As Seen On:
The 5 Fairy Tales of Book Publishing
Written by Debbie Horovitch, Book Publishing & Author Promotions Fairy Godmother
One of the most common challenges I hear from people in my network is they don't know "what to do next" or "where to start" for their book project. 

They're at all different stages from concept and planning, to finished and edited manuscript, and some are even published already, but they're still confused and not satisfied with the results.

What they all share is a burning desire to become a published and bestselling book author, and the shared decision that they all have to make, to either wait for "permission" to be published through a traditional publishing contract, or take the director's role themselves 
and go with indie publishing (a.k.a. self-publishing) where the freedom exists to choose anything that you want and can afford.

I would suggest that this end goal and the specifics of the author's vision is their most important decision, as it helps determine where the upfront energy and resources should be allocated.

But there are still far too many people being mislead by magical thinking and sales headlines; these are the fairy tales of book publishing.

The fairy tale that most people are hoping is real, until they realize the truth:
If you write a book (or come up with a really good book idea), you’ll find a great agent who really "gets you" and will sell you to a top publisher, who will pay a handsome “advance”, so you can take the next year or so to finish writing your book. 

Your publisher will take care of every personal failing or underdeveloped skill you have, like cover design, title, editing, proofreading, marketing, website, promotion, sales, cold calling, live interviews, speaking, etc. 

Upon release, your publisher will schedule interviews with major media for you to promote your book; it will do well in sales, and you’ll be richly rewarded. 

Your book will likely become a bestseller, but you expect it will come as a complete surprise, especially if it happens early. 

Following this success milestone, paid speaking opportunities and Fortune 500 clients will come to you frequently with speaking and consulting gig offers, and your life and your group of friends will NEVER be the same again. 

Why the fairy tale exists (The TRUTH):
First of all, because we want to believe it can be true for us, and our whole lives will change overnight when our book is published. 

15+ years ago, the publishing industry was still controlled by traditional publishers, and self-publishing (indie) wasn’t at all what it is now: Amazon is available to self-publish anyone with an internet connection. 

Writing a good book is no longer a requirement of getting published. 

The first book published was the bible, and for more than 500 hundred years after that, only the most influential and reliable people could have their books published. 

In society, books are protected and shared in libraries, accessible to all as a basic human right. 

Book authors, and especially “Bestselling Book Authors” are respected, appreciated, and recruited for participation in all sorts of events... 


Because bestselling book authors are the most fascinating, connected, leading individuals. They’re the people you want speaking at your event and sharing their stories on your podcast/blog. 

If you can get them participating in your work, you'll likely have the buy-in of the rest of your community, and so we all want their recognition and approval.

Fairy Tale #1
Bestsellers are impossible to “create” or plan with any accuracy.

Not true.

The bestseller accomplishment is almost never a big surprise for the publisher, because they’ve usually created the sales deliberately, with a lot of careful planning.

While there are many bestseller lists, only 3 really matter: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Amazon.

Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists are calculated based largely on bookstore (retail) sales, so it’s hard for indie authors to make the list without a significant investment in printed books to send to stores to sell.

USA Today is also recognized, but it’s practically the only relevant non-niche bestseller list for books. It's also a realistic goal for indie authors of fiction novels.

There are never any guarantees, but each bestseller list measures the top book sales in specified channels, within a defined length of time, so it’s not too difficult for anyone with enough experience to calculate an estimated minimum investment required to generate enough sales to achieve "Bestselling" status. 

(If you have your heart set on NYT Bestselling Book, you'll need to estimate the cost to achieve this including the cost of 10,000+ print books at one time + the extra effort of buying books yourself if needed, since the worst situation is to invest in a bestseller attempt but fall just short of enough sales to accomplish your goal!)

Fairy Tale #2
A bigger advance indicates more royalties upon publishing.

Not true.

What most people don’t realize is that any advance payment you’re able to negotiate truly is an “advance” payment on your royalties earned, that will be paid to you only after all your book costs are covered (as charged by your publisher), AND the advance paid to you is entirely revocable - they can sue for repayment - if you don’t deliver your book manuscript on time, or of promised good quality, per your publishing contract. :)

Fairy Tale #3
“When my book is “chosen” by a publisher, I won’t have to worry about promoting or selling it.”

Not true. 

