Literary Agents, Book Marketing & Publishing

Literary Agents, Book Marketing & Publishing



all right about ready to get started here behind today but I thank you all for coming we have a really outstanding guest with us this afternoon John Furman is is joining us a little bit about John since 1996 over 1 million people have read john Furman's books over 1 million folks listen to his audio programs or seen him speak live around the world his impact is in helping individuals reach their maximum potential by overcoming fears and setting strong goals his nine books have been translated into a over a dozen languages and he has spoken to audiences throughout the world several of his titles include reject me I love it 21 secrets for turning rejection into direction are you living your dream if they say no just say next which as a person who went through 2,000 rejections before selling his his first book that's what you got to do you got to just move on to the next one after that first rejection and just keep a truck and I think another book the electronic dream yet another one leading leaders to leadership a lot of self-help books non-fiction books books for writers so I think we have a really interesting set up here for today with our guest John frum and I thank you very much for joining us my pleasure it's nice to be where there's no snow now I live here but I spent the last 24 years in New England and after we broke the record for snow last year 10 feet I I said I stuck around for the record let somebody ever that's one Thank You Stacey you bet so I've got about six or seven questions here just to get a start and then we'll open it up to you guys to to carry on the dialogue here this will go about 60 minutes as most as you know my first question is your first book was rejected by more than one hundred publishers many of us give up on trying to publish a book long for 100 people say no why do you think most people give up and what in your case kept you motivated that's the question of the ages and I wish there was a profound answer what what happened was when I when I started I had a simple goal I want to see my name on the cover of a book I didn't care if it was any good I didn't care if anybody read it I just wanted to say it's mine and one of the things that I knew you know I grew up my business career was mostly in sales and sales training and that the people that say no you know they're they're great teachers but it's not what pays the bills I also learned enough about publishing to know that it only took one person to say yes to get your foot in the door and get you started and that's really what happened I mean I wish there was this wonderful story of perseverance the fact was I'd get a rejection letter stick it in a folder and send out another one you know and I just kept going however probably about halfway through I don't really know exactly where one particular letter just quite frankly tick me off and I just picked up the phone and wanted to find out what made them think they were qualified enough to turn me down unfortunately they were able to explain it and it wasn't very good but what it taught me was maybe I should start asking more questions and really from about halfway on either you know just pick a number 50 50 rejection letters on I did start asking questions what was I doing wrong you know and they said we don't have a market for your book and I decided to explain it to them well of course there is and I explained it but it wasn't in the proposal so now I start they have a proposal and the fact is the the contract that I ultimately signed had I sent that proposal out first as opposed to the others I probably women turned down by them as well so it it remarkably is and interestingly enough so you're right most writers and I've done a few conferences and and I do seminars to practice most writers quit after the tenth letter why I don't know you know I really don't know it's it's a question of what do you want and and for me it was this revelation that I'm not gonna let 1020 Eltham Utley and I did not know that I was turned out a hundred times until after I signed the contract then I counted I'm not gonna let that many answers control my entire life you know and that's really what happens I would imagine in this room the the quality of writing is going to far surpass anything I've ever done the difference between me and a lot of writers was like just sent out one more letter and Here I am in direct contrast to all that rejection one of your books one of your more recent books the credit diet was bid on by several major publishers what was that experience like when just a few years earlier more than 100 publishers that that's the process I think that we all dream about and and I'll tell you both sides of story but initially what happened was a very good friend of mine who was a writer said you know you ought to come to the Maui Writers Conference no of course wouldn't want to go to the Maui Writers Conference right and I said oh well I'm pretty busy I really can't make it to Maui you know considering it was a lot of money at the time and he said well you know maybe you should get your next manuscript into the Maui marketplace and and that was certainly a little bit closer to my budget I think it was like 125 dollars and basically what it is is you've you kind of fill out a very brief business plan anyway make a long story short after the conference I get a call from an agent in New York and they said we'd really be interested in talking to you okay I said when when is the next time you're going to be in New York and I said that's a matter of fact two days from now so I canceled everything I had planned so that's two days they never asked a really intelligent question today well when can you come and see us so I drove to New York from from New Hampshire where I was living and and I will tell you the this particular agent the first one not the one that ended up representing my book they both work for the same agency was a stereotypical Hollywood agent female chain-smoking gravelly voice how are you please sit down have a seat oh we're gonna love we're gonna do great things we're gonna go to lunch and but so I said no okay and then I met the the one who her name was Eileen cope and she ended up representing me and she really was very aggressive and very intelligent she read the book and funny thing was she she read the book and actually started following the premise and by the time I came back she always put an extra $1,500 in a bag eliminated one of her credit cards so she was pretty convinced that way so she says now we're going shopping you know and I mean again I'm a guy so I went what the heck is wrong with this and she's no no we're going shopping for a publisher and I haha oh okay very first publisher we go to was John Wiley & Sons and you know I figured we'd meet somebody and then that would be it well we get into this room and the first thing that comes in there's a woman who's the finance at a personal finance center they they have into you know for the different types of books and we're chatting and then in the room comes the vice-president in charge of all the editors on that floor and she's very pleased to meet me we're gonna do great things and then in comes the marketing director and she's got an eight-page marketing plan for my book now what again with a background in sales I'm just sitting back going we're doing this deal this is done you know put a fork in it and and I'm really leaning forward to sign Eileen cope she leans back and she goes well thank you very much we have to go and I'm looking at it like are you kidding me she does now we have to go we expect your best bid by Friday and off we go and I get in the elevator and I go so you've done this before haven't you I mean tell me you know what you're doing and we went to HarperCollins and we met them and the guy there was pretty cold and it just that one wasn't going to work then we went we took another cab ride to st. Martin's Press now there in the coolest building in New York it's one of those triangle buildings that's like yeah exactly we go up to HarperCollins and I'll never forget it we go into this room and it's like 15 people in the room and at the end of the table is this guy and he's he's like a bald guy in this shirt solder several that he's chewing gum like snapping gum you know and it's just sitting back