Carla King interviews Brooke Warner on how to get published with She Writes Press, a hybrid publisher of women’s fiction and nonfiction.
Nonfiction Authors Association Podcast | August 2, 2023
“I founded [She Writes Press] because I wanted a way for authors to be able to publish well into a very competitive space. Because I come out of traditional publishing, I specifically understood that the barriers to entry to traditional publishing were really high and prohibitively high for some authors and not for the right reasons.”
About Brooke Warner
Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of Write On, Sisters!, Green-light Your Book, What’s Your Book?, and three books on memoir. Brooke is a TEDx speaker and the former Executive Editor of Seal Press. She currently sits on the boards of the Book Industry Study Group, the Bay Area Book Festival, and the National Association of Memoir Writers She writes a monthly column for Publishers Weekly.
Nonfiction Authors Podcast: Brooke Warner
Find the video podcast, show notes, links, quotes, and podcast transcript below.
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- Submit your manuscript to She Writes Press
- Brooke Warner Coaching
- Ted Talk: Green Light Revolution-Your Creative Life on Your Terms
- Books by Brooke Warner
- Hybrid Publishing Criteria IBPA
- Publishing Industry Standards Checklist IBPA
In this episode…
[00:00:00] Carla King: Hello, and welcome to the Nonfiction Authors Podcast. I’m Carla King, your host, and before we start, I’d like to invite you to go to the Freebies tab at nonfictionauthorsassociation.com to check out our free reports. We developed these reports to help you figure out things like ISBNs, distribution, optimizing book sales on Amazon, generating book reviews, growing your email list, and we provide checklists on things like publishing and book launches.
Now, stay tuned for this week’s guest.
[00:00:35] Carla King: Hello and welcome to the Nonfiction Authors Podcast. Today we’re talking with Brooke Warner about how to publish with She Writes Press. This podcast is brought to you by the Nonfiction Authors Association, a supportive community where writers connect, exchange ideas, and learn how to write, publish, promote and profit with your nonfiction books.
Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and visit our website to find transcripts, show notes and links to all of our episodes. Explore our membership options and download free reports. Search the archives, and get answers to your writing and publishing questions. Now I’d like to introduce our guest.
Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press and Spark Press, President of Warner, Inc. and author of Write On Sisters, Greenlight Your Book, What’s Your Book? And three books on memoir. Brooke is a TEDx speaker and the former executive editor of Seal Press. She currently sits on the boards of the Book Industry Study Group, the Bay Area Book Festival, and the National Association of Memoir Writers. She Writes a monthly column for Publishers Weekly. Welcome to the podcast, Brooke!.
[00:01:46] Brooke Warner: Thanks, Carla. So good to see you and be with you.
[00:01:49] Carla King: You too. And we’ve known each other for quite a while. We’ve kind of grown up in the self-publishing hybrid publishing revolution. And I just remember when you founded She Writes Press–it was such a game changer. It shook up the industry quite a bit. And I really appreciate that you worked with the IBPA, especially, to define the concept of hybrid publishing–how it’s done ethically and correctly.
But we’re here to talk about how authors can get published with She Writes. So we’re going to dive into, first of all, why did you found it? What are your mission and goals for the press? What are you looking for?
[00:02:33] Brooke Warner: Yeah. Back, now 11 years ago, when I started She Writes Press, I would say that the founding mission is both different and the same.
I founded it because I wanted a way for authors to be able to publish well into a very competitive space. Because I come out of traditional publishing, I specifically understood that the barriers to entry to traditional publishing were really high and prohibitively high for some authors and not for the right reasons. That those barriers to entry were existing because of authors not having a strong enough author brand or not having enough followers–things that really had nothing to do with the book. And so when I started it I thought, ‘Okay, well I can help all of these authors,’ basically- who Seal Press that I was working with at the time -was rejecting for reasons totally to do with author platform and not to do with their book, you know, ‘I can help them to publish better,’ is what I thought.
