a great Amish Romance, you will be published!
3. Use Writer’s Edge (an on-line listing) to get your fiction noticed. (Note: Nick said he looks at this site–and others like it–all the time. But other editors don’t bother with it. This one’s a stretch, in my opinion.)
4. Once you finish writing a novel, send out queries and diligently work on getting it noticed. Then start writing your NEXT novel. Keep a healthy career plan, and have plenty of books in your arsenal. Maybe your writing style will catch an editor’s eye, but he doesn’t like the story you sent him. You’ll have a lot of others to pitch to him.
5. Self-publish your excellent book, sell 10,000 copies, then approach a royalty publisher. Numbers like that catch their attention.
6. DO NOT WRITE message-driven novels or memoirs. They don’t sell. (There are exceptions, like “The Shack” and “In His Steps,” but they are few and far between.)
7. Next huge wave in the CBA: Southern Historical Romance. Write one of these and you’ll have a good chance of getting published.
Some of these tips, like #1 and #4, are valuable to me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t write an Amish romance or a southern historical romance if my children’s lives depended on it, so I won’t get to take advantage of tip #2 or tip #7. Hopefully you’ll find something in here to help your career!
For what it’s worth,