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The Shatzkin Files

  • Strategies to cut overheads in a shrinking book business make a lot of sense
    An inexorable reality of today’s commercial book publishing world is that it is shrinking. Although there have been no obvious signs yet that actual long-form book reading itself has declined (even though that would seem a likely consequence over time of the changed ways we get our reading inputs), the self-publishing and indie segment of […]
    - 21 days ago, 31 Jul 17, 2:10pm -
  • Digital marketing scales and that could create new opportunities for capable publishers
    There are three new promotion and marketing opportunities for publishers of ebooks that have been created by the original upstart ebook publisher, Open Road Integrated Media. They all come from OR/M’s development of tools to promote their own extensive list of ebooks, but which now actually benefit from the inclusion of a broader array of […]
    - 35 days ago, 17 Jul 17, 7:10pm -
  • Dick McCullough was a great client for me, a great boss for many, and a great guy for everybody
    I hadn’t seen Dick McCullough, who was my most-fun-to-work-with client of all time and the best leader I ever met in the corporate world, for at least a few years when I got a phone call from him at 7pm last New Year’s Eve. He was calling to tell me that he had just had […]
    - 63 days ago, 19 Jun 17, 1:23am -
  • First impressions of an Amazon bookstore
    The new just-opened Amazon bookstore in Manhattan made my wife think of an airport bookstore or a “gallery, where the books are displayed rather than sold”. Everything is faced out. The selection is limited. An airport bookstore would almost certainly have a different mix of titles: far fewer cookbooks (the Amazon store gives them quite […]
    - 84 days ago, 29 May 17, 9:31pm -
  • Introducing a tool to help tackle the critical marketing challenge in digital times: what to work on next
    Every publisher with more than a handful of published titles has a daily challenge to assign the marketing resources available to where they will do the most good. Efforts no longer have to be restricted, as they sensibly were until the most recent past, by what titles have inventory in front of customers on store […]
    - 90 days ago, 23 May 17, 5:57pm -
  • Knowing which titles to work on is a challenge today that was not important 10 years ago
    About 15 years ago, my friend Charlie Nurnberg, then the Sales VP at Sterling (which was, then, an independent publisher not yet bought by Barnes & Noble) threw me a challenge. “For years,” he said, “I got the B&N green-bar report [by which he meant an Excel spreadsheet] every Friday. I had 800 titles on […]
    - 11 May 17, 2:38pm -
  • Authors need help with their digital presence that they still are not getting
    A major difference between book publishing today and book publishing 25 years ago is the practical power of the author brand in marketing. Multi-book authors can not only build their own followings in ways that can be usefully exploited, they now have an unprecedented capability to help each other. Of course, they can do that […]
    - 12 Apr 17, 2:23pm -
  • Amazon could become our leading physical retailer before very long
    More than five years ago in this space we contemplated the likelihood that Amazon would just keep growing and growing its share of the book business without any end. Of course, a book business-centric view of Amazon these days doesn’t really do Amazon justice. Books and ebooks are a really small part of their business […]
    - 21 Mar 17, 11:15pm -
  • Deep in the weeds of publishing economics
    This is a geeky post about publishing economics. Some people like that. If you don’t, you were warned before you invested any time. Two otherwise unrelated projects last week — a book I’m working on with a veteran fellow consultant named Robert Riger and a quick consulting call with a team from a major generalist […]
    - 2 Mar 17, 1:45am -
  • Crafting a publishing strategy to address a very specific need
    Lena Tabori is, like me, a book publishing lifer who wants to work on climate change. She was an executive at Abrams when I met her and went on to be a founder of illustrated book publisher Stewart Tabori & Chang and then Welcome Books, the book publishing arm of her Welcome Enterprises. (Lena recently […]
    - 14 Feb 17, 6:32pm -

Seth Godin

  • newValuing hygiene factors
    A hygiene factor is something you miss when it's gone, but barely notice when it's there. Clean sheets at a hotel, for example. The base salary at a job. Your title. Every time you add one of these factors to...       
    - 2 hours ago, 21 Aug 17, 8:20am -
  • Preparing (for the test of time)
    We have a word for the fruitless search for perfect: perfectionism. And we have a word for what we do when we dumb something down to get approval: the committee. But what do we call it when we work to...       
    - 1 day ago, 20 Aug 17, 10:04am -
  • The problem with direct experience
    "I'll know it when I see it," or perhaps, "I'll see it when I know it..." We're hardwired to believe and understand the things we can actually experience. That's why no one argues about Newton's laws, but most people panic...       
    - 2 days ago, 19 Aug 17, 8:39am -
  • Faux intimacy
    True connection is a frightening prospect. When you are seen by someone else, really seen, it hurts even more if you're ultimately rejected. When we connect, we make promises, buy into a different future, engage with another, someone who might...       
    - 3 days ago, 18 Aug 17, 8:15am -
  • "I have fear"
    There's a common mistranslation that causes us trouble. We say, "I am afraid," as if the fear is us, forever. We don't say, "I am a fever" or "I am a sore foot." No, in those cases, we acknowledge that...       
    - 4 days ago, 17 Aug 17, 7:03am -
  • On being discovered
    Wouldn't that be great? Great if you could share all your wisdom on a popular podcast, or be featured on Shark Tank? Great if you had a powerful agent or bureau or publisher? Great if you could get admitted to...       
    - 5 days ago, 16 Aug 17, 7:48am -
  • Sloppy science
    We can measure it. For decades, every single year, scientists have visited the Galapagos and measured the beaks of a particular species of finch. And year after year, with each generation, the beaks change, exactly as we'd expect from the...       
    - 6 days ago, 15 Aug 17, 7:52am -
  • "But we needed the eggs"
    Addiction to substances has been around ever since someone fermented grapes a million years ago. The opioid epidemic is the latest addiction tragedy, brought on by greed and disinformation. It took longer for behavioral addictions to arrive, but they're just...       
    - 7 days ago, 14 Aug 17, 7:39am -
  • Questions for the underinformed
    For the jingoistic sign carrier, the impatient shareholder, the late-night goofball and the nascent entrepreneur in search of cash... We've heard your rants, your threats, your plans. We understand that you are in a hurry for a simple, dramatic, obvious...       
    - 8 days ago, 13 Aug 17, 7:41am -
  • Waves are free
    When someone lets you into the flow of traffic, or holds a door, or takes a second to acknowledge you, it's possible to smile and offer a wave in response. This, of course, costs you nothing. It creates a feeling...       
    - 9 days ago, 12 Aug 17, 8:12am -

