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How You Can Get a 6 Figure Book Advance

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How You Can Get a Book Deal

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How You Can Get a 6 Figure Book Advance

When my co-author of “How You Can Get a 6 Figure Book Advance” and I read my client Rich Fettke’s book proposal for “Extreme Success” (which got a 6 figure book deal,) we noticed something surprising: It’s not the writing editors are buying, it’s the person. The writing is secondary.  Of course, every author hates to hear that. But in today’s marketplace it’s the sad truth. Editors at top New York publishing houses told us repeatedly that the most important thing a writer can have today — if they want to get a book deal — is a strong “platform.” Any book proposal template must include a robust, detailed explanation of your platform. A platform is a plan of how you are going to reach your audience to sell books.

According to Michael Korda, author of Making The List, the formula to get on the bestseller lists has not changed in the last 60 years. “It begins with an idea, a concept, a market and the author with a platform who can tell a story and reach that market.” In order to get a book deal you’ll need to have all this in place.

The consensus from editors was that the author can always hire a ghostwriter to fix the writing, but no one can replace the writer, his personality, his presence, and his reach—his colossal reach. In a nutshell, the single most important thing editors want to know before they give you a book deal  is your ability to sell your own books. The days are over when writers can expect publishers to “sell” their books. There’s only one person whose job that is today—yours.

How Can I Get a Literary Agent

How to Get a Literary Agent

What to do? First, when you write a book proposal think of it as the business plan for your book. You’re in charge of creating the blueprint that shows editors why your book is going to be the next best-seller. You must show that you are the mediagenic personality that will skyrocket sales. You need solid proof, not hype or hyperbole in order to land a book deal.

  1. Get endorsements.

Secure big names. The first thing an agent or editor sees is critical. Endorsements show that you’re respected in the world. They can’t be from your cousin or neighbor. They need to be from celebrities, best-selling authors and well-known experts in your field. Endorsements demonstrate that high-level people believe in you, that you’re a good bet. They also go on your book cover jacket and help sell your book—and in today’s competitive marketplace that’s essential. Don’t say you’re “actively seeking endorsements.” When writing your book proposal lead with the endorsements you have so an agent or editor sees that you’re a big shot—or soon will be.

Write your own accolades. One of my clients who can get an endorsement from Hillary Clinton, thought she had to wait until her book was done to do so because she imagined that Ms. Clinton would have to read it. I advised her to have Ms. Clinton write an endorsement about her character, not the content of the book. I know this might be shocking to you, but I also suggested that she should take the initiative and write up a couple examples for Hillary to choose from. Most people, particularly well-known people, don’t have time to read your book and then write up a gem of a quote—and you shouldn’t expect them to. What best-selling authors know is that to get great endorsements they often write them themselves.

  1. Prove you have a platform.

Tout your fans. Your platform demonstrates that you have a built-in audience already, people who want your book, want to hear you speak, and will buy your book. Publishers are looking for authors the public is already interested in. So one of the most important things you can do to land a book deal is to give the perception that you have adoring fans waiting for this book. Adoring fans find out about you through several venues: The media, speaking engagements, and reading your work in print publications. The days of stay at home writers are gone.

Show you’re somebody. “Why would you buy a book from someone who isn’t the best or someone you’ve never heard of?” says Nick Darrell, editor at HarperCollins. We need to be hearing about you—on radio and TV, in the news, in the print media (newspapers, magazines, newsletters), online, everywhere. Darrell, says, “We look at what kind of media exposure an author has had, how visible they are before they come to us. That’s a huge factor.”

Demonstrate you have connections. A platform is made up of your track record for exposure in the media and to audiences across the globe. What magazines have you written for or appeared in? What TV and radio shows have you been a guest on. Are those producers aching to get you back on their shows? Do you have established relationships with them? Are you giving keynotes, seminars and workshops to hundreds of people every month? Do you have a strong Internet presence? How many people subscribe to your online newsletter, visit your site, buy your products? Do you have big name clients who will host seminars at their companies for you where you’re guaranteed to sell books? What kind of professional achievements do you have? What awards, achievements, or honors have you received for exceptional work that show you’re a top expert?

Quantify, quantify, quantify. It’s not good enough simply to list these accolades. Most authors just tell about past experiences they’re most proud of. It’s not what you’re most proud of that counts, it’s what makes the most difference to an editor.

Every time you mention these venues quantify them in terms of the number of people you’ve reached in the past, how it affected your product or book sales and how it will continue to do so in the future. One of my clients who is a $12,000 an hour speaker put in his book proposal the fact that his audiences range from 100-10,000 people, and he speaks 250 times per year. His speaking bureau typically sells his video and audio tapes to those audiences in advance when they book his talk. Those guaranteed sales in large quantities impresses publishers.

Not everyone has that kind of clout. If you are a first time author you need to show that you have the potential to create a track record through your talent, enthusiasm and contacts. One way to do that is by showing how your successful experience in another field translates to selling your book.