there yeah I know so then on this side of the table are a couple of editors on this side of the table or a couple of marketing people and we're just chatting and the editors are going well how did you come up with this what are you doing and I leaned when filling her thing and I would tell my side of the story and I don't if you remember movie big with Tom Hanks this guy's hand goes up you guys excuse me I don't get it I'm gonna I don't understand what do you mean you don't get it you have debt you can eliminate that that's a good thing he goes yeah I don't get it and the guy way down at the end of the table he goes well I get it everybody shuts up the gum chewer was the boss he says I get it so we leave there and and they had a little bit of a I don't want to say a bidding war but it went back and forth a little bit and that was kind of cool we ended up going with John Wiley now the funny side of that was it was a great life lesson because of all the books that I've done it was the one that I got a very nice advance from did worse than any of my other books they wouldn't let me help with the marketing even though I knew what was going on so you know finding an agent finding a major publisher may not be the right answer I've sold far more books done far better without him doesn't mean they're bad it just means it's not always a fit so you know that was my but I will say this the process is awesome to just go through that one time they pay for everything it's really cool that is an awesome answer on the topic of marketing being as specific as you can John what are the best marketing strategies you've learned over the years to help sell your books that's a that's a great question one you you and I said this that I think a couple of you earlier we're gonna blow some publisher miss out of those out of the water here publishers are printers with big egos printer is a printer right you go in you want some copies they print publishers don't want to be called prentice but that's basically what they do they are not going to mark it the way you can market there never nobody can be passionate about what you write other than you you know you're going to be the reason now publishers come into play because of this their job is to get the books on the shelves your job is to get them off so number one is you number two is get way outside the box I give you an example I did a writing seminar and a woman named her name is Jane Pollock now Jane actually speaks all over the world on being an entrepreneur but at the time she was just getting started Jane creates decorative eggs but I mean exquisite I have one it's it's like a collector's item it's like a Faberge egg and she did a beautiful coffee table book with pictures of her eggs and she said I'm not selling a lot of books so we went outside the box and it happened to be early March I said Jane what's coming up she she said the rent and I guess sell books but we started thinking and started thinking and Easter was coming up I said well Jane you know your book is beautiful why not go to like a designer chocolatier the most exquisite chocolate shops you can find get those wooden the really decorative wooden book stands and start putting your books up as she did and the books took off and she ended up signing a better deal with a better publisher which does happen they one will buy the book from others and it's done for now it's actually created a secondary career for talking about being in business for yourself think outside the box where can I put my book that nobody would think of you know what would surprise people we ended up doing some marketing with the credit ID as an example having it in credit unions which is more geared towards savings than say lending even though they provide those services you know if you write a a novel about a particular area you know the tourism the hotels in that particular area it might be a great place to you know have the books put the books in there let people read them for free if they want to buy them you know make a deal with the hotel and there are things that we talked about in this seminar so that's that's the second thing the third thing is be a publicity machine when when reject me I love it first came out that first year I did over 300 radio interviews okay that meant getting up at 3 o'clock in the morning to do a noontime radio show in Hawaii it meant leaving New Hampshire at 2 o'clock in the morning to tape a five-minute TV spot in New York City you know you have to do these things and it's a lot of work now get paid later type stuff articles any article at all that you can get you know thats related to your book write it give it for free offer free excerpts become a publicity machine and Stacey knows he had a wonderful introduction know who wrote that that would be me okay you know and and do those things press releases the internet now is a wonderful place okay I tell you want to know a really great publicity trick how many of you have books published now great what's it tell me about your book a young adult okay now what's the title okay here's a great one go on Amazon okay in the young adult section and start reviewing other books in a highly complementary fashion okay and I'll give an example let's just say that you know Joey gets a girlfriend hi Joey gets a girlfriend is the next and I would put in your title it is absolutely than its spellbinding it reaches Heights almost equivalent and and what you're doing is you're throwing your name in there you're at the time let me have your book because I want to get the title right all right there we go here we go my aunt calls me Suri okay yeah Joey gets a girlfriend is the next my aunt calls me Suri much like Margie devilís much like Margie divorce this author weaves the tale of death and you just do that and then you just keep writing it all over here's what happens if somebody were to google yours all of those reviews would show up again that's how it ties into the Internet okay yeah write a review for somebody else's book yeah but what you put tie it into yours I you just put it right on Amazon it yeah there's any any book on Amazon can be reviewed it says click to review this book and you write a review I'll give you an example yeah when when the credit die first came out what's his name Dave Ramsey was having a modicum of success yeah he was doing very well actually so I decided to review some of his books you know you know Dave Dave Ramsey picks up right where the credit diet leaves off you know where the credit diagnosis and and all of a sudden people want to check that out I've been partnered up with Richard Bach on some books you know because Amazon will partner books up you know buy both and save type things so do that but be a publicity machine do not turn down an interview do not turn down an opportunity to write an article even if it's for free because you get to write a byline you know Jon Furman is the author of whatever I'm promoting at the time if I can interrupt the the first thing you said about interviews really caught my attention doing 300 radio interviews or one book is huge and they had to have moved some books who was setting up those interviews was it you did you have a publicist no either no I never had how did you find 300 radio stations well you know there's a pretty good process the first one I did was was really bad and I'll just I just want to grab this this was one of the older covers of when one reject me I loved it first came now one of the problems with this is the coloring all right this color of blue and red do not photocopy well I know if you knew that especially if you're doing black and this is remember this is 1996 we didn't have color copiers well at least that I could afford so here was my marketing budget I you know I hadn't sold a book yet and and and the publisher that I signed with people said why'd you sign with him because he gave me a contract that's why but there wasn't any advance it was basically write it we'll see how it goes so I took this you know and kind of laid it down on a copy machine like that and just ran off some copies and you know it was like four cents a copy whatever it was and I spent about 20 bucks and the back side was blank so I started typing letters to radio stations you know this is a copy of my book and I was getting calls from radio stations going you got to walk the walk because nobody would dare