Michael Hyatt

  • The Benefit of Pairing Digital and Analog to Manage Your Day
    How My Hybrid System Gives You the Best of Both Worlds. Since we announced the Full Focus Planner™ a few months ago, I’ve lost track of how many people have asked me about my plans for task and calendar management. Am I planning on going full analog? It’s an important question. When it comes to planning our time, reviewing our goals, and trac…
    - 12 days ago, 9 Aug 17, 9:45am -
  • 13 Ways to Make Your Employees Pull Their Hair Out
    How Horrible Bosses Can Make Workers Miserable. Sadly, I would have to say that I have learned more from bad bosses that good ones. Specially, they taught me what not to do. Here are 13 lessons.
    - 14 days ago, 7 Aug 17, 9:45am -
  • Ten Difficult, But Really Important Words
    Here’s What to Say When You Blow It. Many words in the English language are difficult. In fact, there’s even a Dictionary of Difficult Words. But none are more difficult than these: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”
    - 17 days ago, 4 Aug 17, 9:45am -
  • The Secret to Negotiating a Better Deal
    3 Ways to Put Yourself Exactly Where You Need to Be. Years ago, I received some great advice about how to negotiate the deal you want. In fact, I would say this is the secret to successful negotiating.
    - 19 days ago, 2 Aug 17, 9:45am -
  • Why I’m Going on a Sabbatical, and You Should Too
    5 Things I Learned When We Got Away From It All. I am about to embark on a sabbatical for the next month to get away, enjoy time with family, and do some long-range thinking. Americans typically don’t take all of their vacation days, much less go off on sabbaticals. The idea of an extended period away from work may sound like an exotic concept or…
    - 21 days ago, 31 Jul 17, 9:45am -
  • What I’ve Learned From Being Fired
    3 Things Being Canned Taught Me About Management. It’s easy to look at successful people and envy their situation. What you often don’t see is the pain they went through to get there. I’ve made lots of mistakes. In fact, I’ve actually been fired from three jobs. Here’s what I learned.
    - 24 days ago, 28 Jul 17, 9:45am -
  • Want an Abundant Life? Change Your Thinking
    8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared by Scarcity. Over the years, I have noticed that there are two kinds of thinking. One kind leads to success, joy, and fulfillment. The other leads to failure, fear, and discontent. Which type are you?
    - 26 days ago, 26 Jul 17, 9:45am -
  • Go Ahead Leaders, Take That Vacation
    7 Strategies to Optimize Your Time Off and Come Back Refreshed. The days are getting shorter again, but it’s not too late to take a few days off before the end of summer. August is often the perfect month to take some time away from work. You should consider getting away for a bit because you probably need it. Vacations are vital for rejuvenation…
    - 28 days ago, 24 Jul 17, 9:45am -
  • Overcome the Fear That’s Holding You Back
    3 Ways to Learn From the World’s Best Athletes. Many of us know what it’s like to feel stuck in our careers. We settle into a particular role and one day we look up and wonder why we’ve spent so long doing something we’re not fully invested in. There are many reasons why this happens, but a big one is fear of failure. We […]
    - 31 days ago, 21 Jul 17, 9:45am -
  • Why Businesses and Nonprofits Need to Rethink their Benefits Packages
    It’s More than a Hiring Gimmick—It’s a Tool for Fine Tuning Team Culture. There’s no greater predictor of long-term organizational success than healthy team culture. Yes, customers matter. So do products and services. But an unhealthy team won’t create the best products or serve their customers very well. But how can leaders build healthy…
    - 33 days ago, 19 Jul 17, 9:45am -
  • Why Leaders Cannot Afford to Be Easily Offended
    3 Vital Truths to Remember as You Work to Make a Difference in the World. As a leader, you are going to draw fire. People will criticize you. But the greatest leaders are not easily offended. Instead, they remember these three simple truths.
    - 35 days ago, 17 Jul 17, 9:45am -
  • The No-Fail Product Plan [Free New Webinar]
    7 Keys for Creating and Launching a Successful Product. What’s an entrepreneur’s worst nightmare? Spending tons of time developing a product, testing it, and finally launching it—only to be met with mediocre sales. Or worse, none at all. It’s a legitimate concern. It happens in the marketplace all the time. In fact, the fear of a product fl…
    - 38 days ago, 14 Jul 17, 9:45am -

Copy Blogger

  • How to Create (and Sell) Products People Actually Want to Buy
    This week offers a mix of inspiration, clarity, purpose … and some good, old-fashioned results-oriented copywriting. On Monday, I shared some of the practical, repeatable steps you can use to create an online course that people actually want to buy. (That’s a fun thing to do, by the way, and I totally recommend it.) Brian Read More...The post…
    - 4 days ago, 17 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • 5 Ways to Convert More Prospects by Making Your Case
    Your headline draws them in, while your opening copy maintains the magnetic hold. The express benefits give them hope that they may have found the solution they desire. And then you ask for the sale with an explicit call to action. A total win, right? Then why are you still disappointed with your results? You’re Read More...The post 5 Ways to C…
    - 5 days ago, 16 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • Why You Should Pour Yourself a Glass of Water and Write for 15 Minutes Today
    Daydreaming is inherently flexible. You don’t need to set aside time for it or plan how to execute it properly. It effortlessly arises and plays out until you shift your focus back to your responsibilities. Last week, I talked about getting more out of your expectations, and today I’m going to talk about a daily Read More...The post Why You S…
    - 6 days ago, 15 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • The Foundational Elements of Profitable Online Courses
    After ebooks, online courses are one of the most popular business models for digital entrepreneurs. The tech is easier to put together than ever. Audiences know that online courses are valuable and have shown they’re willing to pay. And courses are a natural showcase for the authority you build as you develop great content for Read More...The p…
    - 7 days ago, 14 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • The Copyblogger Guide for a Wildly Productive August
    Productive? In August? Isn’t that an oxymoron? This month we wrap up the summer (in our hemisphere, anyway), get ready for the school year, and head into the final third of the year. The key to making this time productive is to work on the right things — and not throw our time or energy Read More...The post The Copyblogger Guide for a Wildly…
    - 11 days ago, 10 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • 7 Keys to Staying Productive When Your Daily Routine Gets Detonated
    I had a rhythm. I had a routine. Most days, I even had enough time. On a few magnificent days, I had more than enough time. (No, really. It was glorious.) But then my daughter was born. Eventually my wife went back to work. And much to our chagrin, no acceptable daycare or nanny options Read More...The post 7 Keys to Staying Productive When Your…
    - 12 days ago, 9 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • Don’t Let Go of Expectations … Put Them to Work in Your Marketing
    We all know the potential trouble associated with expectations: If you expect something to turn out a certain way — and it doesn’t — you likely end up disappointed. Subsequently, traditional wisdom has advised that we let go of our expectations to soften the blow of disappointment and train ourselves to be content with the Read More...The p…
    - 13 days ago, 8 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • Making a Living Writing Ebooks: Here’s How It Works Today
    Once upon a time, there was a straightforward solution to “monetizing” your website when you got tired of trying to make AdSense work: Write an ebook! Having something of your own to offer, even a simple $7 ebook, virtually always beats trying to monetize your traffic with advertising. And that’s still true. (In fact, sales Read More...The…
    - 14 days ago, 7 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • How to Unlock the Door to Effective Content with Your Creativity
    We definitely had a creativity thread weaving through the week, both on the blog and the podcasts. On Monday, I continued our “Quick Copy Tips” series by talking about the difference between benefits and features. It’s one of the first topics covered in nearly every copywriting book, but even experienced writers often get it wrong Read More..…
    - 18 days ago, 3 Aug 17, 1:00pm -
  • 2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The August Prompts
    Happy August! It’s time for our pair of prompts to make you more creative and more productive. For those of you who haven’t joined us yet, each month in 2017 we’re providing a pair of prompts: one to make you more productive and one to improve your creativity or writing skill. Feel free to try Read More...The post 2017 Content Excellence Ch…
    - 19 days ago, 2 Aug 17, 1:00pm -

Steve Laube

  • newDeadlines Born – Deadlines Made

    Deadlines Born – Deadlines Made

    Author: Steve LaubeDeadlines. The bane of every writer’s existence. “A necessary evil.” “My nemesis.” I talked to an author who changed the internal time clock on his computer just so he could have three extra hours, claiming he was writing on the West coast (USA) instead of where his office was (East …The post Deadlines Born – Dead…
    - 25 mins ago, 21 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Fun Fridays – August 18, 2017

    Fun Fridays – August 18, 2017

    Author: Steve LaubeA hilarious confrontation between an Elephant and a Goose. (It gets rather creative at the 30 second mark.) There has to be a metaphor somewhere in this video. Which one to do think is most appropriate? Publisher and Agent? (Which one is which?) A writers conference meeting in the hallway …The post Fun Fridays – August 18,…
    - 3 days ago, 18 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • A Few Little Letters Can Make All the Difference

    A Few Little Letters Can Make All the Difference

    Author: Tamela Hancock MurrayRecently I heard a great anecdote about one little letter. Seems our pastor did a Google search as he researched the parable of the weeds. He typed in “weed” and, well, let’s just say the topic of dandelions didn’t sprout. He had to add an “s” to find the right …The post A Few Little Letters Can Make All…
    - 4 days ago, 17 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Six Books I’ve Already Recommended

    Six Books I’ve Already Recommended

    Author: Bob HostetlerI have been a literary agent for a whole month now. I’m still waiting for my anniversary letter and gift from the Steve Laube Agency. I’m sure it’s on the way. I would say it has been a whirlwind so far, but that would be a cliché. And clichés are …The post Six Books I’ve Already Recommended appeared first on Th…
    - 5 days ago, 16 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Writing Thoughtful Books

    Writing Thoughtful Books

    Author: Dan BalowThere has always been a hierarchy in fiction distinguishing “literary” from “popular” books, with lines drawn between both topics and reading levels.  Authors of each are different, somewhat like actors who work on stage versus those who work on screen. Comparisons of literary vs. popular and stage vs. screen are often…
    - 6 days ago, 15 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Create Videos Based on Your Blog Posts

    Create Videos Based on Your Blog Posts

    Author: Steve LaubeCheck out Lumen 5, (www.lumen5.com) a wonderful resource that can help you create videos out of your blog posts. As a test I took my post from July 31st, “Should You Hire a Freelance Editor?” and within 45 minutes the following video was complete. (Read more below the embedded video) …The post Create Videos Based on Your…
    - 7 days ago, 14 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Fun Fridays – August 11, 2017

    Fun Fridays – August 11, 2017

    Author: Steve LaubeDuring a rain delay at a recent baseball game the opposing team pitchers, waiting in the bullpen, had some fun. Enjoy the oneupmanship! Since I’m from Arizona (go Diamondbacks) and Dan Balow is from Chicago (go Cubs) this was a fun showdown. The correct team won the competition.The post Fun Fridays – August 11, 2017 appeare…
    - 10 days ago, 11 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Too Much Communication with Your Agent?

