Tag Archives: authors

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)

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Get Published! A look back at our Willows Lodge retreat

Willows 2016They came, they learned, they polished their already strong book ideas.

Fresh off our Get Published! Writers Retreat at the luxe Willows Lodge, we are in awe and inspired by each and every one of our attendees.

From children’s picture books to memoir to alternative history, these aspiring authors dove in from the get-go, developing book proposals and query letters, and in the process strengthening their projects.

Based on the feedback and the energy in the room, we helped each and every one of them.

In return, they inspired us. Every single time we teach a class or host a retreat, we get invested in helping our clients’ and students’ books be all they can be. Some folks come in with a polished, “finished” manuscript and yet we help them step away and look at their project with fresh eyes, which inevitably leads to a more thought-out and creative submission. Other writers are still kicking around several ideas but almost immediately, they focus in on the one that feels right for them and the marketplace. Regardless of where they were starting from, all left with a proposal-in-progress and the beginnings of a compelling query or cover letter.

As for the two of us, we left more committed than ever to helping writers realize their publishing dreams. To that end, we’ll be scheduling more workshops in the coming months and expanding our offerings to include individual consultations, proposal writing, and more!

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How to Get Seattle’s Talent into Print

Nicole Brodeur 122015We are thrilled that Nicole Brodeur mentioned The Business of Books and our upcoming retreat in her Sunday column. If you have a book idea but don’t know how to get published, come to our January publishing retreat at Willows Lodge. Read the article here.

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Get Published! The lowdown on our writers retreat at Willows Lodge

Willows3We’re thrilled at the early interest in Get Published!, the Business of Books 2nd annual publishing retreat, and we hope you and your book project can join us January 23–24, 2016. The overnight retreat will take place at the beautiful and serene Willows Lodge in Woodinville and features in-depth seminars on specific topics relating to the book business and developing a book proposal. Because of the intimate size, all attendees receive personal attention and direct feedback on their individual projects. The two-day event will cover:

  • All nine elements of a successful book proposal, with hands-on exercises and workshopping that result in a working proposal document by the close of the retreat
  • How to create a targeted book marketing plan and build an author platform
  • Insider intel on the publishing business, including critical do’s and don’ts
  • How to craft an impactful cover letter and develop a targeted submission list

Writers of all genres and levels are welcome. Whether attendees have a glimmer of an idea or a polished draft, our one-of-a-kind immersive workshop will push you to move your book project forward in a significant way—and enlighten you on how the business of publishing really works.

“This retreat gave me exactly what I needed to start getting my writing out into the world,” says 2015 attendee Heather LeRoss. “The combination of insider insights, step-by-step how-to’s and the belief from Jen and Kerry that I could do it, gave me the confidence to put my writing out there and think of myself as an author. Since attending, I’ve had more than 10 articles published and my children’s book is out to publishers for review. Thank you, Jen and Kerry.”

In addition to luxurious accommodations, guests will receive a welcome amenity, meals courtesy of the renowned Barking Frog, and all workshops, as well as our exclusive Publishing Toolkit (a $99 value) to take home.

Book early! Through December 15, earlybird pricing for “Get Published!” starts at $870 per person including tax and is based on double occupancy. Complete details can be viewed on the Willows Lodge website here. After December 15, prices increase $100 per person. To make reservations, please contact Shaina Phillips at 425-424-2965 or shaina.phillips@willowslodge.com.  

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New Author Success Story: Karen Gaudette Brewer

Karen_G_B_Headshots_Proofs-1 (2)We’ve been thrilled to hear of the recent success stories of our clients: several new book deals in the last few months, including children’s, memoir, and cookbooks! It’s exciting to see that our Business of Books gospel has been paying off for new writers across a variety of genres. We’ve asked these first-time authors to share their publishing stories with our community. 

This week, we spotlight Karen Gaudette Brewer, an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist who is endlessly fascinated by why and how we eat the things we do. Her new book is The Seafood Lover’s Pacific Northwest: Restaurants, Markets, Recipes & Traditions (Globe Pequot Press). Karen describes her book this way: “Armed with thisSeafood Lovers Pacific Northwest (2) guidebook, the Pacific Northwest and its magnificent seafood culture become your oyster. You’ll find the best eats and can’t-miss festivals for your next road trip; cooking inspiration for the salmon, halibut, and mussels you picked up at the market; and get to know the people, places, and traditions that make living here so enjoyable.” This beautiful book will be feted at a book launch, which is open to the public, at Seattle’s University Book Store on November 7 at 7pm.

Tell us how this book came about.
Twitter is the surprising genesis of this book. An acquisitions editor reached out to me after noticing my work and platform and pitched me this project. I was delighted but torn: I had (and still have) a) a day job b) an active toddler and  c) a spouse who travels often for work, so I knew I’d have to balance more than I ever had before to make this project a reality. I decided to take the challenge.

Why were you inspired to write this book?
I grew up in a small Northwest town. I realized this book was an opportunity to help many excellent, small, out-of-the-way businesses get the attention they crave. We have such a unique fusion of native and immigrant seafood traditions here in the Northwest and I knew digging into that culture would yield some fascinating stories and experiences. Plus, I loved the challenge of finding new experiences in my lifelong home. We truly do live in one of the best places for adventure.

