Monday, December 29, 2008

More on Maketing Your Book

M.J. Rose wrote about how to be a gracious guest blogger.

Michael S. Hyatt wrote about Book Marketing 101: What Works and What Doesn’t . He also wrote about Four Surprising Conclusions About Author Websites, Why Every Author Needs a Powerful Online Presence, and Seven Ways to Build Your Author Brand Online.

GalleyCat wrote about Authors Creating Self-Guided Book Club Tours and How To Bring Your Book To Book Clubs, which said:

Last week, GalleyCat reported how novelists Joshua Henkin and Kelly Simmons have collectively spoken with 150 reading groups in person or by speakerphone--pioneers of the self-guided book group tour. Readers chimed in with plenty of suggestions for authors interested in created self-guided book club tours.

One reader suggested: "Webinar software such as Gotomeeting and Webex can support hundreds of listeners at a time. I'm surprised writers aren't using this more."

Mindy Klasky wrote: "I created the Book Groups Wiki, to facilitate authors getting in touch with book groups. Using simple templates, anyone can add their profile as an author or as a book group coordinator. Authors can indicate their willingness to travel, to meet with groups in person."

To which DelOrange commented:

I would suggest trying Yugma in place of GoToMeeting. Same features but for a fraction of the price...there is really no reason to spend big bucks on software in the world of web 2.0.

and another reader suggested, "Dimdim is FREE for up to 25 people I believe."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Query Critiques, Editorial Powers, Hardback vs Trade, and more

Jessica Faust is currently doing a series of pitch critiques, and here are numbers one and two. She also wrote a post on how she decides which editors to submitted manuscripts to.

Moonrat talks about the advantages and disadvantages of being published first in trade paperback versus hardback.

Holt wrote about returning editorial power to editors.

Todd Longwell wrote an article about how books are adapted into screen plays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Covers, Writing Buddies, and More

Shrinking Violet Promotions wrote about Writing Buddies--Where, What, and How.

On Hatrack River Writers Workshop, several people discussed naming minor characters--should you name minor characters and, if you do, how do you help the reader keep the name connected to the correct character in their minds.

Nathan Bransford held another first paragraph contest. He declared the winner and comments about what drew him to the semi-finalists paragraphs and what trends you might want to avoid in yours.

Jessica Faust writes about the factors she considers before offering representation to published authors. She also talks about the author questionnaires that publishers frequently send out to help them create and plan their publicity and marketing campaigns. And she also explains The BookEnds Author-Agent Agreement for those who'd like to see what such an agreement might include.

The Book Deal posted on Designing the perfect book cover: turf battles over art, fonts & money.

Marianne Mancusi wrote a post on how to create a successful book party.

Monday, December 8, 2008

After the Publisher Buys

Jane Lindskold talks about What Happens After the Book is Written and the publisher has bought it.

Robert J. Sawyer makes some interesting suggestions in Self-Promotion for Writers.

The Rejecter wrote about the Translation Market.

Tess Gerritsen wrote about Lost in Translation? and The Evolution of a Book Title.

Alison Morris wrote a list of everything a book buyer at a bookstore does in Fellow Blogging Booksellers.

Rachelle Gardner wrote about How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

Ask Editorial Anonymous wrote about book awards.

Deanna Hoak wrote about how to make the copyeditor's job easier.

Monday, December 1, 2008

On Writing and Networking

If you want to go to a writing-related convention, you might find the the Convention Finder website helpful.

Lauren Lise Baratz-Logsted wrote on her blog about Getting Blurbs for your book and Giving Blurbs.

Joshua Palmatier has been gathering plot synopsis and query letters for published books for those who would find reading them useful in helping to create your own.

Jane Lindskold wrote about The Problem of Series and how to make them work well.

Jane Lindskold wrote about writing in Tail Bone to Chair: Part One and Part Two.

Kassia Krozser wrote PubWest Workshop: Thoughts on Social Networking.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Why You Need an Agent and How to Get One

Author Jeff Abbott blogged about The Importance of Having an Agent. He points out several important things an agent does for an author that you might not immediately think of.

Christopher Lockhart wrote an article titled I WROTE A 120 PAGE SCRIPT BUT CAN’T WRITE A LOGLINE: THE CONSTRUCTION OF A LOGLINE which is useful for constructing novel query letters as well as screenplay loglines.

Jessica Faust wrote about what she looks for when reading a manuscript in When Reading Submissions.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More on the Publishing Process

Jane Smith on her How Publishing Really Works blog wrote an article on Who Makes Money When A Book Is Sold? and How Bookselling Really Works.

Ebury Publishing talks about how the printing of your books happens in Press Pass.

The Snowblog talks about the costs of book returns.

Editorial Anonymous talks about the terminology for the different parts of a physical book in Basic Book Construction.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Promotion through Social Networking Sites

Bookends has a post about Over-the-Top BookEnds Marketing Strategies, several of which involve MySpace.

Courtney Summers guest blogged on Swivet about social networking sites & self-promotion.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Coauthoring, Revision, and Pen Names

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote about Coauthor Agreements. It's a must read for anyone who's thought about writing a book with someone else.

WriterJenn wrote about her experiences revising her book based on her editor's revision letter.

Evil Editor answered a question about When Should I Start Using My Pen Name?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Promotion and More

Nathan Bransford wrote about how a writer can move up from Small Presses to Big Publishers. He also had guest blogger Michelle Moran write on How to Promote Your Book (Part 1) and (Part 2). His second guest blogger, M.J. Rose, wrote about how well Book Marketing works.

Shrinking Violet Promotions wrote about Following the Cyber Trail of similar books to yours to find promotion opportunities.

Tom Doherty on The Mac Blog wrote about Trade and Mass Market books and how well the sell.

G.B.H. Hornswoggler wrote about why booksellers might skip buying a book to stock in their stores.

On a side note, I've always wondered why some people like paranormal romances. Arachne Jericho answers that question in Why the Vampire Romance is Taking Over Your Grocery Market Shelf.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What to Include and How to Write

Jessica Faust at Bookends posted today on when you should index your book, include your acknowledgements, etc., in the publishing process.

The Rejecter posted on what rules of writing an author needs to follow to get published.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Synopsis, Hooks, and Publishing

Natalie wrote How To Write A Synopsis on her Between Fact and Fiction blog.

On Hatrack River Writers Workshop, there's a discussion on How to Bait Your Hook and Catch Readers...

Nathan Bansford wrote about Hardcover vs. Paperback Debuts explaining why some debut novels come out as hardbacks and others as trade or mass paperback.

Jessica Faust wrote about the pros and cons of working with a new agent at an established agency.

And over on the Tor blog, Irene Gallo posted Todd Lockwood’s Stormcaller, [cover art] from sketch to finish.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Publishing, Promotion, and More

Kristin Nelson wrote a blog post on E-Book Royalties and on What Makes A New York Times Bestseller?

Nathan Bransford wrote a blog post on The Difference Between Mysteries, Suspense and Thrillers.

Shrinking Violet Promotions wrote about How Elizabeth Gilbert Sold One Million Copies of Her Book and on Finding Your Cyber-Niche.

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote What Titles Evoke about choosing a title and Does Your Hook Match Your Genre? in your query letter.

