The Most Important Thing I Learned as an Author

Very early in my writing career, I attended a large conference on the West Coast. One of the panels lined up representatives from 5 publishers, some of the largest houses in the world beside some of the most highly regarded smaller houses.
One question came up from the audience about pitches. The attendee said, “I’ve heard I’m supposed to put sales information and comparisons in my pitch. But what exactly are you looking for and where can I find that information?”
The first response from a pubishing executive at a large house was, “I don’t know but perhaps someone else can answer this.”
The acquisitions editor from the smaller house said, “I don’t know either.”
And so on down the line.
Yes, every one of the five individuals responsible for finding the next gem in the slush pile said, “I don’t know.”
One tried to be helpful by adding, “But I know it when I see it.”
Well, you might have guessed that the mood in the room grew very ugly. The remainder of the 45-minute session was spent blasting the panel with outrage or asking ever-more sarcastic questions about how on earth authors were supposed to break in if even the folks at the top didn’t know what they were looking for in a pitch.
I was as angry as the rest. WTF, anyway?
Soon after that conference, I calmed down. I realized the most important lesson in my career:
You must know the market before you approach publishers and agents. You must hold their hands and guide them through the process of understanding why your book is a good financial risk for them to take.
You are the best advocate for your own work. Own it, and own your skill.

Job at Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) seeks a talented Senior Vice President who can develop and implement high-level communications and public awareness strategies and marketing and public policy initiatives. Experience with digital media is a strong plus. S/he will oversee the creation of all written collateral, including speeches, op-eds, and marketing materials.
Additionally, s/he will be responsible for identifying “strategic placement opportunities” for CPB to showcase its expertise and to influence ongoing dialogue around issues that are most important to CPB in local, national, and global communities. Ideal candidates will have worked with key government leaders in the legislative and executive branches.


Ten to fifteen years’ experience in a high-level leadership position in a related field.
Significant experience developing and communicating strategies for achieving business objectives, planning, organizing, and managing multiple priorities; developing and managing projects and budgets; and applying resources strategically to achieve significant, measureable impact.
Demonstrated staff management experience with strong leadership skills reflecting the ability to hire, motivate, develop, and lead others, resolve conflicts, and ensure the achievement of results through effective change processes, continuous improvement, and performance management.
Excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as advanced advocacy capabilities, including speechwriting, making effective presentations, and negotiation.
Intellectual curiosity and demonstrated “idea to action” experience.
A high level of confidence, integrity, political savvy, decisiveness, and a professional executive presence for interacting with key leadership, decision-makers, and stakeholders.
A demonstrated ability to establish credibility, to influence others, to navigate disagreement and achieve consensus, to forge ambitious goals, and inspire others to work together to achieve them.
Excellent interpersonal skills for building and fostering key internal and external business relationships, as well as the ability to lead and perform effectively in a team-oriented environment in which collegial relationships are as important as lines of authority.
The ability to be results-oriented while balancing varying and sometimes contradictory business factors is critical, as well as the ability to demonstrate good judgment and critical thinking at both the strategic and functional levels.
Excellent computer skills (proficient In MS Office).
Must be able to travel.

Job at Other Press

Other Press seeks an Associate Publicist or Publicist with a track record of delivering successful PR campaigns to join our ambitious and growing team. Responsibilities include: planning and executing publicity campaigns for fiction and nonfiction titles; pitching and securing top national and local media, including print, television, online and radio; writing press materials, researching media contacts, updating media lists; and coordinating multi-city book tours and appearances. The ideal candidate will possess exceptional writing, communication, organizational and social media skills, attention to detail, and ability to juggle a multitude of tasks. Candidate should be detail oriented and highly motivated, with a deep knowledge of highly trafficked blogs, and new media platforms. Minimum of 1-2 years related experience required at Associate Publicist level; minimum of 2 years related experience at Publicist level. High priority will be given to candidates with strong interest and/or experience publicizing literary fiction. Bachelor’s degree required.
To apply, click here.

Book Review: The Manuel of Detection by Jedediah Berry

I enjoyed this because the concept is so unique. A very surreal read. However, around page 200 the concept lost its appeal. I skimmed the remainder of the book just to see how it ended, and wasn’t terribly impressed with the climax but it was a fun read overall.
3 stars.

Why Authors Should Join Writing Groups

One of the best things you can do for your career is to get together with a feedback group.
This provides you with connections with other authors who are as serious as you are.
It’s not necessary for them to be in the same genre. It is critical that they be as passionate and hardworking as you so you can support each other.
And don’t be afraid to drop out of a group filled with folks who claim they are writers but who never write. Nothing puts out the spark faster than realizing that your writer’s group is just a coffee klatch.

Job at Parragon

Parragon International, a leading global publisher of illustrated nonfiction books and creator of gifts, games and toys, is looking for a highly organized Administrative Assistant to proactively support the Senior Sales Manager for Latin America.
We’re looking for a dynamic highly motivated team player, who wants to both learn about and assist in representing Parragon in the burgeoning Latin American Book and Consumer Products market.
Click here for details.

Job at Workman Publishing

Workman Publishing is an independent publisher of award-winning cookbooks, children’s books, parenting/pregnancy guides, as well as high-end gift books, fiction, gardening, humor, country living, and calendars. Seeks a proactive, detail-oriented project manager who can effectively run multiple web projects from inception through completion. The ideal candidate will drive projects forward, anticipate needs, facilitate communication between freelance developers, designers, and in-house staff and oversee the work of the web manager.
Click here for more details.