    Too Much Communication with Your Agent?

    Author: Tamela Hancock MurraySome authors ask me if they share too much. If you’re asking, you probably aren’t! In my opinion, most authors connect the right amount, or if anything, err on the side of not communicating enough. You might ask: Too much information? Not for me. I once heard a sermon that …The post Too Much Communication with Y…
    - 11 days ago, 10 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Write Like You Brush Your Teeth

    Write Like You Brush Your Teeth

    Author: Bob HostetlerI listen regularly to a half-dozen podcasts. One of them recently talked about how valuable “systems” are in making life run more smoothly. The podcast host said that making something a habit is the simplest but also one of the most effective “systems” a person can install in his or …The post Write Like You Brush Yo…
    - 12 days ago, 9 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Overselling Yourself

    Overselling Yourself

    Author: Dan BalowWhen I was a kid, if you really wanted to let people know you in the area, you took a couple garden-variety clothespins (the spring-loaded kind) and two of your lowest-value baseball cards, and attached them to the frame of your bike in contact with the spokes of your wheels. …The post Overselling Yourself appeared first on T…
    - 13 days ago, 8 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Send Simultaneous Submissions or Not?

    Send Simultaneous Submissions or Not?

    Author: Steve LaubeBryan Mitchell asked, “What is the max number of submissions you should send at a given time? I’ve heard ten but that sounds off; to me, it seems it should be less than that if you are carefully considering the agents you reach out to.” When approaching agents I encourage …The post Send Simultaneous Submissions or Not?…
    - 14 days ago, 7 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Fun Fridays – August 4, 2017

    Fun Fridays – August 4, 2017

    Author: Steve LaubeThis phenomenon from nature is the perfect picture of a creative artist. How hard will you work on your creation? Wait for the “reveal” at the two-minute mark.The post Fun Fridays – August 4, 2017 appeared first on The Steve Laube Agency.
    - 17 days ago, 4 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Two Questions We Might Ask and Why

    Two Questions We Might Ask and Why

    Author: Tamela Hancock MurraySometimes writers feel the need to switch literary agents. When an author approaches me after working with another agent, I always ask why. Most are reticent to let me know. I understand and respect that. We don’t want to gossip or speak poorly of an agent, particularly when that person …The post Two Questions We…
    - 18 days ago, 3 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Write Like Jazz

    Write Like Jazz

    Author: Bob HostetlerYears ago, I was helping a friend brainstorm and outline a book, and at some point in the course of our conversation about writing, I said, “Writing is like jazz.” Both of us were jazz aficionados, so the phrase was apt, and it stuck. He has reminded me of it …The post Write Like Jazz appeared first on The Steve Laube…
    - 19 days ago, 2 Aug 17, 10:00am -
  • Overselling Your Book

    Overselling Your Book

    Author: Dan BalowI recall a television advertisement a few years ago touting a company as “#1 in Chicago.” After seeing the ad a few times, I focused on the fine print at the bottom of the screen and noted the claim was based on a “company conducted internet survey.” I started to …The post Overselling Your Book appeared first on The S…
    - 20 days ago, 1 Aug 17, 10:00am -

Rachelle Gardner

  • Why Pursue Publishing?

    Why Pursue Publishing?

    Sometimes when I open up my email and find the queries exploding all over the place, or I go to a party and random strangers find out I’m an agent and begin pitching me, it makes me get all philosophical. I begin to wonder: Why do so many people want to be published? I think […]The post Why Pursue Publishing? appeared first on Rachelle Gardner…
    - 14 days ago, 7 Aug 17, 1:23pm -
  • That All-Important First Line

    That All-Important First Line

    Let’s talk about the opening line of your book. The first thing to know about “first lines” is that they are not going to make or break you. Sure, it’s a lot of fun coming up with great ones. But as long as the first line makes someone want to read the second line, and […]The post That All-Important First Line appeared first on Rachelle…
    - 19 days ago, 2 Aug 17, 5:23pm -
  • Traditional or Self Publishing?

    Traditional or Self Publishing?

      I’ve got an e-book available on Amazon: How Do I Decide? Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing can help authors figure out which path to take. How Do I Decide? is a concise, definitive resource that will guide you through the decision, allowing you to ignore the noise and hype and focus on the right path for […]The post Traditional or…
    - 16 May 16, 10:55pm -
  • Answering Questions about Queries

    Answering Questions about Queries

    I get mail! My inbox is always filled with questions. Today I’m answering some I’ve received on the topic of Query Letters. You’ve said on your blog, “don’t pitch a novel unless it’s complete.” Do you feel the same about query letters? Do we only query completed works, or are ideas fair game? If you […]The post Answering Questions…
    - 11 Apr 16, 7:18pm -
  • So Many Ideas, So Little Time

    So Many Ideas, So Little Time

    Are you the kind of writer who has several book ideas (or even written several books), possibly in different genres? If so, you may be wondering where to start. Which book should be the first one you write, or pitch to agents and editors? It’s a question worth asking, and you’d do well to put […]The post So Many Ideas, So Little Time appeare…
    - 11 Mar 16, 2:09am -
  • How to Get Published

    How to Get Published

    I get emails every day asking for advice on getting published or getting an agent. This is the post for people needing an entry-level introduction to publishing.   Dear Writer,   Congratulations on your decision to pursue publication. Before approaching literary agents, you’ll need to create the appropriate materials:   → If you’re a non-…
    - 5 Mar 16, 7:00pm -
  • When You’re Missing the Mark

    When You’re Missing the Mark

    Katie asked:   I was wondering, what if I get an agent and she tries to sell two or three of my novels, all in the same genre, and nothing sells. What would happen in this case?   Well Katie, sounds like you and your agent will be at a crossroads and need to make […]The post When You’re Missing the Mark appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.
    - 18 Feb 16, 8:15pm -
  • Valentine to the Publishing Life

    Valentine to the Publishing Life

    In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up this Sunday, I thought I’d wax poetic about what I love in this industry… and in my job. ♥ First of all, I love the way writers, editors, and yes, even agents, are a true community. Competition exists, but it doesn’t get in the way of real relationships. That’s what […]The post Valentine to the…
    - 12 Feb 16, 7:00pm -
  • Nobody Knows Anything

    Nobody Knows Anything

    “Nobody knows anything…… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.” ― William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade I’ve always liked this quote, because it’s so true—and it applies to publishing, too. […]…
    - 10 Feb 16, 3:34am -
  • Avoid this Platform-Building Mistake

    Avoid this Platform-Building Mistake

    Guest Blogger: Ed Cyzewski New authors routinely hear that they should build their marketing platforms by publishing articles in print magazines. There’s one problem with this advice: it rarely helps authors actually sell books. There are exceptions to this, and I’ll get to them. But I’ve spoken to publicists and authors, and examined my own…
    - 7 Feb 16, 11:13pm -
  • Lessons from the Gym

    Lessons from the Gym

    If you know me at all, you probably know I have this annoying little habit of getting out for exercise everyday. Either the gym, or outside for a hike or bike ride. I admit I love my exercise. But not for the reasons you might think. I mean, physical health is important and all, but […]The post Lessons from the Gym appeared first on Rachelle Gar…
    - 4 Feb 16, 11:03pm -
  • Finding Comparable Books