Jo Walton on wrote an article on Bloat: threat or menace? about bloat in writing

Monday, September 29, 2008


Here's how they used to make books:

Printing a Book, Old School from Armin Vit on Vimeo.

Here's bookmaking using the latest on-demand technology:

It's interesting stuff to know.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On Writing

Lucienne Diver has a series of guest bloggers on her livejournal. They discuss the different aspects of writing epic fantasy (though the advice can apply to other genre):

Promotion by Lynn Flewelling

Narrative Arc and the Multi-Book Fantasy Series by David B. Coe

Building Worlds—Epic or Contemporary Style by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Making it Personal, Making it Real by Carol Berg

and she also had some mystery guest-bloggers:

Top 5 things to remember about mystery

Mystery Series by Tony Perona

Deanna Carlyle has some general writing articles on her website:

17 Ways to Improve Your Descriptions

35 Springboards for Creating Sympathetic Characters

And Ally Carter wrote about writing YA novels:

The wrong questions...

The questions that aren't getting asked at all

Monday, September 15, 2008

About the Publishing Industry

Shrinking Violet Promotions posted interesting articles on 12 3/4 Ways to Promote Your Novel and Writing Big.

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote about the pros and cons of Hiring an Editor to help polish your manuscript.

Victoria Strauss at Writers Beware! wrote about A Publishing Contract Clause to Beware concerning copyright transfers.

Kristin Nelson wrote about Overnight Success Takes 2 to 10 years.

Paperback Writer wrote about questions to ask agents and editors.

Someone wrote an article about Book Publishing Accounting: Some Basic Concepts.

Author Deanna Carlyle wrote very enlightening articles on Do You Know Your Foreign Rights? and The Price of One Book: Or, How Come My Advance is So Low? and Who’s Got the Power? How a Publisher’s Sales Force Can Make or Break Your Book.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ever More about Queries

Nathan Bransford wrote about Things I Don't Need to Know in a Query. He also wrote Query Stats by Word Count in which he said:

...I basically decided that there is a sweet spot in query word count between 250 and 350 words. Anything shorter than 250 usually (but not always) seems too short and anything longer than 350 usually (but not always) seems too long.

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote about Submitting Collections.

On a somewhat related note, Moonrat wrote about why you should never submit unagented to publishing companies. It's the editor-side view of why an author should get an agent.

About Artists and Cover Designs

If you every wanted to see a cover artist paint a cover, here are a few video demos on the site:

Dan Dos Santos, Painting Fast
Jon Foster Demo
Rick Berry Demos

There was also a post on SF/F Book Cover Review, Hugo Edition: Brasyl by Pablo Defendini which talks about cover design.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Bit of Everything

Nathan Bransford wrote a post on Unagented Revisions. He explains how it works when an agent suggests revisions to an author before taking them on as a client.

Evil Editor answered an important question about how to write a good query.

Author May Vanderbilt wrote a short but useful post about writing and revising rules of thumb.

Author Anne Dayton wrote about cutting favorite but unneeded passages from your writing. To quote from it:

In The Book of Jane...we had this awesome character Yasmina who did all kinds of hilarious things. She was really hapless and she was always getting into trouble, and provided a ton of comic relief. The thing was, that was all she did. She didn’t have a plotline, and didn’t grow, and ended up feeling really flat and extraneous because of it, no matter how ridiculous her antics were. May and I worked with her and worked with her, trying to save her, but finally, she ended up on the cutting room floor. It was so hard to say goodbye, because she was a pretty major character. But in the end I’m so glad we got rid of her. She added something to the book, but she also slowed it down and made it more complicated and less focused than it needed to be. The book was better for it, and I learned a valuable lesson about holding onto things for the wrong reasons...

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Mix of Things

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote a A Publishing Dictionary explaining commonly used publishing terms.

Adrienne Kress wrote about So you want to get published . . . getting an agent and about So You Want To Get Published . . . from agent to publisher.

On the Shrinking Violet Promotions blog, there were two interesting posts: Marketing Task Recap and More on ARCs.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Writing Advice

Nathan Bansford has written an intereting post on Character and Plot--Inseparable.

The Author! Author! blog by Anne Mini has a good post about The plague of passivity V: Help! I’m tied to a train track!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Editing, Working with Agents, and Doing Contracts Yourself

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote two good posts, one about the Stages of Editing after the publishing contract is finalized and one about You Have an Agent . . . Now What on what happens once the author-agent relationship is established and what an author can do if problems arise.

Janet Reid, Literary Agent, wrote a blog about what to do if you intend to negotiate a contract for your book without an agent.

Monday, August 4, 2008

On Editors

Nathan Bransford wrote a post about Editing vs. Copyediting on his blog.

Novelist Inc. has posted an interview with Senior Editor Liz Scheier who talks about what she looks for in books and in authors.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Promoting Your Book

Shrinking Violet Promotions has two interesting blog posts about marketing. The first is An Interview with a Real Live Publicist: Random House's Kathy Dunn, which talks about what shy authors can do to help promote their book. The second is BEA ARCs: A Marketing Study, which talks about the different types of marketing your publisher might do for you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Carol Berg on Creating Suspense

Carol Berg wrote a post, Me, Myself, and I - Part 2, in which she gave to following good advice:

Giving the reader information that the POV character doesn’t have is ONE device that can enhance dramatic tension....Tension is raised when a person in a dramatic situation lacks critical information and knows it. This is the key to many mysteries and suspense stories - things keep happening and the protagonist doesn’t know where the hammer will fall next. It is a sense of inevitable danger....

Example: if you’ve read (or seen) Touching the Void, the story of the two UK climbers in the Andes. One breaks his leg in a terrible storm and the other, to save his own life, is forced to cut the rope. He climbs down, assuming his partner is dead. The guy with the broken leg doesn’t die, and the book tells how he crawls out of a crevasse and all the way back to camp with a broken leg and no water. One of the greatest points of tension in this book is that the guy crawling doesn’t know whether or not his partner has broken camp and left the area. Switching out of his POV would actually KILL tension.

So what if you want the POV character to be “innocent,” unaware of her lack of information? Then you have to add the spooky music other ways. Warnings. Concerned friends or colleagues. Other events that the reader might be able to pick up on. The risk here is making your POV character seem stupid or incredibly naive - both turnoffs. But consider which is more dramatic…having a piano fall suddenly on your hero’s head or having him see the piano dangling and the rope fraying and knowing his foot is caught? Consider whether we really needed to know what dangers Frodo was to face or the entire history of the Ring before he set out on his journey? There was plenty of spooky music playing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The author-publicist relationship

Stephanie Mayabb, Tolly Moseley, and Rusty Shelton at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists have written posts on making the most of the author-publicist relationship:

Part One: Fatal flaws of authors
Fatal Flaw #2: Saturating contacts
Fatal Flaw #3: Not playing your part

How Not to Act

You might have heard about this already, but Moonrat has writen a blog post about how an author shouldn't act when an editor is discussing revisions with him pending a book deal. The post is How Important Is Your Book, or, Top Ten Ways to Blow a Book Deal #4

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Agents on Partials

Nathan Bransford wrote about what he looks for in a partial in Reading Partials: You've Got 30 Pages, Pal. Some might find the advise useful, especially if you're writing fiction.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote a good blog post about revisons.