And so the mission was just like a women’s press. I was friends with Kamy Wicoff who had started She Writes, and I just was like, ‘Why don’t we get our forces together and have this woman’s imprint?’ And I was kind of done with traditional publishing for lots of reasons. And so that was the founding principle–just to be this place for women writers to be able to publish well, and an alternative to traditional publishing.
So it wasn’t until two years in that we got traditional distribution. And that really was when things started to shift for me profoundly, around that notion that we had a different business model. It certainly wasn’t traditional and I’ve never intended to be, but it also wasn’t self-publishing because we weren’t doing anything like self-publishing.
The authors had more control. So this hybrid space–which of course has exploded since–when I was navigating it, there weren’t very many people in the space to help me sort out what was what. And we did build it bit by bit, and sorted out what we thought our business model was. And now here we are–we have more than a thousand books on our back list, 11 years later.
And, you asked what we’re looking for. I mean, that’s the part that has remained unchanged. We publish great books by women authors.
[00:04:47] Carla King: And we’re specifically talking about nonfiction in this podcast. I know you do also publish a lot of fiction. So before we go further about specific books and topics, can you talk about your subsidy publishing model, the royalty rate, advances–you know how that works–and what authors can expect?
[00:05:09] Brooke Warner: Yeah, a hybrid publishing model is a subsidy model. It’s a subsidized publishing model, which means that the author subsidizes their own work. And that’s where I think people can think, oh, well, it’s like self-publishing because of course, in self-publishing, the authors also bear the costs.
And it’s very different from self-publishing. We are a publisher, and as a publisher we keep part of the royalties, whereas when you self-publish, you keep all of your royalties. The reason that we keep the royalties that we keep , is because the lion’s share of that actually goes to our distributor.
We do have a traditional distributor with Publishers Group West, who is a part of Ingram these days, and so the authors keep 60% on print. And that’s net. So 60% of net on print and 70% of net on eBooks. And then there’s just a lot of other… I don’t know how much you want to talk about rights and all of the rest. Our contract sort of approximates a traditional contract in a lot of ways. Of course, it’s very different because the authors do invest money upfront. The current publishing package is $9,500, so it’s also not inexpensive. I recognize that, and I’m always happy to talk about money because I think it’s a place where people think I’m uncomfortable talking about money, but I’m definitely not.
I think it’s really, really important that authors get absolute clarity about what they’re investing and how much money they’re going to get back on each sale for the prospect of–can you earn out? So we don’t give advances. Instead the authors pay in, but because they get a much higher royalty, then they’re earning back those expenses instead of earning out an advance.
And so, my talking point on this for authors is that if you earn out all of your expenses or earn back all of your expenses and you break even, you are doing really well– breaking even on a book in this capacity, and especially just the competitive nature of the book environment right now would be a success in our eyes.
And a lot of authors more than earn out and make profit. But then there are as many who do not earn out. So that’s just the reality, too, of the publishing space I think.
[00:07:28] Carla King: And as we’re talking about nonfiction authors, I think more nonfiction authors write a book maybe to support their business or a speaking career, where they make more money and the book is proof of their expertise or vice versa– they build a platform around the book and become a speaker, that kind of thing.
[00:07:46] Brooke Warner: Absolutely. If you’re thinking about that kind of nonfiction that supports authors’ businesses, which I’ve written myself, of course–like the three books you mentioned are completely about my business.
They’re books about publishing and writing, and I haven’t needed or necessarily expected to earn out my expenses. It really wasn’t the goal of those books. Yes, it’s nice to earn money back for sure, and I don’t wanna be in a giant deficit, but those books are about establishing my legitimacy, being a go-to person, getting invited on podcasts like this one, being invited to speak or sit on panels. All of that stuff is so important. And then does the nonfiction audience that you have also extend to Memoirists?
[00:08:28] Carla King: Oh, yes. We have, I think we’re about 50-50.
