Friday, March 23, 2012

Being "Booksy"

There is still a lot of debate surrounding the effect that the ebook has, both on our industry as well as on those who keep us being able to call ourselves an "industry": the readers. Some say it's a travesty, that writing can never be experienced the same way on a touchscreen as it can on a deckle-edged page. Some say otherwise (typically in large groups, conspicuously): that anything that gets more people reading is OK by them.

In all of this, though, I've always had the feeling that something is missing from the discussion. That, really, ebooks aren't a bad thing. That they're not infringing on your right to have a bookshelf full of first edition hardcovers with pages whose smell fills you with joy--but eventually you will have to pay more to fill that bookshelf, just as all those vinyl-philes do to keep their turntables turnin'.

The missing thing is reading. Love of the stories contained in books, rather than their packaging...when did we forget that binding is just a vehicle for getting you the story in a convenient, albeit well-designed way?

I read this (sort of pretentious and college-y feeling, unfortunately) article this morning, about the difference between loving to read and loving to fetish-ize reading (page sniffers!). The author says the following, among other very true things: "Booksing tends to show up as a gushy, shared celebration of the idea of books, rather than of the experience of reading any given one." You can read more here:


Friday, March 16, 2012

Very Cool, Very Crowdsourced

I love this idea: Four regular guys on a mission to complete a list of '100 Things To Do Before You Die' and to help and encourage others to go after their own lists.

The guys crowdsourced an ultimate bucket list on Facebook and now it's going to be a book! You can check out the trailer here. And join the conversation on their Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Books Crossing Borders

Well, it seems AZ can't seem to stop itself from continuing to lose it.:

"The Unified School District (TUSD) board ordered the books removed after State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal threatened to withhold state funding pursuant to a recently enacted Arizona law, which prohibits public schools from teaching anything that promotes racial or ethnic “resentment,” or that is designed “primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or advocates “ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”  That law is being challenged in court.
Among the titles being removed from classrooms are Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado; 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, edited by Elizabeth Martinez; Message to Aztlan by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales; Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales; Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuna; Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire; andRethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years by Bill Bigelow."

Fortunately, there is no shortage of completely earnest, but still tongue-in-cheek protest to this latest news.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Learn to Blog in 90 Minutes!

Courtesy of yours truly and Writer's Digest. I'll be teaching a webinar about all the essentials and best practices for author blogs, including shedding some light on how agents use the blog to troll for potential clients. Then, I'll take a look at your own blog to tell you how to optimize for the most traffic, getting readers to come back and, of course, how to tailor the blog to help you get noticed by an agent.

I've got my talking points, but I wonder: what are the most pressing questions for you? You can get as specific as you'd like.

Let me know in the comments! And, of course, you should also sign up for the webinar to learn the answers!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

THE MARIA PARADOX Contest Winners!

A few weeks ago, we ran this contest, and a whole bunch of you entered, helping my clients (THANK YOU!) and, well, yourselves!

Our Winners Are:

Liz Parker:
Liz took social media active by doing research into some of the most prominent Latina influencers are...and getting their help! She was retweeted, mentioned, and even contacted directly by these targeted mavens, resulting in a new PR lead for me! This, my friends, is how you "do" social media. It takes some thought, but the results are just more than worth it. Want to see Liz in action? Check her out on Twitter, @LizParkerWrites.

KT Hanna:
KT impressed me by bringing her own large platform to bear--which means she's been doing her homework way before this contest came along building a following for herself and, most importantly, by keeping that audience engaged. Her tweets and posts were shared and retweeted more than any other entrant's and she also branched out into non-Twitter, non-Facebook media. Follow her on Twitter: @KTHanna.

Charlee Vale:
Charlee took "casting a wide net" to another level. She posted everywhere from the go to's (Twitter and Facebook) to Tumblr and Nathan Bransford's Forums. The creativity was so exciting to me! Sure, there's no telling how many people from Nathan's huge forums actually clicked through, but the best thing about online publicity like this is that it's there forever. And those forums are a priceless place to be forever. Not to mention she went the extra mile and liked/followed the clients' Facebook and Twitter feeds. Which I'm not sure anyone else did, but is one of the best ways to help! Find Charlee on Twitter here: @CharleeVale.

All of these participants brings a very good illustration of how to really succeed using social media. Following their examples and strategies is a sure-fire way to grow your own following and become a superpower of publicity for your and your friends' books.

Winners! Let's set up calls and deadlines for the critiques! Email me at proseblog [@] gmail [dot] com.

Of course, I'm not paid to wear my agent hat anymore, but it's still bright and shiny and has lots of friends. :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Maria Paradox Contest

Thank you SO much to all the entrants who blogged/tweeted/Facebooked for THE MARIA PARADOX, my (former - tear!) clients' wonderful self-help book focused on Latina and bi-cultural empowerment.

I'll be choosing winners this week, and I'll post them here ASAP!

It would still be really awesome if you followed on Twitter and liked them on Facebook!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Starting Tuesday, I will be leaving Lowenstein Associates--and agenting all together--at least for the time being.

It's bittersweet to announce that I will now be heading up marketing for Soho Press' forthcoming Young Adult line of books as well as their Literary Fiction. Bitter, because of course I have a huge heart for agenting and it was hard to part with my wonderful clients. But heavy on the sweet, because Soho is an ideal place for me--they've offered me my dream job.

Soho is an independent publisher of international crime, mystery, and literary fiction. Their Young Adult mystery line (and, Oh My Gosh, I've seen these titles and I cannot WAIT to be working on them) launches in 2013. They combine the best of a small company's ability to adapt and innovate (and, above all, intense dedication to their authors) with a large publisher's resources and industry contacts. They also consider unsolicited work, which of course feels very familiar to me. :)

In short, I'm embarking on what, at first glance, seem like a very different career path. But ultimately I expect things not to change in a few very important ways: authors and their books are still going to be number one priority. I'll still be working to get those authors' work into every hand I can. I'll still be working with people who, I can vouch, feel every bit as strongly about author advocacy as any agent.

In very short, I can't wait.

And what does that mean for you, People of The Blog? Well, not a lot. After all, what else did we talk about here than marketing of various types? If anything, the focus will shift even more to author platform and digital marketing. I'll still be at the Houston Writer's Conference and the Dallas Fort Worth conferences as well.

Any questions?