Sandow the horrendous marketing piece like this unless they were trying to make a point I said you're exactly right you know let's do an interview and and the first one that we got was was a little station called kgo which is in San Francisco it's the number one Northern California radius it's a 50,000 watt deal and I did like five minutes and and within an hour had already sold like 55 bucks you know and then what happened was in the next round the letters that go out you know you've heard him on kgo you know and we just kind of dovetailed it but there are also and one of the things that we talked about in when I do the seminars is there are publications that you can actually buy ads in to to promote your availability for interviews radio TV interview report is one such place and there are many many many others you know where I bought advertising then then you have there are companies that provide a service and they actually booked you and they call it paper appearance and you know if they don't get you anything it doesn't cost you anything if they get you into a number one market it might cost you a hundred dollars for the show if they get you into a number ten market it might cost you 25 dollars for the show so it's a sliding scale you just commit to doing you know and and what I suggest unless you are incredibly well-off now I start with the free ones okay that was like my dad always taught me if you want to fix something start with the cheapest solution and work your way up you know and and that's worked out really really well but I've never never really used the publisher if they're out there I I will say that how many you do write fiction okay publicist really are more geared toward nonfiction work just as a whole you know if you found this is I specialize in fiction and they've got some great clients by all means use them they're very professional but by and large it's easier to explain to media outlets nonfiction because you're not making anything up you know where fiction is a little bit harder everybody thinks oh well it's just a story well not necessarily I mean I've read some great fiction over the years I love reading fiction it is with my nonfiction you know if he can make something up so can i no I'm just kidding so you know be careful you know be careful Network get get recommended a publicist rather than looking for one on the phone book now publishers know you you don't have a choice in that they ya know then yeah they the publisher will come in and anybody self publish okay well we can talk about that maybe but if you if you're at a small publisher but you're doing real well it often that book that title will get bought out by a bigger publisher with better distribution yeah they'll kind of renegotiate the deal and here's the beauty you get paid for that too you know they'll they'll come in and say I know if anybody remembers the Christmas box that was a great little short story the guy started as a self-published book yeah photocopied and then went to and then one of the major publishing houses bought it out well actually a small publisher bought it out and then a major publishing house comes in and says will buy that from you and it wasn't doing all that well for them will buy it for a hundred thousand dollars believe it or not coincidence somebody read the book and and you know week this is this is right up our alley there are wrong publishers for your work I've learned that you know but there's other ones ago this fits right in with our and they decide to make it a gift book and they and that was their whole thing so they went in and bought it and then created this massive campaign behind it I think it's like four and a half million copies later let me ask one more question and I'll open it up to show you guys I can kind of walk around with the mic so we get a good recording of this as well what kinds of things should and author include on a marketing plan and should you include that kind of information when contacting these literary agents yeah that's a that's a really really good point so many of the magazines tell you that you know send a query letter and what they don't tell you is that that is gonna be step one at best okay when I did the credit diet and and one of the reasons we were able to get into these big publishers is you know my agent sent me a cookie cutter ever proposal they used for a very very successful business writer and she said this is what they want each book should have its own business plan and that's part of the proposal what publishers want is that they kind of want a sure bet okay they're gonna spend probably ninety percent of their advertising marketing and publishing budget on two or three you know sure bets tom clancy's Stephen King Nora Roberts hey they get all the money right yeah yeah but what they'll do is they you know if you have an interesting proposal they'll take a shot on you you're not going to get their money it's already spent but if you have an idea that will take off I'll give you an example when we did the credit diet and the proposal started off where it's you know basically is why write the book well because everybody's been dead okay why you because I was really in debt and I got out of it I'm you know who's your competition they want to know about other books like yours and and they don't want to hear that yours is better they just want to know why why is there room for another one then for me because I speak and and and and do lectures and and and talks all over the place they want to know what I'm gonna do to sell books now here's the key phrase and we when we do our one-day seminar we spend about two hours on this but the key phrase is in the proposal is depending on the contract all right now I learned that after the fact what do I mean by that well what I had said was when I speak in front of audiences my audience of who reigns in size to groups like this to the the biggest was 5,000 people at Lehigh University well let me tell you when you do that some people buy some books we had a good weekend that weekend but but the point is if you know you're going to be doing that many audiences and you have an idea how many people there are some pretty safe formulas to figure out how many books you're going to sell so what I said was in the next four years I personally will take responsibility for selling 16,000 copies you know at a rate of minimum of 4,000 a year I can buy them sooner or later now what you don't do is make a boastful statement like that unless you can back up if you're gonna do a lot of small groups like this say I can do in the next five years a thousand be realistic you know you don't need a garage full of books all right you already know what's in them you wrote him but what I've learned was that one phrase depending on the contracts yeah I didn't do that I just said I'll buy 16,000 copies over four years and they said oh okay now how do I said depending on the contract I still would have bought 16,000 copies because I knew I could sell them you know I had that many audiences but had they said well we'll offer you this and I'll say well then I'm only gonna buy these you know and it becomes a thing of negotiation if you want to give me more money you know I'll do that it's just one of those things that you learn but you know let them know what you think you can sell on your own both both what oh yeah it's everything is open for negotiation when you get that opportunity okay up until that point I just went okay yep here's another contract okay you know but because I had an agent you know they got me into that arena for the first time you know and and again you know my backgrounds in sales and marketing negotiating is nothing new to me but you know on the writing and publishing side I hadn't been exposed to that and had the opportunity to do that so I learned let's go back to that that's one thing is not perfectly clear in my mind was how you found the Lowenstein agency how did they first showed interest were you just sitting up query letter no I you know the funny thing was I sent out query letter so I never got any response and then I tried you know to use my marketing skills you know at the time one of the more popular brands were the chicken soup books okay so what I did was I created a a junk mail basically in other words the outside of my envelope said congratulations if you're the guys who signed chicken soup