Last week, I received a fiction pitch I knew I would reject a few lines in. It contained the phrase, “after he discovers a family secret long since buried.” (Or something like that.) I wrote back to the author and admitted that I was passing because, while other people
When I first start working on a proposal or a manuscript with a writer, I tell them I have two stages of advice: breaking things and fixing things. At first, I’m going to keep asking hard questions and recommending big changes, until I think the writer has said what that writer wanted
Last year, I was talking to a romance novelist who self-publishes her books. She had decided to go this route after submitting a manuscript directly to Harlequin and not hearing back from them for months. What forced her hand was that she had kids, she had been working part-time,
BookCon sold out all 10,000 tickets! That’s kind of amazing. It’s also an opening that probably means absolutely nothing to you. It should, even if you never plan to go. Every year, the book industry has an annual conference in New York City called BookExpo America (BEA). I haven’t
If I were forced to write a mission statement, it would be short and sweet: “Help authors. Have fun.” It’s easy for anyone in this business to lose sight of the fact that we do what we do because we love books, and that everyone else we meet is here
For most of the nonfiction books I sell, the editors I’m selling to have a lot of objective information on hand to guess at a title’s potential success: the author’s Twitter following, other books on the same subject, other books by the same author, the popularity of magazine articles
A rule I learned as an editor: when you look at a book’s acknowledgments, the effusiveness of praise for an editor is inversely proportional to the effort he or she put into the book. If a writer goes on and on about her editor, that editor did almost nothing.
A few years ago, my cousin was just about to graduate from a small state school with an English degree. He told me he wanted to be a writer. I had never read any of his writing, so I was unbelievably discouraging. Try a job in the real world,
When I was making the switch last year from being an editor to being an agent, I heard from older agents that I was making a huge mistake. Advances are shrinking, they said. Midlist authors are going without contracts, and everybody is self-publishing. The whole industry is falling apart!
Because I love transparency and being generally helpful to writers, or because I am a masochist, I let writers query me by Twitter. It says in my bio that if you can squeeze your pitch into three tweets I’ll respond. I’ll admit I have a few stock responses, but