Join us at the Chuckanut Writers Conference June 25-28!

Jen & Kerry at the 2013 Whidbey Island Writers Conference

Jen & Kerry at the Whidbey Island Writers Conference

To paraphrase Shakespeare, get thee to a writers conference! Conferences are an excellent way to reinvigorate your writing and meet like-minded literary types, and they are offered throughout the year and in various geographic locations—including charming Bellingham, WA, home to the Chuckanut Writers Conference. We’ll be there June 25-27 as part of an amazing lineup of authors (Erik Larson! Stephanie Kallos! Molly Wizenberg! So many more!), as well as agents, publishing pros, and other wonderful folks. Our “master class,” Secrets of a Successful Proposal, (June 25) is a great way to get our core curriculum in one mind-bending afternoon.

Note: Early-bird registration ends May 28! Register now for the best rates.

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Be Our Next Success Story!

Things people say to us ALL THE TIME:

“Isn’t traditional publishing dead?”

“It’s impossible for first-time authors to get a book deal.”

“Why bother? It will never happen to me.”

Have you said these things to yourself? Well, stop it. Yes, writing is hard and publishing is competitive. But the truth is this: books are acquired every day from first-time authors. Why not you?

To inspire you, here is a sampling of recent author success stories across all genres: fiction, nonfiction, memoir. What do they have in common? Each of these writers was a Business of Books client (toot! toot!), wrote a killer proposal, and found a home at a traditional publishing house. Want to be next? REGISTER NOW for our May class at UW: Publishing Your Book in Today’s Marketplace. Give us four Thursday evenings–just four!–and you’ll learn the ins and outs of publishing, plus have a completed draft of an on-point proposal to sell your book. Get it out there, people!

Seafood Lovers Pacific Northwest (2)Karen Gaudette Brewer‘s Seafood Lover’s Pacific Northwest features the best eats and can’t-miss festivals for your next road trip, along with cooking inspiration and personal stories of the interesting characters in the seafood industry.

LittleElliot_cover

Mike Curato is living the dream. After signing a three-book deal (!) with Macmillan for his cupcake-loving elephant, he’s receiving tons of accolades for Little Elliot, Big City and getting ready to launch the sequel, Little Elliot, Big Family.

Seattle-based writer and performer Joe Guppy’s electrifying and wryly lo res lMFGcover 3comic memoir, My Flourescent God, details a period of paranoid psychosis–including time spent in a Seattle mental ward and his subsequent struggle toward sanity.

Graphic-Icons_Cover-2

New York graphic designer John Clifford saw the need in the marketplace for a book he wanted himself: a compendium of visionaries in the field of modern graphic design. The result is the beautiful Graphic Icons.
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Register now for our May U-W publishing course!

U-W logoGive us a month, we’ll give you a finished proposal. That’s our promise for our upcoming four-week course, Publishing Your Book in Today’s Marketplace, via University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education (UWPCE). This hands-on and results-oriented class takes place on the UW Seattle campus on Thursday evenings, May 7–28. Give us a month, we’ll get your book proposal ready to submit!

Here are the details:

This four-week course will illuminate each step of the book publishing process to help you bridge the gap between manuscript and publication. We will show you how to research the marketplace and assess competing titles, develop a compelling author platform, create a marketing plan for your book, craft a thorough proposal and query letter, and submit to agents and editors. The instructors will also demystify the publishing process and give you the tools you need to be business-savvy authors, no matter what publishing route you choose. Regardless of genre or where you are in the manuscript process, this course will help you focus your book project and prepare it for publication.

Through our proven materials, encouraging and humor-filled presentations, and in-class exercises and homework assignments, you will quickly create a polished and on-point proposal that’s submission-ready.

Cost: $299 | 1 CEU | Registration Number: 147293

Registration is open and space is limited so enroll today HERE!

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Registration Open for Two New Spring Offerings!

FullSizeRenderAs February comes to a close, we’re reflecting fondly on our fabulous Women & Words at Willows Lodge publishing retreat. What a weekend it was! Thanks to everyone who made it possible, from the inspiring attendees (who had terrific book ideas!) to the team at the amazing Willows Lodge in Woodinville. We’re warming up on this chilly afternoon with survey feedback from our attendees, who gave us an overwhelmingly positive response—including a 100% satisfaction rate and a unanimous rating of “excellent”! (Aw, shucks.) The retreat was a real pleasure for us too. We love helping burgeoning writers navigate their path to publication—and we admit, we don’t mind doing it in five-star FullSizeRender (1)accommodations. (After all, great ideas are often born in a deep-soaking bathtub!)

