My Controversial New Year’s Resolution. And Tell Me: What’s Your Reading-Related Resolution?

King QuoteThere are so many great ways to incorporate reading into your New Year’s Resolutions.

Do you want to read more books in 2016? Try Harper’s 50 Book Pledge.

Do you want to read books you wouldn’t otherwise? Here’s a great reading challenge from Pop Sugar!

Do you want to increase the diverse reading you’re doing? Check out WNDB’s campaigns.

Do you need accountability? Try the Goodreads Challenge.

Do you need help with discoverability? Why not follow the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.

Or maybe you’re like me and have decided to read fewer books next year. That’s right, my New Year’s Resolution is to read fewer books. Why? Because I want to read slower, remember more, and enjoy them more. 

Instead of trying to read everything this year–because let’s be serious, there is no way on earth to read all the books published in one year–I’m going to focus on (outside of my clients and slush-pile work reading of course!) the “special to me” books. No beating myself up about not getting to everything. Books are meant to come into your life when you need them most. I can only get out of them what I put in and rushed reading isn’t helping me.

This is my favorite Doris Lessing quote and you’ll quickly see why:

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.”

Q: What’s your reading-related New Year’s Resolution? Do you agree with mine?

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Why You Want An Agent Who Reads

BelleBATBAgent Janet Reid wrote a great blog post about agent burnout among other things. One part that stuck with me was her comment about agents reading things that aren’t client work.

I can understand when writers see their agents talking on Twitter or Facebook about books that aren’t theirs and they think: “If they had spare time, why weren’t they reading my manuscript?” But one of the most important things an agent can do is read and READ A LOT.

Why you want an agent who reads:

1. They know what’s selling.

If we don’t read published books, how up-to-date is our taste? How do we know what is working in the market? I call it ‘cleansing the palate’ and it’s a much needed respite.

2. They know what’s successful. Continue reading Why You Want An Agent Who Reads

RIP Doris Lessing

goldennotebookDoris Lessing had a great effect on me as a reader. The Golden Notebook and The Grass is Singing are two of the books that changed my life.

Here is my favourite quote from her 1971 ‘Introduction’ to TGN:

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty and vice versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. Continue reading RIP Doris Lessing

Why Writers Must Be Readers

ImageI often get asked, how does someone become a better writer? My answer is always to read more, more, more.

Here are the reasons why writers must be voracious readers:

  • Attention to detail – People who read a lot learn grammar, spelling, dialogue and more from books.
  • Knowing what’s going on in your genre – Over 200,000 books are traditionally published in the U.S. in any given year. Do you know what’s out there in yours?
  • Comparison titles – When it comes time to get an agent can you compare and contrast your writing within your own genre? What types of books should yours be placed beside in a bookstore?
  • Gaps in the marketContinue reading Why Writers Must Be Readers