What It Takes

Selling Books in the Trenches

By Steven Pressfield | 8 Comments

So far, we’ve been talking in these What It Takes posts from our own point of view, from the angle of the writer and his agent and publicist. Today I’d like to turn that around. Let’s get down and dirty–in the trenches, selling books to bookstores. We’ll talk with Random House’s David Glenn, who’s one of the key sales reps working to “sell in” The Profession—and one I’ve had contact with since Gates of Fire back in 1998. SP: David, welcome and thanks for giving our readers, many of whom are writers and artists, a peek into the real world…

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Art & Commerce

By Shawn Coyne | 9 Comments

In my last post, Rubber Meets Road, I talked about “the number.” Here’s what I said: A number gives you clarity. Don’t fear a number. Embrace the number. It will focus you like nothing else. After some analytical research, I came to the conclusion that THE PROFESSION’s number is 15,000.  Fifteen thousand sold copies will put THE PROFESSION on The New York Times bestseller list its first week on sale.

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Rubber Meets Road

By Shawn Coyne | 15 Comments

My last post was about the tried-and-true book publishing methods of making sure that the most important element of publication—getting books in stores and displayed—is successful. Selling-in a book at the retail and wholesale level is vitally important. So the early discussion at our December 1, 2010, marketing/publicity meeting at Crown covered this ground. Here is what is planned for The Profession. Crown will feature The Profession as a lead title in its summer 2011 catalog. A publisher’s catalog is a sales rep’s calling card. Getting featured placement in it is crucial to launch a bestseller campaign. Crown will produce…

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The Elephant in the Room

By Callie Oettinger | 14 Comments

[This Friday’s “What It Takes” is the first from my publicist Callie Oettinger. I’m sure the first thing most readers will think is, ‘Does a writer really need a publicist? How can you afford it? Isn’t that over the top?’ I first worked with Callie on a job-by-job basis. Her forte is the military; she’s based in Washington, D.C., and has done outreach for a number of successful military writers. She helped me on the launch of The Afghan Campaign. Her work has been invaluable. But what really got us working together full-time is this blog. “Writing Wednesdays” was Callie’s…

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The Sell In

By Shawn Coyne | 13 Comments

I ended last week’s post discussing “publishing meeting” Personae.  As Steve’s manager/agent, one of my jobs is to secure the best possible sales campaign for THE PROFESSION.  Easier said than done. As Steve’s representative, I went to the Crown marketing meeting with an internal agenda.  Just as a publisher needs to define the proceedings of a marketing meeting with an agenda, so does the manager/agent.  If the manager/agent’s goal is to goose the meeting into breaking precedent and discussing new initiatives that could help sell your client’s book (which it should be) then he has to not only accept that…

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The Empty Chair

By Shawn Coyne | 9 Comments

[This is post #2 of a story by Shawn Coyne. Read post #1, Getting the Meeting.] So there we were . . . On Wednesday Dec. 1, 2010 at 10:37 a.m. Steve and I took the two seats at the head of the 14th floor conference table, in the Random House building in midtown New York. Steve was in the left chair. I was on the right. Counterclockwise from me sat the head of Crown’s eBook group, then Steve’s editor, Steve’s editor’s assistant taking notes, an empty chair, Crown’s head of marketing, Steve’s in-house publicist, the head of Crown’s publicity…

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Horror Stories

By Steven Pressfield | 32 Comments

[Continuing our “What It Takes” series, an inside look at the process of publishing and promoting a book in 2010-11 … here’s Post #3:] The first book signing I ever did was for The Legend of Bagger Vance. It was at a Books-a-Million store in Lakeland, Florida. I flew 3000 miles from Los Angeles. Nobody showed. Not a soul. I felt terrible for the store manager, who had set up a beautiful table with stacks of books and even a poster-sized photo of me. We were there at seven in the evening, all alone. It was like a scene out…

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Getting the Meeting

By Shawn Coyne | 16 Comments

[Two days ago—Wednesday—I put up a post titled “What It Takes,” which promised an insider’s look over the next few months at the campaign to market and publicize my upcoming novel, The Profession. Response was so enthusiastic that we decided not to wait till next Wednesday to follow up, but to plunge in right away. Herewith Post #1, from my manager Shawn Coyne. With Shawn’s post, we’ll establish a “What It Takes” slot on the blog every Friday until publication in June. “What It Takes” will rotate with “Writing Wednesdays,” here in this space. When each post has been up…

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What It Takes

By Steven Pressfield | 60 Comments

I’m going to try something new over the next few months. Remember, a few weeks ago, we commandeered this Writing Wednesdays space to post a series called, with apologies to John Steinbeck, a “A Writer’s Journal of (Finishing) a Novel?” I was, then, in the final writing throes of a book I’d been working on for the past three years, and I posted a blow-by-blow account of that adventure. Well, now I’d like to do that for the next stage: the editing, publicizing and marketing process. This doesn’t mean the end of our regular Writing Wednesdays posts, I promise. But…

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What I’ve Learned About Blogging So Far

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

In the coming weeks, I’ll start posting on regular days, probably Mondays and Thursdays (I’m working on it), probably a long piece and a short one. On other random days I’ll post “I take it back” pieces, highlighting how comments or correspondence have changed or expanded my thinking. I want to share what’s gotten knocked into my head; that’s the whole point of this enterprise. Meanwhile here’s what I’ve learned in three weeks: Blogging is fast

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