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Blow Us Away! Publishers' Secrets for Successful Manuscriptsby Jr. E. Keith Howick
Synopses & Reviews
Publishers and agents around the world are waiting to be blown away by the next great manuscript, but are frustrated by the average new author's lack of preparedness; 85% of manuscripts are rejected because the story, concept, or writing is bad. This book isn't for those authors! If you don't know how to write a good story or clearly explain your solution to a problem, this book can't help you.
Thirteen percent are rejected because they aren't presented well to publishers. These are well-written manuscripts that lack marketing insight, organization, or an understanding of the book industry. This book is for these authors.
Bring publishers a great book with all the background information we need to make a good business decision and you've got a deal.
Come on, I dare you! Blow Us Away!
"Essential Guide to the Modern Publishing Industry.
In a world where over 20 million manuscripts in circulation each year in US publishing houses alone and each manuscript has at most only six minutes of a publisher's time to be accepted or rejected, Blow Us Away! Publishers' Secrets for Successful Manuscripts by E. Keith Howick Jr. must rank as the number one 'must get' book for any aspiring author.
"Based on the premise that publishing is an industry like any other, this book provides a treasure chest of vital information to authors at all levels on subjects ranging from manuscript presentation, understanding target audiences, layout, marketing and publicity. Most valuable of all however, is that this book is written by a publisher who knows his industry inside out and can communicate what he knows in a concise and easy to follow style.
"According to Howick, authors that treat authorship as a career and not a hobby stand the greatest chance of success, and that success comes from understanding what their target audiences want and 'presenting' it to them in the most professional way possible. He then proceeds to give a series of specific recommendations on how to do just that, accompanied by useful references and hyperlinks, as well as a 'timeline' that takes the author from the date of a contract being signed to the date of publication — a startling 59 weeks in all!
"Bang up to date, with detailed sections on eBooks, Print on Demand and even the new 'Expresso Machine' for creating individual printed paperbacks in-store using digital printing technology, this is THE essential 'must have' book for authors and POD self-publishers alike. I only wish it had been available when I started out."
John Joyce, author of The Virtual Trilogy
"I had the opportunity to read Blow Us Away! Publishers' Secrets for Successful Manuscripts by E. Keith Howick, Jr. of WindRiver Publishing and it was a wonderful reference I sucked up at one sitting. This is an essential read for any author before putting together that submission to a publisher. Since I've been doing book submissions for years, it was a handy refresher for many things I've learned the hard way, and an eye-opener about many things I've missed.
"There is so much that an author needs to know before writing that query letter, and this is the place to get it. For example, essential knowledge of the economics of publishing is a black art to most authors, but right at the beginning, Howick spells out the simple dollars and cents of how much money is made per book and how that drives the calculations of advances. The royalty section later on gives the same detailed breakdown that shines light on parts of the business that has been obscure to outsiders.
"The book backs up his advice with copious links, both of the URL kind and the ISBN kind to expand on what he has just said, plus the it is nicely indexed, which will make it invaluable as a handy reference.
"The components of a good book submission are broken down and each is given its due. For example, 'find your target audience' is something every author has heard, but with this book's list of categories, and their buying habits, it will bring clarity to a task that often seems fuzzy and impossible.
"As a small publisher myself, I'm tempted to make this book required reading for friends who have written a book and want me to help them get it into print. Even if a book is good, the background information about the process of publication is critical to success.
"And for me, written from the perspective of a traditional publisher, it's an eye-opening list of concerns for a self-publisher looking to expand beyond just publishing my own titles. I know I'll be referring to this book for a long time to come."
Henry Melton, author of the Small Towns, Big Ideas series of YA science fiction and publisher of Wire Rim Books.
"Blow Us Away! is like a Boot Camp in publishing that new authors must read. It delivers all the basics of publishing in the order that a first time author is most likely to encounter on the route to a successful publication."
Pete Masterson, author of Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers
"Writers who follow Howick's advice will greatly increase their probability of success, both in getting an agent and selling the manuscript to a publisher."
Georganna Hancock, M.S.
"E. Keith Howick, Jr., President of WindRiver Publishing, certainly blew me away with Blow Us Away! As an author, editor and reviewer, I've read a dozen plus books on publishing, including one I co-authored, as well as more articles than I count. I've also attended and presented at writing conferences. Most books on writing have been written by authors themselves. Reading a publisher's explanation and insight brings you closer to the real publishing world.
"Howick has invested many hours in helping authors understand what is acceptable and necessary for agents and publishers. He has reviewed thousands of manuscripts and is more than willing to share his knowledge. Because he continually sees the work of aspiring authors, he has put together a book of facts and guidelines that can be a tremendous tool.
"According to Howick, 'Publishers and agents…are frustrated by the average new author's lack of preparedness; 85% of manuscripts are rejected because the story, concept, or writing is bad. Thirteen percent are rejected because they aren't presented well to publishers.'
"The publisher/author reinforces that the rules of yesteryear do not apply today. In addition to understanding how the book industry functions, publishing over 200,000 titles a year, he stresses the importance exceptional writing and editing of good material and marketing as well as how the economy affects submissions.
"His book covers pre-submission marketing and promotion, agents, submissions, advances and royalties and contracts. In addition, he thoroughly discusses what authors can expect from publishers and what they expect from authors. I found the book development section especially informative.
"Howick provides the perspective of small, medium and large publishers with clarity and concise descriptions. He says his book is only for the serious author. Here, I disagree. I feel the serious as well as the wannabe could gain insight into the real world of publishing so as to better prepare themselves for what path they should take.
