CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, Betsy Thorpe of Betsy Thorpe Literary Services will lead the business track session "Understanding the Players in the Book World" and serve as a reviewer for Manuscript Mart.
Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is now open.
Betsy Thorpe has been in the book publishing business since graduating from college. She has worked as an editor at Atheneum Publishers (Simon & Schuster), HarperCollins, Broadway Books (Random House), and John Wiley & Sons. She opened up her own literary services company in 2000, where she has guided many authors to publication, and ghost-written many books, some of which have appeared on Oprah, People magazine, and The New York Times. Betsy lives in Charlotte with her two teenage daughters and rescue dog, Charlie.
This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Betsy to answer the following prompt:
"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"
Here's what Betsy said:
"It’s my dream to start my own publishing house, as well as open a bookstore. I work with so many talented authors, many of who have come this close to getting a publishing deal, so I tell them, 'When I win the lottery, I will publish your book.' (Of course it would help if I actually played the lottery, but my mom raised me to be very thrifty… .) These books are so worthy of a larger audience and more review attention.
"I would call my house The Writer’s Cottage, and would publish pretty much everything a large house publishes: memoir, fiction, nonfiction (health, parenting, cookbooks, self-help), YA, middle grade, and the occasional picture book. I would hire a great staff, and we would have such amazing things like health care benefits, paid vacation time, and 401K matches (freelancers dream of such things).
Oh, and so long as we’re working with a large fortune, I would hire an on-staff therapist, because book publishing is such a stressful business for authors, to not only create books but then to sell them, that we would walk them through the process and encourage good mental health along the way."
You want to get published but have no idea how the industry works. How does a book get picked up by a big publisher? Do you need an agent? What happens if your book is not right for a big publisher—are there alternatives? Regional publishers, university presses? What about these “hybrid” book publishers you might have heard of—what does that even mean? Betsy Thorpe has played a role in many of these places—from working at four out of the five “Big Five” publishers, to working ever-so-briefly as a literary agent (who still gets queries fourteen years later) and helping out regional publishers as well as with self-publishing. Please join her as she gives you an introduction to the industry.
Manuscript Mart provides writers with the opportunity to submit their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. A one-on-one, thirty-minute session will be scheduled for those who pre-register.
Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.
The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.