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Mike_DJ

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Hi everyone! What a great community here.

I'm looking to get published and ask for your sound advice. It's a bit of a special case; due to platform, potential buyers, and my personal situation the target market is distributed globally.

Book category: Non-fiction (Business, Intercultural Management)

Target markets (in order of priority):
1) Singapore/India/China/Malaysia
2) US, UK
3) European Union

Publishing objectives:
1) Publish with a renowned publisher
2) Availability via Amazon.com,uk,de,fr and major brick-and-mortar chains in above countries

Author publishing experience:
This is my first book (previously published one article in a local edition of an international magazine)

Content wise it would fit into the roster of major publishers like McGraw Hill, Harper, Wiley and so on.

I’m considering the following options:
1) Find an agent in US who works with major publishers that release in US but also in Asia (including brick & mortar)
2) Approach publishers in APAC directly; publish locally first and later get into the US & UK market. Agents are not common in APAC. Even publishers like Wiley, Harper, and McGraw accept unagented submissions via their local branches.

What would you suggest? Any other ideas?

Thanks
Mike
 

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Old Hack

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Hi everyone! What a great community here.

I'm looking to get published and ask for your sound advice. It's a bit of a special case; due to platform, potential buyers, and my personal situation the target market is distributed globally.

That's not a special case at all. Many books have a global market.

Book category: Non-fiction (Business, Intercultural Management)

Target markets (in order of priority):
1) Singapore/India/China/Malaysia
2) US, UK
3) European Union

Publishing objectives:
1) Publish with a renowned publisher
2) Availability via Amazon.com,uk,de,fr and major brick-and-mortar chains in above countries

Author publishing experience:
This is my first book (previously published one article in a local edition of an international magazine)

Content wise it would fit into the roster of major publishers like McGraw Hill, Harper, Wiley and so on.

I’m considering the following options:
1) Find an agent in US who works with major publishers that release in US but also in Asia (including brick & mortar)
2) Approach publishers in APAC directly; publish locally first and later get into the US & UK market. Agents are not common in APAC. Even publishers like Wiley, Harper, and McGraw accept unagented submissions via their local branches.

What would you suggest? Any other ideas?

Thanks
Mike

You might well be able to find yourself a local arm of a global publisher willing to publish your book, and they might be happy to take world rights for the book--which implies that they'd publish it around the world. The truth, though, is that they would then try to sell it to their own publishers in various territories, or to other publishers there: but they're not likely to try as hard to do this as an agent would; you'll get poorer royalties from a deal like this than you would if an agent handled the deals for you; and you'll almost certainly not see as many subsidiary rights sales as you would if an agent was in charge.

If you find a local publisher which doesn't want to handle your world rights, you'll struggle to get it published anywhere else as agents usually only work with unpublished works.

So finding an agent is going to be your most effective way to get your book into all the markets you want to.

However, with non-fiction agents and publishers want several things. Not only do they want a strong, well-written, commercially viable work: they want a writer with platform. This doesn't mean "a lot of followers on social media", although that doesn't hurt. It means "a strong professional reputation in the area", and all that accompanies that.

To sell this book you're going to have to demonstrate that you have that solid reputation; you're going to have to write a really good proposal; and you're going to have to convince them you can actually write the book.

If you don't have experience or a background in the area you're writing about, you're going to find it difficult, I'm afraid.
 

Mike_DJ

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Thanks Marissa and Old Hack for your replies.

@Marissa: I have one more book in mind, it's about business/general management (something like Jack Welch - Winning). And the structure & title of the current book could be licensed as a series like "Culture Shock".

@Old Hack: I too thought about the agent way. But approaching an US or UK agent with a proposal and first ask to release in India and Singapore would leave the agent confused: "why go to an US agent if you want to publish in India?"

My platform is double-edged. On the one hand I work with two huge companies and I’m connected with a few thousand people in these companies. These people: 1) get notified about the book release in their business-inbox 2) and actually read the notification because they know me and that I have expertise in this field. So these few thousand people come up with a "great, we need this". But how many actually buy the book, who knows... On the other hand, outside of my company I don't have a platform yet.

Royalties and advances are not an objective for me (what an agent might not like to hear). My objective is more about building reputation, platform, connections, and of course: spread the content.

Maybe I should rethink the priorities and go for Amazon.com first, then Amazon.in, and afterwards brick & mortar stores in Singapore. It's a bit cumbersome to order a book across continents, but once it's on Amazon.com, everybody who wants to buy it can do so.
 