The point I liked best was:

Revisions should only be done if they resonate with you, the author, and if you agree that they will probably make the book stronger. Revisions that are done only because an agent [or critiquer] asked for them are never going to work. If you don’t believe in them you probably don’t understand why they are needed and aren’t going to do exactly what that agent feels needs to be done.

Another Study on Kids

According to an article about Scholastic's 2008 Kids & Family Reading Report:

A new study released today finds that 75% of kids age 5-17 agree with the statement, “No matter what I can do online, I’ll always want to read books printed on paper,” and 62% of kids surveyed say they prefer to read books printed on paper rather than on a computer or a handheld device. The Kids & Family Reading Report ™, a national survey of children age 5-17 and their parents, also found that kids who go online to extend the reading experience – by going to book or author websites or connecting with other readers – are more likely to read books for fun every day.

This is useful to know for those of us who write for children.

The study also found

...that the time kids spend reading books for fun declines after age eight and continues to drop off through the teen years....“Despite the fact that after age eight, more children go online daily than read for fun daily, high frequency Internet users are more likely to read books for fun every day. That suggests that parents and teachers can tap into kids’ interest in going online to spark a greater interest in reading books.”


One in four kids age 5-17 say they read books for fun every day and more than half of kids say they read books for fun at least two to three times a week. One of the key reasons kids say they don’t read more often is that they have trouble finding books they like...

Other findings from the survey are:

• Both boys and girls (age 9-17) say that they prefer to read books rather than read things on the Internet when they want to use their imagination (63% vs. 37%).
• Boys are more likely to say the Internet is better than books when they want to read for fun (54% vs. 46%). Girls choose books (63% vs. 37%).
• Two in three children believe that within the next 10 years, most books which are read for fun will be read digitally – either on a computer or on another kind of electronic device.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Copyright Registration

This probably doesn't apply to most people reading this blog, but the U.S. Copyright Office now allows people to register online. For more information, see their press release.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Self-Promotion Idea for Non-fiction Writers

I don't often write information aimed toward non-fiction writers, but Peter Shankman's "If I Can Help a Reporter Out..." is a website you might want to check out.

When a reporter asks for a source of information on a certain topic, he e-mails Peter Shankman for help finding that source. He send that request to people on a list (which you can sign up to be on). If you've written a book on the subject a reporter is asking for information on, this may be a good way for you to provide the information and get your name and book title into the news.

Changing Times

Here are some more statistics that you've probably heard about. To quote article, "Young see threat to bookshops," by Alison Flood:

Only half of young people aged 18-24 years old think people will still be using bookshops in 20 years' time. That was one of the statistics revealed at The Bookseller's Reading The Future conference on Thursday, which presented new consumer research into the reading and buying habits of 1,000 adults across the country.

Delegates heard from William Higham of agency Next Big Thing, which conducted the research. Higham reported that 56% of 18-24s think people will still be using bookshops in 20 years' time. Looking deeper into 18-24 year olds' reading habits, he found that 28% were favourable towards the idea of e-readers, compared to 9% of 65+ year olds, and 40% liked the idea of downloadable chapters of books, compared to 7% of 65+ year olds.

So the younger generation is apparently open to a change toward ebooks in the future.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Statistics on Book Trailers

An article in The Wall Street Journal (Watch This Book by Lauren Mechling) had the following statistics about book trailers:

There is scant evidence, however, that the average book trailer actually has much impact on book sales. Despite Doubleday's recent video upload for the self-help book "We Plan, God Laughs," by Sherre Hirsch, the book has sold only about 3,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70% of U.S. book sales. And even though Jami Attenberg's trailer for her novel "The Kept Man" is reminiscent of Miranda July's short films, only 3,000 copies of Ms. Attenberg's recent book have sold. Most trailers cost about $2,000 to produce.

"In some cases, we don't even expect it to increase sales at all," says Carolyn K. Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, which has doubled its investment in video content since it started making trailers last year.

Monday, June 9, 2008


There's an interesting article on audiobooks at GalleyCat. The whole article is interesting, but here's an interesting statistic:

Digital products [like audiobooks in MP3 format] already comprise 14 percent of the audiobook market, Pakman told us, but 90 percent of that is sold through the alliance between the Apple Store and Audible.

Miss Snark also has an old post about audio books and POD casts.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Does and Don'ts of Query Letters

Rachel Vater wrote about Things to Avoid in Query Letters.

Jessica Faust wrote about How Much to Tell in queries.

Monday, May 26, 2008


For those working on writing a synopsis of their novel:

Miss Snark wrote a blog post about what a synopsis is actually used for, and she also did a Crapometer on a bunch of synopsis.

Author Lisa Gardner has a useful lecture on writing synopsis on her Craft of Writing website page.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How Agents Do Their Work

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote several posts on how different agents agent differently, including Standard Agent Practices and I Get Paid to Pester. She also wrote an interesting, semi-related post about This Book Won't Sell.

Nathan Bransford wrote a post about How Long Does It Take to Sell A Novel?

Ask Editorial Anonymous wrote about The Heroic Journey of the Requested Manuscript.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More Personal News

I just don't have the time right now that I used to. I can no longer read a large number of publishing/writing blogs. I barely have time to do my writing. So I'm going to reduce my posting to once a week, probably on Mondays near noon CST.

An alternative is that I can post interesting information as I discover it. However, I'd then like to set up a feed that allows readers to sign up to have new posts delivered directly to their e-mails. Does anyone know how to do this? I've seen them on other blogs, but it's not immediately obvious to me how to set it up on blogger.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Statistic on Returns

On GalleyCat, from the article Who Knew? Eliminating Returns Reduces The Book Business's Carbon Footprint:

In 2005, 31% of the roughly 1.5 billion books printed in the US were returned to publishers.

That's nearly one-third of all the books shipped! As for the reason the return policy is currently needed, GalleyCat wrote an article called Why Printing Fewer, Non-Returnable Books May Not Save the World. In the article, Wiley marketer Andrew Wheeler is quoted saying:

If there are three books on a shelf, and two customers come looking for it, two sales will result. If there is one book on a shelf, and two customers come, one of them is out of luck—and so is the bookseller. You end up with returns because it's impossible to always have precisely one book for every purchaser in the right place at the right time.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Writing and Money

Jennifer Jackson wrote about deals may be about more than money - the agent perspective and Royalties.

Kristin Nelson at Pub Rants wrote about Royalty Statement Time, Payment Schedules, and Payments on Pub.

Miss Snark wrote about Split Royalty Checks and Royalties on "Net".

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'll Post Regularly Again Soon

I've been down with a severe case of bronchitis for the last two weeks. I'm better now and busy playing catch-up. I will try to get back to posting things next week.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On Self-Publishing

A number of people have been commenting on self-publishing.

Evil Editor gave his opinion about Should I self-publish?

Tess Gerritsen, an author, wrote about self-publishing.

The Rejecter, an agent's assistant, answer a question by someone with self-published books who is now trying to sell professionally.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How People Buy Books

Here is some interesting information found in David Wolverton's Daily Kick in the Pants: Writing a First Chapter:

Sol Stein, a famous editor, once made an informal study with several other editors who lurked in bookstores in New York, watching potential customers pick up books.

