Tag Archives: novel

Taking a Hiatus to Serve Your Writing

Just like many of you, I am constantly working on book projects…novels, nonfiction, and marketing of the books that have already been published. While I usually manage my days so that I am able to address every portion of these different aspects at some point throughout each week, I took a break from the blog to finish the first draft of my novel-in-progress.

This represented a new path for me. It’s a YA novel, whereas before I’ve written only for adults. It is also the first in a series while all my other works are stand-alone projects. Finally, it is a historic novel compared to all my other projects which have been contemporary.

It was a wild ride! The first draft poured out in less than four months. There is a lot of revision ahead (because, as I’ve always said, writing is rewriting) but it was worth taking the time off from the blog to move ahead on this.

I continued with the other necessary components of life: operating Writer’s Resource, the publishing consulting business this blog mines information from; helping individual clients move forward with their own projects; and marketing the existing books. When you are pressed for time and something has to give, know that it doesn’t have to be a permanent shutdown. Not only will you gain the confidence of having completed a project, you’ll likely find that you return to the task with a renewed sense of vigor…as I have with this blog!


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.

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.

New App Helps Readers Find Books

A new app called BookVibe sorts through your Twitter feed and pulls out information on books people you’re following have recommended.

The app isn’t perfect yet but it’s a great start. Try it to keep up with what your crowd is reading.

The Difference Between a Ghostwriter and an Author

I once met a man who told me that five books he’d written had hit the bestseller list…but that no one knew his name because he’d ghostwritten all five. He seemed very bitter about the lack of recognition. I wanted to tell him he was in the wrong business. If he couldn’t let go of his books at the end of the project, he needed to stop ghostwriting!

He seemed to have forgotten one of the key differences between a ghost and an author: Ghosts write the work then disappear. Authors build the platform for the book’s sales and market the work.

I have had clients ask if I will go on tour with them after ghostwriting their books. I tell them they’re the experts; readers want to see them, not me. And with the new focus on branding for all authors, really a ghost can’t help with the marketing aspects. The author is the brand, not the ghost. No matter how high on the charts the book climbs.

Goodreads has 20 Million Members

Recently Goodreads announced that they doubled their membership to 20 million. That’s a big number of people who love books. And since many of them are interested primarily in fiction, authors should get their profiles upgraded to an author member profile.

Recently I did a giveaway on Goodreads for my first novel. I expected maybe 100 people to sign up for the ten copies; over 400 did. That’s great exposure.

The exposure resulted in specific actions by Goodreads members. More than 200 added the book to their to-read list, and another 200 added it to their shelves.

Sales figures won’t be in for a while, of course. But since the book is available in print and e-book versions, I’ll check that month when it’s available to see what happened.

The other books I’ve written also received some small attention but not nearly as much as the one featured on the giveaway. If you can spare a couple of copies, give it a shot. For only a few dollars in postage, you might gain a substantial number of new fans.

New Self-Pub Book Market: Penguin’s Book Country

Note: Penguin’s Book Country operates separately from their other self-pub arm Author Solutions.

Book Country allows self-published authors to sell their works through their website. There are the usual marketing packages authors find at many self-pub companies but there is one difference: authors keep 85% of the royalties. This is higher than both Amazon and B&N.

Book Agent Info: Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Linda Epstein of Jennifer De Chiara Literary seeks accessible literary fiction, upscale commercial fiction, vibrant narrative nonfiction, some fantasy, and compelling memoirs. She also accepts middle-grade and YA fiction.

Nonfiction areas include alternative health and parenting books, cookbooks, select memoirs, and spiritual/self-actualization books. 

Publisher or Self-Publisher? The Boundaries Blur

These days, only folks who cling to old notions of what used to be turn their nose up at self-published books simply because they weren’t backed by a big house. Now the boundaries between the two kinds of publishing are dissolving even more rapidly as traditional publishers, including some of the biggest in the world, enter the self-publishing arena.

Confused? It’s easy to see why. But Simon & Schuster has Archway Publishing while Penguin Random has Author Solutions (and the much maligned AuthorHouse). So if it’s self-published through a company that is part of a big publisher, is it still self-published?

For now, yes. The manuscripts aren’t vetted by anyone; some authors don’t even bother with editing before hitting the print button. And for now, the publishers aren’t likely to look more kindly on any author who approaches them and admits to using the self-pub arm at their company (unless of course that author has managed to sell well on his or her own).

Remember that self-pub is still self-pub. The big publishing house is looking for the same thing as the other printers: a check. The ground is turning to liquid beneath their feet and they’re trying new things to keep afloat. There’s nothing wrong with that, and if it helps them continue on with the old methods, great. Just be aware of what you’re getting…and what you’re not.

Book Agent Info: Grosvenor Literary

Berta Treitl of Grosvenor Literary is seeking nonfiction: science and technology; current events, law and politics, biography, business and marketing; and art, design, cooking, health, and lifestyle.

In fiction, she’s interested in historical and high-quality mysteries. Focuses on projects with unusual communities, travel and foreign locales, and female main characters.

Do Readers Really Love Bad Books?

Michael Krüger, publisher at Carl Hanser Verlag in Munich, recently bemoaned the number of bad books out there. He explained that they are present in such numbers because they sell…and he can’t figure out why.

Let’s put aside judging whole categories as bad and focus on the real issues.

First, it’s about story. The MFA programs have been hammered because they churn out writers who focus on the florid beauty of their words at the expense of their characters. Thus no story. Without story, a book is just a jumble of words.

Second, it’s about story. Readers are willing to buy even poorly written books because the story tells them something they can’t find elsewhere. Look at 50 Shades…panned everywhere for awful prose yet sold oodles of copies because the storyline contained something women wanted to read about.

Third, it’s about storytelling. Bad books might be poorly written or have worn-out plotlines yet they clip along at a fast pace (nearly always, anyway). So storytelling, getting to the heart of the matter through action and forward movement, is present in a way that might not be as obvious in a pretty MFA grad’s work.

What’s YOUR story?