Publishing Toolkit NOW ON SALE!

art Toolkit cover_265wideAs part of Small Business Saturday, we are offering our popular Publishing Toolkit at a 50% discount until Saturday at midnight. For $49, get 100+ pages of publishing intel and a step-by-step plan for creating a kick-ass proposal that will make publishers and agents sit up and take notice.

Purchase the PDF Publishing Toolkit here.

#smallbizsat

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One Day Only: Publishing Toolkit is 50% off!

art Toolkit cover_265wideThe Business of Books is the epitome of a small business: two friends and former colleagues sharing their experience and knowledge to help burgeoning authors realize their publishing dreams. From the beginning, we’ve relied on word-of-mouth recommendations to generate clients and fill our classes. We’d like to give back to our community on Small Business Saturday by offering our ever-popular Publishing Toolkit at 50% off: $49, instead of $99. This happens just once a year, and it’s Saturday, November 26, 2016.

In case you’re new to our services, the Publishing Toolkit is your best DIY resource on your path to publication. It’s an organized, comprehensive PDF of 100-plus pages of our insider intel to help you get published. This essential resource includes step-by-step instructions on how to craft a book proposal that will make agents and editors sit up and take notice, as well as an overview of important contract points, advances and royalties, how to create an author platform, and more. You’ll find worksheets and exercises to get the creativity flowing. It even includes two sample proposals to use as templates! Our clients rave about it.

Buy it as a meaningful gift for yourself or for any writer in your life. Just remember to buy it on Saturday! We’ll post the PayPal link here, on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday morning!

#shopsmall

Leave a comment

Filed under Publishing Toolkit, submission, Uncategorized

Write now. Here’s why.

There is always an excuse not to write. Not to finish that book you’ve been working on for so long, or pursue that glimmer of a story idea. Not to bother.

weary-writer

Work. Kids. Stress. Fatigue. Fear. Feelings of inadequacy. THE ELECTION. Whatever else is going on in your life, in the world, that makes the act of writing feel futile, or even impossible.

How can you be expected to write when you are so overwhelmed?

Of course, this is exactly when you should write. The world needs your art. You need your art. The most difficult times are also the most important ones for expressing yourself. Write your truth. Write through your pain, your worry, your anger, your fear. Make yourself do it, if only—at first—to distract yourself for a while. Then remember how writing helps you figure things out. How it makes you see things in a new way. Write to help yourself, to help others, to share your feelings with a loved one or with the world. Write to connect. Write to heal. Write to empower. Write to learn. Write, write, write.

Cheryl Strayed recently shared this quote from James Baldwin:  “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.

Go forth and write, writers. We will try to do the same. Let’s encourage and support each other to keep at it. Share your progress in the comments!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Kerry goes to Mexico! Publishing Toolkit goes on sale!

art Toolkit cover_265wideSummer is wrapping up and it’s likely your thoughts are turning to fall, sweaters, and books (hopefully your own!). Meanwhile, some exciting news is happening here at BoB headquarters. Kerry has decided to relocate to Merida, Mexico, with her family from September 2016–June 2017. She plans to learn Spanish (or at least her kids will!), travel, experience a new culture, and work on her own writing.

But do not fear! Even though she’s freaking out about Kerry’s run for the border, Jen will be holding down the BoB fort here in Seattle, and our popular 2-on-1 proposal reviews will still be available. If you’ve been considering this service, be sure to book early, as our availability may be a bit more limited. If you’d like to know more about these reviews, click here. (FYI: Jen will be teaching an author platform class as part of the Seattle Public Library’s Seattle Writes program on September 17 and December 10. More on those free workshops here.)

We’d also like to get you back in the swing of proposal progress by giving you a special offer. Our essential Publishing Toolkit is 100-plus pages of insider intel, including all sorts of publishing information, worksheets, key book contract info, marketing and author platform advice, and two complete proposals to use as templates. It is the best possible DIY guide for whipping your proposal into shape, and we recommend it to anyone planning to pitch a book. Until Sept. 15, we’re offering the Toolkit as a downloadable PDF for $69.