BrianY

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I agree, it's most certainly not a "special case" by nonfiction standards. This sort of global reach is almost mandatory in some specialties these days.

If your book is originally written in English, I would suggest that you find an agent in the US or UK to handle it. There are many with a strong nonfiction background.

As for your publishing objectives, if you achieve number 1, number 2 will come along with it.

You now have the same challenge as the rest of us; writing that killer proposal.

Good luck and keep us all posted on your progress.
 

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I'm not sure how business publishing goes in Sinapore and Malaysia but in US and UK you'll need to show fabulous credentials or achievements. You not wanting royalties and advances doesn't matter at all. A publisher would expect profits which means they will expect your book to sell. Jack Welch was an exec of a well recogniseable and successful company. His achievements are obvious. There are a lot of authors like him out there and your book will have to fight for shelf space with them. Why would a reader pick yours? You need to be able to answer that question in a satisfactory way in order to publish in UK or US.


Next thing to consider is if your book is global as content, or is it of local interest. For example, the problems a Chinese businessman would encounter while doing business in India may not be interesting to an American enterpreneur and therefore a tough sale in the US bookmarket. A book with a more general approach to "culture shock" might be, but again, it depends on who's writing it and what their experiences are on the matter.


If your interest is first of all in the APAC markets, then approach a largish publisher there first, at least they will give you some advice (if, of course, they decide the book is worth the effort). If your interest is mostly Amazon's online bookshop, then self-publishing is an option. Those co-workers etc business acquaintances may get the word of mouth around to get you some sales and if the book's really, really REALLY good, it might take off. Of course you can approach a US/UK literary agency who works with the big publishers and has dedicated agents who handle international rights, but this is a tall order and your book will need to be exceptional in order for them to find a publisher who would be willing to jump through hoops in order to accomodate your preferences.


So there's that.
 

Old Hack

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@Old Hack: I too thought about the agent way. But approaching an US or UK agent with a proposal and first ask to release in India and Singapore would leave the agent confused: "why go to an US agent if you want to publish in India?"

Good agents will do their best to get your books published around the world. I have agent-friends who routinely make 20 or more foreign rights deals for their author-clients. Sometimes they'll sell first in their home territory, sometimes elsewhere. The important thing is that they sell.

Why would you want it published first in India and Singapore? I'm not sure that would give you any advantage.

My platform is double-edged. On the one hand I work with two huge companies and I’m connected with a few thousand people in these companies. These people: 1) get notified about the book release in their business-inbox 2) and actually read the notification because they know me and that I have expertise in this field. So these few thousand people come up with a "great, we need this". But how many actually buy the book, who knows... On the other hand, outside of my company I don't have a platform yet.

I don't think you have much of a platform, then. Unless you're well-known in your industry, and the industry is world-wide.

Generally, the response to the sort of direct marketing you're describing is pretty poor. Less than 5% positive, I think--probably more like 2-3% of those emails would result in a sale. So if your emails are sent to 3,000 people you'd get a maximum of 90 sales as a result. But you also have to recognise that there are strict laws about email marketing, and you can't use company email lists to sell your products. People have to opt in to marketing messages of that kind.

Royalties and advances are not an objective for me (what an agent might not like to hear). My objective is more about building reputation, platform, connections, and of course: spread the content.

Be careful. This makes you a prime target for exploitative publishers.

Maybe I should rethink the priorities and go for Amazon.com first, then Amazon.in, and afterwards brick & mortar stores in Singapore. It's a bit cumbersome to order a book across continents, but once it's on Amazon.com, everybody who wants to buy it can do so.

It's very difficult to get bookshops to stock printed copies, it's expensive to have the books printed, and it's difficult to handle the delivery and returns of those books. Don't expect this to be an easier solution.
 

Mike_DJ

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Thank you all for your help!

@Curlz: Self-publishing is indeed an option. It wouldn't help my reputation "having published with a renowned publisher" but has one huge advantage over agents and normal publishers: speed. Even including external editing and tuning of the manuscript, it shouldn't take more than 2-3 months until my network can buy the book via amazon.com. Going via traditional publishers it's more like 6-12 months from first contact to release (best case).

@Old Hack:
To publish in Singapore and India first is a plain business need. Most of our current projects are in this region and I see plenty of intercultural issues which cannot be solved in one or two meetings. I'm convinced my book is beneficial for our teams there. The email marketing is OK in this case as I'm employed with the company. Using internal email and intranet platforms is accepted for this purpose. With other companies I'll be more careful of course, I go via the HR & training department. And regarding exploitative publishers - thanks to information in forums like this - I think I'm well prepared and can (hopefully) spot the black sheeps.

