Jack Shoemaker of Counterpoint Press Shares Fifty Years of Book Publishing Wisdom

Jack Shoemaker of Counterpoint Press spoke at the Oct. 5 meeting of Left Coast Writers at Book Passage, Marin. Photo by Barbara Newhall.

Jack Shoemaker spoke at Book Passage, Marin. ‘The best publishers should be invisible.’ Photo by Barbara Newhall.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Publisher Jack Shoemaker of Counterpoint Press got his start working in a bookstore as a teenager. Fifty years later, he had these words of wisdom to share at this month’s meeting of Left Coast Writers at the Book Passage bookstore in Corte Madera, California.

Readers and the World Wide Web: “The web has turned out to be a magnificent marketing tool — for itself. It’s training skimmers.”

Best marketing tips for authors: Find your niche. Hope for word-of-mouth. Get lucky.

Some popular book niches: Food, travel, history, religion, eastern religion, especially Zen Buddhism.

Of book publishers: “The best publishers should be invisible.”

The novelist’s plight: Critics and booksellers are on the lookout for first novels. Second and third novels — not so much. “Everybody wants to discover a great first novel.”

Of the reading public: “We are living in an a-literate culture. Everybody reads, but nobody wants to.”

From a marketing standpoint, what’s the ideal spacing of an author’s books? “Five years is too long. One year is too often.”

Print vs. ebook: While all his books are published as both print and ebooks, Shoemaker likes holding a print book in his hands. “Reading on a Kindle is like making love to a love doll.”

If you enjoyed this post you might like “Splitting the Infinitive — How to Boldly Go There.”  Also, “The Trouble With Daffodils — And My Writing.”





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