It’s rare that we put our $99 Toolkit on sale, so don’t miss the window—click here to order!

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal Consultation, Publishing Toolkit, The Business of Books with Jen & Kerry, Uncategorized

New class from Nicole Hardy & Suzanne Morrison!

Some of you may be familiar with authors, writing instructors, and forces of nature Nicole Hardy and Suzanne Morrison. Some of you may have even taken their class, The Art of Getting Started. Well, they’re doing again, and this time bringing all new prompts to the table.

On July 16, this talented and insightful pair with host a one-day workshop designed to get the juices and words flowing. For anyone who’s stuck or just needs to jump-start their writing, this is the perfect way back into your work.

Here are the deets:

The Art of Getting Started Redux, with Nicole Hardy and Suzanne Morrison

In this one-day generative class, we’ll focus on how and where and why to begin. Both instructors will provide writing prompts, short readings, and discussion topics in a five-hour attempt to face down the blank white page. We’ll keep in mind what Hemingway said—“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of sh*t. I try to put the sh*t in the wastebasket”—and fill our notebooks to brimming. Who knows what surprises we’ll find as we create the starts (or middles, or ends) of several new pieces.

When: July 16, 11am–4pm
Where: Tulinda Yoga Studio, 618 West McGraw Street, Queen Anne
Who: Suitable for beginning and emerging writers of fiction and creative non-fiction
How much: $200
Lunch
: BYO, or buy nearby

To register: Send name, phone, and email to beingnicolehardy@gmail.com Payment arrangements will be made upon receipt, via Paypal, Venmo,  or personal check. Your payment in full confirms your registration and reserves your spot.

What to bring: Bring something on which to write, be it paper and pencil or laptop. (Please charge up before coming and bring your power cord, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your charging needs.) Please also bring your mobile coffee mug or water bottle and beverage of choice. And an extra layer always helps keep everyone in the room comfortable.

 Teachers: Nicole Hardy‘s memoir, Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin, was a finalist for the 2014 Washington State Book Award. Her other books include the poetry collections This Blonde and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling, a chapbook of pop-culture inspired sonnets. Her work has appeared in literary journals and newspapers including The New York Times, and has been adapted for radio and stage. Her essay, “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone,” was noted in 2012’s Best American Essays. She earned her MFA at the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and serves on the board at Mineral School Artist Residency. Learn more at authornicolehardy.com

Suzanne Morrison is the author of Yoga Bitch (Random House/Three Rivers Press), which was a Crosscut Best Northwest Book of 2011 and has been translated into six languages. A recipient of 4Culture and Artist Trust grants, Suzanne is at work on a new memoir and a collection of short fiction. Her fiction and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Litro, Salt HillWashington Square, Printers Row, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She teaches memoir and fiction at Hugo House and at Veteran Centers through the Red Badge Program. Learn more at suzanne-morrison.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

New Author Success Story: Geraldine DeRuiter

Geraldine DeRuiter is a Seattle-based writer and admittedly hapless traveler who founded the awesome travel blog, The EvGeraldine DeRuiter Picerywhereist. We were excited to learn she landed her first book deal—and to hear her tale of multiple rejections, confusing feedback, despair, perseverance, and finally, success! She’s a great reminder of the thick skin we all need to develop if we want to find the right home for our books. Read her story, pass it on, get inspired. You could be next!

What’s the title of the book and who’s publishing it?
The working title is ALL OVER THE PLACE—a humorous guide to life from a travel expert who finds out that if you are trying to find yourself, getting lost is a great place to start. It will be published by Public Affairs in summer 2017, because sometimes god gets drunk and dreams come true.

Tell us how this book came about. What inspired you?
I’ve been blogging for years on my site The Everywhereist, and the book felt like a natural counterpart to that. I realized I’d started withholding certain stories on the blog. At first, I was just stockpiling them for my therapist, but then I decided to compile them into a book, which I’m pretty sure is how the entire genre of memoirs originated.

Can you share some insights on the chain of events that lead to your book deal?
It has been a nonstop ride on an Emotional Roller Coaster followed by a spin on the Drama Ferris Wheel. And then a visit to the Funhouse of Rejection. (Metaphors, y’all.)

