Notes From the Beach

Notes From the Beach I just returned from my summer vacation and am still trying to re-integrate into normal life so I don’t have any profound insights for today’s blog post. (My last seven posts were pre-scheduled before I left town. I love modern technology.) But I do have a couple of observations from my time away, and here they are: 1. People are still reading. Everywhere! And they’re reading… books! Paperback books mostly. In the airports, on planes, and during an entire week of observing people on the beach and by the pool (covertly trying to read their book titles) I saw people relaxing with reading material and it was overwhelmingly fiction. The whole week I only saw one Kindle by the pool, and a couple people reading books on their iPhones on the plane....
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Difficult Conversations – Part Three

Difficult Conversations – Part Three “Don’t Take This Personally – But It’s Personal” So this week we’ve been covering “difficult conversations agents have with their clients.” We’ve already discussed “This book isn’t going to work” and “I shopped your project but I can’t get a publisher to buy it.” Phew, heavy stuff! Oddly enough, I dread today’s difficult conversation more than any of the others. It goes something like this: I hate to bring this up but: …your headshot doesn’t look friendly or inviting…your website needs an overhaul…your blog content could use improvement…your Facebook page needs work Honestly, this stuff IS personal, and I don’t like to talk to writers about it. But I’m here (as we’ve said a hundred times) to help the...
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Difficult Conversations II

Difficult Conversations II “I Shopped it Till I Dropped, But Nobody’s Buying” Let’s start with the obvious: I only take on projects I believe I can sell. So it’s pretty depressing to go through two or three rounds of submissions to publishers and not get any interest. Believe me, this happens. Because of the rapidly changing marketplace, we simply can’t predict success with the accuracy we used to. It’s tough to have this conversation with an author, because their inevitable and immediate response is, “Aren’t there more publishers you can send it to?” Usually, by the time we decide we need to have this conversation, the answer is no. Each editor and imprint is looking for certain kinds of books. We can’t just send your manuscript to “everyone,” we can only send it to those who are...
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If You "Like" My New Facebook Page…

If You "Like" My New Facebook Page… I’ll start posting things there!Click HERE.Thanks!
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What Genres Do You Read?

What Genres Do You Read? We’ve had a lot of talk about genres lately, and I’ve tried to discuss which genres you’re writing as well as which genres seem to be selling best. But recently a blog reader mentioned it would be interesting to see which genres you’re READING, not just writing. This is actually a good point, because while I always assume people are reading widely in the genre they’re writing, I’m repeatedly surprised when writers tell me they’re not. I’ll talk to someone who writes thrillers and ask them who their favorite thriller writers are, and they’ll say, “Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t read many.” Aarrgghh!!! How can you expect to learn your genre if you’re not studying it by reading it? So I have three questions for you: 1. What is your...
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Question Soup!

Question Soup! 1. What’s the best book you’ve read lately? 2. What are you sick of reading about on blogs? 3. Who are your favorite publishing bloggers? (Besides me, of course.) 4. Are you excited about the all-new-and-improved blog design I’m going to debut in a couple of weeks? and most importantly… 5. Who is going to win American Idol??? Answer any or...
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Welcome to the Shark Tank

Welcome to the Shark Tank If you’re a writer trying to wrap your mind around the business end of publishing, you need to be watching ABC’s Shark Tank (Fridays at 8/7c.) The show has nothing to do with publishing. But it has everything to do with understanding exactly what you’re doing when you put your query or proposal in front of an agent, an editor or a publishing committee. You’re going into the shark tank. The program features five venture capitalists looking for businesses in which to invest. The contestants are entrepreneurs with small businesses needing capital. Each contestant stands before the five “sharks,” pitches their business, specifies the amount of money they’re asking for, and what percentage of their business they’re offering for that...
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5 Reasons to Pursue Traditional Publishing

5 Reasons to Pursue Traditional Publishing I thought the response to Friday’s post was phenomenal and I loved reading everyone’s reasons for pursuing traditional publishing. These days, many writers feel bombarded from all sides by people screaming “Self-publishing is the way to go!” so I wanted to give everyone a chance to speak their minds, and your comments were full of wisdom and heart. While many of you had your own unique reasons for pursuing traditional publishing, it seems the most common reasons are: 1. Wanting to work with a team of professionals (editors, designers, etc.) rather than be on your own. 2. Wanting to avoid up front financial investment. 3. Wanting marketing help. 4. Wanting to see your book in bookstores. 5. Wanting validation for your writing and a feeling of legitimacy. These are all great...
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Book Giveaway Winner

Book Giveaway Winner The winner of Mary DeMuth’s book 150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking is Jane who left her comment on Thursday’s post at 12:18am on March 25. Email me,...
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Book Giveaway!

Book Giveaway! Congrats to Wendy Paine Miller! You’ve won a copy of Mary DeMuth’s 150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking. Thanks to everyone for commenting on Mary’s guest post...
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American Idyll

American Idyll It’s that time of year again… Idol is back on, and as far as I can tell, better than ever. I can’t help it – I’m a fan. I love watching people pursue their dreams. I love the idea of talent being discovered. I love seeing people step up, be brave, lay it all on the line and belt it out. During these early auditions, I feel such a sense of anticipation every time someone new steps on the stage. Can they sing? Will they blow me away? Oh, please, please, let them be awesome.There are so many similarities between what I do in the book world, and what American Idol does in the music world. So I’m hooked. I can’t resist. It’s an addiction. How is American Idol like the writing life? Tell us your thoughts… and I hope you all have a good...
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Do You Have a Dream?

Today our country recognizes and remembers Martin Luther King, Jr. Please take eight minutes to watch this clip from his “I have a dream” speech of August 28, 1963. Do you have a dream that is bigger than yourself? What is it?
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How to Avoid Getting an Agent

(Repost) I suppose there are several good ways to make sure you don’t get an agent. You could, for instance, never try to get an agent. Or you could lack writing skill. You could pitch books that nobody finds interesting. But let’s say you are trying to get an agent, and you are a good writer with good ideas. What trait can stop you from getting an agent? In a word: Negativity. If you’re negative about the publishing industry; if you complain about agents and publishers and the unfairness of it all; if you’re resentful about bad books being published; if you speak disparagingly of specific publishers or editors or agents… you can be pretty sure most agents will not want to work with you. There are plenty of places on the Internet for you to rant about...
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Another Auld Lang Syne

Another Auld Lang Syne I’m taking the rest of the year off. Happy New Year and see you in 2011!
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