Sunday, February 25, 2024

Missed Opportunities

By Terry Whalin 

As writers and others involved in publishing, I believe we live in one of the greatest times in human history. Markus Dohle, the former CEO of Penguin Random House wrote a couple of years ago about books are now enjoying their biggest renaissance since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the fifteenth century. I was on a webinar listening to Dohle where he made this statement and gave his reasons. If you follow the link, you can see a webinar where he talks about the explosion in book publishing around the world.  

In my own life and work, Im finding great opportunities for my writing and other aspects of my work. Recently I was on a zoom call with a writer and an agent. During this call the writer talked about his new podcast and offered the agent and myself, the opportunity to be on his podcast. I appreciated this offer, made a note and a bit later, followed up with an email. In my email, I pitched my topic which was tied to one of my books. The writer sent a link to his calendar and we recorded the podcast recently. One of these days I will get a notice about when the recording will be published. Im including this story as an example of how we are surrounded with such opportunities. They can slip through our fingers and never happen--unless we take action and pitch.

As a part of my work at Morgan James Publishing, I get leads of authors who are pitching their work. For anything to happen, I have to craft an email and encourage these authors to submit their work, get into the consideration process and possibly get a Morgan James contract. When I sent this series of emails asking for submissions, some people respond right away and others do not respond. 

A week or so after sending a series of these email requests, one of these writers called me. She looked at our website and was interested in possibly submitting to me. On our website, we clearly say that our process includes a financial commitment from the author to purchase their own books--during the lifetime of their book. Her question to me was a good one, “Do you work with authors who are cash poor and dont have those funds?”

“Yes,” I responded then told her about a creative way to raise the money. Morgan James Publishing has their own branded version of a program called Publishizer. Its like a GoFundMe or KickStarter campaign but Publishizer is only for book authors. Heres an example of one of my authors who raised the funds for her book using Publishizer. As we spoke about it, this author caught the vision of how she could use this tool to raise the funds for publishing and marketing her book. I admit it will take some additional creative effort for the author to create such a campaign, market it, then succeed with it. 

After my call, I followed up and sent this author some detailed information so she could explore the possibilities. Currently I have not heard anything additional from this author. I have not received her submission or anything else to move forward through the Morgan James process. Im hopeful that she will still send it but if not, it is another missed opportunity. 

Any author can publish their book through Amazon, which is a big customer for Morgan James but only 24% of our overall business. If you publish with Amazon, you are missing 76% of where we sell books, which are being sold in 98% of the bookstores in North America including the brick and mortar bookstores. 

Many authors miss their opportunity when they dont submit their material. Others miss their opportunity to publish with a traditional publisher and are impatient to get their work into the market. These authors self-publish and essentially eliminate any traditional publisher. The only exceptional authors who dont get eliminated in this process are the ones who are wildly successful selling their own book like The Shack. Thousands failed yet The Shack succeeded. 

There are many other opportunities that I miss because I didnt craft a pitch to a radio station or a podcast. Another way I miss opportunities is through a lack of follow-up. In fact, many writers will submit their work and not use the gentle follow-up to get an update on their submission. 

As Ive written in these articles, a key part of the publishing process is finding the right fit. It is not an easy or simple business. The author has to work to find the right connection and not miss the opportunity.

Several weeks ago, a publicist reached out to me about a new book from Joyce Meyer called The Pathway To Success. She complimented my reviews on Goodreads and asked if I would like to read this book. Yes, I responded with my mailing address and I received the book. Ive been reading it and learned a great deal. Heres my review of it. Even for a much published author like Joyce Meyer, she has faced rejection and adversity on the pathway to success. 

Each week, I get rejected. Yes, things that I pitched are not answered (rejection). Contracts that I send to authors are turned down and other events that I try fail. In the face of rejection, I have two choices. I can wallow in my disappointment and quit. Or I can renew my determination and keep knocking on new doors for some additional opportunities. If I stop, it will become a missed opportunity. Its a strange juxtiposition but Ive learned failure and success are a part of the journey and necessary if you dont want to miss an opportunity. 

How do you handle the opportunities that are coming your way? Are you missing them or do you have another strategy? Let me know in the comments below.


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