    Finding Comparable Books

    When you’re trying to interest an agent or publisher in your book, you’re often asked to provide “comps” — other books that could be compared to yours, or books that might compete with yours. A good book proposal always has a “Competition” or “Comparable Books” section, and even if you’re self-publishing, it helps if you give […
    - 1 Feb 16, 6:21pm -
  • Focus on Writing the Best Book You Can

    Focus on Writing the Best Book You Can

    It seems in the last few years, dialogue about all-things-publishing has been focused on platform, marketing, increasing output, distribution platforms, technology, and self-publishing.  But I think it’s important to call our attention back to the work.    Two years ago in January 2014, I posted a prediction for the coming year:   “I think…
    - 28 Jan 16, 7:29pm -
  • How to Talk with Publishers and Agents

    How to Talk with Publishers and Agents

    As a literary agent, I love attending conferences and meeting authors. My career is about helping writers share their words with the world, and at conferences I get to sit down with them and spend a few minutes getting to know what they’re passionate about. There’s nothing more rewarding. When I meet with you, my goal […]The post How to Tal…
    - 25 Jan 16, 8:19pm -

C.S. Lakin

  • Thinking about Hiring a Copyeditor?
    What does a good editor do?A good editor will not just point out errors; she explains them, providing you with an education to enable you to perform a stronger rewrite. For instance, if your manuscript includes point-of-view violations—a major reason for fiction rejection—she will offer a thorough explanation of the concept and provide easy-to-…
    - 12 Dec 11, 3:18pm -
  • What's Your Motif?
    Using motifs in writing fiction is one of the most powerful and evocative ways of getting across your themes in your novel. Few authors use them, and few use them well. My favorite novels of all time are ones that use motifs beautifully throughout their novel, and these elements weaving through their stories tend to stay with me for months and year…
    - 12 Nov 11, 5:50pm -
  • Life in the "Fast" Lane
    When I started my fast last week, I really hadn't spent any time researching fasting from a biblical standpoint. Years ago I used to fast for six days every few months as a healthy way to clean out my "system" and it always felt great.But this fast was begun out of desperation. I needed to hear God in my situation, and needed serious intervention.…
    - 5 Jul 11, 2:13am -
  • Father Along ...
    No, that's not a typo. Since Father's Day is approaching, I thought it might be appropriate to discuss fathers. Two of my recently written novels center around the theme of fathers. I didn't really realize that until I started thinking about this post. Since I grew up without a father, it's interesting how God put this topic in my heart in a big wa…
    - 9 Jun 11, 12:38am -
  • Using a Cinematic Lens in Writing a Novel ~ Part 1
    We just covered a few sessions on first scene structure, and there is so much more to that. However, since I'm gearing up to start teaching workshops at conferences this summer and fall on screenwriting-related topics, I thought I'd share some of the techniques I'll be teaching on. In particular, how to utilize camera direction in your novel to mak…
    - 31 May 11, 12:47am -
  • First Scene Essentials ~ Part Two
    To briefly review what I introduced last month, I'll mention the first important elements again (and if you want more elaboration, retrieve that blog entry and peruse it).Some of the main points discussed involved picking just the right starting place to begin your book. This means the story starts in present action, in the middle of something happ…
    - 25 Mar 11, 12:43pm -
  • First Scene Essentials ~ Part One
    Because I read hundreds of first chapters of novels a year as a writing coach and copyeditor, I've been compiling my list of essentials for a first scene. When you think of all you have to accomplish in the first few pages of a novel, you really understand how writing a great first scene requires numerous hours of study, practice, and concentration…
    - 17 Mar 11, 12:41am -
  • Intention as a Theme
    As I begin the upward climb to the big finale of my latest novel, Intended for Harm, I've been dwelling more and more on the themes of the book and how to bring them out in a powerful way. As with all my books, I am prompted to write this particular story because a key idea drives me--whether it be about jealousy, revenge, greed, grief, or betrayal…
    - 1 Feb 11, 4:43pm -
  • Not-so-sudden Flash about Sudden Fiction
    I've been enjoying this strange, intriguing journey of writing short scenes in my new novel, Intended for Harm, inspired by a book I had read many years ago: Palm in the Hand stories by Japanese Nobel laureate Kawabata. When I began plotting out my novel and knew I had to unveil a family drama over a period of forty years, I saw immediately how to…
    - 17 Dec 10, 7:30pm -
  • That Controversial Topic: Word Count
    From time to time I make a comment on Facebook about Word Count. Granted--and I need to get this out of the way first--some authors are under contract. Some very much need to schedule themselves to write a certain amount of words each day in order to meet a pressing deadline. I get that. Although I will still argue that's a skewed way to look at wr…
    - 20 Nov 10, 10:28am -
  • Intended for Harm
    Intended for Harm. That's the title and theme of my new novel. I'm now about fifty thousand words into it, but have only just begun this family saga. As always, I learn a lot as a book progresses. It's as if while I write, its secrets begin to spill out. Not just characters' secrets, but the subtext that probably comes from my subconscious. We are…
    - 16 Nov 10, 10:07pm -
  • Partnering with God in Writing
    Here's the thing. I hear different opinions on this topic, but I've come up with my own intuitive and convicted understanding of how the gift and anointing of God works, at least as it pertains to writing. Perhaps the basic principles apply to other giftings as well.An editing client of mine wrote me last week expressing concern over what she shoul…
    - 13 Oct 10, 3:58am -
  • The Heart of the Story
    I've been pondering lately about what makes a fantastic story, and also thinking a lot about the things Donald Maass discusses in his book The Fire in the Fiction. Because I want very much to reach my readers' hearts with powerful stories that will make them rethink their lives and values, I spend a lot of time considering the themes of the books I…
    - 5 Oct 10, 9:37pm -
  • Microtension adds a FACElift to your writing - Part 3
    I've been discussing the elusive concept of microtension--making every word enticing, every phrase evocative. Microtension makes your novel stand out among a crowd of well-written but mostly prosaic construction. How many times have you read a book that is structured well, has pretty interesting characters, a compelling plot--yet reads flat and sam…
    - 8 Aug 10, 3:20pm -
  • Microtension Gives Your Writing a FACElift
    Thus we move off the theme of themes and into something nebulous that agent Donald Maass touts as essential if you want your book to sizzle. I looked up numerous articles about microtension to see if I could glean more on the topic other than what I heard straight from the master's mouth at his Fire in the Fiction workshop a few months back. As a r…
    - 2 Jun 10, 1:56am -
  • Conundrum
    I feel like I just got off a roller coaster. The ground is still shaky--and so am I. Finishing Conundrum, my ninth novel, was an extremely hard accomplishment. The writing aspects of it weren't any more difficult than my other novels, albeit the many plotlines and timelines were a bit complex. But the emotional journey sure had its ups and downs. B…
    - 28 Jan 10, 6:48pm -
  • Writing Themes-Slicker than Slick

    Writing Themes-Slicker than Slick

    As we continue the topic of using universal themes in writing, here's another movie just chock full of 'em. Not many comedy movies do such a brilliant job of juxtaposing humor with heavy issues, but City Slickers is a gem of an example. Half the time you don't know whether to laugh or cry--if you're paying attention.There are two big themes happeni…
    - 21 Sep 09, 4:55am -
  • More on Writing with Themes-A Little Pig Goes a Long Way

    More on Writing with Themes-A Little Pig Goes a Long Way

    Who would have thought such a simple, small children's book would have become such a blockbuster movie? A lot of children's movies are entertaining and funny for all ages, but Babe excels in a number of ways--not just in the quality of the animation and acting, but because there are some great themes going on here.The most obvious one has to do wit…
    - 8 Sep 09, 12:17am -
  • Continuing on Writing Themes: Nell

    Continuing on Writing Themes: Nell

    Here's an amazing movie. Brilliant on so many levels. The plot itself is wonderful and enough to drive the story. But we see again another story where there is a theme underlying the plot. It's not just about a girl who has spent most of her life in isolation. In Nell, we are put face-to-face with the question about our place in the world--what is…
    - 5 Aug 09, 12:15am -
  • Continuing on with themes in writing: Strictly Ballroom

