Keep An Eye on the Trades
If you want to know the inside scoop about publishing and how it works, I encourage you to read trade publications.
The weekly magazine of the publishing world is Publishers Weekly. If you’ve thought about subscribing, it is not cheap. I’ve been taking it for years and read it cover to cover each week. I absorb a great deal of information because each week covers a different type of book as well as current news about books and authors.
For many years, I made a weekly trip to the library and read Publishers Weekly from the reference librarians. Smile and engage the librarians because they will not have PW in their magazine section. The librarians read this trade magazine to keep up on the publishing world but also to know in advance about books from bestselling authors. It’s how your library always has a copy on order before it releases.
The PW magazines are kept behind the counter and you may have to read it in their sight because the librarians don’t want you to walk off with their resource. For many years, I read this publication in my local library.
Also subscribe to the free newsletters from Publishers Weekly and read them when they arrive in your mailbox. I have read this information for years and it’s been a great education about the business of publishing.
Several years ago, PW started a feature for the back page called Soapbox. Often authors or publishers or publicists will write something inspirational and insightful on this page. It’s well worth reading online (if available some of their material is only for subscribers) or in the print version.
The most recent PW (Sept. 24, 2012) has a Soapbox column from first-time novelist Rayme Waters called Promote, Promote, Promote. She includes 10 tips on guerrilla marketing. Every novelist (or nonfiction writer for that matter) can gain from these tips. Whether you’ve never published or been published many times, I learned a great deal from this article.
Another trade resource is to subscribe to Publishers Lunch. They have a free version and a paid version of this publication. I get the paid version because of the additional information and publisher access. Yet for many years, I read the free version.
Shelf Awareness is another terrific resource which is targeted to booksellers and librarians—yet includes valuable insights for writers. It’s free and comes five days a week. Most of the writers on this publication are former PW writers.
Trade publications are an important resource. Each of us needs to continue to grow in our craft and using this resource is a solid path of education.