Monthly Archives: December 2013

Are You in the Kindle Top 100?

Amazon reported that about 25% of all top 100 Kindle books came from indies. The term indie includes small publishers as well as self-published authors.

Getting your title into Amazon’s top 100 requires that you understand how the algorithms work. If you need help with this or are looking to boost your marketing efforts to achieve Amazon top 100 bestseller status, Writer’s Resource can help. Clients have achieved this goal with a single, carefully selected marketing push!

Make 2014 the year YOUR book hits the bestseller list!

New Adult Tumblr

Simon & Schuster launched a new social media community called The Hot Bed for New Adult books, authors and readers. The community will be featured on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. The Tumblr page will feature a hot reads review segment with a chill chart rating the raciness of the content.

Book Agent Info

Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency represents literary and commercial fiction, YA fiction, and select nonfiction. Nonfiction interests include memoirs as well as authors with a strong platform in current affairs, history, education, or law.

Self-pub Serves Fiction Authors

Bowker found that most authors looking into self-publishing are going to bring fiction to the market. That makes sense because only 25% of the titles produced by traditional publishers are fiction. When so small a door is open to authors, they have to turn to other avenues if they want to reach readers.

Oddly, though, readers polled by various organizations say they prefer reading fiction at a rate of 77% to 78%, leaving a very small number that prefer reading nonfiction.

It seems that indie publishers are giving readers what they want.

Front Matter: When It Matters

There’s some confusion about when to include front matter and when to leave it out. First, here’s a list of the usual items defined as front matter:

Half Title Page — Which includes the title of the book.

Title Page — The title, any subtitle, author’s name, and publisher’s name

Copyright Page

Copyright Acknowledgments — For reprinted material or material reproduced from the original with permission

Colophon — Production notes about typefaces, name and address of the printer

Dedication — The single most important person/people the author wants to thank!

Table of Contents

Foreword — This is usually written by someone other than the author, often a professional in the field. It usually is used only in nonfiction but an important novel that has already seen success might at times have a foreword

Preface — Often the story of how the book came about

Epigraph  A poem, quotation, or phrase that sets the tone for the book’s message or theme

Prologue  Written by the narrator or a character in the story; must be used carefully as it is often viewed as a weak choice

Acknowledgments — All those folks who helped the author in some way

Introduction — Written by the author to define the purpose and goals of the book

Nearly always, authors will not include any of this material when approaching agents or publishers. The frequent exceptions are the epigraph (fiction or nonfiction) and the table of contents (nonfiction only), the prologue (fiction only) and the foreword (usually only nonfiction).

If you are self-publishing, you do not need to submit this material to your editor. You do need to include it with your manuscript when you send everything to the interior designer.

Note that more ebooks are moving nearly all of the front matter to the rear of the book. This allows a reader to jump right into the work. Readers are also much more likely to read through the materials after they’ve had a satisfactory experience with the book’s content.

Will B&N Survive?

Recently Len Riggio, chairman of B&N, sold 2 million of his shares. Does this mean he thinks the bookseller will follow Borders’ demise?

That’s unclear. Although any chairman who sells off massive amounts of stock usually seems to signal a lack of faith in the company, Riggio claims he did it for tax planning. It is the end of the year, after all.

Interestingly, he also donated 160,000 shares to The Riggio Foundation, a nonprofit that spent $20 million rebuilding homes in New Orleans. That could mean he wants the nonprofit to benefit from the shares. It could be too that he thinks the foundation can take that hit if the shares tank.

At this point, it’s clear that readers are turning to independent bookstores in numbers greater than ever. In part they recognize the value of hand-selling, and appreciate the service that comes from local, small stores. Between that and Amazon, B&N might have to revamp its approach or prepare for the end.

Book Agent Info

Chelsea Lindman of Sanford Greenberger Associates looks for playful literary fiction, upmarket crime fiction, and forward thinking or boundary-pushing nonfiction. Also reps a select list of children’s book authors whose stories have an emphasis on voice-driven narratives.

Definition of High Concept

While looking at agents and publishers, you might come across the term high-concept.

A high-concept novel has a plotline (and possibly thematic elements) that can be summed up in a single line. It’s going to have a broad appeal (read: mainstream or commercial) and will offer something unique.

So it’s a tricky interplay of immediately recognizable, familiar enough in terms of a specific, clear market, while also being unique enough to spark interest with a broad number of readers.

If you need help with your tagline (that tricky single sentence that pitches your book, high-concept or not), feel free to visit Writer’s Resource’s website for information on assistance with your tagline.

Trends: Novella

Recently there’s been some chatter about novellas. For a long time, novellas were shunned by all but literary publishers. Too short, it seemed, translated into too little interest by readers. Of course, there was the biggest problem: novellas were not terribly economical to print. That impacts the bottom line, and that means more pushback from publishers.

The trend has been increasing judging by what I’ve been hearing from agents and publishers alike. They want longer books (fiction and nonfiction), and the 50,000 word minimum is being held to more strongly than ever before. This makes sense in a time when publishers are trying to trim every penny to enhance their waning profits.

But organizations that have been keeping tabs on self-publishing are questioning this wisdom. They note that when publishers do take on novellas, they are marketing them as novels so as not to undermine the work in readers’ eyes. Also, they’ve noted that genre works are seeing success as novellas.

This is in part due to self-publishing successes. Authors write what they write…they honor the story itself without having to worry much about lengths and economies of scale if they are self-publishing. Readers are interested in the story, not whether it’s long or short, or which publisher it might have come from.

Novellas, then, might find that they will receive a greater amount of respect from traditional publishers in the future. This will take a year or more to sink in, though. For now, consider your length when approaching traditional publishers. Aim for that 50K minimum to ensure you aren’t rejected on length alone.