    Continuing on with themes in writing: Strictly Ballroom

    I can't resist talking about my favorite movie--well, my entire family's favorite movie. We have to get our fix, watching Strictly Ballroom, nearly every time we're all home for a weekend. Although we can mouth and act out every line (can't quite master all the dance steps yet!), we never tire of this movie. We sit, absolutely transfixed, as we wat…
    - 31 Jul 09, 9:57pm -
  • Being Born Upside Down
    [NOTE: this was posted a while back, but I wanted to revisit it]The first time I read the last few pages of G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, my heart pounded in awe. If you haven't gone out and bought a copy after reading the last two posts, I hope you will after reading this one.Most of us are born upside down. I propose God planned that huge metapho…
    - 13 Jun 09, 4:00am -
  • History as Mystery
    As I stare down the imposing novel I am attempting to write, Conundrum, I wield my vorpal sword in hand. Snicker-snack it goes, one two!...oh wait, that's used to fight the Jabberwock, my son... Jabberwocky and many other poems are finding their home in my new novel, an unravelling mystery based upon the bizarre tailings of my father's death in 196…
    - 1 May 09, 7:50pm -
  • Zondervan Contract and Playing Dominoes in Prison with Joseph
    I'm not one to blog much about strictly personal things. My site is more for exploring God, writing, and fantasy. But after twenty years of submitting agented work to publishers, God has kindly dropped a book contract in my hands. It's funny to reflect on this. I had just finished the second fantasy book in my series when I went to ACFW and chatted…
    - 8 Apr 09, 9:08pm -
  • Get on your dancin' shoes and praise the Lord!
    I don't often write in my blog, but I put on my favorite Yes song: Onward (the lyrics are on the left side bar of my blog.) This song is my prayer. The words are simple. When we were living up in the snow, I kept praying to God to lead us to a church where people really praised God--not just halfheartedly sang along with corny cowboy praise songs.…
    - 6 Mar 09, 4:38am -
  • Quotables
    I thought I'd take a break from all the heavy thinking I'm doing while writing Time Sniffers and share some hilarious quotes. Thinking about matter, dark energy, and time travel has got my brain spinning. You'd be surprised at some of the strangely funny things famous people have said. Let's start with Isaac Asimov:People who think they know everyt…
    - 3 Jan 09, 4:29am -

Joe Wikert

  • Amazon's Whole Foods acquisition is about so much more than groceries

    Amazon's Whole Foods acquisition is about so much more than groceries

    Yes, the grocery business is huge. And while it's one of several industries Amazon hasn't yet dominated, there's something way more significant about their acquisition of Whole Foods. This deal is about location, location, location. No, it's not just about...
    - 64 days ago, 18 Jun 17, 8:51pm -
  • Here's how to turn book samples into a powerful B2C tool

    Here's how to turn book samples into a powerful B2C tool

    Book samples are one of the most under-utilized tools in a publisher or author's marketing arsenal. Most consumers will not buy a book without at least flipping through it, so many download samples before making a purchase decision. But how...
    - 19 Mar 17, 5:06pm -
  • Which digital book format has the most growth potential?

    Which digital book format has the most growth potential?

    The answer might surprise you… Amazon’s Kindle format dominates the ebook market today and it’s easy to assume that will remain the case going forward. Despite that fact, I see a number of trends indicating the digital book space could...
    - 12 Feb 17, 6:48pm -
  • Here’s another way digital could complement print

    Here’s another way digital could complement print

    As I’ve said before, the publishing industry needs to get beyond the current “print or digital” mindset and instead explore ways for one to complement the other. Plenty of industry stats show that most readers are comfortable with either format...
    - 8 Jan 17, 6:31pm -
  • “The Content Trap” is the must-read book of the year

    “The Content Trap” is the must-read book of the year

    A recent trip to a local brick-and-mortar bookstore helped me realize that even the best algorithms and email campaigns can’t replace in-person product discovery. I noticed a book called The Content Trap sitting face-out on the shelf and couldn’t resist...
    - 11 Dec 16, 4:45pm -
  • Amazon Rapids and the dumbing-down of reading

    Amazon Rapids and the dumbing-down of reading

    At first I thought it was an SNL parody about ebooks for kids. We’re so addicted to info snacking, seemingly less able (and interested) in focusing on long form reading, so let’s create a new platform that helps foster even...
    - 6 Nov 16, 7:39pm -
  • Here’s a better model for book search and discovery

    Here’s a better model for book search and discovery

    How are you helping consumers find the perfect book for their needs or interests? If you’re like most publishers, you offer a search function on your site. Visitors simply type in a topic and relevant titles from your catalog are...
    - 16 Oct 16, 3:41pm -
  • Google experiments with book discovery…and fails

    Google experiments with book discovery…and fails

    Even though you probably never stray from the Kindle reader app I’d like to encourage you to expand your horizons. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on Apple’s iBooks and Google Play, for example, to explore other platforms...
    - 1 Oct 16, 8:22pm -
  • 2016 Trend Report: What publishers need to know

    2016 Trend Report: What publishers need to know

    The Future Today Institute has created a terrific, free report summarizing key technology trends and what they mean for tomorrow. I’ve embedded the report below so you can quickly flip through it. I read the whole report and highlighted the...
    - 18 Sep 16, 3:22pm -
  • How are you connecting with your customers?

    How are you connecting with your customers?

    The people who actually buy and read books are still mostly nameless and faceless individuals from a publisher’s point of view. This, despite the fact that there are plenty of opportunities for publishers to establish a direct relationship with consumers....
    - 6 Sep 16, 2:02pm -
  • Why shop at a brick-and-mortar bookstore?

    Why shop at a brick-and-mortar bookstore?

    Do you still shop at your local bookstore? I typically go once, maybe twice a year, and the last time for me was December 2015. I made a rare summer visit to my local B&N this weekend in search of...
    - 21 Aug 16, 5:06pm -
  • What can publishers learn from Pokemon Go?

    What can publishers learn from Pokemon Go?

    Long considered nothing more than a gimmicky fad, it turns out that augmented reality (AR) is actually alive and well. At least that’s the case when it’s associated with a brand as large as Pokemon. By now you’ve undoubtedly heard...
    - 7 Aug 16, 2:08pm -
  • The short-form content resurgence

    The short-form content resurgence

    I remember the first time I heard the phrase “info snacking” back in 2007. It was when the Kindle launched and Jeff Bezos said his newfangled device would slow the info snacking trend and enable deeper engagement with content. The...
    - 24 Jul 16, 2:04pm -
  • Agile publishing: Creating better books through transparency

    Agile publishing: Creating better books through transparency

    Trade book publishing is not a complicated process. Publishers acquire the rights to publish new titles primarily through relationships with agents. Once the agreement has been signed, the process from manuscript to shipping is fairly predictable and more or less...
    - 17 Jul 16, 2:53pm -
  • Amazon extends their dominance with Audible Channels

    Amazon extends their dominance with Audible Channels

    Even though they’re gaining momentum I’ve never been a big fan of audio books. Amazon, of course, owns the market with both Audible and Brilliance. Although it didn’t receive a lot fanfare last week, Audible introduced one of the most...
    - 10 Jul 16, 1:30pm -
  • Here’s what book publishers can learn from the podcast model

    Here’s what book publishers can learn from the podcast model

    Did you make the same mistake I did and assume podcasts are yesterday’s platform, that interest in them has plateaued (at best) and they’re not worth thinking about today? If so, here’s a short article that might help you re-think...
    - 26 Jun 16, 6:25pm -
  • Here’s how Siri, Alexa and other IPAs will revolutionize publishing

    Here’s how Siri, Alexa and other IPAs will revolutionize publishing

    For the past several years I’ve been writing about how containers such as books, newspapers and magazines are slowly fading away. They’ll certainly be around for many years but their relevance will slip into the background as personalized, digital content...
    - 12 Jun 16, 12:43pm -
  • Let’s take “Search Inside the Book” to a whole new level

    Let’s take “Search Inside the Book” to a whole new level

    Do you remember when Amazon introduced both “Look Inside” and “Search Inside” functionality for books? They were such simple yet revolutionary features at the time. Before Look/Search Inside it was impossible to do a simple flip test like you could...
    - 5 Jun 16, 4:47pm -
  • Here’s how one question can improve creativity and problem solving

    Here’s how one question can improve creativity and problem solving

    If you only listen to one podcast this week make sure it’s the one embedded below. It’s one of the most inspiring and thought-provoking talks I’ve ever heard. The speaker is Bernard Roth and the talk is from a series...
    - 22 May 16, 8:44pm -
  • This idea is both a consumer feature and a marketing opportunity

    This idea is both a consumer feature and a marketing opportunity

    We take it for granted that when we open our favorite ebook app it automatically jumps right into the last book we were reading. And while that’s handy, I’d like to see at least one other option when I open...
    - 15 May 16, 8:54pm -

Joe Konrath

  • Ebooks Sales Slowing? Yes and No

    Ebooks Sales Slowing? Yes and No

    Joe sez: This blog originally appeared in 2010. It's extremely prescient about the future of ebooks, but that isn't the reason I'm reposting it.I'm reposting because I got my very first DMCA Takedown notice.Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged…
    - 4 Apr 17, 5:33pm -
  • How Good is Good Enough?