Customers, as you know, will typically be interested in a book based on the cover and title.

They might flip to the back of a book to see what kinds of blurbs other authors or critics might have given the book--but probably not. The cover and title are what they focus on. In fact, recently I was selling a children's book called Rindin the Puffer at some Christmas festivals. I'm very proud of the cover quotes on our book, but I found that of over 500 sales, only two consumers bothered to read them!

After glancing at the cover, the readers then open the book and read a bit. Stein says that his editors found that in every single case, the customer made a choice to buy the book that they browsed through based upon the first three pages. In fact, he found that some ninety percent of the buyers read only the FIRST page.

David Wolverton, of course, was using to say that authors need to write a very engaging first page or three. While that's true, I also think we need to look at why people read so little before deciding to buy.

At least for me, I use the back cover description of the book to decide whether or not to buy the book. If I'm not sure, reading the first few pages might be what decides me one way or the other. However, more often, I've already decided that the idea is intriguing, I just want to find out if the author's writing is a style I'll enjoy reading for 200-800 pages. Some styles turn me off, and the book goes back onto the shelf. Others engage me, and I'd be ready to read practically anything by the author because I enjoy the writing so much. After reading the book to make sure it lives up to its promise, I'm willing to buy the next one sight unseen. Other styles don't engage me as much, so I might buy one book by the author but not another.

I'm pointing this out because I think we often forget that agents and editors are readers, too. Our novels may be publishable, but truly "not right" for that agent because she doesn't want to spend hours reading and working on a story with a style that she doesn't like. If we aren't willing to spend money on a book which might be good, but we don't like the style, then why get angry at agents who don't want to spend their limited time on a book for the same reason?

On the other hand, I'll admit that it can be supremely frustrating to not know if a rejection is due to different reading tastes or a fatal problem with the manuscript.

Monday, April 21, 2008

News on Book Sales

From Publishers Weekly, 4/21/2008:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstore sales in February jumped 11.3%, to $1.13 billion, bringing the two-month total to $3.40 billion, a 6.7% increase over the comparable period in 2007. Total retail sales were up 7.3% in February and ahead 5.9% for the two months.

So we don't have to worry quite yet about publishers not being interested in acquiring new books.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Publicity and Marketing

Alison Morris at ShelfTalker wrote a booksellers view on booksigning tips for authors and what bookstores do behind the scenes for booksigning/promotional tours.

Rachel Vater wrote about The Importance of Publicity.

Victoria Strauss at Writers Beware! wrote about Ways Not to Publicize Your Book: Spam Campaigns.

Kristin Nelson on her Pub Rants blog wrote about getting a Promotional Head Shot Photo and if authors who aren't published yet need to build a website.

On the Bookends blog, Sally MacKenzie wrote about The Place of Reviews in the Writer’s Universe.

Tess Gerritsen wrote about "Major Marketing Campaign": where does the money go? and book clubs.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Process of Publication

Rachelle Gardner at Rants & Ramblings talks about the process of getting published from your finished and polished manuscript to the finished book in:

From Proposal to Publication - Part 1
From Proposal to Publication - Part 2
From Proposal to Publication - Part 3
From Proposal to Publication - Part 4
From Proposal to Publication - Part 5

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Many Pages?

Want to know how the professionals determine how many pages your book will be? Anna Genoese wrote an article on How to do a Castoff that explains this.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Miscellaneous Links

Christie Craig wrote on Motivation on the Bookends blog.

Jessica Faust wrote about the factors (including mood) that affect an agent's decision to request more from query letters. She also wrote on what Writing What You Know really means.

Miss Snark wrote about true class.

The Rejecter wrote about the history of genre and books.

Alison Morris, a book seller, wrote on her ShelfTalker blog about My Publishing Pet Peeves.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Writers and Conventions

I'm running a fever and not precisely thinking clearly. Since it's convention season, I thought I'd post Carol Berg's view of last year's World Fantasy Convention and what writers can get out of such conventions. On March 16, 2007 on DeepGenre, she wrote:

World Fantasy is a very interesting con - different from any other that I’ve attended. There’s an art show, a dealers’ room, and panel discussions, but you won’t find costumes, masquerades, RPGs, anime, fan parties, or excessive media-related programming. It is primarily a networking weekend for the literary branch of the fantasy community. As such there are LOTS of authors, editors, agents…and aspiring writers. The programming is fairly minimal. One track of panels and one or two tracks of readings. (The best reading tracks of any con, IMHO.) Though panels are few, it is possible to attend one with, say, Connie Willis, Stephen Donaldson, and Gene Wolfe talking about how they develop characters. (One of the best I’ve seen.) And there is always a mass signing where you can walk up and visit with a huge number of friendly, accessible published authors...

As for selling a book… The key to this con is your comfort in networking. You have to walk up to people after a panel or catch them on the elevator and ask to bend their ears or buy them a drink, because most people are going to end up sitting around talking to each other or going out to dinner. This is not a “writers’ conference,” where editors and agents are sitting in a room awaiting your ten-minute pitch or trolling the bar looking for new books to publish, nor is it a “writers’ workshop,” where famous authors are going to read and critique your twenty pages, nor is it a “regional sf con” with lots of panels like “how I got published” or “what my agency is looking to represent.” There are publisher parties, but you have to hunt around for indications of where they are and whether or not they are closed. That is, WFC is not necessarily where you would SELL a book, but a place you would come to meet people in the business and LEARN. People come to WFC because they truly love the genre and the other people who make it come alive. I think it’s a great place for would-be writers, but you have to be willing to work at it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Print Runs and Sales Numbers

How large a print run is good, especially when compared to the percentage of the print run that's sold?

Miss Snark wrote about What Sales Numbers are Good?

Editorial Anonymous wrote about how many books sold is good?

Tess Gerritsen wrote about The Print Run. On a related note, she also wrote about How many copies sold is a bestseller? and how to tell how many of your books were ordered by Borders.

Anna Genoese wrote about Bookscan sales figures. To quote a part of the article:

...whenever a book is sold at a place that tracks by ISBN or ISBN-13 (aka EAN), the sale of that book is recorded and put into a database. Publishers have access to that database--not just for our own books, but for every single book sold through this method....

On the other hand, we don't take Bookscan all that seriously because the numbers are very often skewed in a bizarre way. What Bookscan is good for is if I look up, say, Josh Lyman's sales on Bookscan specifically. Bookscan tells me that Josh Lyman's autobiography...netted 70,000 copies in the last year. Then I compare that to the records I have--our sales information from our database says that Josh Lyman's autobiography netted 150,000 copies in the last year.

Then I compare it to General Adama's biography....According to Bookscan, that's sold 150,000 copies in the last year.... I can extrapolate that since Bookscan only showed me 47% of the sales of Josh's book, it's probably only showing me 47% of the sales of the Old Man's book. That means that probably the Old Man's book sold about 319,148.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Romantic Suspense Contest

The gals at Bookends have announced the winner of the women's fiction contest. They are now doing a romantic suspense contest. Go to their blog to read the complete rules and enter. The deadline is tomorrow, April 11th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Reason to Avoid Unsolicited Submissions

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote about Agents Getting Preferential Reads. In the blog post, she described why agents don't resubmit to an imprint an author has already sent a submission to and been rejected.