I started writing the book two years ago, and I sent a sample chapter out to various agents. The feedback on that one chapter was very positive (though there was one or two harsh rejections), and a few agents asked to read the entire manuscript. After that, the rejections just rolled in! It was like Christmas morning, and every gift was debilitating self-doubt! Most of them said that they felt my manuscript required too much work before they could pitch it to publishers.

The feedback was really inconsistent, which was pretty frustrating. I heard that it wasn’t unique enough, I heard that it was too esoteric. I heard that it tried to do too much (it was both a travel and a personal memoir) or that it did too little, and didn’t have a unique hook. No one could agree on what was wrong with the book and what needed to be fixed.

However, there were a few agents that were actually interested. The problem was, their visions for the book didn’t really match mine, or I didn’t really feel like they were someone I could work with. Weirdly, my eventual agent, Zoe Sandler, who is just wonderful, actually contacted me. She’d seen an article I’d written for Good Housekeeping, and from there she found my blog and saw that I was looking for representation. I really liked her. And she believed in my work.

I told Zoe I wanted to revise my draft before sending it to her, so I spent a few months polishing it up. She then read it and gave me some feedback and changes which I rolled into the manuscript, and she started pitching it to publishers early this year. The response, considering how many agents passed on the manuscript, was surprisingly good. And in the end, I had several interested parties, so the manuscript went to auction. So now there were different publishers bidding on a book that numerous agents had told me didn’t have a chance.

How did you handle the challenges along the way?
I cried and told my husband that I was never writing again and that I was a talentless hack who had wasted her life.

Seriously. (I take rejection really badly. I should have never become a writer.)

So I decided to throw myself back into blogging, which is what I had been doing for a while. One day, after getting a really brutal rejection, I decided to write a post and I told my husband it was going to go viral. And then it did. I got half a million visitors to my blog in less than a month. It was a good reminder that there were people out there—probably not normal people, but people nonetheless—who wanted to read what I had to say.

I also had an amazing support system and people to talk to. My husband, Rand, is my biggest fan, and he was so supportive to the point of being annoying (sometimes, you just want to wallow in self-doubt and misery, you know? And he did not let me.) And I swear I’m not saying this because it’s her website or because she bribed me with baked goods, but talking to Kerry Colburn (of Jen & Kerry fame) was super helpful and always picked me up. She reminded me that there were always ways to publish this book—I could even do it myself. Knowing that made the rejection easier to take.

What surprised you during the publishing process?
That in the end, the rejections are sort of irrelevant. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. It’s like falling in love. You just need to find the one right person—the one right agent and the one right publisher—who thinks that you are amazing. That there will be lots of people who don’t think that your book is that great, and there will be a few who will think that it’s wonderful and they’re the ones who can make amazing things happen.

What’s one thing you’d like to say to other burgeoning authors?
You suck way less than you think you do. Trust me.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently in the editing process for ALL OVER THE PLACE, which is fun and agonizing. My manuscript should be completely done by this summer, and after that I’d like to get back to blogging. I also have a few other ideas for my next book. I think it’s going to be a feminist memoir, and the concept I’m toying with has the potential to be really unique and fun. I’m excited about it. But I need to get this one done first.

Anything else you’d like to share?
My husband said something to me recently that I really, really liked. I was having trouble with a chapter of the book, and I told him I wasn’t a good writer. And his reply was, “Of course you are. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean you are bad at it. Writing is hard even for good writers.”

That was sort of revelatory, because it reminded me that it’s the process itself that is difficult. So you just need to keep at it.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Success Stories, Success Stories & Testimonials, Uncategorized

Only a few spots left! Register NOW for our May Class: Craft a Winning Book Proposal

bookstackDue to popular demand, we’ve teamed with with the Queen Anne Writers Studio to bring you our book proposal workshop! To date, we’ve had many students turn their dream of publishing into a reality, and this class is where many of them started. One student even said, “I went from feeling hopeless to hopeful.” Our classes have a tendency to do that to people.

