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Hey guys! I’m SO excited to share this fun (and super helpful/insightful) quiz from Jackie Lindert, a literary assistant at New Leaf Literary and Media.
Jackie earned her degree in English in her home state of Wisconsin. After college, she trekked to Colorado to attend the Denver Publishing Institute, eventually landing an internship in NYC with New Leaf Literary & Media. Following the internship, she found a job with the publishing house formerly known as Penguin Group as a Subsidiary Rights assistant. One year later she finds herself back at New Leaf as an assistant handling client care, mailings, and best of all, reading manuscripts.
Have you always wanted to work in publishing? Do you already work in publishing, but aren’t sure if you’re in the right place? I’ve answered yes to both of these questions before, and now I want to share how my experiences have brought me to where I am today. If this can help others find their place within this wonderful industry, I’m thrilled to be able to help.
Do you think you’re best suited to work at a large publishing house or a boutique literary agency? If you’re trying to decide between the two, I hope you’ll find an answer by the end of this quiz. Now, in case you’re wondering, Jackie, what makes you such an expert? Let me put your skepticism to rest. I have, in fact, been employed by both.
For one year, I worked in subrights at Penguin Random House, and I currently work at New Leaf Literary & Media Inc. I’m proud to have both jobs on my resume, and I’m hoping that based on my experiences, I can help others find where they fit, too. So take my quiz and see whether you’re suited for a big publisher or a boutique agency! But please note, these answers are based on my personal experiences and in no way reflect any company’s opinions.
Publishing Quiz: Where Should You Work?
1. I like my role at work to be
A. Structured – I like a job with pre-determined guidelines and tasks in my specific department. Everyone has a role to play, and my position is well-defined.
B. Mixed – I like the opportunity to try new and different things that may not have been in the job description and help out in areas other than my own.
2. I like my work environment to feel
A.Corporate, with plenty of coworkers all working for one company.
B. Informal, with fewer employees and a smaller feel.
3. I’d like the content I work on to
A. Stick to the same genres. Having a type of book I’m known for and building a list that has a certain reputation. I like being people’s go-to for “X,Y and Z.”
B. Be varied. I don’t won’t to get burnt out on the types of books I work on, so I like to mix it up with genres and age groups.
4. I tend to prefer working on
A. Projects that are pretty well polished, if not finished, by the time they get to me.
B. Projects that might need my help but have excellent potential.
5. I like working for a company that
A. Has a recognized brand. People can point out the books my company has worked on quite easily.
B. Does a lot behind-the-scenes work. I don’t mind that my company isn’t widely recognized by general readers.
6. When it comes to authors, I like
A. Working with someone in the middle to mediate for us. They can work more closely with the content creator so I can focus on the product/book itself.
B. Working directly with them to make sure they are productive and happy.
7. When it comes to hierarchy, I prefer
A. Having a corporate ladder. I like the pecking order that exists and always knowing who I directly report to/who directly reports to me.
B. More freedom/fluidity. I like having to answer to myself more than anyone else. I prefer team efforts as opposed to a chain of command.
If you chose mostly A’s:
You’re best suited to work at a publishing house! You prefer structure, set guidelines, and familiar tasks. You dream of working for a particular imprint so you can build a list that complements that publisher’s brand. You like being but one part in a well-oiled machine. It’s so fun to see your company’s logo on the spines at bookstores and it makes you proud to be a part of such awesomeness. You give books and authors a home.
If you chose mostly B’s:
You’re best suited to work at a boutique agency! You like variety at work. You don’t thrive under rules or guidelines and like to have a hand in editorial, publicity, ideation, etc., rather than focusing on just one role. You dream of working directly with authors and being their guide to find the right editor/publishing house. You find books and authors a home.
Again, please note that some answers could potentially fit either a publisher or an agency, depending, but I’m generalizing based on my personal experience. Getting to work for both has been amazing. I wish everyone luck on their publishing path, and I hope you’ve found some of the tips in this quiz helpful. Cheers to all!
Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson has signed a memoir deal with 37 INK, an imprint of the Atria Publishing Group.
Henson (pictured, via) has become well-known for her roles on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button movie and the Empire TV series. With this book, she plans to discuss her childhood and her career path.
According to the press release, publisher Dawn Davis negotiated the deal with talent manager Vincent Cirrincione of Vincent Cirrincione Associates and literary agent Todd Shuster of the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. A release date has been scheduled for for 2016.
Novelist Allison Pearson has signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press for a sequel to her 2002 bestseller, I Don’t Know How She Does It. Pearson announced the news on Twitter this morning.
Executive editor Hope Dellon negotiated the deal with UK literary agent Caroline Michel of Peters Fraser & Dunlop. Dellon secured North American rights to this manuscript. The publication date has been scheduled for Fall 2016.
Here’s more from the press release: “The as-yet-untitled new novel once again features Pearson’s beloved heroine Kate Reddy. Now on the cusp of turning 50, Kate returns to the workforce after a career break. Her husband Richard has decided to change careers which means that Kate, like so many women, is now the breadwinner. As Kate rides the rollercoaster of the menopause, she clashes with her furiously hormonal teenagers and must also tend to her ageing parents who make increasing demands on her non-existent time.”
We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending April 5, 2015–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.