    How Good is Good Enough?

    Bear with me while I work out some doubts.Last month I published GRANDMA?, a YA comedy horror novel I wrote with my nineteen year old son, Talon.A lot of the writing was rewriting his prose. He's young, he's still learning, and his stuff wasn't up to the standards I've had since I was first published in 2003.As I was rewriting his scenes, I got to…
    - 16 Feb 17, 7:36pm -
  • Joe's Got a Movie Blog
    Those of you who have been paying attention have probably been wondering why I've only done two blog posts in the last six months.It's because there isn't much more I can say about the publishing industry.From 2005 until 2009, my blog was all about self-promotion, landing an agent and a publishing deal, and working with publishers to make your book…
    - 22 Jan 17, 12:01am -
  • New Konrath Zombie Novel GRANDMA

    New Konrath Zombie Novel GRANDMA

    Randall just wanted to have a fun summer vacation with his family, visiting Grandma at her cabin on a lake in the Wisconsin Northwoods.Then everything went horribly wrong.Join fifteen-year-old Randall, and his younger brother Josh, as they fight for their lives on the eve of an elderly undead apocalypse.GRANDMA? - The Complete NovelShe won't bake y…
    - 16 Jan 17, 6:34pm -
  • Konrath's New Year's Resolutions for Writers 2017
    Every December I do a post about resolutions for writers, and every year I add more of them. They've changed a lot; after all, when I began this, there was no Amazon Kindle, self-publishing was a bad idea, and this blog was for writers eager to find agents and land deals with the Big 6.But a lot of the advice from a decade ago still holds true, so…
    - 15 Dec 16, 7:31pm -
  • Do Ebook Preorders Work? Part 2
    A few months ago I wrote a blog post about preorders. I experimented with three preorder titles, curious as to how they'd perform.Here are some of the topics I addressed back then, and my results.1. Deadlines. I wanted to light a fire under my ass and get some work done. On one hand, why invite extra stress into your life? On the other, consider w…
    - 28 Jun 16, 2:20pm -
  • Last Call is Released!

    Last Call is Released!

    LAST CALL by JA Konrath Now AvailableMy tenth (and last?) Jack Daniels thriller, LAST CALL, is available today in ebook and paper.Fans have been waiting over two years for this conclusion to the Jack Daniels/Luther Kite story. It was a lot of fun to write, and it ties up all of the loose ends from STIRRED and SERIAL KILLERS UNCUT.RUM RUNNER, the ni…
    - 27 Jun 16, 1:11pm -
  • Chasing Publishing Trends

    Chasing Publishing Trends

    It's never wise to chase fads or trends, because by the time you get a product to market, it may be over and you've missed the bandwagon.Unless the product is a book and you self-publish. Then you can write, edit, create cover art, and get three books live in less than three hours.Presenting my latest epic trilogy:JA Konrath Adult Coloring Books!!!…
    - 9 Jun 16, 8:31pm -
  • Permafree

    Permafree

    Whenever I have a chance to bend Amazon's ear, I make a few pitches. The top three always are:I'd like to see cumulative sales figures, for both units and royalties, in KDP and Author Central reports.I'd like to be able to automatically split royalties with co-writers.I'd like the ability to make ebooks permafree.Currently, it's a PITA to make a bo…
    - 6 Jun 16, 2:40pm -
  • Self Publishing my First Audiobook

    Self Publishing my First Audiobook

    I'm pleased to announce that I've begun self-publishing audiobooks. My first, RUM RUNNER, is currently available.What took me so long to self-pub audio?It all began 30 years ago...When I was a sophomore in high school back in halcyon days of 1986, I was flush with cash from my job at Burger King (all about the fryer, baby) and eager to spend my who…
    - 25 May 16, 1:09pm -
  • Fisking Porter Anderson

    Fisking Porter Anderson

    There was so much bad information in this piece, Books’ Prices and Writing’s Value: Careful What We Asked For? by Porter Anderson, including cherry-picking a quote from me. Rather than respond in his comments I went ahead and fisked it.Porter's nonsense in italics, my common-sense replies in bold.“The biggest issue is one that will be diffi…
    - 23 May 16, 5:10pm -
  • Harlequin Settles
    In 2012, Ann Voss Peterson wrote a blog post about Harlequin’s contract terms. TL;DR - Harlequin allegedly leased ebook rights to a company that it also owned, which effectively reduced author royalties from 50% to 3% for contracts signed in 1990-2004. Several months after the blog, a group of authors filed a lawsuit against Harlequin.Since then,…
    - 21 Apr 16, 8:13pm -
  • Do Ebook Preorders Work?

    Do Ebook Preorders Work?

    So I've been trying out Kindle preorder pages for some new books (including my latest horror thriller  WEBCAM, which launches today), experimenting to determine if this is a smart way to run my self-publishing business. Here are the pros and cons I've encountered.Preorder Pros1. Deadlines. I wanted to light a fire under my ass and get some work d…
    - 15 Apr 16, 4:13pm -
  • Webcam
    So my new Jack Kilborn horror novel, WEBCAM, comes out in a few days.It involves a maniac stalking models on the website www.HotSororityGirlsLive.com.For fun, I asked my web designer to put something on that URL. Check it out. :)
    - 6 Apr 16, 10:26pm -
  • New JA Konrath Preorder

    New JA Konrath Preorder

    In my last post, I told you I'm experimenting with ebook pricing.My results have been surprising, to say the least.If you've been a long time follower of this blog, you know that way back in 2009 I advocated for $0.99 ebooks.Years passed, and I pushed prices up to $2.99, then $3.99, and my current Jack Daniels novel, RUM RUNNER, has been performing…
    - 1 Apr 16, 12:06pm -
  • More Advantages to Self-Publishing

    More Advantages to Self-Publishing

    Today my ninth Jack Daniels novel, RUM RUNNER, launches.Incredibly, I haven't released a solo book since 2010, when SHAKEN came out. Got to say, it feels good. And I'm not done with Jack yet. Which brings me to this blog post.On this blog, I've written hundreds of thousands of words touting the advantages of self-publishing over traditional publis…
    - 25 Mar 16, 11:56am -
  • Fisking Lee Child
    I like Lee Child. He's a generous guy, pleasant, smart, and a decent writer.But Lee has aligned himself with the pinheads of Authors United, and though his views differ enough to be considered on their own merits rather than instantly dismissable like the majority of AU alarmism, Child's continued anti-Amazon stance is getting boring.Yes, I know he…
    - 19 Feb 16, 6:33pm -
  • Konrath's Advice For Indie Booksellers
    I just sent out a newsletter to 10,000 people on my mailing list. Some of those people have been on that list since I first started in this biz, back in 2003.I haven't sent out a newsletter since 2014, so I wasn't too surprised to get this reply from an indie bookseller:One of the first rules of marketing is know your audience.It is not the best te…
    - 17 Feb 16, 9:20pm -
  • Attack of the Bibliography!

    Attack of the Bibliography!