Here’s the thing: You may have a terrific book idea ready to set the publishing world on fire. Alas, without a spot-on book proposal, it may never see the light of day. Don’t let this happen to you! Learn how to create a savvy and professional proposal that will make publishers and agents sit up and take notice. During our 4-hour workshop, we will walk you through the key elements of any successful proposal—including title/subtitle, opening pitch, author bio, and marketing plan—and help you polish each one with hands-on exercises and individual feedback. Class size is small so you and your idea will get plenty of attention.

Make no mistake: Crafting a killer, on-point proposal is absolutely essential to succeeding in the current marketplace no matter what publishing route you take. You’ll leave this workshop not only committed to getting the book deal of your dreams, but with a concrete start to every section of your proposal. Don’t you feel more hopeful already?

When: Saturday, May 14, 1–5pm

Where: Tulinda Yoga Studio, 618 McGraw Street, Queen Anne

Who: Suitable for any writers actively working on or thinking about a book. No matter the genre, where you are in the writing process, or how you’d ideally like to publish, this class will ensure you have the best shot at publication. (While book proposals are expected for nonfiction titles, we encourage all aspiring authors to write a proposal, as it will make their submission—and their book—stronger.)

Fee: $199. You can register via PayPal here. Your payment in full confirms your registration and reserves your spot. Space is limited to 15, so register early.

What to bring: Bring something on which to write, be it laptop or pen and paper. (Please charge up before coming and bring your power cord, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your charging needs.) Please also bring your mobile coffee mug or water bottle. We’ll have coffee, tea, and water on hand.

(photo: craftbuds.com)

Leave a comment

Filed under Craft a Winning Proposal, Events

New Author Success Story: Anne McTiernan

Anne McTiernan took our UW class last spring to work on her proposal, and we were thrilled to hear that she scored a book deal for her memoir, StarvedFH_AnneMcTiernan_2616Writers, remember: book deals DO happen, and they happen every day. We share these success stories to give you insights from real people going through the publishing process, and to inspire and motivate you to keep going! Here’s Anne’s story.

What is the title of your book, and who will be publishing it?
Starved: A Nutrition Doctor’s Journey from Empty to Full by Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD. It’s a poignant memoir of a girl who endured childhood emotional and physical deprivation, a binge-eating disorder, and abuse, to find love, strength, and happiness.It will be published by Central Recovery Press in November 2016.

Tell us how this book came about. What inspired you?
After reading Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, a memoir of his miserable Irish Catholic upbringing, I was inspired to write about my miserable Irish-American Catholic upbringing.

Can you share some insights on the chain of events that lead to your book deal?
I sent queries to many agents, received some positive responses, and went with an excellent agent who was ready to work with me without a delay of several months. I received many rejections—that seems to be unavoidable in this business.

How did you handle any challenges you faced? Did you seek out professional services or other help along the way?
There’s a saying among doctors in training: “See one, do one, teach one.” I naively thought that I’d be able to whip off my memoir, but soon found out that creative writing requires a lot of learning and practice. So I sought help. I took the University of Washington Certificate Program in Memoir with Theo Nestor, and also took her Advanced Memoir course. Then, when I had a completed manuscript, I worked with two excellent book advisors/editors: Claire Dederer and Jennifer D. Munro. Finally, when I was ready to find an agent and publisher, I took Jen & Kerry’s UW course, “Publishing Your Book in Today’s Marketplace.”

What surprised you during the publishing process?
I had previously published a health advice book (Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer, St. Martin’s Press, 2000), and was surprised at how much more challenging and competitive the business has become. Another surprising thing I learned with both books is that the author has to be actively marketing the book, and can’t expect that the publisher will do all of that.

What’s been the best aspect about getting a book deal?
It’s very rewarding to have a publisher get excited about my book, and to commit to share it with the world.

What’s next for you?
I’m learning a lot about marketing! I’m also working on a memoir about my medical school years.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I highly recommend the information provided by Business of Books—Jen and Kerry covered exactly the things I needed to know for developing a query letter and book proposal.
(Thanks, Anne!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Success Stories, Success Stories & Testimonials, Uncategorized

Seattle Writes at the Seattle Public Library

We all know that Seattle is a literary town.

