Episode 44

How to Break into the Book Market

Get tips on how to break into the book market, and learn how to neutralize your writing obstacles with one little word.

Music licensed from Storyblocks:

“More Jam Please” by Raighes Factory

“Jazzy Retro Swing Groove” by MoodMode

“Little Noir Mystery” by Humans Win

“gatherings by the fireplace” by Boomer

“Santa in Red” by Loops Lab

Rosemi Mederos:

If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.

Welcome to season 3 of Writing Break. Since it’s still NaNoWriMo and all of those December holidays are approaching, not to mention that productive new year energy, I think the theme for season 3 will be gifts. Gifts from me to you, gifts for others to give you, and, most importantly, gifts you can give yourself. Our season is 22 weeks long, so it’ll be gift-giving season here at Writing Break until Easter.

Let’s get started. The Writing Break cafe is open, so let’s head inside and I’ll fill you in on some publishing news.

A new K-lytics report states that the top-selling romance subcategories are: contemporary, mystery & suspense, and romantic comedy. No surprises there.

Sales are climbing in the romance subcategories of: multiracial and interracial romance; mafia and organized crime romance, sci-fi and monster romance, and erotica.


It is not an easy time to be an academic writer or scientific researcher. A recent Confidence in Research report from academic publisher Elsevier showed that “researchers today increasingly must work to combat false and misleading information as well as growing instances of online abuse.”

HarperCollins union workers, who had been working without a contract since April, are now on an indefinite strike that began November 10th. A company-wide memo to employees confirmed that a bargaining agreement was not reached between HarperCollins and their unionized employees and that HarperCollins has “implemented plans to ensure that operations continue uninterrupted during a potential strike.”

While not all HarperCollins employees are unionized, there are union workers in just about every department, including the editorial and design departments.

HarperCollins is the only unionized major book publisher. Their last quarter financials revealed that revenue has declined by 11% and the company's earnings declined by 54%. They laid off an unspecified number of people in October, including six union members.

If you attended the National Book Awards, you might have seen the HarperCollins union workers just outside.

You can find a link to these news articles and to the list of the National Book Award winners and nominees in the show notes of this episode.

Now, join me on the Overthinking Couch to discuss how best to break into the writing market.

If you’re not married to your current genre, here’s a tip. Find a subgenre that has strong sales but few books, and see if you can write a book in that category. Strong sales indicate devoted readers, and few titles mean less competition. Some romance categories that fit the bill right now include action & adventure, demons & devils, gothic, later-in-life, medical, new adults & college, and sports.

Put your walking shoes on. Today we’re not just going to a bookstore; we’re going to a book village.

Welcome to Hobart Book Village in Hobart, New York. First, some background on book towns direct from Hobart Book Village.

lage or Book Town was born in:


Set in the Northern Catskills, Hobart continues to be an agricultural community. It is also becoming known as a center for arts and literary culture as the Book Village hosts the annual Festival of Women Writers, several art shows, author readings and signings as well as the very popular Winter Respite Lecture Series all of which keeps the village a year-round destination.”

Some shops close during the week, especially during the fall and winter, so the weekend is the time to visit this town, population 397.

own words. The video is from:

Click the link in the show notes to get a peek into these bookshops.

Now, it’s time to unwrap your first gift of season 3.

With the holiday season upon us, invitations and obligations are rearing their glittery little heads. Your calendar is filling up, and now you don’t know when you’re going to get back to your writing.

As soon as you start a new project, excuses will keep you from working on your new venture. By “excuses” I am referring to people you think you must please and events in which you think you must participate. Take this week to say “no” and realize how many time-suckers are lurking in your life, during the holidays and all year long.

We often say “yes” to events because we feel like we might miss out on something. Understandably, the “fear of missing out” is a strong and relentless motivator for those of us who want to suck the marrow out of life before continuing on to the great unknown. And yet, confined to our bodies and this one life, we are always missing out on not just something but most things. Are we on the International Space Station today? Are we photographing the Sahara? Are we BASE jumping (and living to tell about it)?

You are an author, and you want to tell stories. Keep saying “yes” to things that don’t align with your writing goals, and you’ll miss out on writing a great book.

Of course, there are experiences you won’t want to miss. Those are the ones that feel like adventures, not obligations.

Sometimes we say “yes” because we don’t want to disappoint anyone. People pleasing is a hard habit to break. Some of us don’t even want to disappoint people who constantly disappoint us. Instead of letting other people down, you let yourself down. Over and over again.

What Happens When You Say “No”?

For the most part, nothing revolutionary happens when you say, “No, thanks, I have some writing to do.” Well, that’s not exactly true. The more often you put your writing first, the easier it gets and the better your writing gets. That’s revolutionary.

My advice is simple: say “no” when you would rather be writing. That’s one gift you can give yourself every day. People might be miffed, but you will have written a killer scene, so what do you care? Those who care about you will admire your dedication. Those who get mad and stay mad were never planning to read your book anyway.

Thanks for listening, and remember, you deserved this break.

If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at podcast@writingbreak.com.

Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.

Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at podcast@writingbreak.com.

About the Podcast

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About your host

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Rosemi Mederos


Rosemi is the founder of America's Editor, a book editing company.