Not Just the Who, but the When & the Where!
In talking viable markets for self-publishers, Mark Dawson www.selfpublishingformula.com reminded his listeners in a recent webinar that they might want to promote their self-published books in places other than America, where the competition is considerably less than in the USA.
He mentioned Amazon.au (Australia) and Amazon.uk (United Kingdom). Of course, interest in other countries depends on content and genres. Sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, and contemporary romance appear to be global and do rather well in both Europe and Asia, while historical romances set in 19th century Devonshire might find a viable market in Britain, but not in Germany. Always keep your target audience at the forefront, whether you’re writing or promoting.
Michelle Johnson discusses “going global” for those who take the traditional pathway to publishing (January 2018, Writer’s Digest). For many authors just starting out, the book should have “demonstrated strong sales in the author’s home country” before an agent or publisher’s attention shifts abroad. She adds that some agencies have their own foreign rights people, while other agencies use co-agents in other countries already familiar with the language and the issues involved. If a co-agent is used, the usual 20% foreign sales commission is split. If foreign sales aren’t the agency’s usual forte, you might want to seek out an outside agent who deals exclusively in foreign rights. Authors should also ask questions of either agencies or publishers if translation rights could become an issue later down the road. Global platforms are growing, and the reach of social media could give you access to a worldwide audience.
The “when” part of submitting a query or manuscript to an agent is the subject of much debate on the internet. There does appear to be a consensus. Nathan Bransford with The Forums asserts the worst possible time to be December, and many concur. First, it’s the busiest holiday season. Second, it follows on the heels of November’s NaNoWriMo, and agents are flooded with those novels hastily written during “National Novel Writing Month” in November.
Karen Ball with the Steve Laube Agency repeats what we all know in our heart of hearts. You submit your story “when you read your story and sit back, heart pounding as you wonder…Did I really write that?” Simply put, you submit when it’s ready to submit.
Carly Watters, a Literary Agent, agrees that “publishing usually shuts down for December holidays,” adding that agents are busy during book fair months such as April and October. She says the summer, when agents are catching up on their reading, can be a good time to submit, but reiterates that “the important thing is that your manuscript is ready.” She reminds writers to query agents who are “actively looking for new authors” in that genre, and that a “well-written, targeted query will always stand out.”
So, when is your darling truly ready? That’s another corridor, one we’ll walk down next time.