"The Hill Team does editing for authors who are generally independently published. When we feel someone should find an agent, we will recommend choices that are appropriate. Otherwise, we'll recommend reputable independent publishers. In any case, there is not an author we've met, traditionally or non-traditionally published, that would not benefit from Howick's straight forward, easy to understand explanation of the publishing industry and what it takes to be one of the 200,000 books a year that make the cut. So, from my perspective, Blow Us Away! has a value greater than the investment and I highly recommend it."
Maralyn D. Hill, reviewer, editor, and co-author of Success, Your Path to a Successful Book
"Many books have been written about the publishing process, manuscript submission, and query letters. Sadly, most are written by agents, writers and independent consultants who endeavor to 'crack the code' from the outside looking in. Finally, a book written from the inside looking out. Blow Us Away! explains the process from the publisher's point of view. Why should a publisher 'bet' on your manuscript over all the others on the desk? If you say, 'because it is a great book,' you are wrong—and you really need this book. Blow Us Away! gives writers a candid and comprehensive look at today's publishing industry—what to expect and how to have the best shot at success.
"If you are a new author—or plan to be, read this book. I wish Howick had published it ten years ago."
Steve O'Brien, Publisher, A&N Publishing
"E. Keith Howick Jr.'s new book should be mandatory reading for every author, agent, publisher and book industry professional. He guides you through the maze of the publishing process from start to finish. He helps you make sure you identify, utilize and deploy the most important strategies you need to create a book that is designed to achieve the maximum potential success when presented to publishers and placed into the marketplace. He offers up simple truths and rock solid experience based strategies for success in the challenging and ever changing world of book publishing."
Paul Krupin, Direct Contact PR
"Blow Us Away! is concise, to-the-point advice that, as an author/publisher myself, I wish had been available when I first published. Lots of books tell you how to attempt to sell your work or self-publish, but few, like Blow Us Away!, outline the responsibilities of the author in such a frank, and usable way. The plain-speak of experience and the grounding this work provides are invaluable in the ever more confusing and changing world of publishing. Alas, another publishing 'Bible' I'll be recommending."
Gregory Leifel, author & publisher, Thriving Moss Publications
"There are lots of how-to-get-published books out there, but this one automatically speaks with the authority of an author who is a publisher—not just someone who got published once and is going to tell you how he did it. If you're even thinking about writing a book, read this first."
"Howick's experience as a publisher gives you an inside look at what it takes to write a publishable manuscript. If you are about to self-publish or seek your first publishing contract, don't write another word until you read Keith's advice in Blow Us Away!"
Hal Seed, author of The God Questions, The Easter Questions, and Future History and Johan: Responding to God
About the Author
E. Keith "JB" Howick, Jr. and his family created WindRiver Publishing in 2003 to publish wholesome family-oriented books and educational non-fiction. Since that time, WindRiver Publishing has created an imprint, Trumpet Media, to sell to the growing Christian market, and purchased Mapletree Publishing, which sells to the growing homeschooling and child development markets. Howick has reviewed thousands of manuscripts and spent hundreds of hours helping authors understand how to prepare their manuscripts for publishers and agents.
Table of Contents
1 Overcoming the Romance
3 Industry Overview
7 How the Economy Affects Submissions
9 Take Advantage of the Internet
9 Manage Your Expectations
11 Develop Good Writing Skills
15 Understanding your Audiences
Children - Reviewers - Book Buyers - Libraries -Wholesalers - Distributors - Adults - Corporations
22 Consider Your Competition
23 Using Readers
26 Pre-submission Marketing and Promotion
Title and Subtitle - Completed Manuscript - Three Sample Chapters -Target Audience Summary - Market Relevance Statement - Market Research Overview -Endorsements - Biography or Curriculum Vita - Comprehensive Synopsis - Two-Page Query Letter - One-Page Query/Cover Letter - Pre-Order Opportunities - Query Letters - Project Proposals - Full Manuscripts - Be Aware, Be Very Aware
51 Submitting to Agents
51 Publisher Types
Getting Notices through Self-Publishing
56 The Ideal Publishing Library
57 Submitting to Publishers
Bad Physical Presentation - Poor Writing Skills - Inappropriate Genre - Insufficient Postage - No Slots Available - Resubmitted Without Improvements - A Poorly Organized Book - Unemotional Fiction - Offensive Language or Content - Knowledge of the Publishing Business - Too Much Time has Passed - Reviewer Burnout - The Story has been Done Before - The Subject Matter is Not Timely - No Author Credibility - The Project Requires Too Much Unique Marketing - The Manuscript has Too Much Competition - Willingness to Promote - Additional Manuscripts - Choose to Be a Nice Person
73 What to Do While Waiting
Improve Your Submission - Market Research - Local Media
77 Follow-Up with Publishers
80 Advances and Royalties
Advances - Royalties - Who Gets the Money?
88 The Publishing Contract
Right of First Refusal - Copyright and the Right to Publish - Market - Geographic and Format Rights - Royalty Thresholds - Contract Negotiations
98 What Authors Should and Should Not Expect from Publishers
100 What Your Publisher Should and Should Not Expect from You
101 The Publishing Time Lineup>
106 Pre-Publication Marketing and Promotion
Example: Building a Fan Base
113 Book Development
Editing - Layout, Art, and Typesetting - Printing and Binding - Bluelines, Galleys, ARCs, and Production - Initial Printing
127 Post-Publication Marketing and Promotion
The Business of Selling Books
143 Contract Termination
146 Hyperlink Index
What Our Readers Are Saying
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