Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Publishing: What does the Brass Ring look like NOW?

Welcome guest blogger author Kris Tualla! Kris is mine of information on the publishing industry, and I've asked her to share a bit of her expertise with my blog readers.

Publishing: What does the Brass Ring look like NOW?

Well… what did it look like before? In a nutshell:

  1. Write a manuscript that's 75,000 to 95,000 words long.
  2. Get it critiqued multiple times and go through multiple re-writes.
  3. Query editors and agents.
  4. Get rejected and query some more.
  5. Get the Call from an agent who wants to represent you.
  6. Get another Call that your agent has sold your manuscript: 2 book deal and option for a third.
  7. Celebrate!
  8. Work with your publisher to promote your books.
  9. Become a best-seller.
Does this brass ring still exist? Of course it does! Should new authors still reach for it? Absolutely! Do not forgo this process. It's the only way to know for sure that you are able to write a story and do it well.

What if.

The rejections are economics-based? By that I mean things like: “We don’t do American historicals… no one can sell Scandinavia… write Scotland BUT Scotland is a very crowded market… cut 15,000 words then I’ll look at it… publishers LIKE their boxes…”

What do you do now?

If you are me, you tell your agent to keep trying to sell the European-based manuscripts, but you are taking the American ones to e-pub and Print On Demand.

Now what does the brass ring look like?
  1. Write multiple manuscripts 100,000-105,000 words long.
  2. Get them critiqued multiple times and go through multiple re-writes.
  3. Upload them to Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Smashwords. (There is no fee for this.)
  4. Price it at $3.49 (70% royalty).
  5. Create a trade-paperback version on Amazon's CreateSpace and make it available through their extended distribution channels. (There is a $39 fee for this, plus the cost of books - $4 to $5 on average.)
  6. Price it at $12.99 (35% royalty).
  7. Promote like a maniac.
  8. Keep promoting like a crazed maniac.
  9. Watch monthly royalty deposits begin to appear in your bank account.
Is this version of the brass ring for everyone? No. It requires a second level of dedication. Extra hours beyond writing as the author does the publisher's jobs: multiple proofs and edits. Cover designs. Product placement. And backlists are key.

Add to that what every successful author is already doing: Setting up appearances. Buying and dispersing promo items. Teaching online classes. Speaking wherever and whenever. Blogging all over the 'net. Conferences, workshops and seminars. Oh my.

Is it worth it? You tell me. This was the only way you could fall in love with Nicolas Hansen. Otherwise, you never would have heard of him.


For every 10 people who comment here, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice - the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I'll give away three.


In February at the end of my blog tour, I'll give away one SIGNED PAPERBACK SET of the trilogy. Here's how you can get in on that deal:
  1. Go to and find the "Secret Word" on my home page.
  2. Send an email to with "Signed Trilogy Giveaway" in the subject line. Put the secret word in the body.
  3. Comment on any blog at any time in the tour to activate your entry. Each day's blog location is listed at
A Woman of Choice, A Prince of Norway, and A Matter of Principle are all available at

A Woman of Choice - Missouri Territory, 1819
A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.

A Prince of Norway - Christiania, Norway, 1820
American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather's throne. His new wife Sydney isn't about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?

A Matter of Principle - St. Louis, State of Missouri, 1821
Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren't about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it's a matter of principle.


Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Kris!


Chicks of Characterization said...

Excellent information and advice Kris!!! Thanks for sharing!


rozdennyfox said...

Hi, have these books in my TBR stack. If it falls over in the night it'll probably kill me, however. I will get to them, and they look good so I'll try to read faster. Great blog Kris and Cindy.

Sloane Taylor said...

Thanks for the great post, Kris. You've renewed my spirit.:)

Marie Tuhart said...

Wonderful post, Kris.

Marie Tuhart said...

Wonderful post, Kris. Gives a writer a lot to think about.

Sloane Taylor said...

Great post, Kris. You've renewed my dedications.:)

Laura Russell said...

Hi Kris,
Your advice is well-distilled and makes soothing reading as I sit down to write.

No need to enter me in today's drawing. I already have A Woman of Choice!

Dana said...

"Got something that has to be done? Ask a busy person to do it!" Kris, you are the personification of this maxim! Not only are you great at ideas, research, writing -you're also a whiz at publication, art and design, promotion, and teaching! You go, girl!

Michal Scott said...

Thanks for the brass ring descriptors, especially the second. All these self-pub options are daunting, but exciting.

Kris Tualla said...

Dana - you are too sweet!

Okay - the tower tipped again today. Borders is closing about 200 stores. Is "yours" one? Check:

POD and eBooks are the only viable futures. If traditional publishing houses figure this out and restructure, they will survive. If not, it will be the savvy indie-pubbed authors who rise to the top.

THIS PATH IS NOT EASY! Most authors who self-pub are AWFUL. Most eBook PODs are AWFUL.

But some of us are committed to excellence, not ease. Hang in there - it's going to be an interesting ride!

Kris :)

booklover0226 said...

This was an excellent and informative post.

Thanks for sharing.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com