    I noticed an Amazon trend a few months ago. Some third party indie publishers were creating Kindle bibliographies for bestselling authors who had a lot of titles.I thought it was interesting, but probably not necessary. Amazon makes it pretty simple for readers to find books. Why should readers have to buy an ebook to get a list of ebooks to buy?Bu…
    - 8 Feb 16, 10:27pm -
  • Book Cover Art Sale

    Book Cover Art Sale

    My cover designer is having a sale on his pre-designed covers, and they're gorgeous.As I've said many times in the past, a great book cover is one of the four essential ingredients to finding readers (the other three being a great book, great description, and reasonable price).If your sales are slumping, one of the things you should look at is your…
    - 31 Jan 16, 3:51pm -
  • Guest Post by Silas Payton

    Guest Post by Silas Payton

    The F-word Authors Should Learn from Rap MusicHip hop, or rap, has done extremely well in the past twenty years and I would argue it is largely because of the F-word. Fans want the F-word, plain and simple, and I'm willing to bet this holds true with writing just as much as with rap music. The F-word I'm referring to is featuring. It's seen after t…
    - 26 Jan 16, 5:01pm -
  • Freedom of Expression?
    A guest post by frequent contributor to this blog, Barry Eisler. I chime in midway.Barry sez: I just learned about an event put on by an organization called New America(formerly The New America Foundation): Amazon’s Book Monopoly: A Threat to Freedom of Expression? Ordinarily, propaganda is something that concerns me, but when it veers this far…
    - 15 Jan 16, 6:26pm -
  • Latest from the Authors Guild
    From the Authors Guild website:January 5, 2016AN OPEN LETTER TO MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN PUBLISHERS FROM THE AUTHORS GUILD, MEMBERS OF THE AUTHORS COALITION, AND MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS FORUMUnfair terms in publishing agreements negatively affect authors’ incomes and even their ability to write at all. That’s the conc…
    - 5 Jan 16, 10:24pm -
  • Pay the Writer?
    I just read a repost on Passive Voice called Pay the Writer. And I disagreed with most of it.Why?Because no one owes me a living.Repeat that to yourself. Say it out loud if you need to.No one owes me a living.A sense of entitlement is a dangerous thing. If you're lucky, you'll find readers. If you're really lucky, you'll make a few bucks.But just b…
    - 3 Jan 16, 10:25pm -
  • Konrath's New Year's Resolutions for Writers
    Every December I do a post about resolutions for writers, and every year I add more of them. They've changed a lot; after all, when I began this, there was no Amazon Kindle, self-publishing was a bad idea, and this blog was for writers eager to find agents and land deals with the Big 6.But a lot of the advice from a decade ago still holds true, so…
    - 28 Dec 15, 8:37pm -

Beth Behler

  • Get Back to Work!

    Get Back to Work!

    Filed under: publishing
    - 7 days ago, 14 Aug 17, 9:12pm -
  • Author Platform: Done It vs Gonna Do It

    Author Platform: Done It vs Gonna Do It

    I read book proposals all day long, and one of the most important parts of the proposal is Author Platform. I need to know is how well I think an author’s book will sell, and that’s where Author Platform comes into play. Author Platforms are a toughie to explain because everyone has different definitions for […]
    - 35 days ago, 17 Jul 17, 12:21pm -
  • Cleverness Has its Limits

    Cleverness Has its Limits

    Dear Authors, There is no bookstore or library category called Hybrid Memoir, so it’s truly unnecessary to label your book as such. Besides, it doesn’t tell me anything. A hybrid of what? And who cares? At the query stage, this is unimportant because it’s not a selling point. Use your gifts of words by showing […]
    - 39 days ago, 13 Jul 17, 5:24pm -
  • If You’re Gonna Write It, Know It!

    If You’re Gonna Write It, Know It!

    Authors, one of the most important things you owe your readers is to be unimpeachable. That’s shorthand for know what you’re talking about. If you make a mistake, you’ll lose the reader’s trust. If you lose their trust, you may find your book skittering against the walls, removing the paint.  That’s a bad thing. And […]
    - 60 days ago, 22 Jun 17, 7:43pm -
  • Marketing Your Book – Think Outside the Box

    Marketing Your Book – Think Outside the Box

    Recently, I had the honor of talking to a talented friend who is self-pubbing his book and wanted to send me a copy. I was so pleased that he’d think of me! I asked him if he planned on doing any signings, and he indicated he didn’t think there would be enough interest. Considering his […]
    - 71 days ago, 11 Jun 17, 2:27pm -
  • What’s Your Weekend Look Like?

    What’s Your Weekend Look Like?

    Rush thee to the bookstore and pick up copies of our amazing books. Your soul will thank you. Filed under: publishing
    - 74 days ago, 8 Jun 17, 3:19pm -
  • Using Your Foreword as a Selling Point in Queries

    Using Your Foreword as a Selling Point in Queries

    There are many ways you can sabotage your query letter – of which I have blabbered about for the past fourteen years (gah! Has it been that long?). But I encountered a new one today; pushing the bio of the person who wrote your Foreword. Huh? What concerns me is that authors are putting their […]
    - 77 days ago, 5 Jun 17, 1:39pm -
  • THE CHICKEN WHO SAVED US: Fabulosity Ensues

    THE CHICKEN WHO SAVED US: Fabulosity Ensues

      Huge congrats to our beautiful author, Kristin Jarvis Adams, for snaring the cover story at King5 News for her incredible story about a gravely ill little boy and the chicken who save them all. If that wasn’t lovely enough, 500 books flew out the door at four Seattle Costcos. Yup, sold out. In five […]
    - 87 days ago, 26 May 17, 2:15pm -
  • Riding the Fence – Indecision at Your Own Peril

    Riding the Fence – Indecision at Your Own Peril

    There’s something that’s been ricocheting around my pea-sized brain for a while, and it has to do with Riding the Fence…as in, “Do I wanna self-publish, or do I wanna go with a publisher?” This makes my teeth itch, and I’ll tell you why. Time Suck I had an experience recently where the author was […]
    - 11 May 17, 10:29pm -
  • More Warped Editor Humor – We’re a Sick Lot

    More Warped Editor Humor – We’re a Sick Lot

    BAHAHAHA! Um….sorry. I’m pathetic, I know this.Filed under: publishing
    - 10 May 17, 12:33pm -

Cec Murphy

  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 15 of 16)
    Dropping or keeping the final e in words can be troublesome. Many words end with a silent e— brave, move, late, rinse. The general rule is to drop the final e when you add endings that begin with a vowel. Advise + able = advisable.Guide + ance = guidance.Force + able = forcible. If the final silent e is followed by an ending that begins with a co…
    - 6 days ago, 15 Aug 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 14 of 16)
    Let’s look at sentences that begin with there is or there was. I suggest you avoid using that construction for three reasons. 1. It adds nothing to the value of the sentence. 2. It makes sentences longer. (And today, the rule is short sentences, or bite-sized.) 3. Using that construction means you put the verb before the subject, which i…
    - 13 days ago, 8 Aug 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 13 of 16)