[00:08:31] Brooke Warner: Okay. Yeah, because we, of course, publish a ton of memoir. And the deal with memoir uniquely, I think–which is not so dissimilar from fiction actually–is that memoir is really competitive. And so in the world of traditional publishing, it’s hard to get your memoir published if you’re not well known. And then on the self-publishing side, it can be hard to publish or self-publish a memoir because you’re trying to get some traction, but nobody knows you, right? So I think we attract a lot of memoirists because we do a lot of really strong publicity, and we’re known for memoir, and we do a pretty good job–I would say, by and large–of pre-selling memoir into the marketplace.
[00:09:10] Carla King: And that brings me back to the question of platform. A lot of authors are kind of freaked out when they start doing the proposal and querying process, because they don’t have it and most publishers require it. How about She Writes?
[00:09:25] Brooke Warner: Author platform is not a consideration for us. And that was very intentional in our founding as well. I mean, I came out of traditional publishing. So I was a senior acquisitions editor when I left Seal Press, which is also a women’s press and still around. It was all about author platform to a level that I found really agitating, because there would be a great book that would come through, and the marketing team would swoop in and be like, ‘Nope, that one we can’t publish. The author doesn’t have this, that, or the other.’ And it’s all about lack. While I, of course, was an editor and I would be reading something and think, ‘This is amazing.’ And publishing wasn’t always that way. When I first started in book publishing in 2000, we could acquire books without author platforms.
And so it shifted dramatically, and it really was a 10 year process that it went from–you could take a chance on an unknown writer who didn’t have an author platform, to those metrics suddenly were all that mattered to book publishers. And I think that’s been very detrimental to the traditional space.
[00:10:31] Carla King: And how do you help an author grow a platform once you’ve decided to take them on?
[00:10:36] Brooke Warner: Well, I’ve often made the point–and I’ll say this a lot on panels–that the whole author platform thing is a catch 22, right? Because you really do need a book to build an author platform, and yet the publishing industry is telling you that they want you to have an author platform and you’re like, ‘Well, how do I do that if you’re not gonna give me a chance and publish my book?’ Because the book gives you so much leverage to build an author platform. The book opens the doors, like I said, to podcasts and speaking engagements. And much more. I mean, that’s the icing on the cake, right?
But there’s many other things in building an author platform, especially for nonfiction. It’s a lot about expertise. And even for memoirists, I say it’s about your lived experience–that is actually your expertise, right? So if you’re writing a memoir about grief, for instance, then maybe you want to write articles about grief, or you want to speak about grief, or you want to be invited to a conference in which you’re going to talk about those topics.
And so nonfiction is particularly siloed, obviously. And so building your author platform is easier for nonfiction writers than it is for fiction writers. And so as such, what we really talk about doing is supporting authors. A lot of it is with education–just helping them to understand what there is and what they can do.
Giving them the book, and the capacity, and the support to get out there and have something that rises them up. And then supports them to get out there, and speak, and write articles, and be on podcasts, and all the rest. And then a lot of the authors are very explicitly working with their publicists–or in other capacities–to build their author platforms, which is uniquely focused around the book–when the book is coming out, and then in the aftermath of the book coming out.
You can ride that wave for a while, but your author platform is not about one book, as you know. The author platform is about you, the author, and building what is it–like star quality? That you become a go-to person in your topic. And so hopefully you have another book in you–and it could be two, three years down the road–but that’s really the purpose of the author platform–is to continue to propel you along and be a person that other people would want to talk about your topic with.
[00:12:54] Carla King: What titles have done well? Do you have any specifics that have done well with She Writes and nonfiction? And then, on the other side of that, looking into your future for 2024 titles and beyond. Do you see any topics that might be hot?
[00:13:13] Brooke Warner: That’s a great question. Yeah, I mean, the best selling books that we have that are nonfiction are more standard nonfiction titles. So I would say that more standard nonfiction titles–the self-help titles–will tend to do better than memoirs, because there is something–and people will say this if you go to conferences–no one really needs a novel or needs a memoir, you know? I mean, they’re wonderful, and I am the biggest champion ever, especially of memoir. But it’s not in need.
And a lot of self-help books that are prescriptive in nature do fulfill a very specific need for the reader. And so you can make the case like, ‘You need this book.’ And so those books, therefore, tend to do better just by default, almost.
