Friday, February 5, 2010
Thanks for your questions, everyone. Here's Phyllis' answers:
Do I need a website for my book? And if so, when do I need it?
Recently author Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I had a conversation with a literary agent about our proposed nonfiction book about marketing fiction. The agent seemed to question the need for every book to have its own website, while Carolyn and I were definitely on the side that every book needs its own site.
It was only after the conversation ended that I realized what the agent said that I hadn’t focused on. She was talking about whether every book needed a website individually programmed by a web guy that could end up costing the publisher or the author thousands of dollars. That’s the kind of website she was talking about.
As she asked us to add some additional material for the book proposal, I wrote a chapter about book author websites starting with why this type of expensive book website is not needed. Then I went on to write that a dedicated website for your book – not a page on a publisher’s site – is needed for numerous reasons, including establishing your professionalism.
Is this a contradiction? Not at all. Thanks to the availability of lower-cost solutions such as WordPress websites/blogs, authors can have dedicated book sites without spending wads of money.
This brings us to the timetable of when that site should go live.
It seems to me that, as long as you are going to have a website, why not have it live as soon as possible? This way you can use it as a “home” for building your fan base through blogging, social media, YouTube videos, etc. For an example, see the website for Carolyn’s and my proposed book at www.FictionMarketing.com
Should I tell my literary agent or publisher that I insist on the title that I originally gave my book?
This is a flat no. Agents and publishers have a history of selling different types of books, and a book title can be a very important element of that marketing/sales plan.
On the other hand, if the title is horrendous -- by which I mean so forgettable that even you can’t remember it -- this might be the time to ask your agent to go to bat for you with your publisher.
FYI – Carolyn and I have changed the title of our proposed nonfiction book several times already. And we are prepared to change it again and again.
If I am self-publishing my book, should I pay the added expense of having a professional copyeditor?
This is a flat yes. Nothing screams amateur as quickly and as loudly as typos and spell-check errors on every page.
There’s no law that says a good writer must be a good editor, although it does help. But you can get outside help if you’re not a good editor. And sometimes you’ve just seen the same words one too many times.
FYI – I taught copyediting courses at Temple University in Philadelphia a long time ago. And I copyedited my own novel MRS. LIEUTENANT over and over again. Then after I self-published the book, my mother told me I had used the wrong woman’s name in one scene. Would an outside copyeditor have picked this up? I sure hope so.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the co-founder of Miller Mosaic Power Marketing. You can get her free report “How to Become a Twitter Expert” at http://www.millermosaicllc.com/free-twitter-report