As a writer for hire, Carolinda specialises in biography, memoir, ancestral and genealogical family stories, and general non-fiction. Her most recent book, Double Agent Celery: MI5’s Crooked Hero took seven years for her to research and write and is published internationally by Pen & Sword Books, UK. Her previous books were published by Penguin Australia, and Three Rivers Press in the USA. She is also a self-published author, having purchased the rights back to one of her books, which she then republished under a new title in both paperback and digital formats. If your enquiry is about fiction, scripts, business, academic, technical or science books, blogs, press releases, speeches or editing, please find a specialist writer online or contact the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) of which Carolinda is a member.
Things to think about before getting in contact with Carolinda.
1. Why do you want to write a book?
- Do you want to make money from sales of your book or to enhance your public persona or public speaking career?
- Is your story historically important?
- Will your story vindicate an injustice, or validate something you have achieved?
- Do you want to share your story to help others, or as a catharsis for yourself (and perhaps others in a similar situation)?
2. Who are your readers? Who will buy your book?
- Are there other books like yours with a similar story to tell?
- What is unique about your story? How is it different to the others?
- If you were to walk into a bookshop (or search online), what section or category would you find your book in? Here is a selection of Amazon’s non-fiction categories for example:
- Arts & Photography
- Biographies & Memoirs
- Business & Money
- Education & Teaching
- Health, Fitness & Dieting
- Parenting & Relationships
- Sports & Outdoors
3. Are you hoping to get a publisher? A publisher wants to make money out of your book, so the question they want to know is whether your book will sell. Publishers have a very good idea what people buy, due to Bookscan which compiles sales data obtained from retail point of sale outlets. Through data provided by Bookscan, publishers can analyse sales, competition, trends and opportunities. This data is only available to booksellers, publishers etc. You can get a pretty good idea yourself, by looking at the sales ranking for books similar to yours on Amazon, or by reading the reviews on Goodreads, Google, Amazon and various booksellers. Only a small percentage of published books ‘earn out’ their advance royalty payment given to them by the publisher. Only when this royalty payment is repaid by sales in the market place, do authors start receiving a per book royalty of 7-10%. In Australia, sales of 5,000 copies are considered to be good and 7,000 is considered to be a bestseller. Apart from your writing skill (or that of your ghostwriter or co-author), together with a book a publisher believes will sell – here are some other factors which may induce a publisher to take on your book.
- Are you well-known, or is your book about someone well-known? Be aware that the hero of the story should be the famous person. A writer I know, is the daughter of a well-known TV actress, but she wrote her book from the perspective of her own story as the daughter of this person, as well as described other events in her life. It was well-written, but publishers declined her book because she wasn’t personally well known. Had she written the book about her mother and then included her own story within the text, it would have been a different matter.
- Is the topic of your book currently hot?
- Does your story have an unusual twist, or an important secret revealed for the first time?
- Will you generate sales of your book as a result of your public speaking or business career?
- Your ability to market your own book. Do you have contacts in the media or can you obtain the endorsement of someone famous? Are you influential? Do you have a good social media following, or the skills to market your own book?
4. What about marketing? Publishers only dedicate a small amount of resources to obtain publicity for your book. Unless you are an established author, it generally involves sending out Press Releases and then following up when media or booksellers show an interest. It depends on the budget allocated to your book: some publishing houses create, and book authors for events and talks, but only if they are successful - generally authors who have a backlist of books and a public following, or if an author’s topic is incredibly hot. Be prepared to do most of the work yourself, the aim being to keep up demand, so booksellers keep ordering your book, and print runs are repeated.
5. Self-publishing Carolinda has experience in this area as she bought back the rights to her first book and re-published it under a different name in a paperback and digital format. It is vital to obtain a professional edit before publishing your manuscript. You don’t want to get bad reviews for something so preventable, as this negatively impacts your sales! There are several specialist publishers who can do this for you: book & cover design, formatting, copy editing, proof-reading, etc. Make sure they are reputable as there are many people out there cashing in on the lucrative market of self-publishing.