Category Archives: The Business of Books with Jen & Kerry

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!

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Start your book proposal before you finish your manuscript

It’s true. It’s a smart idea to start your book proposal even while your manuscript is still in progress.

To that end, join us for Get Published!, an intensive and results-oriented weekend workshop for aspiring authors on January 23 & 24, 2016! In just 36 hours, writers will leave with all the tools they need to craft a successful proposal and pitch their book to agents and publishers with confidence. For more information on the retreat, check out this video:

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Wouldn’t you like to have Jen and Kerry in a binder?

art Toolkit cover_265wideDid you know you could get all of our publishing insight and guidance in one crisp white binder? It’s true!

The Business of Books’ Publishing Toolkit made its debut last year to rave reviews. Chock-full of information on researching your idea, developing the key sections of a proposal, honing your submission list, sending out your proposal, and navigating contracts and the business of publishing, the Toolkit is a resource that can stand in for us and keep you focused and inspired. As one attendee said, “The toolkit has been extremely informative and helpful. It is an anchor that I’ll refer to again and again.”

We’re excited to share this material with other burgeoning authors, namely you. The Publishing Toolkit is $99 plus shipping. This binder provides 100+ pages of insider information and includes worksheets and two actual proposals (rarely seen outside of publishing circles) to guide you on your path to publication. Click here to purchase the Publishing Toolkit through PayPal, or email us at jenandkerry@gmail.com if you have questions. Write on!

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Have you heard about Seattle PubCamp?

Have you heard about Seattle PubCamp? Hosted by Writer.ly, it’s Friday, 11/22 & features awesome speakers (like us!) & loads of publishing workshops.

During the one-day conference in Seattle, learn how to become an “Authorpreneur,” and explore all the nuts and bolts of self publishing. The day covers everything from writing and editing your masterpiece, to building your author platform and marketing your books. Three concurrent tracks will focus on writing craft, publishing and book marketing.

Lunch, free parking and lots of swag for attendees are provided.

The day will finish with the Seattle Writing Community Party and Wine Reception. Meet with writing organizations, groups and non-profits from the Seattle area, while noshing on delicious treats. Click here for registration details.

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30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal Intensive Workshop Scheduled for 5/18

With our wildly effective proposal intensive, let 2013 be the year that you get a sweet publishing deal! Back by popular demand, we are offering our highly rated 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal course. We are offering a full-day workshop on Saturday, May 18. We created this intensive program to illuminate each step of the book proposal process, breaking it down into an easy-to-follow 30-day plan. We will cover every aspect of the development process, detail how to write various components, and provide “homework” so you can move your proposal forward efficiently on your own. You’ll leave with a plan for an on-point proposal, ready to send to publishers or agents.

Included in this results-oriented workshop is the Publishing Toolkit: A Hands-on Resource for Burgeoning Authors. This binder is filled with all the notes and materials to develop your successful proposal from start to finish—including step-by-step advice, helpful exercises and worksheets, key information on creating a targeted submission list, and real sample proposals that have sold to publishers.

During this all-day workshop, learn how to build your proposal with a successfully proven 4-part program:

Part 1: Research & Refine Your Idea
Develop a winning book idea that will rise out of the slush pile. You will:

  • Hone a viable nonfiction or fiction idea
  • Learn how to research the marketplace and competition
  • Brainstorm formats
  • Develop a publisher and agent wish list

Part 2: Sell Your Book—and Yourself
Create a killer author platform and marketing plan that will demand attention. You will:

  • Uncover the many strengths and attributes that you can bring to the table as an author
  • Learn how to leverage social media and other venues to build a strong platform
  • Brainstorm a robust and creative marketing plan for your title

(At this point in the day, you’ll have an hour to grab lunch on your own.)

Part 3: Craft Compelling Copy
Focus your proposal with a great title and introduction, and reel in editors and agents with compelling text. You will:

  • Develop a strong opening pitch
  • Learn how to create a complete, detailed outline and on-point sample text

Part 4: Submit Your Proposal
Lastly, create a savvy final package and target the right publisher. Learn how to:

  • Draft an arresting query letter
  • Develop your submission list for agents or publishers
  • Discover the pros and cons of self-publishing
  • Get a basic grasp of advances and royalties
  • Put the final touches on your proposal submission.

Here are the details:
Saturday, May 18, 9:30am-5pm

Hotel 1000, 1000 First Ave., Seattle
$299
Register now

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Why You Should Submit to Literary Magazines

stack-of-magazinesWith all the recent changes in publishing, there’s been increased moaning about how hard it is to score a book deal—especially as a fiction writer without an author platform. We agree; it’s not easy. You need talent, a great book proposal (natch), perseverance, and also the luck to land on the right desk at the right time. But there’s something else that is often overlooked, something that can help your chances of being noticed and signed by an agent or publisher: publication in a literary magazine.

Sure, The New Yorker and Harpers publish short stories, mostly from established writers (though that shouldn’t stop you from trying). But what we’re talking about here are the many well-respected literary mags that pride themselves on showcasing short fiction from all sorts of writers, magazines like Glimmer TrainChicago ReviewPloughsharesZoetropeTinhouse, and Zyzzyva. McSweeney’s Quarterly trumpets the lovely philosophy that they’re “committed to publishing exciting fiction regardless of pedigree.” There are many more to choose from, including a wealth of regional options, from The Seattle Review to the South Dakota Review.