  1. Create an entire publicity plan.

Tour Yourself. “Don’t say you’re ‘willing’ to travel. That implies that you expect us to tour you and we hate that,” says Kelly Notaras, a Senior Editor at Hyperion. “Instead say, ‘I am going to travel and have made arrangements and will pay my own way.’” Demonstrate in concrete terms your strategy to tour yourself. Your publisher will often follow you once you’ve demonstrated a commitment to promoting yourself. The more publicity you do on your own the more money they contribute to your publicity. If your book has “legs” then they’ll make sure it keeps running if you do.

Template to write a book proposal

Write a Book Proposal

Use the Tupperware Party Strategy. Even if you’re a publicity newbie you can do this. Have your friends in every city set up book signings at their local bookstores. It won’t feel like a Tupperware party, in the sense that the invitees will feel obligated to buy a plastic tub they don’t want. “All the people who were invited to my party thanked the host profusely,” says Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Forget Perfect. They thought they got a special treat because Lisa was “an author.” They felt like they “knew someone who knew a celebrity” and they got invited to this special event. What impresses agents and editors is when you say “These are the 15 cities I’ll be in and I’ll sell 500 books per city.” Then they know they are dealing with someone who can deliver on their promise.

Sidebar.

The 4 Biggest Mistakes Even Experienced Authors Make.

Ingenues think that the publisher’s publicist will take care of the publicity.

Publicists at publishing houses are overworked and underpaid. And on top of that you’re a low priority. You come after the celebrities, the experts, the already famous, and their dog Fi Fi for that matter. They typically have 5-20 books to promote each season. You do the math.

  1. Don’t hire their own publicist.

The uninitiated think they can do it all themselves without help. Publicity is a more than a full-time job. Plan on hiring the best publicist you can afford. Save one-third to one-half of your advance money for publicity.

  1. Don’t say they’re going to devote substantial money to publicity.

Say it! Say it! Tell them how you’re going to spend gigantic sums of money to promote yourself. Tell them the amount of this gigantic sum. If you don’t have this huge sum say you’ll devote a percentage of your advance (about a third).

  1. Spend too little time on the proposal.

It typically takes 3-9 months. Don’t skimp. Your book is your baby, the world needs it. Don’t rush the process.

RESOURCES

Keen to know more? Get 10 free tips on how you can get a 6 figure book advance here.

Ready to jump in to write your book proposal? Here you go.

Media Training Tips for CEOs

Media Training Tips for Entrepreneurs, Authors, Coaches, Consultants, CEOs

Are you enjoying the Podcast? Then I invite you to hop on over to iTunes to subscribe, rate + review it. Here’s a quick video on how to do a podcast review on iTunes. (It’s simple if you follow these directions). Note: It can take up to 24 hours to show up on my Podcast. You’re welcome to send this to anyone you think it would delight. May good fortune always follow you!

Want to know how to subscribe on your phone? Watch this video.

Want to be a guest on my Podcast? Jet me an email with your topic and a link to your bio here.

Send Susan a Voice Message!

Click below to send me your voice message with a question or topic you’d like to hear more about in my upcoming podcasts! I will answer the most pressing and popular ones in a future episode. (I’ll mention your first name ONLY to protect your privacy.)

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Podcast Reviews
  • A geniune way to build your business
    August 26, 2016 by Siriusjane from United States

    Loved this podcast. I found it very helpful and informative. Susan has a very open, friendly, riveting approach to promoting one's business and self. Her sharp insights and her real-life examples and guests can really help a business going from a start-up to a viral presence. I recommend this highly if you want to get your message out there with a genuine approach. Even the poetry speaks to the importants of our words. Check out all the episodes.

  • Invigorate Your Message!
    August 24, 2016 by Michele L. Plunkett from United States

    Winsome wisdom evokes and embodies the expertise of Susan Harrow; ensuring enlivening opportunities and outcomes through her podcasts and programs! Grow your business and income with the stellar style of Susan's endearing and enriching coaching! Susan Harrow Media Coaching and Marketing Strategies provide vitalizing results to invigorate your message when you implement her training!

  • Excited!
    August 24, 2016 by Delia McCabe from Australia

    Love Susan's work - her book and emails and short eBooks are all filled with enthusiasm and sparkle! So excited to be able to listen to her too now!

  • Susan makes publicity doable, authentic, + fun! !
    August 15, 2016 by SherryBelul from United States

    I'm thrilled to see that Susan Harrow is doing this podcast! I've taken a number of Susan's courses and I just love how warm, accessible, and doable her work is. Susan is an amazing trainer who is knowledgable about *all* aspects of publicity and media training, but she never overwhelms us with too much at once. She makes everything bite sized. (Sound-bite sized!) This podcast is no exception. You'll love the stories she tells to illustrate he points because they help make the information memorable. And she gives simple things to practice with. If you want to grow your business, I highly recommend this podcast. Not only will you love the training, I know you will love Susan's generous heart + authentic teaching style.

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