What professional services did you seek out in the process?
This is my first book and much of the process took me by surprise. I wasn’t fully clear on when copy editing would take place, so I hired a copy editor to edit the first manuscript drop, to get a sense of whether my voice and style were working structurally (they were). That gave me a confidence boost through the rest of the project. Guidebook projects, I’ve heard, place a lot of content demands upon the author: art, mapmaking, gathering permissions for recipes and other submissions, etc.. About a third of the way through, I hired a talented, punctual friend to serve as my permissions editor. I just didn’t have the space in my head to think about permissions AND write the book. Best decision ever. What wasn’t a surprise: handling the pitch. The Business of Books class I took a couple years prior with Jen and Kerry gave me confidence to find my way through the process.

What surprised you during the publishing process?
How many people are involved, and how so much of the marketing falls into the author’s lap in this day and age. I had read that, but it’s different to experience it. I’m thankful I kept a running list of publicity ideas, another helpful hint gleaned from the Business of Books coursework.

What’s been the best aspect about getting published?
Since the first grade I’ve wanted to become a published author. Now, I am. And my mom and family are around to see it. That’s the best aspect personally. Professionally, I’m glad to introduce (or re-introduce) readers to eateries and people off the beaten track that they might never have encountered. I am a features writer through-and-through, and so enjoyed the chance to interview so many interesting folks and share their stories. There are so many family dynasties in the fishing, oystering, and restaurant industries. It’s fascinating to learn more about what drives people to keep the lineage unbroken despite such grueling work.

What one piece of advice would you offer to burgeoning authors?
Listen to time management advice from your friends who have already published books. Everyone told me to get a giant dry-erase board and to cover it in sticky notes as I built my book’s structure. Yeah, yeah, I thought. I’ve been a journalist and storyteller for years: I got this. Then, I realized just how challenging it is to see your book’s shape on the limited real estate of a laptop. The next time I write a nonfiction book, I’ll spend more time at the beginning on strategy, no matter how behind I feel, because in the end it will pay off. One example: had I thought ahead, I would have had video footage galore from all my research adventures. At the time, I kept thinking I’d have time to get back to all those places, but it was impossible when it came time to hit my writing deadline.

What’s next for you?
I’d like to find an agent and move forward with several nonfiction projects I’ve been noodling over the past few years–some in the food world, some not. I also need to make the time to work on some fiction (perhaps on my bus commute!). As a longtime journalist, writing fiction terrifies me. It’s been beaten into my skull not to make things up, to describe things as they are, not as I would like them to be. Fiction is like, make whatever you want to have happen, happen! It’s liberating and terrifying all at the same time.

Anything else you’d like to share?
My book launch party is at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 7, at University Book Store in Seattle’s University District. BeanFish, the nation’s first taiyaki food truck, will be serving piping hot Japanese-style sweet and savory waffles shaped like fish. It’s going to be a great time, and I hope to see you there.

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What Publishers REALLY Want You to Know

Sending out a book proposal for review by agents and publishers is an act of bravery. At The Business of Books, our raison d’etre is making sure you do it right…by way of a complete, polished, on-point book proposal that will give you the best possible chance at publication. Beyond that, you have to be savvy when submitting it. We recently interviewed publishers and agents in New York and asked them about some simple do’s and don’ts that they wish they could tell every writer. Listen up, potential authors!Whisper Art

DO know to whom you’re sending your proposal.
This translates as do your research. Over and over again, publishers have told us how frustrated they are with receiving proposals for the kinds of books they don’t publish. How would you like to work for a cookbook publisher and continually get pitches for children’s books or memoirs? Do your homework to ensure you’re sending your book to the right place; otherwise you waste your time and annoy the publisher.

DON’T pigeonhole the publisher.
Resist the urge to tell the publisher who they are (“You’re quirky,” “You’re intellectual,” “You’re prestigious”) when explaining why you’re sending them this book idea. It can make them bristle. Instead, tell them what other books they publish that you admire, and how your book might appeal to those same readers.

DO promote yourself and your idea as marketable.
Your book may be a labor of love, but it’s also a product that needs to be sold. In today’s publishing world, it’s more true than ever that writing the book is only half of your job. When you pitch your book, convey to the publisher that you understand this, and that you stand prepared to partner with them to promote and sell your book. Wow them with a terrific author bio and offer some creative ideas on how you might reach your target audience.

DON’T forget to say what the book is about.
Believe it or not, most publishers say that the most common rookie mistake is not clearly stating what the book is about. What is the book, what does it promise, and how does it deliver on that promise? It’s the author’s job to convey this clearly and passionately from the get-go.

Ready to learn more? Join us at our all-day book proposal seminar on Feb 9, “30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal,” or check out our helpful webinars, including “What Every Publisher Wants You to Know.” Write on!

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Teresa Guidice & Kim Alexis: True Inspiration

Bet you didn’t expect that headline, did you? Well, it’s true. AUTHORS Teresa Guidice (of Real Housewives fame) and Kim Alexis (of former—like FORMER—supermodel fame) will be at BEA, signing copies of their books Fabulicious! and Beauty to Die For, respectively. Which once again proves our point that if they can write a book, you can, too.  Just break it down into easy steps (explained in our Publishing Toolkit), and you’ll have a viable proposal in short order.

We want to queue up at your autographing table at next year’s BEA.

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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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