if not open this and you know and then I went through this whole you know I had a slick glossy and all my publishing credentials you know and my published work you know behind it but what happened was they found me at that Maui marketplace you know I had done a mini proposal if you will and they were their agents do go to certain writers conferences now why would they go to the Maui Writers Conference as opposed to the Wilmington writers conference because it's Maui it's not that there are better writers there its Maui and and they get to write the whole thing off in getting to know these agents you know as I work with some you know what and I ask a lot of questions and they'll be afraid to do that I found out that they they're perfectly happy to come home without anything you know it's not they don't go there specifically to get a book they go there and a if it happens great it's like a bonus there are I will tell you this if you get an unsolicited offer from an agent run okay I've got a I've got a file in my computer they begin from just from working with writers of some of the bad guys out there and there are there are many many you know and I don't ask me how they find what you're working on but they do there they like the they're like mine readers at a carnival you know we'd love to work with you what your next young adult piece of fiction but just did be perfectly clear you had you put together kind of this really sort of outside of the box letter package yeah that was that was sort of direct mail but that's not actually how you youth agent you actually met your agent in person at this writers conference right they found they they saw my manuscript at the conference and actually contacted me shortly after the conference and then I went to New York to meet him for the first time yeah yeah and how many times how many times does this come up that that I've mentioned this before over the past year and a half or so so many writers that I meet that have published a book and found a publisher and found an agent first they meet their agents at a Writers Conference we do I think it's wise to do these sendings because you kind of get a sense of some of the agents personalities yeah and that kind of thing but ultimately so many writers that I meet and have met that have gone on to publishing success first met their agent at a Writers Conference and that's very true any any opportunity that you you have to meet with agents but you know what do just that meet with them all right you're not gonna pitch your book you know I was at I one of the things that I do is a lot of public speaking and they have speakers bureaus and they're kind of like agents but four speakers all right we went to a big conference and I kid you not there were speakers bureau owners or agents if you will running around with signs on them I'm not looking for new speakers leave me alone you know because they get tired of it hire me hire me pick me I'm the best on this and I'm not don't you know because not every agent is a fit there are some agents who specialize in historic romance novels and they're the best in the business at that there are some that specialize in business there are some that specialize in books that translate easy into film because they've got connections on both sides and publishing and Hollywood do your research do your research and don't be afraid to ask questions when you meet him at a Writers Conference tell them gee I'm looking to branch out I would like to see something in film what would I do different as opposed to a regular proposal okay here's a great question if you were to find an author that you wanted to work with how do you prefer to be contacted let them tell you you know some of them will be blunt and not very nice and say not at writers conferences leave me alone well you know what you get to choose the funny thing is you can succeed without an agent they'd have a tough time without authors and you need to remember that you're the you're the commodity that that makes them some income be selective you know if you find someone that wants to work with you find out why what did they bring to the party you know what was nice about Eileen was she started at prentice-hall and then she went to penguin as an editor senior editor before she got it so she again so she's seen both sides of the fence and and and they have to serve an apprenticeship so it's it's pretty interesting serendipity is a big thing in the publishing business I think that I'm successful because I do everything anything that I can to to promote to get ideas you know work on I'll be working on a book topic and and because of that I'll meet someone other writers conference I'll be trying to do direct mail at an ad for agents and someone will say hey you know what you should just put it over here when we're doing what we do we discover all kinds of unique ways to take the next step and it's often given to us by people in the same room so it sounds like you met one of the senior agents at Maui Writers Conference do you remember the exact setting did you meet her after a panel or did you meet her at the hotel bar which is now I just got a notes and you know we should get together and I said okay and you know of course I had to be outside because she changed smoked you know but so darling you know oh I'm serious it was like Hollywood you know they got to her office in New York she had that big leather couch and the problem with guys like me being so tall when you sit into it your knees they're way up here you know your buddies down near the floor and she's sitting in a giant despot was cartoonish I mean she was just a tiny woman it's just smaller than you and she's over this desk you know I don't tell anybody I'm smoking in my office okay you know I did all I can think of is I don't know if you ever saw the movie Beetlejuice I mean it's a really odd with the lady with the hole this is I'm telling you this is what she looked like for real except without the holes I'm you should have that but you know I love and then Eileen comes in the room and she looked like she came out of a Glamour magazine I mean she was absolutely beautiful to a young lady but new hearse I mean she you couldn't shake her confidence you know I was the one that was shaken when we walked out of wiley going we could assign them right then there she goes I know so but yeah I'm sorry if I'm kind of pushing the point here but hey you got a note from this agent that's fascinating so how did she find out about you okay they at that particular conference what happened is if you went into the marketplace and a lot of conferences have a marketplace and and it's basically a revenue generator to keep the cost of the conference now for everybody and you pay it and I think and I and I may be wrong but I believe it was a hundred and twenty five dollars and and they would send you that the paperwork you would need to submit your manuscript in other words it would out you know who you are what you're writing bet but it was like you know give me ten words on your writing history list your publishing accomplishments so you were kind of doing a a bullet point resume and then a bullet point proposal about that particular book that goes into the pool and they just sit there and they each every agent there gets a binder with all everybody's and they just kind of go through it you know and some of them will walk away with nothing I had I had another agent contact me from there and then gave me a card and then when I tried to track her down she was in San Francisco you know this number doesn't exist there's no you know so that happens too so those opportunities you know I don't want to discourage anybody from trying anything I just I'm just dead against people spending money that they don't have to spend because there's no guarantees I know North Carolina writers kind now that was free I mean you got a brief time but you just the agents were there looking for manuscripts I at the North Carolina Writers Conference if you want to get your manuscript looked at you have to pay for it which to me after having done it the other way seeing what you know like one hundred two hundred dollars just have someone look at it so to me that did not seem like a good idea and I wonder where your opinion of that is like if you had now that marketplace proposal yeah that seems like that could be worthwhile obviously it was