Monthly Archives: February 2014

B&N Exclusives Program

Several years ago, Barnes & Noble launched a program that offers exclusive content to readers. Often the project rereleased books with additional content like author comments that were available only through B&N.

Now the program is really taking flight with exclusive content for teen and tween readers. The extra content extends the storyline, provides more backstory, and answers readers’ questions. The books under this banner are receiving exclusive marketing campaigns and in-store signage and enhanced placements.


Publishing Trend: Content Bind-up

Bind-ups, collections of previously published short fiction, novellas, and the like, is being viewed in a new way. Before, publishers released collections as an afterthought, mostly as a way to enhance sales or increase revenue using items from their existing catalogues.

Now, publishers are realizing that ebooks are offering new ways to engage with books. Waterbrook Multnomah is releasing three novellas in a single book as an experiment. HarperCollins Christian Publishing is revamping a series by releasing a series specifically under this format. A Year of Weddings will come out every three months with seasonal themes; each release will bind together three novellas.

Publishers are reaching into new arenas by recasting old ideas. They aren’t dead yet…not by a long shot.

New Agent Assisted Publishing Option

Literary agent Steve Laube has bought the Christian sci-fi publisher Marcher Lord Press. Open since 2008, the press has a backlist of 40 titles. Laube plans to release 4 to 8 titles per year through Marcher Lord.

Self-Pub Unit Closes

WinePress Publishing, a Christian self-pub company, has closed. It was plagued recently with complaints from authors and accusations of fraud. It has directed its authors to try Amazon for republishing their books.

When you’re deciding which printer or self-publisher to use for your books, be sure to check out the company closely or rely on a referral from someone in the industry or a fellow author. Keep your intellectual material and your career safe from this kind of upheaval, and avoid any interruption in your efforts to reach readers.

Book Agent Info

Connect with an agent and work on your book at the Texas Writing Retreat. Held August 5-10 near Houston, you’ll have an opportunity to connect with Elizabeth Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. This five-night writing retreat is all-inclusive (food, drinks, and board) with the attendees limited to 7 to 15.

Book Agent Info

Connect with agents face to face at the Missouri Writers Guild Conference April 25-27 in St. Louis, MO. Meet with Ken Sherman of Ken Sherman & Associates, Laura Biagi of Jean V. Naggar Literary, Sorche Fairbank of Fairbank Literary, or Gina Pantettieri of Talcott Notch.

Book Trailer Effectiveness

The importance of book trailers can’t be understated. Video has proven effective in boosting blog followers and selling products of all kinds. Books can connect with more readers when a trailer is created for that particular book.

They don’t have to be fancy. Even a simple trailer can increase a reader’s likelihood of buying by 5 times. Sales can increase as much as 64%, and 90% of viewers find videos useful when making their purchasing decisions.

For help with your trailer, contact Kristen Eckstein at Imagine! Studios. Tell her Laine Cunningham sent you! She does a fantastic job for all my clients.

New Book Awards

Bookslut has launched a new award that intends to right past wrongs.

The editor feels that the Pulitzer and the National Book Awards have often (if not always) gone to the wrong book. The reason is because it takes years if not decades for a book’s true impact to be felt.

You can submit your own nominations for books published in 1963 that truly deserve an award by emailing the editor at

How Many Agents Should an Author Query?

Authors who are interested in submitting to a traditional publisher often ask about the best route. I recommend that authors query agents first. Whenever you approach a publisher yourself, you are closing the door for an agent to submit on your behalf with that publisher. So spend some time looking for an agent before you submit to publishers.

The question then becomes, how many agents should I query before shifting to publishers? Generally I recommend no less than 50. It is actually more difficult to get an agent than a publisher these days. Because they can do so much for an author, though, it is worth the effort.

Authors who have been picked up by traditional houses often recommend 80 queries! This is because an agent’s opinion can be as subjective as that of an acquisitions editor. So don’t give up after a dozen or so. If finding that number of agents sounds too tiresome, consider an agent list tailored to your needs. Writer’s Resource offers lists generated anew for each person (and even each book) that average 60 to 80 agent names. Some lists produce over 100 names for authors working in popular categories. Visit the website and look at the Agent tab for more info.

What Makes an Author a Professional?

Recently author Brian Klems offered his opinion on the difference between professional authors and amateurs. He pointed out that patience is one difference, which fits with one of my top tips: be persistent. Publishing is not a race. No matter whether you’re indie or with a traditional house, marketing and outreach take time.

Another difference he noted was focus. It’s fine to work on several projects at once but something at some point has to be finished…otherwise the author will never have anything to send out. Whenever clients ask me about how best to achieve success with a work they’re writing, I tell them to finish the manuscript. Once it’s in a fixed format, any problem can be fixed. Until it’s on the page, it is very difficult to address problems, even ones you know are there. Finish first, then shift your focus to fine tuning the draft.

Book Agent Info

Some top agents will be at the Houston Writer’s Guild Conference April 12 in Houston, TX. Eddie Schneider of Jabberwocky Literary, Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron & Associates, and Jennifer Udden of Donald Maass Literary will be on hand to hear author’s pitches.

If you need help with your spoken pitch, a query letter, or other pitch items, connect with me today!

Ebook Pricing: $200 and Up

Most ebooks tend to be priced around $3.99 for self-published works and $9.99 for traditionally published works. Occasionally there is the need to price an ebook at a higher point.

The idea is that the information contained in the books is from a specialized arena. Accessing the information requires research and expertise beyond a usual layperson’s reach. Thus the content is worth more when it is compiled into an ebook.

Some examples include Moroccan Math Secrets at $200 and Quay Walls at $247.96. If you’re a public speaker or have specialized knowledge, consider producing an ebook that you can price above the usual market rate for fiction and mainstream nonfiction. The income you generate could be well worth the effort.