To quote that part of the post:

If you send your manuscript to Joe Dell at Bantam and he rejects it, I have no real idea what process the book went through. Did Joe simply read it himself and reject it? Did he pass it on to an assistant who rejected it or did he pass it on to a freelance reader who rejected it for him? Or, did Joe like the book enough to bring it up at an editorial board meeting, get second reads, and ultimately reject it based on the decisions/opinions of his peers? Even if I think the book would be better for Jill Bantam at Bantam, I can’t go over Joe’s head (even if Jill is Joe’s superior and even if Joe had a reader reject it for him).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On Being a Writer

Author Tess Gerritsen has writen an interesting post on her blog about What I’ve learned from two decades in the business.

Monday, April 7, 2008

When Online Previews Aren't Profitable

Since I live in a small town with only one small, local bookstore, I do a lot of book shopping online. I love it when I'm able to read the first page or two of a book online much like I'd do in a bookstore. But, according to The Australian article titled Writers lament effects of internet, some authors feel like they actually lose sales when parts of their books are posted online. To quote the article:

Amazon has found that its Search Inside function, which allows readers to see selected pages of books, has increased sales.

But others are losing out when parts of their work are posted online.

"It's hitting hardest the writers who write books that you dip in and out of: poetry, cookbooks, travel guides, short stories - books that you don't have to read the whole of."

I hadn't thought about this aspect, probably because I don't shop for those types of books online. Interesting information. I found one part of the article funny, though.

"For a while it will be great for readers because they will pay less, but in the long run it's going to ruin the information. People will stop writing."

Even if they predict the future correctly in the first part of this quote, they're wrong about the second part. Writers write because they have stories to tell or information to impart, not for the money. There might be fewer books written by authors that might otherwise be able to write full time or by celebrities writing just for the money, but true writers aren't going to ever stop writing.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Query Letters

On the ever-popular topic of query letter advice:

On, agent Holly Root talked about query letters during an interview.

Agent Nathan Bransford wrote on his blog about Query Letter Mad Lib, How (And Whether) to List Your Publishing Credits, and quoting your novel's first line in queries.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Manuscript to Published

Tess Gerritsen on her blog wrote about Manuscript to pub date--how long? and Which month should I go on sale?

The Rejecter wrote about Inside the Partials Process.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Book Offers

Today, Jessica Faust at Bookends talked about how she goes about sending submissions to publishers and some of the various responses that occur (including auctions and how those can be handled).

A bit ago, Jennifer Jackson talk about book offers from the agent/client viewpoint of accepting them.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Etiquette Tips for Conferences

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote about Conference Etiquette today. It's one agent's view of how writers should approach agents at conferences.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Book Trailers

Kristin Nelson on her Pub Rants blog wrote about book trailers. I thought one of the commentors made some interesting points.

COS Productions said:
Statistically speaking, book trailers sell books and are popular with a certain type of viewer.

The RWR article that someone referred to has a bookseller come right out to say that readers like them. The top trailers for Borders group that got people to buy?

Traditional readers, which most of the commenting here seem to be, are more likely to use reviews, back cover copy and a friend's recommendation than a trailer.

Traditional readers are not the prime target audience of book trailers. "Potential" or "Occasional" readers are. And young adult readers. These are people who see books as a form of entertainment, but may not read on a regular basis.

A survey of over 200 readers showed that the biggest thing that would make them pick up a book after seeing the trailer is - genre. So in the end, it is still personal preference that ruled the day.

TV spots are not as expensive anymore and are within the budget of many mid-list authors. Not a lot of people know about this recent turn of events, but those who do tend to utilize it.

If the trailer is good enough and has some entertainment value to it many people will take it as content.

The trailer is, in my opinion, is less important than the distribution of the trailer. Yes, it has to be good. But it can be just "okay" and still be quite effective.

The trailers we make come with distribution. Both online and offline. Starting in April we'll be able to have our trailers played in buses in 5 major cities. That's 10 million impression and costs our clients $175 (formatting fee). That doesn't even count the fact that they are put up on around 50 social sites, several book marking sites, sent out to 300 booksellers and 5000 libraries.

I know there are a lot of people who are new to book trailers. And to digital media or online marketing. If you're not getting more use out of a trailer than putting it on your website and up on YouTube, why bother? Just having it does nothing for your sales. What you do with it does.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Women's Fiction Contest

The gals at Bookends have announced the winner of the thriller/suspense contest. They are now doing a women's fiction contest. Go to their blog to read the complete rules and enter. The deadline is tomorrow, March 28th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Book Promotion Advice from Pros

Barbara Vey wrote a blog post on Author...Promote Thyself. I found several of the comments very interesting.

Leah commented:

As a former book publicist, current editor and always avid reader, I've seen a number of sides of the publicity angle. The #1 priority for writers is to write. The best publicity you can have is a whole shelf of books, preferably *really good* ones, at the bookstore and releases that are 6-8 months apart to help you build an readership. Everything beyond that is gravy - though always very much appreciated.

It's true that book publicists are swamped. I typically had 8-10 books a month to publicize, usually through a combination of advertising, pushing to reviewers, and pitching to media. Keep in mind that the bulk of the promotional money a publisher spends is actually in the bookstore, getting placement in the tower or on front tables or maybe in the bookstore newsletter or through incentives to get the store to order more copies. It's hard to discern, but it all goes back to books on shelves being the best advertising.

I found that the more an author was willing to pitch in on the promo end, the easier it was for me to build on that and help out. That said, it doesn't mean you want to dump on your publicist a list of 50 bookstores and say you want her to arrange signings for you. ;-)

Marty Olver commented:

(I do PR for a series so that the author can find time to write and keep a day job!) One thing that can help is to try to focus your marketing efforts on specific targets. You should note that MySpace and FaceBook are largely unspecific...and reaching a mass market can be daunting unles the masses have already heard of you. So try thinking smaller and more targeted.

Identify what we call a "verticle market". What special interests pertain to the storyline? Perhaps travel or sporting activities are enjoyed by the character. Then search on the Internet for forums directed to just those interests. (In our case, divers and travel agencies) Besides posting to these visitors in the forums, I also Google conferences designed for divers and for travel agents. Then I offer the conference organizers a free signed copy of the novel as a doorprize for the event. The audiences at conferences can reach 300 or more people interested in YOUR TOPIC. When your novel is held up at a raffle at the conference banquet, you might have 300 captive visitors tuned in to your gift. (Make sure you send along a short paragraph describing the storyline.) Only one conference attendee can win the doorprize, but others will be piqued. Hopefully you'll spark dinner-table conversations. Good luck to all of you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Watch Out For...Copyright Scam

Victoria Strauss has posted a warning on Writers Beware about a Copyright Scam: US Copyright Registry. To quote part of it:

If you're a writer, you probably have a website. If you have a website, you may recently have been emailed an official-looking WEBSITE COPYRIGHT LICENSING NOTICE from the US Copyright Registry, informing you that your website "has not been protected and is now available for copyright registration."

If you've received anything like this, go read her post. Someone is trying to scare people into paying them money to "officially copyright" their websites. (In case you haven't caught on, you don't have to register to have copyright on the material on your webpage.)

