The 10 Best Books I Read in 2013

Here is my ‘best books of 2013’ list! (Not including my clients, of course…)

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – Despite the two-sided media circus around this book I found it incredibly inspiring and enlightening. A must read for any woman.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I loved Moyes’s previous book Last Letter From Your Lover, so I wasn’t sure how she was going to top it–but she did. It is an amazing story that left me in tears on a flight from Toronto to New York City.

The Engagements by J Courtney Sullivan – The smartest women’s fiction novel I read this year. I love multiple POV story lines and intertwined lives so this was a A+ in my opinion. Continue reading The 10 Best Books I Read in 2013

Q: Does a virtual presence ACTUALLY help you get a literary agent?

Social MediaElizabeth A. Havey asks “Does a virtual presence on the net help find an agent?”

This is the question on most writers’ minds when they think about the intersection of the book business and social media.

The simple answer is for non fiction authors it’s a MUST and for fiction authors it doesn’t matter at the time of querying.

I’ve covered the topic non fiction platform ad nauseum here, here and here. But the authors commonly asking about platform are debut writers looking to break into the industry.

Debut Fiction Writers: Focus on your Writing

Agents repeat over and over again: it’s the writing that matters. Don’t spend energy on social media that could be spent towards finishing your first draft, brainstorming your next novel, or going through copy edits. Your commodity as a writer is your craft. No editor ever signed up a serious debut fiction author based on their 140 character tweets. Yes, we look at your Twitter feed, if you have one, but it does not make or break you.

The Value of Twitter for Fiction Authors

So what is Twitter good for then if not wasting time? Twitter is a place for authors–who live a very solitary existence–to engage with other writers going through the same experience, follow industry veterans, follow writers they admire, and learn about how the book business works. It can be a black hole that sucks all your time and energy, or it can be a tool that makes writers feel less alone and help them feel like they have control about the outcome of their career based on research (i.e. following agents and editors).

Why You’ll Need Social Media AFTER A Book Deal

Yes, your publicity team will want you to be on Facebook or Twitter to let your network know you have a book out. If you have a mailing list from your blog or newsletter, they’ll want to know you can send out a blast when the book comes out. But if you don’t write a terrific book to begin with then your network won’t be helpful in spreading the news word of mouth. Normally, from book deal to publication is about a year. That’s 12 months to build your platform. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough followers when you submit your novel to agents. Let us know that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make the book a success and that you’ve started.

Decide What You Want To Get Out Of Social Media Continue reading Q: Does a virtual presence ACTUALLY help you get a literary agent?

Deal News: Stats Canada: Satire on a National Scale

Penguin Canada editorial coordinator Justin Stoller has acquired rights to Stats Canada: Satire on a National Scale, a book of essays, graphs, timelines, maps, and photo illustrations from the anonymous creators of the Twitter parody account @Stats_Canada. Publication is scheduled for fall 2013.

Follow @Stats_Canada on Twitter.

The 6 reasons why you *must* write a non fiction book proposal

pages-freestockphotosYour platform might be obvious to you, but it needs to be obvious to others.

You’ve built your career to be an expert in your field. You know all the gains you’ve made and what you’ve accomplished, but you need to lay it all out in your proposal. The more about your platform you can include in your proposal the more marketable you’ll seem to agents and publishers. Agents and publishers see proposals every day, so how is your expertise something that’s a bonus to you and the project?

It will show the gap in the market.

How are you going to be unique and say something different? By showing us that no one else has done this before and if they have why you are going to do it better, more comprehensively, or with a different angle. If you aren’t saying something unique, why would a publisher want to publish you? Publishers have experts in many field writing books for various non fiction imprints, how are you going to crack that list? By doing something that no one else has, or if they have doing it more uniquely with a fresh angle.

Unlike fiction authors, you haven’t finished your book yet.

Fiction writers can show their voice and style through the manuscript they submit, but non fiction authors sell books on proposal so you need to use your voice in your proposal writing and sample chapters. The more comprehensive your proposal, the more your voice shines through.

This is your promise to publishers about what you can and will accomplish in your book. Continue reading The 6 reasons why you *must* write a non fiction book proposal