    - 20 days ago, 1 Aug 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 12 of 16)
    Almost as bad is the difference between rise and raise. One way to help is remind yourself that raise is usually transitive. That means a direct object (noun or pronoun) follows. Rise is intransitive (no direct object following). If you can substitute “get up” or “go up” for rise, you know you’re right. Raise means lift or cause to go up.…
    - 27 days ago, 25 Jul 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 11 of 16)
    Lie and lay are probably the most troublesome and wrongly used words I see regularly (or hear in conversation). As you probably heard in school, lie means to recline; lay means to put. Here are two simple rules. 1. If you will remember the principal parts of the verb (present, past, and past participle), you can’t go wrong. They are…
    - 34 days ago, 18 Jul 17, 11:00am -
  • Common Problems (Part 10 of 16)
    Is it until? Till? ‘Til? That’s an easy one to remember: Till and ‘Til are both acceptable today, but many of us still prefer until.What about beside and besides? Both are prepositions but with different meanings; they’re not interchangeable. Beside means at the side of or close to. Besides means in addition to. Here are examples of the cor…
    - 41 days ago, 11 Jul 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 9 of 16)
    While teaching a class recently, I used the word antecedent. Two people looked confused. We writers (and especially editors) throw that word around quite a bit. We usually ask, “What is the antecedent?” Here’s a simple answer: An antecedent is a noun which is replaced by a pronoun. Sometimes antecedent stands for a group of words that…
    - 48 days ago, 4 Jul 17, 11:00am -
  • Common Usage Problems (Part 8 of 16)
    Do you have options or alternatives? I’m amazed that people have trouble over this one, but they do. Here’s the rule as simply as I know to phrase it. When you have several ideas on how to do something, that means you have options. If you have only one possibility, it’s an alternative. One expert says to think of the “o” in optio…
    - 55 days ago, 27 Jun 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 7 of 16)
    What’s the difference between a while (two words) and awhile (one)? Here’s the rule: A while is an article and a noun and normally comes after the preposition for. When you use two words, you’re going to use a noun and refer to a period of time. Example: It has been a while since I saw you. You could substitute another article-noun, such as a…
    - 62 days ago, 20 Jun 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 6 of 16)
    A trend today, and I hear newscasters say this regularly, is as to. That’s an awkward expression and it’s better to say, about. Instead of “As to the situation in Central Park,” try, “About the situation in Central Park.”A friend said, “I have no idea as to where I want to eat.” It would have been better if he had said, “I have no…
    - 69 days ago, 13 Jun 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 5 of 16)
    Many writers aren’t sure of the difference between among and between. Both are prepositions. Among always implies three or more; between refers to two people or groups. Another way is to use among when you refer to things that aren’t distinct items or individuals. Mary had to choose between Harvard and Yale; Yves chose among the universities in…
    - 76 days ago, 6 Jun 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 4 of 16)
    Eldest or oldest? What’s the difference? Both words refer to those greater in age. The difference is that eldest can be used only to related individuals, such as, “Jack is my eldest living relative.” Oldest is more general and fits most situations. Either word, however, must refer to two or more. It grates on me when someone refers to “my o…
    - 83 days ago, 30 May 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 3 of 16)
    Reflexive pronouns trouble some writers. Some, who don’t know grammar but try to act knowledgeable, often use sentences like “He gave the money to Maggie and myself.” The person should have said, “Maggie and me.” The incorrect usage is because the speaker probably doesn’t understand reflexive pronouns. Here’s the rule: Whenever we use…
    - 90 days ago, 23 May 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 2 of 16)
    All ready (2 words) is a phrase that means completely prepared. We’ve finished lunch and we’re all ready to leave. Michael hooked up my computer so I’m all ready to start typing my manuscript. Already is always an adverb and refers to something that happened before a certain time. Doesn’t every American city already have the Internet? The…
    - 97 days ago, 16 May 17, 11:00am -
  • Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 1 of 16)
    In this series, I want to point out problems many writers face (and their incorrect usage). We’ll start with adopt and adapt. Most writers have no problem with adopt, which means to take something as your own. Adapt means to change. If your book is sold to the movies, the producers used to list the title and byline and then add, “adapted by .…
    - 9 May 17, 11:00am -
  • Life Hands You a Platform
    This post from Dan Balow first appeared on the Steve Laube Agency blog. It's used here with Dan's permission.* * * * *Every writer’s conference or gathering includes at least one presentation about developing or maintaining an author-marketing platform.Social Media, public speaking, blogging, newsletters…everything working together to establish…
    - 2 May 17, 11:00am -
  • Selling Self, Selling Ideas, Selling Books
    This article first appeared in MediaWise, publicist Don Otis's newsletter. It's reposted here with his permission.* * * * *One of the questions I am asked most frequently is, “Do interviews help sell books?” My answer is always the same, “Sometimes.” This is clearly not the answer most people want to hear. Publicity is not a hard science; i…
    - 25 Apr 17, 11:00am -
  • Remove the Barriers in Fiction

    - 18 Apr 17, 11:00am -
  • What Do You Want to Write? (Part 5 of 5)
    Let your genre choose you. That probably sounds strange, but I believe that each serious writer has potential to do well in at least one area. And there are any number of ways you let the genre choose you. I’ve previously mentioned your passion and asking writer friends. I’m a serious Christian and I pray daily for my writing. I began to write…
    - 11 Apr 17, 11:00am -
  • What Do You Want to Write? (Part 4 of 5)
    If you have a narrow focus, be careful. Once you start publishing books in one genre, you’re branded. If you’re a novelist, it’s difficult to move into nonfiction. Your fan base stays with you because you write in the area where they want to read. If you switch, they probably won’t, and it means starting over again. When I think along that…
    - 4 Apr 17, 11:00am -
  • What Do You Want to Write? (Part 3 of 5)
    My fourth suggestion is experiment. Try writing in various fields. If you’re serious about fiction, try nonfiction. The idea of attempting a wide variety of writing helped me narrow my focus. I wrote a few children’s stories, and other authors helped me to realize that they were, at best, satisfactory. Too many writers seem to feel they’ll im…
    - 28 Mar 17, 11:00am -
  • What Do You Want to Write? (Part 2 of 5)
    You know what you want to write because of your passion for the topic or the genre. Good start. Sometimes we’re blinded by our commitment or zeal and aren’t aware that we might have aptitude for a different field.My third suggestion is talk with other writers and show them your material. Approach them by asking their help figuring out where you…
    - 21 Mar 17, 11:00am -
  • What Do You Want to Write? (Part 1 of 5)
    As we move into writing seriously, we need to answer that question for ourselves. Some individuals know exactly what they want to see in print and don’t deviate or try anything new. But if you’re like I was when I started, I wanted to write on nine or ten different topics. If you’re not sure (or even if you are, consider a few sugg…
    - 14 Mar 17, 11:00am -
  • Waiting (Part 4 of 4)
    Steve Laube wrote this post and gave his permission to use it here. * * * * *Waiting for Your MoneyWhen I became an agent I didn’t know I’d become a Collections Agent…not just a Literary Agent. Getting paid can take time (i.e. waiting).Waiting for the “on signing” advance — normally the publisher will take a full 30 days before issuing…
    - 7 Mar 17, 12:00pm -
  • Waiting (Part 3 of 4)
    This post is written by Steve Laube and is reprinted with his permission.* * * * *Waiting for Your EditorYou met your deadline. And then you wait.Months.And you begin wondering if anyone is reading the manuscript at all!This is actually quite typical. The publisher needs to have the manuscript in hand to know that it actually has been written. But…
    - 28 Feb 17, 12:00pm -

Debra Benton

  • No. 133 – The Downside to Success

    No. 133 – The Downside to Success

    A caution about your pouring your heart into your “art”: it will spark jealousy. Surprisingly one of the toughest parts of success is finding a colleague happy for you. But as they say, “Anyone can get pity. Jealousy you have to earn.” Following the advice in my blog might cause you some trouble. When you […]
    - 82 days ago, 31 May 17, 10:22pm -
  • No. 132 – Every Decision is a Calculated Risk

    No. 132 – Every Decision is a Calculated Risk

    Don’t wallow in indecision. Problems are solved by making decisions; problems are avoided by making good decisions. The sooner you make a decision, the sooner you benefit from it. The earlier you make a bad decision, the sooner you can correct it. The unanimous response from CEOs and C-level executives when I’ve asked the question, […]
    - 88 days ago, 25 May 17, 1:14pm -
  • No. 131- Do You Take Calculated Risks for Career Advancement?

    No. 131- Do You Take Calculated Risks for Career Advancement?

    I’m not asking for utter fearlessness and risk without thinking. Just “go for it” a little more and more often than you have in the past—and more often than others do. If you hold back, you’ll get into a rut, slip behind, fade out of sight, and sink into the sameness of the people around […]
    - 96 days ago, 17 May 17, 1:30pm -
  • No. 130 – Why is a Positive Attitude Important?

    No. 130 – Why is a Positive Attitude Important?

    It’s human nature to gravitate toward people, information, or places that imply a happier outlook. You provide that outlook for yourself, one that no one can take away. Frankly, few of us have any justification for the negative, pessimistic perspective that we let ourselves get bogged down with. No matter what you’re going through that’s [……
    - 10 May 17, 1:36pm -
  • No. 129 – How to Act Self-Confident

    No. 129 – How to Act Self-Confident

    To help with confidence development, simply try “acting confident” to the outside world, practicing how it feels. The outside “show” helps the inside “take.” It’s okay to display confidence you don’t feel, to take a leap of faith. Pretending is not faking or hiding weaknesses. It’s playing the part you want to achieve. When I [……
    - 4 May 17, 3:54pm -