Dear Author Enabler,
I received an answer from a trade publisher requesting that I send my manuscript. What should writers know about trade publishing? Is it better than other kinds of publishing? Does it guarantee sales? And what do you know about Holiday House?
Laura Crowder
Ohio, Illinois

To answer your last question first, Holiday House is a reputable, established publisher of children’s books.

Trade publishers sell to the broadest possible audience through retail bookstores and libraries. These publishers are the source of the majority of books that make the bestseller list, and in an era of bigger and bigger conglomerates, there are fewer independent trade publishers and more divisions and imprints within these larger entities. When you go to a bookstore or library to get a specific book, chances are it was published by a trade publisher. Trade publishing is neither better nor worse than other types of publishing, such as academic publishing—it simply has a different focus. Trade publishers want to reach the greatest number of readers as quickly as possible. The trend in trade publishing is toward signing up books that are likely to be immediately profitable. However, no one can guarantee sales.

Dear Author Enabler,
I would like to ask for information on promoting my book,
Enero en Poesia. I have an ISBN for it and it appears at a few public libraries here in the Rio Grande Valley. I would like to know if I could find a publisher to promote my book. I’ve looked into self-publishing but this seems a bit expensive to me. I feel I have a title and content that can sell.
Sergio Lopes
Houston, Texas

Most poets who succeed in getting their poems published in book form do so by first getting individual poems published in poetry journals. I suggest you submit your work to literary magazines and journals, which will lead to recognition among editors and your peers. Once your poetry has appeared in some periodicals, submit your collected work to the small presses and university publishers best known for publishing poetry. You might want to start in your home state of Texas. Self-publishing is also an option. There are so many ways to self-publish today, including eBook only, that cost need not be the deciding factor. But I’d suggest exhausting the traditional path first.

For you writers on a budget who are in need of a good copyeditor, Dawn Kline of St. Germain, Wisconsin, offers this suggestion: “I am writing my first book and pinching pennies like everyone else. I would like to remind your readers that public libraries are wonderful and free resources. My local library directed me to a writer’s group where I can receive free editing, proofreading and feedback. Local colleges might also have students who could lend a hand for free or barter.”

Also, more vigilant readers wrote in about the epidemic of hair-tucking and other clich├ęs in novels:

Kathleen Winkler of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, spotted two hair-tucking incidents. From The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty: “He reached up under the brim of her hat and pushed a loose curl behind her ear.” And in Sarah Jio’s The Violets of March: “‘OK, honey,’ she said, tucking a stray lock of my blond hair behind my ear, ‘I’ve missed you.’”

C.C. Harrison of Anthem, Arizona, says, “I can handle hair tucking, but what about lip biting? For years every romance novel I read had the female character biting her lip, chewing her lip, gnawing her lip. Who does this? Do you bite your lip? I don’t.”

Ron Timmons of Indianapolis wonders if any fictional police officer has ever had a good cup of coffee. “It’s always ‘burned’ or ‘tastes like battery acid,’” Ron notes. “We should take up a collection to provide our police officers with some decent coffee.” Presumably that would be a fictional collection.

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