But doSeattleWrites1 you know about Seattle Writes? This great program supports local writers through classes, workshops, write-ins, and by providing spaces to work throughout the city. This spring, the Seattle Public Library offers 25 free writing classes and programs that are open to everyone. No excuses!

We’re psyched to be a part of Seattle Writes this year, offering our popular Secrets of a Successful Book Proposal workshop on April 3 from 2-4pm at the Central Library (downtown) and on May 1 from 2-4pm at the Queen Anne Library. We hope you’ll join us for these motivating free talks. Even if you’ve come to our classes before, this will be a great refresher to help you whip that proposal into shape and get it out the door.

But wait, there’s more! Spring 2016 Seattle Writes faculty includes Kathleen Alcala (essays), Nancy Kress (science fiction), Rose Lerner (historical romance), Claudia Castro Luna (poetry), Donna Miscolta (fiction), Nancy Rawles (fiction/dialogue), Ingrid Thoft (mystery), as well as a series of writing workshops presented in partnership with Hugo House. In addition to those featuring your truly, there will be publishing and marketing classes with Martha Brockenbrough (query letters/synopsis), Beth Jusino (marketing), and Sasquatch Publishing (behind the scenes look at the publishing process). Check out the full schedule here. Hope to see you around the library!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

5 tips to building an author platform—without being an author

authorz-platform.jpgIn our experience, there are two words that strike the most fear into the heart of any aspiring author: AUTHOR PLATFORM. [Cue creepy organ music.] Our clients know they need to sell themselves when they sell their book. They know that it’s not just their craft being evaluated by an agent or publisher, but their personal story, credentials, and potential reach to the book’s target market. All of this is rolled up into an individual writer’s author platform, and it must be highlighted persuasively in the proposal and query letter. After all, it’s a job application: When you think about it, every writer is applying for the job of author at that particular house. You have to show why you’re worth their investment.

“But I’ve never been published before!” our clients moan. “How can I build my author platform when I’m not even an author yet?”

Good question. We’ll tell you how. (And by the way, whether you have a glimmer of a book idea or a polished draft, the time to start bulking up your author platform is now.)

  1. Begin offering your services. If you have a kids book, offer to read it at schools, libraries, or kids bookstores. Could you do a demo at a cooking store, or offer to help party-plan a high-profile charity event? Could you get on a local radio show or panel during a discussion that your book might pertain to? Does your expertise lend itself to a conference, charity organization, or event, where you could speak and get publicity in return? All this shows you are making a name for yourself on your topic. (If you have great ideas of things you could do, but haven’t yet, include those in your proposal, too.)
  1. Start a blog. If it makes sense for your book, start an on-point and well-crafted blog, and start subscribing and commenting on other, more high-profile blogs on the same subject. You don’t need a giant audience here. A simple, nicely written blog and/or author website shows you’re committed to your topic and showcases your writing. (Because trust us, the first thing an agent or publisher will do is Google you.
  1. Tweet. Especially for nonfiction writers, start following folks in your field or subject area, and they’ll follow you back. And try to tweet, respond, and retweet a couple of times a day.
  1. Reach out to the writing community. Jump into the writer’s community, both where you live and online. Not only will you find your tribe, but those same people can be really supportive when it comes time to promote your book.
  1. Be a media whore. Yep, we said it. Get your name out there, any way you can. Who is covering a subject that you can speak to? (Ideally this is also your books’ subject, but not necessarily.) When you’re positioning yourself as an author, it’s no time to be shy. Contact local radio stations and print media to offer yourself as an expert. Register for HARO (Help a Reporter Out), where reporters contact experts on a wide variety subjects. A few minutes of your time could mean you’re quoted in a national publication and will come up in searches on that topic.

Now, once you start making inroads, use that info for your book proposal or query letter. It’s a huge selling point of your book these days. Incorporate all of this into a compelling picture of you as an author, someone who can both deliver the goods and be comfortable telling their story to the media.

(photo: authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing/Publishing Tips