There's more information on this at PlagiarismToday in their article U.S. Copyright Registry Called a Scam.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Some More on Submitting Queries

Jessica Faust at Bookends blogged about Multiple Submissions within the Same Agency today. She also wrote about What Credentials Do Nonfiction Writers Need.

Kate Elliott at Deep Genre wrote about How do you Pitch the Multi-Volume [Fantasy] Series to Publishers?

Anna Genoese wrote some advice about Submissions, Part 2. To quote part of it:

Double check your grammar, your spelling, your punctuation. An error on page 14 is forgiveable -- an error on page 1 is not. This one line could even be its own post -- look, just pick a spelling style (British English or American English) and make it consistent. Pick a punctuation style and stick with it. If you always use two hyphens with a space on either end to indicate an em-dash, we'll totally get it -- but be consistent. And if your story reads well and can be understood, precisely following Latinate grammar isn't always necessary. Casual is fine, but for the love of Glorificus, if you even think a sentence might not read properly, read it out loud or ask someone who knows of what they speak for advice. When in doubt, ask the internet.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What Does It Take?

Writers Beware! has an interested article on How Do You Tell Who's Going to "Make It?" as an author. Steady writing habit, acceptance of criticism, networking, submitting your work, and professionalism--sounds like advice I've heard before, but it's always good to be reminded what it takes!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

News about Borders and What It Means

If you've been keeping up with industry news, you'll have heard that Borders may sell parts or all of its company. Kristin Nelson does a good job explaining what the implications could be for authors (and, incidentally, shares that B&N has only one non-genre fiction buyer).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thriller/Suspense Contest

The gals at Bookends have announced the winner of the historical romance contest. They are now doing a thriller/suspense contest (the romantic suspense contest is still to come). Go to their blog to read the complete rules and enter. The deadline is tomorrow, March 20th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

All About Agents

The have been a lot of posts lately about agents and what they do. Here are some of them.

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote about how she goes about considering a nonfiction proposal (though that wasn't the point of the post). She also wrote her take on what she'd want in an agent if she was a writer. She also wrote about Different Agents for Different Projects and When the Client List Is Full.

Miss Snark wrote about when agents say, "I'll get back to you." She also wrote about Submission dead times near holidays and What Percentage Do Agents Sell? and Number of Active Clients and When Agents Stop Communicating and Multiple Agents for Multiple Genres?

Kristin Nelson at Pub Rants wrote about how agents know they can auction a book.

The Rejecter answered multiple questions in a blog post where she also talked about how does an agent submit manuscripts to publishers. To quote the relevant section: varies from agency to agency, but everyone has their own style of submitting and sometimes will not submit the same way to different editors. Good agents know editors personally, so they go out to lunch and the agent talks up this new manuscript they've got, and the editor says, "Send it over and I'll take a look." Or sometimes agents simply mail out the manuscript to as many editors as they know who they know are looking for your sort of novel, hoping for at least a few hits. It depends on the agent, their connections, and their style. The only thing that matters for you is if they make a sale and for how much money.

Monday, March 17, 2008

How Many Books Are Sold Online?

Victoria Strauss wrote an interesting blog post about Online Book Sales. To quote part of it,

In 2007....Bowker's PubTrack Consumer (quoted in PW) estimates that 20% of all US book purchases are made on the Internet. In the UK, according to Bookmarketing Limited's Books and the Consumer survey (quoted in Publishing News Online), 17% of all book revenue comes from online purchases.

Clearly, Internet book sales have become substantial....[but] if 20% of books are sold online, 80% are sold elsewhere.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ever Wondered How Many...?

Ever wondered how many book and magazine titles a store carries? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article on the new Borders concept stores, the standard Borders superstore will now stock about 85,000 to 90,000 titles. They used to stock more, but now they are stocking fewer books and placing more of them face-out. To quote Shelf Awareness:

...the new approach has led to sales increases "in the double digits" and has led to the removal of 5%-10% of the average store's titles--many of which sell only one copy a year in each store.

...the change will be apparent in most Borders stores within six weeks and be most noticeable in categories like children's, food, cooking, travel, art and photography but less so in fiction.

...At a typical Borders superstore, the reduction of inventory will be between 4,675 and 9,350 titles out of about 93,500.

...The average 25,000 square-foot Barnes & Noble superstore stocks approximately 125,000 to 150,000 book titles...

According to New York Post article by Keith J. Kelly,

Retail behemoth Wal-Mart is tossing more than 1,000 magazines from the racks in its stores... Most of the magazines are small, and more than a few of the victims are titles that have long since stopped publishing... However, virtually no major publisher was spared. believed to be responsible for generating more than 20 percent of all retail magazine sales in the US. ....Wal-Mart [has] 4,000 stores.

It seems like the trend right now is to stock fewer titles, but to give those titles better placement.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Historical Romance Contest

The gals at Bookends have announced the winner of the last romance contest. They are now doing a historical romance contest. Go to their blog to read the complete rules and enter. The deadline is tomorrow, March 14th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Miscellaneous Information on Self-Publishing

Miss Snark wrote several blog posts on vanity presses like Booklocker and PublishAmerica. She also wrote about what sales numbers are normal for self-published books.

Here is a news article about a self-published author's success story and what it took for the book the sell well.

Victoria Strauss at Writers Beware! wrote about Lessons for Self-Publishers. They also have a lot of useful information and warnings for anyone considering self-publishing.

The Rejecter answered several questions in a blog post including one about how many self-published books do you need to sell before mentioning it in your query. She said:

In general, unless your book has sold over 3000 copies (which means you didn't sell them all to family and friends or by hand at conventions), it doesn't mean much to us that it was previously published. We will review it like we review any other submission - as potential new material to be weighed on its own merit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Getting Your Manuscript Seen

The Writers Beware blog has several good articles on alternative ways to get your manuscript seen by editors and if you should use them, including Manuscript Display Websites. They also talk about whether you should post your work online or not. They also warn against using E-Query Blaster Services and explain why you shouldn't use them.

Miss Snark also talks about posting your work online.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Improving Your Writing

Several blogs and online worshops have been discussing writing or how to improve your writing.

David Louis Edelman on Deep Genre wrote about How to Write a Novel (Part 1) and (Part 2).

Carol Berg on Deep Genre wrote about starting a new series in Don’t Panic.

Sherwood Smith on Deep Genre wrote about different Points of View.

Evil Editor wrote on Dialogue Tags and Who is this Nathan Bransford clown, and Why Is He Taking Away My Similes?

Angie Fox, a guess blogger on the Bookends blog, wrote some Writing tips.

Margie Lawson wrote about Body Language 101.

On Hatrack River Writer's Worshop, we've been discussing:
Why the problem with the 1st 13 isn't that it's too short
Writing Adverbially
Twists and storytelling
How much help can a hero accept?
Can a hero lose?
Travel & Writing
Magic Systems

Friday, March 7, 2008

What Do They Do #3

Jessica Faust has written a few new posts on different publishing industry jobs. The first is about book packagers and talks about how a book packager is different from an agent. The second talks about everything an agent does for their client and often don't tell the client about.

Jane Dystel also explains what an agent does for you in her post.

