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Julie Wray Herman: To market, to market, to publisher’s row we go

Thanks for giving us a glimpse into what it’s taken for you to come as far as you have in publishing. Just a reminder to the readers that we’re approaching the end of Julie’s interview, so if any of you have any questions or comments be sure and take advantage of the comment section. We’ll do our best to provide answers. Today I thought we’d take a closer look at publishing and in particular publishing in the mystery field.

5. Do you see any trends in the mystery genre? Do trends affect your decision-making? Also, your books are published by Silver Dagger, a regional press. Are there pros and cons writers should consider before accepting publication with a smaller, regional press as opposed to the larger, more traditionally known publishing houses?

Trends: Yes, I’m sure they’re there, but I for one have no clue what they are. As it goes, I write what I write and hope that one of those trends goes in my direction.

Regional Presses are both wonderful and problematic. They pick up series and authors whose writing is good, but just not “big” enough for New York. New York publishers are under tremendous pressure to sell a LOT of books. Regional publishers have more reasonable expectations – and are often much more fun to work with. I loved the editor at Silver Dagger and the staff there. I’d recommend them in a heartbeat. But as with all regional publishers, they have the same problem: distribution. While you’re not under the pressure to sell hundreds of thousands of copies of your title, you probably shouldn’t expect to sell that many either, no matter how hard you and the publisher work to get the word out about your work. I have enjoyed the low pressure atmosphere and the way I’ve gotten to learn the business end of writing without having to worry about being “dropped” or orphaned (losing your editor to another house) It’s given me a chance to grow a thicker skin in a safe environment. My theory on publishing these days is if you want someone to sell your work in a limited geographical area, then go to a regional publisher. If you want to make a living, get an agent and have them sell the book — and hope the publisher gets behind the book enough for it to sell well.

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  • Mark

    I think the key lessons here is:
    write well
    Then whatever happens, happens.
    I’m so naive.

  • Mark

    Don’t you hate when people correct themselves?
    “Lesson.” Singular. I saw it the moment I clicked, but there was that moment of anguished realization it was too late. Hence this remedial commentary.
    Emerson has no idea what I’m talking about.