So how does a new author work to make sure they maximize the most return from the efforts they put into writing the book?
It's fairly clear from history that a well known author gets more money than a new author does. Bill Clinton, for example, got a $12 million advance for one book, solely because he was a famous person. While new authors get maybe 5% of a book's sale price as their share, a well known published author can get 15% - three times as much. They can also earn advances if they can prove they have a large following of fans who eagerly await the book.
So read all of my many pages on social networking, marketing, and fan-building. Start that NOW, not when the book is published. The more fans you can build up as you progress on your book, the more ammunition you have when you go into the sales process!
It's amazing how many authors submit manuscripts which have not gone through basic typo hunting or grammar checking routines. I have seen many of them myself either at Mused, a literary magazine I run, or at Amazon, where I've helped judge their novel contests. The more work your novel needs, the more they are going to "charge" you to do that work. Make sure your novel is absolutely as polished as possible. Hire on friends, relatives, and editors to quadruple check your content. Do not take this process lightly. It is absolutely necessary.
Small publishing houses don't have a lot of money to spend. They can't afford to publish a lot of books to sell. The larger the house you work with, the more likely they'll have a solid support staff set up to help get your book into stores, into reviewers' hands, and into every other channel. There are always exceptions of course, but do your research thoroughly to determine who can get you the most payment for your efforts.
Market Yourself Heavily
Once you have a book in your hands, do EVERYTHING humanly possible to get that book out there. Carry copies with you at all times. Talk about it. Call every radio station you can and offer to do interviews. Go to every local book store and library. Do talks about the topic. Do signings. Go into schools and women's club meetings. You absolutely must be the best advocate of your own material. Sell, sell, sell!
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