On a somewhat related note, Ask Editorial Anonymous has posts on what a marketing director does and a little bit on what publisher rep's do and what a book buyer does.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Conventions, Conferences, and Workshops

So you're decided you want to go to a convention, writer's conference, or writer's workshop. There are a lot of them out there, so which are worth the money? Everyone seems to have a different opinion, so here are some links that may help, or may end up simply confusing you. :)

To start with, here's a list of Writer's Worshops and Sci-Fi Conventions and Locus online convention listings.

Victoria Strauss at Writers Beware wrote about Writers' Conferences: When to be Wary.

Miss Snark wrote about conferences, conferences, and conferences. She also wrote about conventions and trade shows that authors should consider going to and how to contact small presses by going to small press fairs. She also wrote about BookExpo America.

Nathan Bransford wrote about Conference Protocol.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Conventions and Conferences

Over on Deep Genre, there was a discussion in the comments section on how to meet science-fiction agents at conventions and conferences. I thought the following quotes would be useful to anyone looking for an agent.

Carol Berg wrote:

Writers’ conferences (like Pikes Peak, Surrey, Colorado Gold et al) are very different from conventions (World Science Fiction, World Fantasy, WesterCon, ArmadilloCon etc.) You are correct that writers’ conferences have only a few editors and agents, so if your sole interest is to "pitch" your finished book, you want to look for conferences hosting people who represent or publish your preferred genre. There may be only one or two, but most editors who are there know the fantasy/sf editors at their houses. Good conferences try to cover the genres by getting pros who represent many kinds of works. Sometimes they do better than others. Anyway, writers conferences also provide workshops to help improve your writing, agent and editor panels to help you learn about the business, and networking with other writers. Yes, agents and editors get tired from the pitches, but they are there to discover new writers. Yes, they want to hear what kind of person you are, but if you pitch them something they haven’t heard before and demonstrate your commitment and enthusiasm, (or even babble foolishly as I did) you can get them interested. In any case they will likely request your pages and read your work - which is the object of the pitch.

Science fiction conventions are held everywhere across the country. At the largest conventions like World Fantasy and World Science Fiction (which includes fantasy programming), you will see lots of agents and editors. But there is no formal venue for meeting them (like WC pitch or read-and-critique sessions). You meet them through networking, offering to buy a cup of coffee or a drink, or getting into the same parties. At regional and local conventions (like Westercon, MileHiCon, Archon, and the like) you might have an opportunity to meet agents and editors and might not. Writing programming at sf conventions usually consists of panel discussions rather than workshops. These are sometimes about writing, sometimes about fantasy or sf tropes, sometimes about the litererature. Quality can vary widely, depending on the qualifications and background of panelists.

Writers conferences tend to be more expensive, as they usually compensate their faculty. Conventions are all-volunteer events to keep their costs down. World SF (this year in Denver) and World Fantasy (this year in Calgary) are more expensive than regional conventions.

For me, the format of the conference provided opportunities to meet the right people without the pressure of a "social" situation. And it allowed me to bypass queries. If you have a manuscript you believe is ready to market, look seriously at opportunities to meet the pros in person. (And yes, EVERYone is nervous.)

David Louis Edelman wrote:

I imagine the perfect interaction with an agent/editor would go something
like this.

You attend a panel that the agent/editor is on. You listen attentively and, after the panel, approach the agent/editor and ask a pertinent follow-up question or two. Nothing too pushy. "Hi. I was really interested in what you said about x. What do you think about y?" After a couple of minutes, you say, "Thanks. I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I’m ____, by the way. I’m writing a fantasy novel about [something very short, pithy and intriguing], and I’d like to send you a sample and a proposal." Chances are the agent/editor will say something pleasant and noncommittal like "Sure, send it and I’ll take a look at it." At that point you smile, shake their hand, say thank you, and walk away. Don’t push.

A week later, you send them your proposal letter, the first few chapters, and a standard cover letter that begins with, "It was very nice meeting you after the panel about Yiddish Vampires at BlahBlahCon last weekend. As discussed, here’s my novel about [something very short, pithy and intriguing.]"

Obviously you adjust this scenario depending on the circumstances. And it’s not going to work every time. But if your short, pithy and intriguing ynopsis is intriguing, that’s about all you’ll need to get someone to take a look. Of course, it’s probably going to have to pass through the 22-year-old intern first, but them’s the breaks.

Short, non-pushy interactions in person. Maybe a few polite comments on their blog, if one exists. You’re not looking to be their best buddy. You’re just looking to tickle their mind and remind them that, oh yeah, this was that nice, earnest guy/gal that I met at BlahBlahCon. If your book is good, the writing will do the rest. If it’s not good enough, well, hopefully at least you’ve got someone you can send your next book to.

E-book Sales

For those who like to read e-books or are trying to sell an e-book, I thought you might enjoy the following news:

David Rothman wrote on E-Book Sales in 2007, and he said:

American e-book sales in 2007, by “12-15 trade publishers,” jumped to $31.7 million or 23.6 percent higher than in 2006.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Contemporary Romance Contest

The gals at Bookends have announced the winner of the last romance contest. They are now doing a contemporary romance contest. Go to their blog to read the complete rules and enter. The deadline is tomorrow, March 4th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Friday, February 29, 2008

What Editors are Currently Looking For

Kristin Nelson is doing a series of posts on what various editors are actively looking for or not wanting to see more of. She talks about sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal romance, YA and women's fiction, more YA, and even more YA, and children's books. I'm sure she'll be doing more in the future.

Jonathan Lyons also wrote a blog post on Vampires Are Not Dead.

Hope this was useful.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Contests and Awards

Here are two informative links on writing contests and book awards.

Victoria Strauss at Writers Beware! wrote about Evaluating Literary Contests.

Rachel at Novel & Short Story Writer's Market blog wrote about How to win awards.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What Do They Do #2

Here are two more articles on what various people in the publishing industry do.

Madeleine Robins wrote about what various editors (copyeditors, etc.) do in Text Wranglers.

Alison Morris wrote about Managing Editors on her blog.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another Romance Contest

The gals at Bookends have announced the winner of their fantasy romance contest. They are now doing another romance contest--see their post for the details of what type. Go to their blog to read the complete rules and enter. The deadline is tomorrow, February 26th, at 9:00 a.m. EST

Friday, February 22, 2008

Publishers on Publicity

Sure, we hear all the time about what authors can do to promote their books. But just what do the official publicity/marketing people at the publishers do for your book?

Anna, who once was an editor at Tor, wrote about the ad/promo department totally owns you. She also wrote on a related point, do large advances mean more publicity?

John Scalzi wrote on Sympathy for the Publicist.

J. A. Konrath wrote about The Truth About Publishers, David Morrell on Book Marketing and Publicity, and David Morrell Part Deux: The Publicist Speaks.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More on Promoting Your Book

Over at the Bookends blog, Stacey Kayne posted some good book promotion ideas, so I thought it's about time to list promotion posts again.

A.C. Crispin at Writer's Beware wrote About Getting Book Reviews.

Kristin Nelson on Pub Rants blog wrote about author websites in the New Rules For Promotion.

Miss Snark wrote about publicity and getting bookstores to order your book.