While you’ll have to wait until next January for the next Willows Lodge retreat, we have some other motivating options in the meantime. We hope you’ll join us in May for our new four-week course, Publishing Your Book in Today’s Marketplace, via University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education (UWPCE). This hands-on and results-oriented class takes place on the UW Seattle campus on Thursday evenings, 5/7-5/28. Give us a month, we’ll get your book proposal ready to submit! Registration is open now and space is limited. Click here for more info or to register.

From June 25-28, we’re excited to be in Bellingham for the 2015 Chuckanut Writers Conference! As a special prequel to the festivities, we’re offering a “master class” on our core curriculum, Secrets of a Successful Proposal, on Thursday, June 25, from 1-5pm. Space is limited! Then we’ll show you how to Build a Killer Author Platform on June 27. Check out all the literary luminaries on the schedule: Erik Larson, Elizabeth George, Stephanie Kallos, Molly Wizenberg, Kate Lebo, and more. It’s going to be good. Click here for more info or to register.

Remember, spring is a great time to recharge your writing project. Hope to see you soon!

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5 Things You Need to Know to Get a Book Deal

During our six years of publishing consulting and 40-plus years of combined publishing experience, we’ve culled some tips that might seem obvious at first blush but are often overlooked in the rush to submit what you are sure is a guaranteed best seller.

Slow down there, boss, and take a breath.

Review our tips and strengthen your submission and chances of a book deal.

1.      Do your homework.
Research other books that could be considered competion, become an expert in your genre and on your topic, visit bookstores or libraries (yes, in person!), and learn which publishing houses and agents specializing in your particular genre or subject matter.

2.      Do think of publishing as a business.
Your book is your baby, yes, but it’s also a product to be bought and sold in a marketplace filled not only with books but other forms of entertainment (apps, movies, music, etc.). It’s critical to be business savvy and approach a publisher with a compelling pitch and attitude that conveys that you are ready to partner with them on a lucrative business venture (i.e. your book).

3.      Do have confidence.
You have got to believe in your idea and your vision! Don’t be shy. Sell it. If you are not absolutely committed to your book project, why would anyone else be? But a note of caution: being confident is terrific, being cocky is not. Don’t claim it’s a “guaranteed best-seller that will outsell The Lord of the Rings Trilogy/50 Shades of Grey/The DaVinci Code;” rather, explain with specifics why your book will perform well for a particular publisher. Is it similar to another book on their list that has done well? Will it appeal to a demographic that the publisher already dominates? The more specific you can get about why you are approaching them in particular, the better.

4.      Do persevere!
Every famous author from Dr. Seuss to J.K. Rowling to F. Scott Fitzgerald has had multiple rejections. Keep going. This is where that confidence and unwavering belief in your project comes into play. We always remind writers that publishers and agents are looking for you, too, and first-time authors get book deals every single day. We have the success stories to prove it—our clients have killer book deals in a variety of genres, ranging from children’s picture books to memoir to fiction to coffee table books to nonfiction.
 
5.      Do write a killer book proposal.
Your proposal is your business plan. Creating a great one is vital to selling your book in today’s market. This is why we’re offering our first-ever overnight intensive retreat, Women & Words at Willows Lodge, from January 31–February 1. It’s a publishing, rather than writing, retreat. Hopeful authors spend so much time on the craft of writing, but almost zero on the business. That doesn’t work anymore. And that’s where we come in.
Whether you have a glimmer of a concept or a polished draft, our weekend retreat will help you get published, no matter your genre. During this practical and inspirational weekend, you’ll be treated to hands-on workshops and receive individual attention to move your book project forward in a significant way. It all takes place at Woodinville’s acclaimed (and cozy) Willows Lodge, where distractions feel a world away.