So the bestselling book that we have on our list is called The Complete Enneagram that has sold, I want to say 25,000 copies or something like that at this point. And more, if you were to include the ebook sales. I mean, that’s not even including the ebook sales, so it could be by degrees of up to a hundred thousand because the ebooks–especially if they’re discounted–they’ll sell really well.
And that’s just an example. We also have a book called Supervision Matters. Again, very specific. And it’s an HR book. And that book has sold tremendously. We’ve gone back to print five times on that title. So these hyper-specific books that find their audiences are commonly better sellers.
The bestselling memoir that we have to date is called, I’m the One Who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell, and it’s a few years old now. But her book came out of a Modern Love piece, and the Modern Love piece was truly very popular. She had a blurb from Danny Shapiro. The book just caught on and did well. It was this very slim little volume, and it just resonated. People liked it. It was about growing up in a dysfunctional family and not repeating those same mistakes that her mother had made. So like, ‘I’m the one who got away.’ That’s the idea that she forged a new trail for herself. And we have a lot of nonfiction coming up.
When I look at the fall list, which is now, right? As we move into fall 2023, we have a book called, Summons to Berlin, which is probably the one we’ve gotten the most amount of traction on, which is about a woman who goes back to Berlin to try to get reparations for the property that her family lost in Nazi Germany.
And it’s sort of an investigative nonfiction. So she’s a character, but it’s not a memoir. So things like that–you know what I mean? It’s all over the map. That’s what’s exciting about nonfiction, right? I mean, you can have these very prescriptive titles, or you can have these investigative, ‘I’m a character in the story title,’ or you can have a more literary memoir. The range of what does well is sometimes surprising to me.
[00:16:09] Carla King: So, do you have any specific wants or topics that you think should be covered in 2024, 2025?
[00:16:18] Brooke Warner: Not really, because that’s the luxury of our model, I have to say. That when I was at Seal, we were always trying to be like, ‘Oh, we need to do this and we need to offset this, and we can’t do this because we did it two years ago.’
And so there was always this puzzling going on that would factor into our decision making. We don’t have to do that at She Writes. And I’m very grateful for that. I don’t want to do that because again, it’s not the platform that’s being considered. We’re not making decisions based on, ‘Oh, too bad, a similar book to yours published last year,’ which is a lot of the rationale that traditional publishers will give you– ‘Oh, well we did something like that already.’ And it’s really frustrating, especially to certain demographics. Like, if you are a person of color, or LGBTQ, historically publishers have been like, ‘Oh, well we did a gay book last year.’ And you’re kind of like, ‘Well, isn’t there a bigger audience than like one book a season?’
And that’s starting to shift a little bit, but there’s just been a lot of compartmentalizing historically in the publishing industry. And that was one of the founding principles that I had–that we just were not going to say to authors, ‘Okay, well last season we had a mother-daughter memoir on the list, so we’re not doing one this year.’
That’s not how it goes. We oftentimes have a mother-daughter memoir on every list. Or a travel memoir. There are certain recurring things that come through, and they’re popular and they’re all different from one another. So to suggest that you can only have one a year is just kind of a silly prospect to begin with.
[00:17:53] Carla King: Yeah, that totally makes sense. So what you’re looking for, I think–and I’ve heard you say this before–is really good writing.
[00:18:02] Brooke Warner: Yeah, we’re vetting based on the writing. So ideally, yes. We want the books to be as strong as they can be. We have a tiered submission process, so authors will qualify at different tiers, saying, ‘Yes, you’re ready to go,’ and we accept it as is.
Or the next tier down from that will be, ‘We really like it, but it needs developmental editing, or it needs copy editing.’ So we’re assessing the work when it comes in, and then we’re giving authors feedback on what we think it needs. And of course, if the authors agree with us, that’s great. And if they don’t, they don’t have to publish with us.
[00:18:35] Carla King: And you provide author coaching and editing as well.
[00:18:39] Brooke Warner: Yeah, we have those services that are basically add-ons.