for you in that instance but would you won okay I have two questions one what do you think of paying to meet an agent mm-hmm and two how would you find out about marketplace proposals of that kind writers conferences so you in fact did not have to you can do that without attending a conference correct that is correct that's that's incorrect Maui Maui Writers Conference has the Maui manuscript marketplace you can go to Maui Google it I'm not I'm not sure if it's dot-com org but Maui Writers Conference you know pay to meet agents if you've got a Writers Conference that's basically what you've done okay you know unless there is something you know genres specific that you wanted to learn you know and we were talking about earlier you know how to kill somebody I mean that if you're looking to write crime novels that's probably a good thing to know and I and if you had the chance to talk to you know a writer who happened to also being a previous career a forensic pathologist that might be a good reason to attend but basically by and large people are going to writers conferences to a meet other writers because nobody on the planet understands what we go through except us and be mean agents so you've already paid to meet that agent if you have to pay to get them to read something again this is personal no no now if you have to pay to put a proposal in absolutely because then they're going to come to you and say you know I'm interested in that proposal alright I've turned down agents who wanted to represent me because they had no experience in my marketplace doesn't mean they're bad agents they're just bad for me you know don't be afraid to do that it's you know the world needs to see your work but under your terms as much as possible you know so it's it's very important I think there's an interesting distinction to hear when you went to the Maui writers conference it sounds like you had several books that you had published it a smaller press as a bit of leverage you could point out these things that you and and you've probably pointed at numbers that you'd actually sold oh and that's exactly right when you do the resume you know they said what did you write and how many did it sell and and this is this is a great point how many of you here before you came here had no clue had never heard of me before just raise your hand if you never heard of me ever ever ever right well yeah but I'd be far before Stacey's launched my publicity can't play but you know and most agents have neither so when I put down reject me I love it you know at that and I'll probably get the numbers for him but it was you know like 120 130 thousand copies and this that you know and I get over here and here and here and here and I put down you know smaller numbers and then I went back and I put the dates of publication so that you know reject me which came out first had the most sales and all the way through and you know and then negotiating for foreign rights put that in there and then I put you know I speak to an average of 15 to 30 thousand people a year all those things are important for the types of books that I was writing that that's the tiebreaker you know next all you're looking for is the tiebreaker you know I mean when you when you have your topic and answer the question who cares number one and the second question is always going to be why you and if you can bring those two things across in in a small proposal you'll generally you know give somebody to talk to you you know and that was a hard one for me you know hey what are you writing about now I'm writing about that fat who cares and I wanted to smack the guy you know but I realized he was right yes sir yep looking at excerpts or book proposals on something like scribe decom is that a weight that they kind of look at that as a pool to look around and try and find something that they can market I think more and more that they are you know but with it with a keener eye I mean you have to on something like that you have to blow them away I mean it has to be like a Pulitzer Prize winner because you know there are so everybody can go in there you know you can you can put a coloring book in there you know because it's free access however that being said there are more and more avenues coming to the internet and you know it's gonna be a place that they can go they can't attend all the writers conferences I just looked I don't have you ever saw website called Shaw guides it's every writers conference on the planet and that Shaw guide or Shaw guides sh aw yeah and it's every writers conference on any topic you know they have like the the Antioch left-handed redheaded conference you know and you can go there if you meet those qualifications but so agents are looking more at the internet than they did you know even three or four years ago but I would put it there but I wouldn't you know I wouldn't stop them and I would definitely put it in the mix I would take advantage of anything yep yep one of the things you know with any of that whether it's an agent or you go to a publisher director you can if you can solicit publishers without an agent and some publishers will tell you we prefer not to have agents solicitous biggest thing I tell you is follow their instructions to the letter if they say send me a note send a note don't send them a note attached to a 700 page manuscript they don't even read the note okay now other ones would say you know especially in fiction and I'm not a fiction writer I you know but I know that they will say I want don't send me anything except a completed manuscript all right you know don't send them like a middle chapter you know and say oh yeah I'm not going to tell you the end tell me it okay because they want to know just follow their instructions three sample chapters newspapers whatever it is you send it exactly the way they want it let's say you had a half million dollars to develop a marketing plan what things would you absolutely include in a budget of a half million dollars for marketing plan Wow I'm just sitting here thinking of a half a million dollars well I mean you could blow it all in you know TV spot absolutely no number one on my list is radio any whatever whatever you have to spend to get on radio radio is the ideal medium for writers okay well I mean I'm a prime example when I grew up my father told me I had a face radio and I needed to be there the thing is it's convenient as heck you can be anywhere and do interviews anywhere else like I said I'm in New Hampshire doing interviews in Hawaii Texas Idaho second interview I ever did was on a Detroit radio station and the host was mr. Ted Nugent the Motor City Madman himself and we had a blast but I was at the time I was in New York when I'm traveling I don't have to give up my radio spots okay so you can get a lot more exposure on radio television is a wonderful medium don't misunderstand me you know I've done TV spots I was in New York and we did some TV spots for good day in New York which was great but I had to be in New York so I had to leave you know and it was a it's a an early-morning show comes on just before Good Morning America and so I had to leave New England at two o'clock in the morning to get to the studio you know and you know what happens guys and I direct this at the guys you shave at two o'clock in the morning all right by 6:00 a.m. there damn and more plaster on my face to hide five hours of stubble to go on the air for five minutes we're with radio you know you have the opportunity to say hey can you stick around for another segment this is really great you know Collins it's amazing so radio would be number one the second thing is if you want to have those of you to have your books out are they on Amazon okay if this is a fun thing to do and and sales books too so that's kind of good go to your email list okay and I'm gonna teach you real quick viral marketing I'm not going to teach of words we do that when we do the one-day seminar I was talking about earlier but basically contact all your friends and tell them to contact all their friends and tell them not to buy you book until December 19th at 1 o'clock oh it's hysterical we took the credit diet to like number 49 on Amazon now it only lasts for a day so print that page but it was really cool because we just viral marketing it and everybody buys it Amazon's tracking numbers are based on books per hour ok so that's why we tell