Monthly Archives: August 2013

Mystery Bookstore Mystery Crime

Kate Birkel, owner of Mystery Bookstore in Omaha, Nebraska glimpsed the man who burglarized her store as he fled. Birkel said that  “the biggest mystery was a thief breaking into a bookstore to find money.”

Book Giveaway

I’m giving away 10 copies of my first nonfiction book Seven Sisters: Spiritual Messages from Aboriginal Australia through Goodreads. An excerpt from this book won an award in 2012 for inspirational writing from a women’s magazine. The giveaway ends August 31 so click here to register to win. Scroll down to the Win A Copy of This Book section and enter. Good luck!


The Washington Post Sale to Amazon’s Bezos

The past weeks have seen so much chatter about Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s top dog, buying the Washington Post newspaper. On the shrill side, folks are claiming he’ll use the paper to cement Amazon’s position in the halls of the White House. The warm-and-fuzzy side points out that since Bezos (not Amazon) bought the paper, perhaps he’s interested in shoring up a venerable institution that serves the public good.

Of course it’s far too early to tell. But this purchase is part of a trend. Over the past months, many independently wealthy individuals have purchased some of the country’s top newspapers. Many of these purchases turn the newspapers private.

That’s a critical element. Whenever a company goes private, it is no longer chained by law to focus on shareholder profit. Newspapers have always been a true community service. Yes, they need to make money and yes, they carry advertisements. But the content has always been based on a specific set of interests. Even papers that put out national editions provide content that has a particular flavor for a particular subscriber base.

Considering this recent shift, newspapers might actually be on the mend.

Harry Potter Annual Celebration

J.K. Rowling’s fans (the wizardly ones, anyway) are getting their own annual festival. Warner Bros. and Universal Orlando Resort will host the first Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme parks in late January of 2014.

For three days, Harry Potter’s books and films will be celebrated. Events feature Q&As with talent and filmmakers, and presentations on things like the art of dueling at a wand masterclass.

How Long Should a Novel’s Chapters Be?

Chapter breaks are an important moment in a novel. They provide the reader with more time to breath before plunging ahead into the next chapter. They serve much the same function as scene breaks but do so in a bigger way.

And so there’s always the question, How long should a chapter be? The answer can depend on the kind of book you’re writing. Generally, however, 8 to 10 pages is about the norm.

Some authors will go shorter…much shorter, using as few as 4 pages per chapter. There should be a reason to go this short, though. The pacing should be lightning fast, the plot straightforward, and possibly even multiple shifts in POV characters. Otherwise you risk shaking readers too far out of the fictional world with too many pauses.

Wisdom from World’s Bestselling Indie Author Bob Mayer

I’ve long told my clients that passion is one of the key components to becoming a successful writer. You can’t win this game if you stop writing. Rejections, slow sales, trouble finding the time to write, and the rest of the problems must be countered by your passion.

]Here’s a great quote from Bob Mayer that says the same thing:

One lesson I learned is for every 50 things you try, only one will happen. But you have to try the 50.


More on Agent Assisted Publishing

Amazon offers a White Glove publishing service. In this program, your agent works directly with Amazon to publish your book.

I wrote not too long ago about agent-assisted publishing, and this is just another incarnation of the same process. You might end up walking this road if the traditional publishers reject your agent’s efforts to place your book. But again, you end up with the agent as your book’s advocate.

On this road, you don’t travel alone. That in and of itself can be a boost to your passion. The fact that it can also boost your career sweetens the deal.

Inspiration and Tips from Bestselling Authors

Here’s a link to a great roundup of inspiration and tips from bestselling authors like Anne Rice and David Morrell. There is also wisdom from agents and acquisitions editors.

My favorite: “Write the book that only you can write.”

Barnes & Noble is Good for Amazon…and Readers

Leonard Riggio, the original founder of Barnes & Noble, is considering buying up the stores and taking them private. He’s thinking about the move because bookstores are still a sound business.

One of the biggest surprises in the constant battle between brick-and-mortar stores and the e-giant Amazon is that after Borders failed, sales of e-books immediately fell. Analysts think it’s because with fewer opportunities to browse, readers just aren’t going to buy as many books.

Congratulate your local bookstore owner with a cup of coffee, a chocolate truffle…and a new sale.

Agent-Assisted Publishing: The Latest Shift in Traditional Book Publishing

Lately the news has been covering quite a number of agent-assisted books that have sold well. Agent-assisted publishing might sound repetative…after all, doesn’t an agent get authors published with traditional houses?

Yes, and nowadays agents are doing more. If they are unable to place a client with a publisher, they might funnel that client into their own publishing unit. The agent doesn’t become the publisher; they simply help the author self-publish.

The benefits to this kind of self-publishing are many. Agents have long done much more for authors than simply sell their books. They are fantastic advocates with the media and (when appropriate) colleges or other organizations that might offer paid speaking engagements. The agents can often boost sales for the author in a way that the writer could not do himself through regular self-publishing methods.