And, of course, J. A. Konrath's blog has many posts on self-promotion. A few are:
The Art of the Soft Sell (about handselling books)
I Talk, You Pay (being paid to speak in public)
More on Drop-Ins (dropping by bookstores as travel to ask them to carry your book)

I'll write more on promotion tomorrow, but from the publisher's viewpoint.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Free Books

More and more authors and publishers are offering free e-books as a means of advertising. [The two sci-fi/fantasy publishers I know of who are currently doing this are Baen and Tor (for a limited time only). If you know of others, feel free to mention them in the comments section.] The question is, do free e-books help sell print books? Here are two articles on the subject:

David Rothman wrote about Oprah e-freebie now Amazon's 3rd best p-seller on his blog.

Cory Doctorow wrote about Giving It Away on

Personally, I think its effective to make an author's debut novel and/or the first novel in each series available for free. I was hesitant to buy Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, so I was pleased that TOR was offering it for free as an e-book this last week. I wasn't impressed by the first three or so chapters, but the book really gets good after that. Guess what? I went out an immediately placed an order for all of his books, including Mistborn. (Heck, the thing is too long to read the whole thing on a computer screen.)

What do you think? Have you ever bought a print version of a book that you first got as a free e-book? Or bought other books by an author because you read a free e-book by that author?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Contest

The gals at Bookends are now doing a Paranormal Romance / Romance with Fantasy Elements / Fantasy with Romantic Elements contest. Go to their blog to read the complete rules and enter. The deadline is tomorrow, February 20th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Managing Money

John Scalzi wrote a very, very good article about how to manage your money if you wish to be a full-time writer. Heck, it even has good advice for those writers who already know they don't want to quit their day jobs.

Inspired by Scalzi's article, Jennifer Jackson wrote on writers spending their advances. As in, they shouldn't spend their advance before the money is in their hands. I'd recommend reading the whole post, but here's a part of it:

From the time the offer was received to the time the author was paid the full advance, you can see that 15 months have elapsed, and that was with very prompt editorial revisions on the part of both the editor and the author, and really nice turnarounds on the agent's part for payments.

And, finally, for those sci-fi/fantasy writers out there, how much can you reasonably expect to be paid as an advance? Tobias Buckell ran a survey on How Much Does a Science-Fiction or Fantasy Writer Make. The survey also compares the advances of agented authors versus and unagented authors. Victoria Strauss also wrote a post on how much money writers make. Interesting stuff.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What Do They Do

Here are some articles on what various people in the publishing industry do.

Alison Morris wrote A Valentine for Sales Reps which talks a little about what sales reps do.

Miss Snark wrote on Why have an agent and Editor Titles and What They Mean.

Jessica Faust wrote More on the Agent Submission Process which covers a bit about what agents, editors, and slush readers do.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Contest for Mystery Writers!

For those who don't regularly read her blog, Jessica Faust (and the other agents at Bookends) are holding a contest for Mystery Writers. Go to their blog for complete rules and explanations. Today's contest is for mystery (traditional and cozy). To quote from their site:

We decided to try several genre-specific competitions of the first 100 words of the work. We’ll be limiting the types of books to the areas that we represent.... Selfishly, it also gives us a very real opportunity to find a potential new client. Seems like a win-win.

We’ll only accept entries that are posted in the comments section of this [Bookends] blog article. No e-mailed entries will be considered.

Include your title and the first 100 words of your book.

The deadline is tomorrow, February 15th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

The prize....we’ll critique the query letter, synopsis, and first chapter of the winning entry in each genre!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Translations into Foreign Languages

I came across this interesting article written by Esther Allen on the process of getting books translated from or into foreign languages. To quote some of it:

For more than a decade, I've been writing reader's reports. I evaluate books written in or translated into French or Spanish for editors who, for the most part, can't read those languages. Writing the reports is a time-consuming, often frustrating, and always financially unprofitable pastime, and there can't be many of us willing to do it; sometimes two or three different publishers in sequence will, unbeknownst to each other, send me the same book to evaluate....

Will this piece of writing retain meaning and interest for a different set of readers in a different linguistic context? ....

For of course what most editors really want to know is whether the book will sell in the US marketplace. general a bad report guarantees that a book won't be published. A good report, however, is likely to be ignored. Worst of all, even when a good report does lead to publication - and the publisher finds a translator who's up to the task - the translated book will probably be left to its own devices in the marketplace, with little or no publicity, and will therefore ultimately be deemed a failure.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Accomplishments in Query Letters

Authors are always asking how they should list their sold stories and books and so forth in their query letter. Nathan Bansford wrote about not trying to make your accomplishments look more impressive than they are in Know Thyself. Miss Snark wrote about What Counts As Published and self-published book credits in query letters.

Miss Snark also wrote about not mentioning how much your readers liked your book and talked about if re-querying a revised manuscript is alright.

Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote a final word on her pitch critiquing posts. To quote a section of it:

Pitches, like writing a book, a query letter, or, really, any other aspect of this business, is not an exact science....

I get a lot of questions from readers wanting to know how long a pitch should be and how long is too long. For those of you who need numbers, I would say one to five sentences. The truth, though, is that a pitch is too long when an agent stops reading. You aren’t writing a synopsis, you are simply trying to hook someone in, and let’s face it, none of us have attention spans that will hold for more than one to five sentences. If we want more we’ll start reading the book.

I also know that many of you are looking to these critiques for a format or formula that you can simply drop your own storyline into. The truth is that no one format works for all persons or all books. For some the conflict is going to have to come from the characters, for others the plot. The trick isthat you need to figure out what really makes your book stand out from every single other book in your genre. Is it the unique situation the characters find themselves in or is it the characters themselves? It will also depend on your readers. Cozy readers often pick up a new series simply based on the crafty, cozy hook; romance readers often look for a unique hero or heroine; and fantasy readers will want a world they haven’t been in yet. Of course that’s oversimplifying, but I think you might know what I mean. Knowing your reader and what she looks for can help you define your pitch.

And last, it’s important to remember that a pitch is different from a query letter. A pitch is that enticing paragraph that grabs the reader and only talks about the book.

Anna Genoese, who used to be an editor at Tor, wrote about submissions. To quote part of her article:

For the moment, though, I will remind you that the only secret handshake in this business is the quality of your work. The best way, the very best way, to catch an editor's attention is to write a really good book with really interesting sentences.

Once you're done with your manuscript, and your mom's read it, and your best friend's read it, and you've convinced one of your favorite fanfic readers to read it, and you've incorporated the suggestions they gave you that you were comfortable with... put the ms. down. You've got time.

Take a few weeks. I know, it's hard, you want to send it out right away....Go back two weeks to a month later and read your ms. again. Read bits of it out loud. Make sure it's really what you want to show the world. Then send it. (Or revise again, if you realize you're not actually telling the story you thought you were.)

Double check your grammar, your spelling, your punctuation. An error on page 14 is forgiveable -- an error on page 1 is not. This one line could even be its own post -- look, just pick a spelling style (British nglish or American English) and make it consistent. Pick a punctuation style and stick with it. If you always use two hyphens with a space on either end to indicate an em-dash, we'll totally get it -- but be consistent. And if your story reads well and can be understood, precisely following Latinate grammar isn't always necessary. Casual is fine, but for the love of Glorificus, if you even think a sentence might not read properly, read it out loud or ask someone who knows of what they speak for advice.