them 1 o'clock and when 10 and it takes like 10 you know and all of a sudden it starts moving up and moving up and moving up and the next thing you know what happens is when you get into the top 100 you rotate onto the front page so as soon as somebody hits Amazon there's your book so it's really kind of cool and that's free you know so I'm all about doing stuff for freed more of this half-million-dollar Staci's getting me that I can keep I'm gonna work at that the other thing is and they're great examples all throughout here is get as many things as you can with the name of your book on it alright one of the things that I did with actually one reject me came out not in this and in softcover is actually when we went to there's a bad example this is actually this is one of the I don't even know what language this is but anyways this was the new reject me when the publisher had some money kind of got off the cartoon kick but what we did was they always any printer doesn't overrun okay they always make more covers than they need so what I did was I said well look have them give me I'll buy them all they're not very expensive they're like pennies apiece but I just want this piece right here so they'll cut him and ship him to you well that became my postcard any time I did any mailings I sent this out so it was you know and again understand the the the secret to selling 750,000 copies of anything is solemn one give somebody to buy one loop and watch what happens okay and and here's what I mean and I talked about earlier I was in a book signing okay and there's authors you know you've heard both sides you know people tell you book signings are just an incredible waste of time and you don't make any money and editor maybe I just like talking to people well anyways I did the book signing it was at a Borders Books you know which is great and guy came in bought the book signed a book you know chatted like this and off you went read the book and called me and said how do I get in touch with the publisher and I said well it depends why I've said I know how to get right through but I want to make sure that so I need to order some of these I said oh well in that case here's his number and he ordered 1400 copies for his company and we were off and running do those things any of the free things book signings because again you're looking for that one special person whoever it might be you know it's just like like Stasia how do you find an agent you just you just talk to people you know you never know what's gonna happen you know giveaway giveaway your bucks give them away here's hit this is this is one of those this is how you do it when you're flat broke okay which is usually right after it's come out in print you're about as broke as you're going to get and so the book came out and I I was a hard negotiator so I negotiated ten free copies into into my contract and I know I'm pretty much an AW myself too but anyways I had these ten free copies and my brother says well how much is it and I said well it's it's ten ninety five and he says wha okay do you have a nickel I said now just give me ten bucks so I see so he gave me the money and I knew I could buy him at that time at a 50% discount so that meant I with this ten dollars like I buy two books and that's how I looked at it so I had a big sign over my desk it's to sell it to your friends give it to people you don't know that's what I started doing anytime I can sell a couple of my friends I would replace them and give them out to people at newspapers people in businesses again I'm writing nonfiction but I want to get it out to as many places as I can so I would have a budget to buy books okay and and and keep them in circulation I'm not looking for you to fill up your garage with books but but that would be definitely part of the budget the last thing is if I had a half a million dollars I would take on an ad in a Thursday edition of USA Today that's the book readers Edition okay now you can have the New York Times and all that highfalutin you know I think some guy that had a thesaurus dropped on his head comes out and has seven ways of saying sand you know writing a book review about a book nobody's going to read I would rather take out an ad in USA Today and then you could say whatever you want there it is and and the reason I know that is Mark Victor Hansen one of the co-authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul I got to spend a half a day with mark and that's what they did that's what made chicken soup the success that it was was that of course they had a lot more money they they spent at that time which was 99 98 99 $125,000 to put a full-page ad in the USA Today and up until that point they had not sold I think about 8,000 copies of the book yeah that was a huge gamble but again they they were the ones that taught me that writing is a business you know in fact the his exact comment was if you're passionate about your message you better make some money otherwise nobody's going to hear about it you need to be able to make the money so that people can afford to see your stuff and and that's and again once you create that cottage industry of themselves which they did and it was you know Chicken Soup for the Plumber soul and Chicken Soup for the spaghetti maker soul and it got a little crazy but you know they're not doing so bad but they segwayed you know they got Campbell Soup to be one of their sponsors okay then they God and I'll probably be wrong I I believe it was pedigree dog food to sponsor them and they had chicken suit for the pet lover soul and they started selling the book and this is what I talk about thinking outside the box in pet stores and feed and grain stores so you know do that figure out you to go home and in the next 48 hours come up with one place where you would put your book that's not a bookstore you know and just see that at a perfect example I'm looking at one over here this blue book on the second row that's kind of buried back there with a dog on the cover this is a guard Stein's book the art of racing in the rain I interviewed Garth up in Raleigh a couple of months ago on the TV show up in Raleigh and this book you might recognize from being in Starbucks somehow either he or HarperCollins is publisher for this book negotiated a deal to have the art of racing in the rain displayed near the counter in Starbucks all across the country so in addition to going in and buying a cup of coffee people could pick up a copy of the book or at least see it there and there's something I think about seeing a book in a place where there aren't you know a thousand books around it draws your eye to and you wonder well what's up with this guy how did he get you know this book there and then people go home and research and in his book has been on Amazon's top 100 pretty much since it came out it was a New York Times best-selling book so that sort of furthers absolutely what you're saying about find restaurants where people you know I mean Starbucks is a good example where people go and sit and read and stuff like that go to the restaurant you know and again do your research if it's a place where people go and they eat slow you know in other words they relax they might want to read a book go into the restaurant say listen to you know if the restaurant I don't want to talk to you talk to the head waiter waitress hostess host whatever say listen how would you like to make more in tips well what do you mean well if somebody comes in I'm gonna leave you five copies of my book just given do you want to read while you eat you know here you here's a copy of the book if you like the book you can buy it on the way out if not just bring it back all right and what happens is you tell them look you know we'll split it 60/40 I get 60 you get 40 which is a standard bookstore split so you muscled did that way right and all of a sudden you know you come back at the end of the week how many do you have as long as they don't have the same amount as when you went in you're in good shape because somebody's talking about your book and and that's what you really want you know it's creating that buzz you know you know and I'm incredibly proud that you have a copy of your book with you I think that everybody if you've got your book published at need you need to have it with you you need to throw it on your dashboard you know vanity place websites you can get a web