[00:18:42] Carla King: And what about publicity? Do you urge most authors to hire a publicist?
[00:18:48] Brooke Warner: I mean, urge is a hard word. I think the answer is yes, because we do encourage authors. The reason is because, I never want authors to feel pressured to spend a ton of money on publicity and at the same time, the reason to publish with She Writes is because of our really strong distribution.
And if you have no publicity whatsoever, then the efforts of the Salesforce are sort of lost. And so I often think that a better alternative for someone who has no publicity is self-publishing. Because if you’re going to self-publish, you can just put your book up for sale and people are going to find it, and you can do your very limited publicity efforts.
And nothing gained, nothing lost, right? I mean, maybe you do great, maybe you don’t. But if you come to She Writes, we already have a high price tag. And you’re going to invest all that money, and then you’re going to be like, ‘But I’m not putting any effort into it. It doesn’t really gel,’ you know? I don’t want people to throw good money after bad, you know?
I want people to invest in themselves and to realize that there’s real value to these publicity efforts and that publicity and sales are really intertwined so the sales force can’t do its job if you have no publicity attached to your book. And on the other hand, they can do their job and they’ll push out a ton of books and then they come back.
So people on your podcast–I’m sure some of them know this, maybe not everyone–that book publishing is a returns- based industry. We’re hybrid with traditional distribution. We have to take returns. and so that’s not an option. We couldn’t sell into bookstores and other retailers if we don’t take returns.
So this has happened before where there’s been some excitement about a book. We’ve pushed it out in big numbers. The author has very little publicity and the books come back. So there’s some traction associated with that publicity, and that’s why I would say I definitely do encourage it, but never force.
[00:20:45] Carla King: Let’s dig a little bit deeper into that. We talk about self-publishing a lot. You know, you can throw it on Amazon for what–a 40% discount? You can put it on IngramSpark and play with your discounts–30 to 55% –and returns and all of that. But with traditional distribution, can you talk about what that entails? Like there are salespeople going to bookstores and big box stores, so you’re paying them as well.
[00:21:15] Brooke Warner: Well, they’re taking a commission. So technically you’re right. We are paying them and that’s where that percentage goes. Right. So when I’m talking about that, we keep 40% on the print.
Most of that is going to our distributor for the privilege of the sales force. So that’s a percentage off every sale that our distributor takes. And they used to go in person. Now I think all those calls are Zoom, , I don’t think that the field really does that many in-person calls as much. Certainly not as much as they used to.
But yeah, I mean, they have accounts. So someone will be assigned to the Midwest. We have a dedicated person to Amazon, a dedicated person to Barnes and Noble, and there are liaisons to these retailers, and they’re pushing books into these marketplaces.
It’s a meaningful difference–what you’re going to get when you have traditional distribution, but we don’t get to set our terms. We agree to their terms. And if you were to say, ‘I don’t agree to your terms, Amazon,’ they would be like, ‘Great, then we won’t carry you.’
That’s what happened a few years back. I can’t remember if it was Harper Collins or Hachette, but one of them was sort of upset with Amazon’s terms and tried to change something, and Amazon just removed their books. It was huge chaos, and everyone was like, ‘Oh my God. Now what?’ So you don’t really mess with the big ones. And we also just get the terms imposed upon us, which is not great. But the benefits for us for traditional distribution are worth it in the end.
[00:22:51] Carla King: I remember when I first started self-publishing, I used IPGs Small Press–United to Distribute–and they did take a lot of money, but I was super attracted by the fact that a salesperson was going to go to the bookstores to sell my book, and I could say, ‘Hey, my book is about motorcycle travel, so hey, go to town, find travel stores, find motorcycle shops,’ whatever.
I also loved, too, that I could write to them. And I suppose you are the liaison for this. ‘I’m going to be on Good Morning America,’ and then Salesforce pushes that book to the bookstores somewhat extra there. So I find it a huge advantage, even though it is more expensive. But you sell more books. You get the same as if you have a smaller deal and you sell fewer books, you know?
