Tuesday, December 30, 2008


One of our favorite authors, Patrice Sarath, just checked in to tell us some good news. The romance review site "Paranormal Romance" recognized her debut novel Gordath Wood as a Top Pick for December.

You can read all about it here along with the great review of the book:


The other good news is that Patrice's second book, a sequel to Gordath Wood, will be published by Ace in 2009. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Holiday Greetings to All!

I was just reviewing our blog entries throughout 08 and discovered that one of the most popular posts dealt with the New England Book Festival. On August 20 I posed the following questions:
  • Have you heard of the New England Book Festival?
  • Have any of you published authors won the New England Book Festival Award?
  • Which books have won awards?
  • What wonderful things happened to winning authors?
  • How significant are these awards?

Since posting these questions we've received 14 comments and they run the gamut from caution to celebration. Because many of you had GOOD experiences with the New England Book Awards, I want to bring these to light. (No one came back with negative comments or horror tales, by the way.)

Rick Robinson, author, said, "I have participated in their events and have found them beneficial. The Hollywood Book Festival in July was a great event."

K. Patrick Malone said, "I have entered and gotten Honorable Mentions for both my books from both the New York and Hollywood Book Festivals in both 2007 and 2008. I also attended both New York Book Festival Awards. I found that it seems to be a growing business. The 2007 New York Book Fest Awards was in a small NYC pub, nice fun, met some people, got fed for free and had some drinks. It was fun LOL. This year the 2008 event was held at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, a hotel with a real literary reputation, once again, got well fed and had more than a few drinks, met some really fun people and had an all around great time. Was it the red carpet at the Oscars, of course not, but it has certainly been a worthwhile venue for the exposure of small and independent press publishing, and not for nothing, any good recognition small press authors can get is good recognition. And particularly with small and independent presses, the little gold, silver and bronze stars it allows us to put on our books does attract readers attention...I say go for it."

Editor's Note: Algonquin Hotel? My favorite. I like to drink tea with authors there. Very Dorothy Parker.

Steven J. Harper said, "My book, "Crossing Hoffa: A Teamster's Story" (Borealis, 2007) won Honorable Mentions at the New York and Hollywood Book Festival; the audiobook won Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival--all JM Media sponsored-events. I agree with Patrick that the program is worthwhile."

John Graham said, "I just won first prize in the Biography/Autobiography section of the 2008 New England Book Festival for my memoir, Sit Down Young Stranger. I'll let you know what comes of it."

I think we can safely conclude that The New York/New England Book Festivals are on the level. So, if you don't mind parting with the $50 entry fee, go for it. And, by all means, let us know how you fare.

I'd be interested in hearing about other awards and contests you all recommend!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Laura R. commented that a novella by Stephen King inspired her to become a writer. I replied that Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is the best book I'd ever read on the topic. Here's a brief excerpt from that book:

"If you want to be a writer," King says, "you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I love to read. The love of reading is not a prerequisite for a life in publishing, but it's what got me here.

My favorite books are usually fiction--all kinds of fiction. But last night I began reading A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. My reading group chose it as our January selection and it's a long book. I figured I'd better get started because I'm not a fast reader.

This book tells how Abraham Lincoln chose his cabinet. Rumor has it that Barack Obama read this book and has used it as a model for his own work in filling out his cabinet.

After I had read a few pages I took a deep breath and realized that I was in the hands of a master writer. Have you ever had that feeling? It's so soothing, yet exhilarating to know that the author you have chosen is in total command of this book and, as his or her "passenger," you are going to have a wonderful time.

It may seem odd that agents read so much. After all, we read submissions from potential clients every day. Wouldn't it make sense to do something else in our free time like going bowling or decorating the laundry room? It's imperative that we read and that we read the best books we can find. We need to compare our submissions to competing authors out there and to hold our potential clients to a very high standard if we expect to sell their work to publishers. I look forward to finding a submission that will give me that kind of "master writer" feeling I'm having with Doris Kearns Goodwin. I has happened a few times and it's what agents live for.

But, it's just as important for writers to read constantly. It's a good place to get your inspiration and it may help you hone your craft. If you're a sci-fi author, you should be reading every sci-fi book you can get your hands on. But don't stop there! Read the classics. Read romances and histories. The more widely you read the more widely you can write.

What books inspire you? I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I've blogged in the past about how important it is, especially for a nonfiction author, to develop a "platform." Publishers need to know that you are media-worthy, capable of doing interviews and able to present your ideas in a compelling fashion. If you have a popular website or blog which is read by many, that's even better. Why is this so important?

It's pretty simple. If you already have a following, those people are your potential readers. If people already know you and like what you say they will be very interested in reading your book when it's published. This, in a nutshell, is why books by celebrities are so popular. The publisher doesn't have to invest time and money to introduce the author--the author is famous and her fans will flock to the bookstore to buy her book when it's published. A celebrity is a ready-made publicity machine. But, if you're not Britney Spears or Laura Bush, a blog or website can help you raise your profile.

My longtime client, Paddy Welles, Ph.D., is a noted speaker with great credentials. She is a marriage and family therapist and the author of two books on the topic of intimate relationships. But when she and her co-author Rudolf Harmsen, Ph.D. decided to write a book on the topic of love and war, the playing field changed. Harmsen, an evolutionary biologist and Dr. Welles decided to create a book that would compare and contrast the evolutionary and psychological roots of humankind's need for love and war. It's never been done and it's fascinating.

But Paddy's experience is in the psychological field, not sociology, not in the study of warfare. She needs to do something now to reintroduce herself as an expert on the topics of love AND war. She will do that, in part, with her new blog http://paddy-loveandwar.blogspot.com/.

Take a look at how she's doing this and consider how you might use a blog to help in your quest for a publisher. But blogging is not for everyone. Don't do it if you don't have a strong point of view, a love of writing and the commitment and the time to write frequently. If these traits apply to you, blogging might be a good way to introduce yourself to a wide audience.