Yes, most literary magazines are small in circulation and have  little (if any) money to pay you. But publication in one ups your literary cred significantly. Remember, these mags are used as scouting grounds for young, hungry agents and editors looking to make their mark. Think about it: You’re new at an agency or publishing house, and you dream of discovering an unknown writer and signing him or her to a book contract before anyone else does. Where’s a good place to look? The pages of these magazines.

So even if you’re knee-deep in your novel, consider whether you have a short story that you can polish to a high shine and start shopping around. If you’re able to get it published, you just might get a call from an agent trying to pitch you, rather than the other way around.

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What are the 9 elements every book proposal needs? Join our webinar to find out!

It’s time to get out of the slush pile, people. No lie: It pains us to hear about a good book idea that didn’t get a fair shot because the writer simply didn’t know how to craft a winning proposal. In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s more important than ever to present yourself as a savvy author who knows the publishing biz…and the best way to do this is to write a clear, thorough proposal. This document is your calling card, and your opportunity to convince an agent or publisher to take a chance on you. Make sure it stands out from the piles of paper on every editor’s desk. Make sure it sings.

How? Take “Secrets of a Successful Proposal,” our most comprehensive webinar. In just 90 minutes, we’ll walk you through the nine essential elements every proposal should have, regardless of genre, and help you break it down into manageable pieces. Learn insider tips as we draw on our decades of industry experience to share the secrets of a winning proposal—and take away concrete tools to get your proposal to shine. When you’re finished, you’ll be ready to craft a winning pitch that will set you apart from the slush pile. Click here to purchase the $79 recording, which you can watch whenever you like, and review repeatedly at your leisure!

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Our former student’s book debut

We must admit, we feel a bit like proud parents. One of our previous workshop attendees, the insightful and well-versed Todd Rendleman, has a book coming out in April from Continuum! Rule of Thumb: Ebert at the Movies explores how and why Roger Ebert became the most trusted and influential film critic in America. Listen to the great props his publisher gives him: “Few are in a position to write a firsthand memoir of one of the world’s great film critics, but Rendleman accomplishes just this, smartly intertwining his own coming-of-age cinematic sensibility with a witty critical analysis of his subject. All told, his achievement is noteworthy: he offers a unique view of a celebrated personality, while revealing himself as a writer of insight and dash.”

We remember brainstorming Todd’s book during a “Craft a Winnning Proposal” workshop last year, and it’s gratifying to see his worthy idea make it to the finish line. Like most of our students, Todd is not a writer by trade, but a professional with a passion for his subject and the motivation to put together a killer proposal and get it out the door.  You could be next!

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Series continues with “Craft Compelling Copy” on Feb. 15

Two talks in, we are thrilled to see that our attendees are doing the homework and assembling smart and focused book proposals that will soon be ready to send out into the world of publishing. The room is chock-a-block with enthusiasm, savvy, and creativity; we are truly inspired by the abundance of great, viable ideas these folks bring to the table. And we expect to continue to be impressed next week, when we get into the meaty, juicy part of the proposal, such as the sample text.

On Feb. 15, we’ll be discussing how to “Craft Compelling Copy.” Learn to focus your proposal with a great title and introduction, and reel in editors and agents with compelling text. This talk will help you to pique interest with a strong opening pitch, and to knock it out of the park with a complete, detailed outline and on-point sample text. Single tickets are still available here, so join us and move your project closer to publication.

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A book proposal in 30 days? Now that’s a New Year’s resolution!

With the holidays fast approaching, what’s the best gift to give yourself? A chance to be a published author, of course! Give your book idea its best possible shot by joining us starting February 1 for our brand-new, intensive four-part series, 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal. By month’s end you’ll have a polished proposal that’s ready to submit–and sell. What a way to kick off 2012!

As part of this results-oriented series, we’re excited to include our new Publishing Toolkit: A Hands-on Resource for Burgeoning Authors. This binder is filled with all the notes and materials to develop your successful proposal from start to finish—including step-by-step advice, helpful exercises and worksheets, and real sample proposals that have sold to publishers.

Here’s the schedule. All talks are Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm at the Hotel 1000 in downtown Seattle.

Wed, Feb 1: Research & Refine Your Idea

Develop a winning book idea that will rise out of the slush pile. This week, focus on finding and honing a viable nonfiction or fiction idea. You’ll learn how to research the marketplace and competition, brainstorm formats, and develop a publisher and agent wish list.

Wed, Feb 8: Sell Your Book—and Yourself

Create a killer author platform and marketing plan that demand attention. Week 2 has you uncovering the many strengths and attributes that you can bring to the table as an author, participating in social media and other venues to build your platform, and brainstorming a robust and creative marketing plan for your title.

Wed, Feb 15: Craft Compelling Copy

Focus your proposal with a great title and introduction, and reel in editors and agents with compelling text. This week’s talk will help you to pique interest with a strong opening pitch, and to knock it out of the park with a complete, detailed outline and on-point sample text.

Wed, Feb 22: Submit Your Proposal

Create a savvy final package and target the right publisher during the final talk in the series. You’ll learn how to draft an arresting query letter, develop your submission list for agents or publishers, discover the pros and cons of self-publishing, get a basic grasp of advances and royalties, and put the final touches on your proposal submission.

We are committed to getting that book idea out of your head and into the bookstores. Attendees are encouraged to attend the entire series, but single sessions are also available. The four-part series price is $299, which includes the toolkit. Single sessions are $79. Tickets are available from Brown Paper Tickets, click here to purchase.

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