Arts & Entertainment, Writing

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.

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

Topics include: Establish Relationships With Booksellers • Build Your Fan Base • Feed Your Fans Regularly • Take Advantage of New Platforms • Stay Focused on What Is Important


[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...

About the Instructor

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.

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David Baldacci

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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