Publishers Marketplace

Publishers Marketplace

a website where new book deals are reported

When will my book deal be announced on PM?

Some agents report their sales right to PM right away. Some like to wait until the contract is signed, which can take months. Some wait to release the news after some sub-rights have sold so they can make the deal look bigger and more exciting. Some agents don’t report sales to PM at all. Honestly, it can be fun to see your book reported there (although you’ll have to have someone screenshot it for you if you don’t subscribe to the site), but I’m not sure it really makes a difference whether it’s reported or not. Sometimes it’s a good way to advertise your book to industry people who are looking to buy sub-rights, but I can’t think of any other reason you’d need to be bummed if your book isn’t reported.

What is the secret code for PM deals?

Your book deal announcement may or may not include some code words to signal how much money your book sold for (example: “Writerface McClackety’s debut, THE NICE WORDS, to Smug Publisher, in a very nice deal”). Here is the deal key:
Nice deal = $1 to $49,000
Very nice deal = $50K to $99K
Good deal = $100K to $250
Significant deal = $250K to $499K
Major deal = $500K and up


(publishing) timeline

my attempt to pinpoint when stuff will happen in your publication process

Is this timeline bound to vary widely?

Why yes, yes it is. But here’s my best shot:


Month 0: You accept a deal to publish your debut novel. Much celebrating.

Month 2-3: You sign your contract. Your first installment of your advance is on the way.

Month 6: You receive your edit letter.

12 months before publication: You see your cover art. Book goes up on Amazon for pre-order.

6-9 months before publication: ARCs go out. Cover art might start to appear online.

6 months before publication: You book a venue for your book’s launch party. You sign up for blog tours if your publisher isn’t arranging that.

0-3 months before publication: Trade reviews of your book start to go up online.

1 month before publication: The brunt of your book’s promo begins. You send out postcards, if you want to.

0-3 months after publication: More promo. You might do some bookstore/library/school visits.

3 months+ after publication: The spotlight shifts to the next season of novels. You are are too busy writing your next book to care.

6-9 months after publication: You receive your first royalty statement.


(school/bookstore/library) visits

when you make an appearance at a school/bookstore/library to promote your book

How can I do school/bookstore/library visits?

If you’re high on your publisher’s priority list, they might schedule some visits for you. Otherwise, you can schedule your own by contacting schools/bookstores/libraries and letting them know you are available for appearances. You can do this by email or with postcards (see also SWAG). You might start by contacting local places. If  you want to travel to other states to do visits, you can try asking the venue to pay for your travel expenses. In general, you can ask schools and libraries to pay for you to visit them, as you will do a presentation for students/patrons. Bookstores will not pay you but will try to sell your books during the event (and after).

Are visits worth the time/energy/cost?

Yes? They can be fun, they promote your book, and they help you build relationships with booksellers, librarians, teachers, and readers who might continue to promote your book long after your visit has come and gone. You can make money from school/library visits. You might sell books at a bookstore visit. Plus, you can always just do one or two visits, see how you like them, and then decide whether you want to do more. And your visits can be sporadic, booked around your personal schedule.

No? Preparing for and traveling to these appearances takes a lot of time away from your writing (not to mention your personal life). They’re exhausting and sometimes not fun. Bookstore visits are a toss-up: few people will be motivated to come out to see an author they’ve never heard of–you might end up paying more for parking than you make from book sales.

You might try joining up with a group of authors to do your visits so that you’ll be more likely to draw attendees and/or so that you can share some of the travel costs. You can turn your visit into a panel, which might be more fun for you anyway (yay for writer friends!). You might also try doing visits at bookstores that already have teen reading clubs in place so that you are guaranteed some kind of turnout.

See also: Tour.

Sub rights

subsidiary rights

rights that you/your publisher can sell beyond publication rights

What sub rights might I/my publisher be able to sell?

  • audio book rights
  • foreign rights
  • dramatic/film rights
  • merchandising rights
  • book club rights
  • probably some more that I don’t know about

How will I know if these rights sell?

Your editor or agent will let you know. Check your contract–if your agent retained rights for you, then it’s up to your agent to sell those rights on your behalf. If your publisher was given rights, they will owe you money when they sell those rights, according to the terms of your contract.

Junior Library Guild

Junior Library Guild

a service that helps libraries build up their book collections

Who uses Junior Library Guild?

JLG is like a subscription program for libraries: they send libraries curated books throughout the year and also offer back-list (not-recently-published) books at discount prices. So, having your book chosen by JLG can boost your sales.

How can my book be selected for JLG?

JLG reviews thousands of books a year and chooses the books it thinks will get good reviews and be nominated for awards. Your publisher will submit your book to JLG for review. If your book is selected for JLG’s program, you’ll receive a fancy certificate in the mail. Yay, you!

When will I know if my book is selected by JLG?

About six months before your book’s publication date.

Link to JLG’s website

Sophomore novel

sophomore novel

your second novel, the little so-and-so

Will it be easier to write a second novel after publishing my debut?

I suppose it would be if you could just “find and replace” the character names and a few key details. Alas, many debut writers say that writing a second novel is very difficult. If you already have a second book under contract, you will be subject to deadlines, which can be brutal for an author who wrote his/her first book without such pressures. If you don’t have a second book under contract, you might feel pressure to quickly write and sell another novel in order to keep up your publishing momentum. Bad reviews or lack of promo for your first novel might have lowered your confidence by the time you start writing your second novel. Conversely, good reviews and positive attention for your first book might make you feel like your second book won’t be able to measure up. If you’re doing a lot of promo for your first novel, especially if it involves traveling, you might not find much time to write that sophomore novel.

Is it possible for the second book in my two-book deal to get canceled?

Yes, but I’m not sure how often that happens. Sometimes a sequel will get canceled if the first book doesn’t perform well, but I think a cancellation occurs more often with a third book than with a second book. Don’t quote me on that.

Any tips for how to get through the sophomore experience?

Do what you can to release pressure. Try not to rely on book sales for your income; that way, if it takes longer than expected to publish a second novel, you won’t be living on saltines. Ask for your deadlines to get pushed back if that’s what you need–everyone will be happier to have a good second book at the expense of having a speedy follow up. Stay in contact with other writers who can remind you that most sophomore novels are cheeky brats.

Helpful Link:

S. Jae-Jones talks about Writing Under Contract on Pub Crawl.


Independent bookstores

independent bookstores

local bookstores as opposed to national chains

Why are independent bookstores important?

Independent bookstores are important to your career (not to mention local economies) because they will stock and promote your books much longer than big box stores will. They’ll hand-sell your book to readers they feel will be interested in your style or topic, based on booksellers extensive knowledge of and love for books

How can I support my local indie?

By shopping there, of course, but also by setting up events there, like a book launch. You can also offer to sign stock, which you can in turn promote online. Many authors partner with a local indie to offer signed books to readers who want to order from that indie online. When the signed stock runs out, your indie can call you to come and sign more to make available to more online customers. Pick a day/time that’s not too busy for your local indie and introduce yourself to the staff to find out how you can work with their store.


How can I support independent bookstores online?

You should definitely have a link to IndieBound on your website along with any other links your provide for readers to order your book online. IndieBound directs readers to local independent bookstores and allows readers to order books online through those local stores.

Link to IndieBound.