Author Colleen Coble’s thirty novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best awards. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.
Everyone wants to be a part of the camaraderie at their publishing house, but few authors are really good at the networking that is part of becoming “family.” It feels almost calculating to teach a course on how to accomplish that, but my editor Ami McConnell encouraged me to share the way I build relationship. She says it’s something every author needs to know.
1. Your team. Realize it’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM. If you can’t care about the people who are your team, you shouldn’t be writing in the Christian genre because as a Christian our first thought should be for OTHERS. And what better place to care about people than with your publishing partners? They are usually overworked, underpaid and harried. People can sense sincerity. Be grateful to be where you are and realize you are not God’s gift to publishing.
b. Your associate editor
c. Your marketing director
d. Your publicist
e. Your cover designer
f. Your publisher—yes even him/her
2. Plan a visit to your publishing house. Even if it’s on YOUR dime.
3. Learn the key people’s birthdays and send a card. I even send a small gift like a Starbuck’s card.
4. Take a picture of you with the group, stick it by your computer and pray for them.
5. Meet your sales rep. When you’re going to a different area, contact the rep in that area and let them know you’re going to be signing books. They’ll generally turn up and you can forge a friendship.
6. In all areas, be a professional. This means don’t complain. Have a good attitude even if they mess up (and everyone does) just as you’d want them to have a good attitude if you mess up.
7. BE GRATEFUL!! This is a big one. I can’t tell you how often I see ingratitude. Not a big enough promotion budget, someone else got this or that. When someone inside the house does something great—like selling foreign rights or bookclub rights—send them an email saying thank you and follow it up with a card. Or chocolate! You can get a list of who does what from your editor or publisher.
8. Talk up your house! Be proud of them and who they are.
9. Recommend other writers to them. It helps your house know you are proud of them. And it’s paying it forward to other writers.
10. Extend all these things to publishing professionals out of your publishing housed. Editors move around and so do other professionals. My new publicist just came from WaterBrook. It happens all the time.