name for like 10 bucks that go dad okay unfortunately the guy that used to have my website when I was really speaking all over the place I had one for my books I had one for my own personal name he let that go to some DUI lawyer in Seattle so he's not my web guy anymore but you know when you come out with a new book okay when you're thinking of a title get that domain name you know exactly the way it is on your title the nice thing is when I first started you know I couldn't get rejected me I love it calm because back then it was too long they had to be short now tech you can put you know I mean the art of racing in the rain and the author's name dot-com uh you know you can do those things do that invite people to your website give it away yes if I could just for me sure and then we'll take a couple more questions here I do have this sign-up sheet I'm going to pass it around if you've got your if you'd like to put your email address down here then I can let you know about future speakers when we have them here I'll get this started I have a question yes going back to your one of your comments at the very beginning I just want to be real clear he said review click the review this book on the Amazon and in your review you just throw yours in oh yeah ah yeah I mean I've done I've done these and I and I wish cuz I would show you but I mean they may have been taken down now because it was years ago you know and it was somebody like I think MCX who wrote the road less traveled em Scott Peck did an interview a day minimum for 11 consecutive years that's why it was on the New York Times bestseller list for 12 okay and and I didn't know that he had done that until later on and you know one of the guys that I had known and said well you know you're writing you know personal development stuff kind of like em Scott Peck and I said oh who's em Scott Peck so you know he writes the same kind of stuff you know because the 700 you can print your book yourself yeah writer's digest is a great source not so much in the classifieds because they will put a classified one in there that'll get you every now and then but they every now and then and and I think you're gonna address this probably better than I am they will do an issue on writing contests and you want to read that and see those contests the writers market which is the same that's a big one has annual contests in the back and again they kind of screen those there aren't any bad ones in there but you have much more information than I and I'm happy writing for children you need to be a member of the Society of children's book writers and illustrators it is an international organization they it's a $60 a year fee we have a very very strong Carolinas region chapter we just had a conference last weekend in Durham with agents and editors as well as speakers they will answer any question along these lines that you have is the Society of children's book illustrators and they have a website I visited it's a great very helpful resources like that I think and that's what that's an excellent point you know whenever you can you know hang around with with other writers regardless of genre but you know you because the writer knows the writer knows the writer eventually you end up connecting and getting information like that which is incredibly valuable those that website I would imagine without having been there I can probably answer that question like that I want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to ask your question here yeah you feel very guilty yes that's my job I'm too many books would like to do that the nerve to try through the publisher right now everybody is on the internet I feel very guilty well no that's my gift to all of you inspired but you know and it's funny you say that I make sure my contact information is in every one of my books and it's just a simple email address email me one of the writers that I admired over the years actually was a hero of mine as a fella by the name of augment II know most people don't know who he is and yet he sold 20 million bucks okay his first book the greatest salesman in the world still sells over a hundred thousand copies a month today he was he was one of the editors of Success Magazine in one of its earlier incarnations but what what struck me about him was he answered every contact personally I mean and I he gets way more than I but he does he answers every single one because he felt and and as do I if someone took the time to write to me I owe him at least that courtesy you know I mean I may not answer them that day but I will answer everybody and and I think everybody should but that being said there are a lot of authors who kind of buy into their own press you know I think I'm going to be a recluse I'm gonna you know I need to have some kind of psychological problem I need to be institutionalized some of you add to the mystique if you will as a career and and you know and I don't want to I'm not saying this to belittle it it's a job and and I don't mean that in a bad way I mean that every day you have to get up and do your job that's how you get better at your job you know people say how do you learn to speak speak I learned right right I mean there are days where I have these you know what I call it the streaming consciousness and I write and right now it's garbage you just got to throw it all away and you know the the difference is bless you with some of us as we go oh I've run out of words I can't it's just a day tomorrow I'm gonna write something else you know and sometimes it ends up being an article sometimes it ends up being you know kindling from my fireplace you know but you just have to do it every single day and that's how you get better at it you know not anymore because I've backed off on my speaking you know and and I don't now that I've moved down here to the beach I don't want to where how's my stuff anymore so I just send everybody to the publisher but that will change I've got some things here for y'all to take we're gonna do this in much greater detail middle of next month it's a it's a full day Publishing I guess is the way to say publishing seminar we're gonna take the mystique and the myth go into a lot more detail than even even though Stacey had some great questions I said y'all about putting together a business plan for selling your books it's not a it's not a typical writers conference because I don't really get into what you're writing or how well you write I'm not qualified to judge that but you know I can give you the marketing you know I like to call it master mastering marketing for the meek okay you know for those of you that are afraid of oh I don't know I can't sell anything it's not true I've learned some great lengths where are we gonna do it we're gonna be doing it right at the Marriott on Carolina Beach so I've got all that stuff here it suppliers it yeah we got some flowers the one thing I think that they forgot actually I'll just kind of pass them out and I'll tell you when you get them what they forgot oh I was gonna make sure that they did yeah they did I forget to tell you where to send them in but there's two pages and I kind of did that but anyways while those are going around I want to show you I want to show you what you're what you're in for and why why you do this because it's it truly is some kind of fun things most of these you're not going to be able to read us can i this is Spanish this isn't out yet this was Hungarian Taiwan Croatia Greek yeah sure absolutely yeah yeah nobody ever takes the foreign language once like with the point I like I like doing these this is a Korean and this this one's kind of fun though this one it it gives you an idea or actually it's it's more of balancing your life these are all different incarnations of reject me I love it and it's it's really kind of funny because in the Netherlands look how much smarter I am you know same book I don't know I'm really smart in Holland about twice as many I am of it yeah it's you know and then of course I could sit here I could this is what you see you take these at Starbucks and you sit in the corner in your harmful on people go reading he's he's fluent and in Dutch but those are the cool thing what I did was when this happened parted might again my my Stella negotiation skills I get three copies of each book in every language so that I haven't cuz it's just neat so those of you that don't