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Arts & Entertainment

Navigating the Publishing Business, Part 2

David Baldacci

Lesson time 13:31 min

Adding to his advice on how to run your own writing career, David explains the importance of forming relationships with both booksellers and fans, and discusses how to use new platforms.

David Baldacci
Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing
In his MasterClass, bestselling thriller author David Baldacci teaches you how he fuses mystery and suspense to create pulse-pounding action.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] - There are a lot of different resources you can turn to as a writer to understand the publishing industry better. One of the things that you really should focus on, too, is relations with booksellers. Early on in your career, you may be asked to go to do book signings at Barnes & Noble or at a lot of independents, or some of the other chains, as well. Whenever I go to those places, even early on in my career, I'd go into the store. I'd walk around the store, see how it was set up. And then I'd go and talk to the people who worked at the store. You know, how are sales going? How many events do you do a year? How do you get people into the store? How many books you typically order for an event like this? How many returns do you sometimes get? What's the overall feel for how do you boost people into the store and how do you sell books? And then you start building a relationship with the booksellers. And the best thing about booksellers is they hand-sell books. When "Absolute Power" came out, I did a nationwide tour. I probably did 50 cities. I was everywhere, in all these different types of booksellers. And booksellers hand-sold the living crap out of "Absolute Power." There was one bookstore in one city that sold-- a little bookstore-- that sold 1,500 copies of "Absolute Power." That one little bookstore was probably not bigger than the room I'm in right now. When you establish relations with booksellers, it can only be a good thing for your career, so-- and you also get a lot of information. They deal with the publishers on a daily basis. They know. And you know, sometimes you get complaints from booksellers. You know what? They-- they're not marketing your books in my area like they used to, or they are not keeping stock in the stores. I'm having, like, a two-week delay in getting books in from you. Sometimes, you know, I'd go back to the publisher and I said, you know, I was in Minneapolis. I was in St. Louis, and I was over here. They don't have any books on the shelf because the warehouse is not replenishing. And what happens? The publisher calls up and says, OK. Sorry that happened. We just took care of that. That's not gonna happen again. So there's lots of information sources out there. So when you travel, just don't walk in the store, don't talk to anybody, do the book signing, and leave. That's an amazing opportunity for you to learn about the business, because these booksellers are right in the middle of it from both-- they are the conduit between the readers who buy the books and the conduit between the publishers who give them the books to sell. So they know a lot of stuff. Avail yourself of the opportunity. Pick their brains. [MUSIC PLAYING] You know, there are lots of ways to build a fan base and readers. The best way to do it is write really great stories consistently so that people can feel that if they open one of my books, they're gonna really enjoy it all the way to the la...

Captivate your readers

David Baldacci has captivated readers across the world with gripping, suspense-fueled thrillers. Now the New York Times–bestselling author of 38 novels shares his techniques for crafting authentic characters, developing research-based plots, and navigating the world of publishing. Learn how to write a novel with red herrings, clues, and plot twists that will keep your readers turning the pages.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Lots of inspiration and no end of practical advice. I particularly liked the inclusion of a couple of his actual hand written outlines.

Absolutely inspiring! Loved listening to his story and watching my own pages fill up with ideas as I went along.

I have learned so much, and have so much to work with after taking David Baldacci's class. He is an exceptional teacher!!

The class gave me trust, information, direction, useful tricks. I like the honest approach of Mr.Baldacci, the description of ups and downs, the encouragement and advises. Thank you!


Milos L.

In general I really loved Baldacci's classes. Because its practical and hands-on


FYI you can change the speed by clicking on the 1x at the bottom of the video and change to .5 to slow him down. I have also speed a few lessons up when I listen to them for a second of third time.

Katharina R.

Lovely lesson, but does he have to speak that fast all the time? Don't think to be the only non-native speaker who has problems following :)

Tina W.

If you only publish 1 every few years. However he said the words. "Did well with their books." What if you have a book and you're struggling to sell it's about marketing. Writing 1 a year maybe tough for a new writer.

Elizabeth R.

Aren't those first time novelists who then come up with a second book that's not very good simply those who did not get good feedback from their editors and agents?


Being successful sounds overwhelming. I suppose I should be grateful for my stack of rejection letters. I want to write. I don't really want to deal with all the rest of it.


Invaluable, thank you. Never would have considered world right versus individual county rights.