Seeing your answers it looks like there is no single truth but multiple options. So I guess I'll do three things in parallel:
1) Approach local arms of global publishers in APAC (writing that killer proposal)
2) Querying agents in US (writing that killer query)
3) Exploring the self-publishing option (lash out that killer money)
 

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@Curlz: Self-publishing is indeed an option. It wouldn't help my reputation "having published with a renowned publisher" but has one huge advantage over agents and normal publishers: speed. Even including external editing and tuning of the manuscript, it shouldn't take more than 2-3 months until my network can buy the book via amazon.com. Going via traditional publishers it's more like 6-12 months from first contact to release (best case).


Why do you need your book to be published quickly? How is this so significant?

It takes trade publishers (not "traditional", please) a while to publish books because they have to get all the marketing support in place ready for launch. Yes, you can self publish more quickly but you'll not get anything like the same bookshop presence, or marketing spread, or access to reviews; your book is very unlikely to be considered for libraries, too. There are many advantages to trade publishing which you shouldn't ignore just because self publishing is quicker.

And regarding exploitative publishers - thanks to information in forums like this - I think I'm well prepared and can (hopefully) spot the black sheeps.

I hope you are, but do come back here to check out all publishers and agents you're considering before submitting your work to them. There are some sneaky ones out there.

Seeing your answers it looks like there is no single truth but multiple options. So I guess I'll do three things in parallel:
1) Approach local arms of global publishers in APAC (writing that killer proposal)
2) Querying agents in US (writing that killer query)
3) Exploring the self-publishing option (lash out that killer money)

By all means learn more about these three options. But if you're going to approach agents, don't approach publishers too as you'll reduce the options agents will have if they take you on: only start looking for a publisher once you've exhausted your pool of potential agents. And don't self publish either, as agents and publishers generally want unpublished books.
 

Mike_DJ

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Why do you need your book to be published quickly? How is this so significant?

The quickly is because:
Most of our current projects are in this region and I see plenty of intercultural issues which cannot be solved in one or two meetings. I'm convinced my book is beneficial for our teams there.


By all means learn more about these three options
Sure, I'm following many of the great resources out there and try to understand all this publishing stuff better. It's my first book and I learn new things every day. That's good and the way I like it.

But if you're going to approach agents, don't approach publishers too as you'll reduce the options agents will have if they take you on: only start looking for a publisher once you've exhausted your pool of potential agents.

I assume that once a book is self-published, the agent or trade publisher road doesn't work anymore. But interesting point about publisher and agents though. What you describe sounds like once you send the proposal to a publisher, it's already a red flag for some agents? Even when the publisher hasn't responded yet? I was thinking of doing both in parallel and what comes first, goes first.
 

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The quickly is because:

Your answer doesn't explain why you feel the need to move quickly. Clarify, please?

Sure, I'm following many of the great resources out there and try to understand all this publishing stuff better. It's my first book and I learn new things every day. That's good and the way I like it.

Publishing is so counterintuitive as a business that I'm surprised anyone ever finds their way round it. But we do. You're doing the right thing by finding out all you can now.

I assume that once a book is self-published, the agent or trade publisher road doesn't work anymore. But interesting point about publisher and agents though. What you describe sounds like once you send the proposal to a publisher, it's already a red flag for some agents? Even when the publisher hasn't responded yet? I was thinking of doing both in parallel and what comes first, goes first.

Some self-published books find agents to represent them and publishers to publish them, but it's not usual.

If you submit to a publisher, then get an agent, your agent can't then resubmit to that publisher, so you've burned a bridge. Your agent will probably know a better editor or imprint for your book at that publisher, which makes it doubly irritating. So look for agents and if that doesn't work, look for publishers after.
 

Mike_DJ

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Thanks Old Hack for your answers. Your information is really helpful for me.

Your answer doesn't explain why you feel the need to move quickly. Clarify, please?

Mike_DJ said:
Most of our current projects are in this region and I see plenty of intercultural issues which cannot be solved in one or two meetings. I'm convinced my book is beneficial for our teams there.

I prefer to move quickly because I feel the strong desire to give the book to the project team members. I want the teams to understand the intercultural differences and learn to adapt their communication style depending on the culture the team is working with. And I would do this rather today than tomorrow as communication issues occur on a daily basis.

Anyway, time is not a deal breaker, it takes as long as it takes.