Willows1Here’s what you’ll experience during this one-of-a-kind retreat:

  • On Saturday, we’ll focus on your book project and guide you step-by-step in creating a killer proposal in a hands-on workshop. Meet other writers over drinks and dinner from the Barking Frog, before gathering for a late-night writing jam in your pajamas.
  • On Sunday, we’ll turn our attention to the submission process and the ultimate goal of getting published. Brainstorm in a book marketing workshop; fun exercises will result in a creative marketing campaign for your book and a solid author platform that you can present to publishers. We’ll end the day by providing intel about submissions, query letters, and staying focused and motivated through the process.
    For details, visit Willows Lodge’s event page.

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What’s your publishing resolution for 2015? Talking books on New Day Northwest

New Day Northwest picWe had the pleasure of talking with Margaret Larson on New Day Northwest this morning about resolutions that matter, namely getting a book deal in 2015! To that end, we talked about our upcoming retreat, Women & Words at Willows Lodge. From January 31–February 1, women are invited to come to the Willows Lodge in Woodinville and refocus on their book project.

No matter your genre or where you are in the writing process, our publishing retreat will give you all the tools and intel to complete a slammin’ proposal and submit with confidence in short order. Nothing makes us sadder than thinking about unsubmitted manuscripts. We demystify the process and break everything down into doable, digestible tasks you can complete in just a few weeks. We promise. Check out our New Day Northwest segment here.

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Give the gift of publication with our January publishing retreat

We’ve got the perfect gift for you or the writer in your life!

With the holidays behind you, refocus on you and your book proposal in the new year. We are hosting a publishing/writing retreat at Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA from January 31-February 1, 2015. Whether you have a glimmer of a book idea or a polished draft ready to send to an agent, this weekend retreat will be both practical and motivational. Attendees will be treated to insightful, hands on workshops to move their book project forward, as well as time to put new ideas into action and onto the page. Find out more here.

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Publishing tip o’ the week: What is a book proposal?

Your path to publication all starts with a solid book proposal. Here, we offer our manifesto on the importance of a book proposal, the roadmap for your publishing journey.

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Publishing tip o’ the week: Creating a submission list

We are rolling out weekly video tips to guide you on your path to publication. First up, an insider tip on how to develop a targeted submission list! How do you go about targeting agents and editors?

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6 ways to create a great writers’ group

GroupWritingBeing a writer can be a lonely business. You, your computer, your cup of coffee–it’s no wonder you get stuck, and find yourself unsure if the last thing you wrote is brilliant or drivel. If you have a book project you’re trying to move forward, a writers group can be invaluable.  Sure, many writers cringe at the idea of sharing their own work and holding it up for critique. But if your goal is for your writing to eventually reach an audience (which includes reviewers), you might as well get used to that idea now. A trusted group of peers can offer encouragement, constructive criticism, and insights into your work that you simply couldn’t see before. Plus, the structure it provides gives members something perhaps even more vital–deadlines.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when forming your own writing group. (If you’re already in one, we’d love to hear your own–and what you’ve learned along the way.)

1. Keep expectations realistic. It’s great to be motivated enough to envision weekly meetings with your group, but it’s probably not doable. Think about monthly meetings to start.

2. Choose wisely. Tempting as it may be to populate your group with friends, think long and hard about who will be the best asset to your group–and who will be committed to it. Ideally, group members have a similar experience level, are comfortable giving and receiving honest feedback, and have opinions you trust. If you’ve taken a writing class, cherry-pick from your classmates.

3. Size matters. How many people to include in your group is a subjective call. A good number to start with about six to eight. Think of it this way: Chances are, at least one member will miss each meeting, and you want at least four other people reviewing your work in order to ensure the best possible discussion. Too many voices and the conversation can get muddled.

4. Give and take. Don’t expect to have your work reviewed every single time you meet. This is a group endeavor, and you’ll need to commit time and energy to other people’s writing. Plan to create a workshop schedule and alternate who is submitting work and who is reviewing it. You may also want to assign a workshop leader for each piece, so someone is responsible for kicking off the discussion and keeping it on track.

5. Manage your time. If your writers’ group routinely runs overtime, you’ll lose members. To keep everyone on task, have a time limit for talking about each person’s work before you move on, and stick to your schedule.

6. Set clear goals. In order for any group to work, you have to have to know your purpose. Some writers’ groups meet simply to write, without any more structure than that. Others meet to work on predetermined writing exercises, to talk about the writing process, or to workshop each other’s works-in-progress. Decide what your own goals are at the get-go, and revisit them with your group as necessary.

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