Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jody Hedlund - Author Thoughts #4

Jody Hedlund was a double-finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest for unpublished writers, and took CBA by storm last year when her debut novel The Preacher's Bride was released (and reviewed by both Publisher's Weekly and Booklist).

Her second novel The Doctor's Lady hits the shelves September 1st (and she's already writing the third!).  I follow Jody's blog for writers which is chock-full of tips, insights and commentary on the current publishing market. 

Jody is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Rants and Ramblings fame. 

We here at Seeking the Write Life (i.e. Me) are shamelessly excited to have Jody guest post today!

"What I wish I'd known before I signed the publishing contract."

1. Worry #1: Publishers wouldn’t have enough room for me.

The Truth: Publishers are still interested in finding good books and talented authors.

When I heard statistics about how traditional publishers have so few slots allotted to debut authors within their line-ups, I panicked. With so many talented aspiring authors vying for those spots, how would there ever be room for me?

What I’ve since learned is that publishers ARE still interested in finding new authors and discovering great stories. When they find them, they WILL make room in their line-ups. In other words, there’s always going to be a place for an author who’s got what it takes.

2. Worry #2: If my book didn’t do fantastic, my publisher would drop me.

The Truth: Traditional publishers want to invest in authors not just books.

I don’t know what I really expected before the contract, but now I understand that it makes a whole lot more sense for publishers to help their authors have a career, rather than just be a one-book wonder.

It takes time and several books before an author really gains a widespread readership. Most publishers are willing to work with their authors for the long haul. They want to help them grow, and push them to succeed so that it’s mutually beneficial. They aren’t waiting to cut authors loose with the first bad review or mistake.

3. Worry #3: If I wanted my book to sell, I’d have to do a lot of marketing.

The Truth: Traditional publishers still do help with marketing.

We hear stories about how authors are expected to do the bulk of their marketing. And yes, every author needs to participate in marketing—why wouldn’t we want to do all we can to help our book stand out? However, in large traditional publishing houses, the majority of the marketing work does not fall on the author.

My publisher’s sales and marketing department was able to sell more of my books by getting them to key distributors, buyers, reviewers, and stores, than I would have ever been able to sell on my own. Yes, my marketing efforts have contributed, but my publisher’s reputation, connections, and strategies made far more of an impact in overall sales.

Question For Readers: Have you ever worried about these same things? What’s your biggest concern right now?


  1. Well, i am not a published author yet, but i had to stop by and say that i am loving the book "The Preacher's Bride" it's great. Right up my alley and just a smidge different to anything else in the genre. It's awesome. No problems i hope about being dropped anywhere Jody because the book is fantastic.

    Just my 0.02c.

    Good luck with the rest of your career.

    Sarah ketley

  2. I always worry about whether or not publishers will never have any room for me, too. I'm more concerned about writing a good story than I am publishing it right now. But I am a bit concerned if my concept will be lost by the publishers and editors.

  3. It is great to hear some of the myths/worrys addressed and in a positive way. Thank you for the glimmer of hope. Have a great Monday.

  4. I love Jody... she's such an incredible writer and her thoughts here are so true.

  5. It's nice to know the climb is a little easier than we think--thanks for the interview ladies!

  6. Jody, you are a jewel! Your writing is everything I imagined:) I can't wait to add The Doctor's Lady to my collection.

  7. I love number one. Thank you for giving me the energy I needed to hit the keyboard again. *hugs*

  8. Jody is an amazing person and an amazing writer. Plus, she's chock full of wisdom and is so willing to share it, as she's done here. Thanks for the post.

  9. Thank you for all of the kind words, everyone!! Sending you each a big cyber hug! :-)

    And thanks, Aimee for inviting me to be a guest on your blog! You did a fantastic job!

  10. I've actually been teetering between self-publishing and searching out an agent for some time over the whole marketing issue. I love selling, and I'm good at it, but if I'm gonna do all the work why should I bother with a publisher in the first place?

    I'm so glad to know the publishers are there and helping. It's a factor I will definitely take into consideration before I decide on what to do with my book at last.

  11. This is a great post. I've had and do have those same worries with my first published book and getting ready to submit my second to my publisher. Thanks for the good advice.

  12. Lovely to hear Jody's thoughts on these issues :) She's such an awesome writer, and her advice on her blog simply rocks!



  13. All of those factors are important to me.. Thanks for sharing! I really would hate to hear that traditional publishing is dead!