understand foreign rights it's a it's what we call a cash cow it's huge because they just pay you money upfront what happens is a foreign publisher comes in and says we'll buy the rights to publish it in this particular country and they that's exactly what they do they pay a lump sum for the rights you know over a certain period of time it's like an advance the difference is when they pay the publisher and again this is this is all subject to negotiation but the standard is you get fit it's 50/50 split so that's kind of neat do you still tease you well it's just like if it's an advance if seeds you know that initial amount of money you do start to draw royalties on it and in most countries the the fact is it's not gonna happen I mean I there are Fuchs in Spanish yes and for some reason I the people in Spain or in spanish-speaking countries like my stuff so I do get royalties on those but we're not we're not getting a lot of cheques from Croatia so you just because both of them have it but you know you've got that money up front that's what you count on because it's real cash and you just get it that's that's exactly what was missing that was the one thing I was missing I will tell you that if you want to the easiest thing to do is I'll give you a mailing address 704 Ocean Boulevard number two and that's in Carolina Beach and as if all they do you get the zip I know I'm blurting it really quickly as to eight four two eight two eight four to eight yes that's a great question not not rights wise but it was with reject me what happened was a book distributor got a hold of it and happened to be on a trip to England and it did really well you know so it wasn't a translation issue and my publisher sent me a note he says we're gonna change the copy the the cover to say international bestseller because after they sold it in England they sold they sold a like amount in Australia and I had at that point sold I think it was and I again I'm gonna ask to me it was around ten thousand in England a fifteen thousand in Australia so it's twenty five thousand copies outside the country and I think we're at I like a hundred and fifty in the US so yeah sometimes you do a little bit better you know a stranger in a strange land types but we caught up in the States eventually in that one you guys are great you get some great questions they translate it you know so there's probably some things in there that I didn't say Yeah right yeah for me I mean the way I like to explain it I think I'm living proof if I can do it so can you type thing you know I'm not my biggest fear is running out of words you know and it's like oh gosh first the vowels go you know then syllables and then you I don't know but yeah but you don't it to me I just I try to write as if I'm having a cup of coffee with somebody that's just that's my style it's not good it's not bad it's just mine and either a lot of coffee drinkers around the world or it's just you know it I'm just a simple guy I don't have anything profound I didn't invent anything I didn't do a lot of studies you know I wrote when I wrote reject me it seemed to hit a nerve and people started just like you guys what about this what about this what about this and and I just started thinking well I don't know here's what I think about it and it goes back to what I said earlier I I don't know you know somebody else is gonna judge whether I'm any good at this or not I'm good at selling okay I know that I'm good at selling books I don't know if I'm a good writer but I'm not gonna change my style you know because actually quite frankly scares me you know I don't know if I could do it so I just continue to write my way and to a point now where hopefully like the people that have enjoyed my books now just feel comfortable okay I'm gonna buy it because I'm comfortable you know even if it's not something I necessarily need I'll be comfortable with you know and and I mean that's one of the things I try to focus on now you know which is a little bit different it used to be I took it damn you my email address is in I'll give you my if you guys I'm gonna give it now I know I'm gonna give you my own email address because nobody else uses it anymore because it's very archaic but when reject me came out AOL was the only game in town so I got reject me at aol.com and people say well real professionals don't use AOL anymore and that's probably true but it's mine and it's in 750,000 books how can I give it up yeah that's the easiest way and that's that goes directly to me it doesn't go get filtered through anybody else so you know if you send something if you have a question after you leave here just go ahead and zap it along and I'll be more than happy to answer it yeah again if I can just wrap up the video portion of the breakup here for a minute the the guest is is John Furman the book is reject me I love it if you want to find out more about this video it'll be on the how to publish a book dot o-r-g website I think what we're gonna probably do here in a minute after we break up how many folks would want to go out to eat at the Chili's restaurant up on College Boulevard afterwards anybody a couple people will talk about that afterwards I think John's gonna be around for a few minutes to answer some questions afterwards if you guys want to ask him questions you know one on one or something like that he'll seize I'm gonna break out the window or anything no no no lit out of here no I don't have anybody talk to you back at my house so I will stick around with some nice at aol.com no I'll get right to the point just reject me yeah two things – this is my little sales pitch thing – of course I drive down from Raleigh each month to come down here and gas prices are just insane but there's two ways that you can contribute to this if you want to keep this kind of discussion series going on here I'd love to do it and I do it kind of out of the passion of but a little bit of extra money doesn't hurt we've got a tip jar up here if you want to put a couple of bucks in here that would be great and then I do have these DVDs the how to publish a book how to get a literary agent which is a discussion of how publishers work I'll sell these directly from me for 10 bucks here today but the tip jar I'm going to leave up here for you guys if you would mind throwing a couple books in there that would help with the gasoline and everything I think we had one more question here having the author's name or the title of the book as the URL the don't domain name for your website ten bucks a shot I'd get them both okay with the way you can do it and I'm not a geek in that not Thursday I have to hire geeks cuz I don't know but you can actually have either one go to the same website in other words you can have both of them hand them out and they'll go to the same site GoDaddy they've got some stuff that GoDaddy called web website complete also Network sources

7 thoughts on “Literary Agents, Book Marketing & Publishing

  1. I am afraid I agree with you, this video was very useful for me. Thanks. Additionally I would like to say that I am a video marketer and I use youtube for traffic. Wanna learn how I achieve this? In my channel you can watch my video about my course which is hands down the best video marketing guide ever. Go to my youtube channel to check it out. Take care

  2. This interview is great. I will use it as I develop my book project: "I Am Black America." ramonahyman.com

  3. Hi Stacey,
    I found your website today while doing research into the best way to publish my novel KUNDELA. What I liked about the interview with John apart from coming from a sales and marketing backround too was how he took ownership for the success of his work. The interview has given me a good insight into where my choices lie and has answered a few of the self publish / find an agent questions that emerging writers often ask. Thanks to both of you. Terry L Probert Australia

  4. Most publishing houses give agented submissions more attention because editors have a high level of confidence in agented submissions. They know that it's not in an agent's interest to waste their time because they have ongoing business relationships with editors that they don't want to jeopardize.

  5. Great learning video. I like the casual format. John Fuhrman was a terrific guest & source of information. Thanks!

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