[Podcast] Octavia Goredema on Finding Support throughout the Book Writing Journey

4 publishing your writing 5 promoting your writing podcast post Mar 23, 2024
[Podcast] Octavia Goredema on Finding Support throughout the Book Writing Journey

The book writing journey is both a thrilling and daunting endeavor.

Pitching a book to a publisher and the marketing phase afterwards can be especially challenging and complicated to accomplish on your own.

From the intricacies of publishing contracts, to the constant change in marketing trends, finding support throughout the book writing journey can help make your publishing experience positive.

Octavia Goredema, author of PREP, PUSH, PIVOT: Essential Career Strategies for Underrepresented Women, shares her biggest takeaways from her book writing journey: reaching out for help.

Why You Need a Literary Agent

The publishing industry is difficult to navigate on your own. It has its own set of rules, standards, and practices that may be unfamiliar to first-time authors. To increase your chances of getting your book in front of a publishing house, a literary agent is your best bet.

Literary agents have the necessary relationships and connections with publishing houses that first-time authors lack. As Octavia points out, literary agents understand the ins and outs of the industry’s landscape. They will pitch your book to the right editors and publishers, increasing your chances of landing a book deal.

A literary agent is also well-versed in the intricacies of the book market. Publishing houses are looking for books that will sell. Books that the market will favor. In order to position your book for success, your agent will work with you on improving your book proposal. (A book proposal is necessary to landing both a literary agent and publishing house. Don’t know where to start? Check out this blog post!)

Thanks to their understanding of the market, your agent will provide insights into current trends, reader preferences, and marketing strategies that will appeal to a publishing house.

Octavia spent five weeks working with her literary agent to improve her book proposal. Her agent helped her rework sections, including refining her book’s thesis and emphasizing how she would use her platform to increase book sales. With a strong book proposal, she landed a publishing contact with Wiley after a few months.

But that’s not all a literary agent is good for.

The Complexities of Publishing Agreements

When a publishing house shows interest in your book, they will send you a publishing contract.

A publishing contract is a legal agreement between an author and a publisher that outlines the terms of the publication of your book. These contracts typically include details such as the rights granted to the publisher, the royalties to be paid to the author, the publication schedule, and other important provisions.

Filled with legal jargon that can be confusing and difficult to understand, especially if you’re new to the industry, publishing contracts are complex. And, before you sign away the rights to your book, you want to make sure you’re receiving fair treatment.

This is where your literary agent comes in. Part of a literary agent’s job is understanding the intricacies of publishing contracts. Your agent will negotiate on your behalf and ensure you receive a fair deal.

“I would’ve needed to hire a lawyer,” Octavia admits when explaining the complexities of her publishing contract. “I didn’t understand it.”

Instead of hiring a lawyer, Octavia relied on her literary agent. Her agent knew the meaning of each clause in the contract, explained the clauses to Octavia, and then negotiated on her behalf with the publishing house.

If you want to be traditionally published, consider seeking representation through a literary agent. An agent not only improves your chances of landing a book deal, but they can also improve your overall publishing experience.

Finding (Other) Support throughout the Book Writing Journey

Writing a book is the first step in the book writing journey. But marketing your book is just as important.  However, book marketing is constantly changing and it’s hard to keep up with the trends.

When it came to marketing her book, Octavia went through different avenues: social media, television, organic website traffic. But she wasn’t an expert in any of these areas. She needed help.

To improve her social media marketing, Octavia hired a social media consultant. Her consultant guided her on the best strategies to implement when marketing her book. Octavia learned techniques to improve her social media posts and discovered which social media trends worked for her book.

“It was a huge learning curve,” Octavia says. Without the support of her consultant, she wouldn’t have been as successful in her marketing endeavors.

Octavia didn’t stop at hiring a social media consultant, though. She also relied on counsel to improve her website, such as making her homepage easier to read, and adding a form for people to join her email list.

Finding support throughout the book writing journey—whether its support in the form of a literary agent, or support from experts—is important to a successful experience. “You can’t do it all,” Octavia says. “You don’t know how to do it all.”

Remember: If you’re not an expert in book publishing or book marketing, then seek guidance from others. There are people who can train you and support you in your journey.

If you want to learn more about Octavia’s book writing journey and how she found her literary agent, check out the podcast episode! You can listen to it here.



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