Writers are readers

Last time I talked about the importance of reading widely. Now, my list of books read for last year looks pretty puny compared to some. But it’s a diverse list, so I’m OK with that.

I once sat in a meeting with a potential client who was looking for a ghostwriter. He admitted to me, “I really don’t read much.”

Which explains why he was unable to write his book by himself. Continue reading

Collected resources for writers

resources writing books

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I added a couple of new pages: you’ll find them under the “Resources” menu.

The Freebies page is a collection of my downloads, including cheat sheets and the manuscript formatting guide.

The Recommended Reading page will look familiar to anyone who’s taken one of my seminars. It’s a list of books and websites I think are helpful to writers.

If you know of other articles or websites that are helpful for writers, please mention them below.


‘Publishing 3.0’ — what is is and why it matters

Over at TechCrunch, author James Altucher has written an excellent article about the process of self-publishing his book Choose Yourself.choose yourself

Every entrepreneur should self-publish a book, because self-publishing is the new business card. If you want to stand out in a world of content, you need to underline your expertise.—James Altucher

A while back I said there are two kinds of publishing: Author Pays and Someone Else pays. Altucher has a different take on it. What he sees is Professional Publishing and Unprofessional Publishing, and he argues that some of the latter is being done by the big houses. I can’t refute that. Continue reading

Invisible book sales

book sales

Books sold at unusual venues like outdoor fairs often go unreported.
Photo by Maridav, iStockphoto

There’s a problem with “best seller lists” that people in the industry talk about amongst themselves, but I’m not sure whether the general public is aware of it.

Vast numbers of book sales don’t get counted by the compilers of those lists, mainly because the books are published by those outside the Big Six Formidable Five, and also because a lot of those sales don’t happen through regular retail channels. Continue reading

Small Presses: The Alternative to the Big Six

Companies that are not part of the Big Six labyrinth are a vital part of the publishing business. The Big Six may dominate the bestseller lists and the giant book stacks at Barnes & Noble, but small presses, also known as independent publishers, foster creative innovation by serving niche markets.

Continue reading

Q&A: What is an imprint?

Q: Yesterday you mentioned imprints at the Big Six publishers. What is an imprint?

A: It’s a brand within a brand.

question answer

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Just like Proctor & Gamble makes Tide detergent for clothes and Cascade detergent for dishes, large publishers—especially the vast publishing conglomerates that make up the Big Six—form different brands for different products. For example, Random House has Waterbrook Multnomah for the Christian submarket, Del Rey for science fiction and fantasy, and Ballantine Books for the general market. Continue reading

Q&A: How does writing a book feed your social media marketing?

question answer

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Q: I’m told having a book will help me build my social media platform. Can you explain how that works?

A: It’s not so much that the book helps build the platform. Actually, you need the platform to sell the book. But the book can be one plank in your platform. Even that isn’t an entirely accurate way of putting it. All the pieces of the platform puzzle work together, but they can also function independently of one another. It’s more like flowers in a vase. Together, they create an attractive image, but each also stands alone. You can think of them as tools in a box, if the flower metaphor is too girly for you. Continue reading