[00:23:42] Brooke Warner: Yeah. I think people have to look at that. They have to look at the velocity of sale or the volume of sales. I think most people, of course, want to sell more books. And in book publishing as you can imagine authors want to reach more people.
So sometimes you’re like, ‘Okay, well if you have the choice between earning more or reaching more people, which would you choose?’ A lot of people would choose reaching more people. You know what I mean? For a lot of people, that’s really what matters. And so there are just different priorities in publishing, I would say.
And being able to push the books out into really wide reaching venues and spaces and obviously, hopefully converting to sales is one of the assets that we bring.
[00:24:26] Carla King: Yes. And for understanding distribution, I always refer people to your Greenlight Your Book book. A really great deep dive into how that works. And also your Ted Talk. And you have a pretty substantial book I saw today on the She Writes Press website about how the whole publishing process works that I downloaded.
[00:24:51] Brooke Warner: Oh, our author handbook?
[00:24:52] Carla King: Yes. Your author handbook.
[00:24:55] Brooke Warner: Yes. Yeah, we make that publicly available so people can go get it. Or I can email it to people.
I want to be very transparent with that because it’s massive. It’s–like you said–it’s a book. It’s 115 pages or something, and it grows every year because we keep adding to it. But when authors sign with us, that’s their manual basically.
[00:25:15] Carla King: I love that you have that publicly available. It’s a good guideline probably–any publisher would appreciate following that. So I have two questions. How much time does it generally take from the proposal to publication?
[00:25:31] Brooke Warner: That is a good question because it depends. We’re accepting books on a rolling basis because we close one list and then the next list is in our sites, and then we’re acquiring for that list. And then we close it and we only publish two lists a year, which is fall and spring. Right now we’re acquiring spring 2025. So fall of 2024 is closed, and so we’re a year and a half out, which is not insignificant. Some people find that very difficult, and don’t have the patience or wherewithal to wait. And we have lost authors because of that, for sure. It’s a long schedule and it’s certainly not the case that it takes that long to publish a book. That is not what’s going on. What’s going on is just the fact that we’re lining up our seasons, we’re announcing the seasons, we’re really operating within this traditional distribution paradigm.
Getting the book up on Amazon as many as eight or nine months in advance of publication, getting advanced reader copies to the authors five to six months prior to publication. And that’s why I’m saying it’s all of that is in service of a publicity campaign. And so if you don’t have any intention of doing a publicity campaign, there’s a lot of questions about, ‘Why would this be your choice?’
But that kind of momentum, there’s a reason why traditional publishing works in the way that it works. It’s like the long lead publicity time and all of that stuff. Maybe a holdover, maybe legacy from, how things used to be. And media is changing quite a bit.
But for now, these traditional distributors are very locked into that way of doing things.
[00:27:11] Carla King: And by list you mean you publish a catalog?
[00:27:14] Brooke Warner: Right. Yeah. A list is like a season, right? So it’s a season of books, which might be, for instance, we’re coming out of spring 2023 and into fall 2023. And it’s a certain number of books on a particular season.
And those are the books that are in the catalog for fall 2023. And we sell books by list.
[00:27:35] Carla King: And do those catalogs go to the trades–the library trade and booksellers?
[00:27:41] Brooke Warner: Everywhere. We do a seasonal catalog. We only do digital these days, but it is a downloadable PDF file. They’re also available on our website. We send them to booksellers. We send them to anyone who asks for them obviously, but also more proactively to accounts to our reps who are selling our books. And then importantly, also, I think the place we might use them the most is actually in foreign because we’re trying to get foreign interest in our books and we have a foreign agent, and so she in particular, and her team, are the ones who probably make the most active use of the catalogs.
[00:28:19] Carla King: I see. So, you handle foreign rights for authors as well.
[00:28:24] Brooke Warner: For those authors who want us to, yeah. It’s a point of negotiation in the contract and some people want to retain the foreign rights. And we don’t try to hold onto them, but we do have a foreign agent who tries to sell the rights.
[00:28:37] Carla King: What about film rights?