Most publishers will either not promote your book at all, or will only promote it once you have already started gaining some “traction” with both sales and publicity/promotions. 

Truthfully, most traditional publishers won't even consider an author who hasn't already built up their platform with an active audience of waiting readers, around 50,000 engaged people in size. 

Which leads me to Fairy Tale #4 of Book Publishing...

Fairy Tale #4
“My book will be chosen by an agent and publisher, based on the details of my story”, more than my writing skills, or demonstrated abilities to behave like a professional author and create an established platform.

Not true. 

Publishers are looking for books, and book owners (authors) who are demonstrating their predicted investment value. 

If you are given a book publishing contract, will you deliver your manuscript on time, and of quality that is consistent with your proposal? Once published contracted, will you actively promote, market, and sell your book, or are you expecting someone else to do it for you?

Publishers want to see you openly demonstrating that you understand the time & energy required to promote a book and make it successful. 

The good news is, embracing this approach ensures you'll be successful, whether you choose to go after a traditional publisher, or navigate the journey on your own ship.

Fairy Tale #5
“Once my book is published and available, I'll get lots of publicity and sell lots of books, and I will be richly rewarded.”

Not true. It doesn't "just happen" like that.

First, what you need to recognize is that no matter which publishing option you choose, your royalties will NOT be significant at the start, or likely ever.

I have literally seen the royalty cheques of bestselling authors from their traditional publishers in NYC, for less than $1.00 - the author kept the cheque to remember where they really earn their wealth from:

ALL the various new money-making opportunities you’ve created for yourself, just by creating the product of your “book”, and the service for others that is in your story:

- Selling bulk copies of your book to 1 company who sponsors (pays for) a custom print run of your book for private distribution and/or sales

- Alternatives to “books” - your same content but other formats like ebooks for free optin and eReaders of all forms, or audiobooks

- Branded SWAG as incentives to bulk buyers, creates marketing buzz, and gives you another set of branded products you can sell, making your marketing activities themselves revenue-generating

- Companion books like workbooks, journals, and planners (zero-content books), to provide more value to your buyers/readers and to support ongoing engagement with you, your communities, and your business promotions

- Paid speaking & consulting opportunities to generate bulk print book sales

- Free book giveaways to generate new readers, reviews, and business leads who are pre-sold on your message

All of these promotional activities can create dramatic revenue growth for your book.

Still not sure what your next steps are?
A lot of people have a tough time deciding the right approach for them; should you hold out for a good publisher, or try to overcome everything you know you don't know, especially your self-doubts and insecurities, all on your own, or should you find someone who can help you with everything you need?

My Fairy Godmother Signature Publishing Contract* is end-to-end coaching and consulting from the day you hire me, until your manuscript is completed, published, and paid copies are sold until it's a verifiable bestselling book. 

This includes done-for-you services and expert support, for everything you'll need on your journey to be published and promoted, and I even guarantee your book, will be promoted to become an Amazon bestselling book, in a category relevant to your book theme and message.

Every decision you'll have to make, easy or difficult, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your Fairy Godmother is there with you to help & guide you through. After you’ve been published and promoted to “Bestseller” status, I can also be hired to promote your business with local and national publicity, bulk book sales, corporate sponsors, and paid speaking events.

* Bestseller status guarantees apply ONLY to non-fiction books. Fiction books are likely to reach bestseller status as well, but with a lot more diligent promotions and investment of resources. 

Still not sure whether waiting for a traditional publisher or going the indie route is better for you?

To help you make a side-by-side comparison of what your options are, and what those choices really mean, download my handy 1-page table that lays out all the options for you.

PDF: Traditional Publisher, Indie Publishing, or Fairy Godmother?

This simple 1-page PDF lists almost everything any book author could possibly need to consider regarding the publishing of their book, and if it's INCLUDED, EXTRA, or NOT AVAILABLE based on your choice of traditional publisher, indie publishing (self-publishing), or my own Signature Book Publishing Contract that is end-to-end book publishing services & personal promotion help.

Debbie Horovitch

I am a Fairy Godmother helping storytellers become published and bestsellers!
If you've been inspired to write a book, then you owe it to yourself to get it published, and promoted to become a bestselling book, so you can enjoy the rest of your life enjoying the title Bestselling Book Author. If you're ready to get your book published and/or promoted to become a verifiable bestseller, definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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