[00:28:39] Brooke Warner: And film rights? I mean, film rights are more passive because she’s not actively pitching books to Hollywood. We don’t have a film agent, but we do get interests. Authors get interests, we get interests. Something will get buzzy and then we’ll hear from someone who wants to. It’s usually an option. And you get a little bit of money for being option, not a lot usually. And then they have some time to think about whether they’re gonna make the movie. And in 11 years of doing this, we’ve had two films made on our books. So it’s not a high percentage, but it’s exciting that we even have two, I think.
[00:29:20] Carla King: And how about audio books?
[00:29:23] Brooke Warner: And audio is something that also we’re very happy for authors to let us try to sell, or authors can keep the rights and do the books on their own. And so what we’re doing is we’re selling audio books to third parties, and so we have a pretty decent track record. I would say on a given season we probably have 50 to 55 books and we probably sell 10 audio rights.
So it’s again not amazing, but certainly not bad. So we have relationships with audiobook publishers who offer us basically a traditional deal to do the audiobook, and then we go to the author and we say, ‘Hey, here’s the offer.’ And it’s usually, like $2,000- $3,000 in advance and a percentage of royalties. So then in that capacity, we’re sort of acting as the agent for the author, because it’s a third party publisher who’s going to be doing the audio.
[00:30:18] Carla King: Wow. So many things to juggle.
[00:30:20] Brooke Warner: Yeah, it’s a lot of pieces. There’s a lot of moving parts.
[00:30:24] Carla King: Well finally, do you have any final words for authors aspiring to publish with She Writes? Are there any pet peeves? Are there any recommendations?
[00:30:34] Brooke Warner: I think it’s really advisable for authors to spend time looking at our model, making sure they understand it, talking to other authors who have gone through it. I hear from a lot of authors that this experience is both amazing and wonderful in a lot of ways, and challenging in other ways.
I think maybe this is advice for anyone trying to publish, which is that–it’s not all good or all bad, no matter where you go. I do try to give authors a bit of a reality check just in general, you know what I mean? It’s one of the things I think that you and I share, Carla–that we are very invested in authors going into whatever they’re going into with their eyes wide open. You can love your book as much as you want and be proud of that thing. And just go in there with all the best intentions. And there’s a lot of business to this, and there’s a lot of work involved. And it’s not the case that you just turn in your manuscript and then check yourself at the door and just be like, ‘See on the other side when I’m a bestselling author,’ right?
So I just want authors to really understand how much work goes into it. And we’re a hugely collaborative partner, but the authors who do the best are the ones who work the hardest. And the ones who do the worst are the ones who have the unrealistic expectations.
[00:31:51] Carla King: Bravo. Well, thank you. Thank you, Brooke, for being on the podcast.
[00:31:55] Brooke Warner: Oh, such a pleasure. Thank you. Great to see you.
[00:31:58] Carla King: And we’ll have the transcript and show notes and the links to She Writes, and the links to your Write-Minded Podcast and all the books on the transcript.
Thank you to our nonfiction author listeners, and the professionals who help you succeed. Remember, keep writing and publishing. The world needs your experience and expertise.
Quotes from our guest
“I founded it because I wanted a way for authors to be able to publish well into a very competitive space. Because I come out of traditional publishing, I specifically understood that the barriers to entry to traditional publishing were really high and prohibitively high for some authors and not for the right reasons.”
“Your author platform is not about one book, as you know. The author platform is about you, the author, and building what is it–like star quality? That you become a go-to person in your topic. And so hopefully you have another book in you–and it could be two, three years down the road–but that’s really the purpose of the author platform–is to continue to propel you along and be a person that other people would want to talk about your topic with.”
“[Authors] have to look at the velocity of sale or the volume of sales. I think most people, of course, want to sell more books. And in book publishing as you can imagine authors want to reach more people. So sometimes you’re like, ‘Okay, well if you have the choice between earning more or reaching more people, which would you choose?’ A lot of people would choose reaching more people. You know what I mean? For a lot of people, that’s really what matters. And so there are just different priorities in publishing, I would say.”