(Debuted at #5 in Hardcover Fiction) At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen: “After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year’s Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son’s inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the Colonel’s favor is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed—by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster—Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind. ” (March 2015)
(Debuted at #8 in Hardcover Nonfiction) Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris: “Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker‘s copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.” (April 2015)
(Debuted at #15 in Children’s Illustrated) The Bunny Rabbit Show! by Sandra Boynton: “You’ve got front-row seats to the cutest revue in town—hop on down to The Bunny Rabbit Show! The latest addition to Sandra Boynton’s phenomenal bestselling Boynton on Board series, this book stars a cast of high-kicking bunnies performing in perfect unison to a lively song all about…them.” (September 2014)
IDW Publishing and DC Entertainment are partnering together for a comics crossover project with Star Wars and The Green Lantern. The publishers plan to produce a six-part monthly miniseries called Star Wars/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War.
Mike Johnson will write the story and Angel Hernandez will create the interior art. The first installment will be released in July.
According to the press release, “Star Wars/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #1 will be available in stores and online in July, boasting covers from Gabriel Rodriguez, Francesco Francavilla, Elsa Charretier, and Garry Brown. Following issues will feature covers from an amazing lineup that includes Declan Shalvey, Marc Laming, and more!”
Writer Amy Main (pictured, via) has landed a book deal with Adaptive Studios. The contract may expand to other forms of media including a film, a TV show, or a web series.
The content from Main’s popular blog, which chronicles her experiences embarking on a Tinder dating experiment, will serve as the inspiration for her forthcoming title. Click here to read Main’s first post which describes both the reason and the guidelines behind the 40 dates in 40 nights project.
Here’s more from Deadline.com: “L.A.-based Main started the blog following a breakup. She relied on Tinder to find her 40 dates in 40 nights, setting rules to ensure she didn’t jump into anything too quickly. The blog recounts her experiences on a roller coaster of dates: a third date flies her across the country for a night at off-Broadway’s immersive drama Sleep No More; another finds her discovering it’s a first date’s 30th birthday (um — too young or too old?).”
Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette has landed a memoir deal with Penguin Random House.
At the moment, no title or publication date has been announced. According to Entertainment Weekly, Arquette’s book “will focus on her unconventional family, her life as a single mother (she had her first child at age 20), and her experience as a woman in Hollywood—which she famously addressed in her Oscars acceptance speech.”
Arquette (pictured, via) has earned great praise for speaking out about pay equality at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. Follow this link to watch a video that features her moving speech. (via Detroit Free Press)
Print magazines are—contrary to the kind the-sky-is-falling-in predictions that always accompany the arrival of new media—not dead. They’re not even dying. They’re actually undergoing a bit of a vinyl-like renaissance. Jeremy Leslie has picked up on this phenomenon and penned a solid, gorgeous print book to discuss the magazine industry context and its plays. Entitled […]
Writers Emily Gould and Ruth Curry, the two women behind the Emily Books project, hope to raise $40,000.00 on Kickstarter. They plan to use the funds to revamp their company website. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.
Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “We’ve decided to partner with Rumors, Andy Pressman’s design firm, to create the Emilybooks.com of our dreams that we’ve just described. We’re impressed with their work on the Verso and Melville House websites and we want to compete in the same league as those guys. With these advancements, our hope is that we’ll attract more readers and subscribers and be able to grow, to reach more readers, to materially support the careers of the writers we love, and to make sure Emily Books lives long into the future.”
Every single staff member at the United States division of Penguin Random House has received a small bonus of $750 this year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the executives decided to issue this money “because their publishing house had such a good year in 2014.” Some of the titles which contributed to this rise in profits include Grey Mountain by John Grisham, Make It Ahead by Ina Garten, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Last year, Green’s hit young adult novel claimed the No. 1 spot on the Google Play ‘Books of the Year’ list.
Here’s more from the article: “Revenue at Penguin Random House increased 25.2% to 3.3 billion euros, while operating earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization grew 24.5% to 452 million euros…Titles related to Walt Disney Co.’s movie Frozen sold in excess of 17 million copies in all formats. On the digital front, Penguin Random House said it sold more than 100 million e-books worldwide in 2014 but didn’t provide a comparison with 2013.”
The University of Georgia Press plans to launch a new literary nonfiction series called Crux. John Griswold will serve as the editor for this project.
The editorial team plans to publish two to four titles for this series every year. The list kicks off with the release of Debra Monroe’s memoir My Unsentimental Education. The publication date has been scheduled for October 2015.
Here’s more from the press release: “Named for intersections, and for the heart of the matter, this series will publish literary nonfiction by diverse writers working in a variety of modes, including personal and lyric essay, memoir, cultural meditation, and literary journalism. Books are intended for general readers, including writers, teachers of writing, and students, and will be both intelligent and accessible. Engagement with the world, dedication to craft, precision, and playfulness with form and language are valued. As the series develops, it will include non-American writers and experiences.”
Writer Nicole Krauss has inked a two-book deal with Harper.
Executive editor Terry Karten handled the acquisition of these two manuscripts. Gawker.com reports Krauss signed a $4 million contract.
According to Bookforum Magazine, Krauss plans to write “a searching and metaphysical novel about transformation” entitled Late Wonder and “a book of stories” called How to Be a Man. This new projects mark Krauss’ departure from her longtime publisher, W. W. Norton & Company. (Photo Credit: Patric Shaw)
As a publisher, I subscribe to a lot of book publishing and marketing newsletters. Yesterday, I received the following email from two of those newsletters:
Ever wanted to write a children’s book?
If so, publishing your work as an e-book on Amazon’s Kindle platform is a great way to go – and now is a great time to get started.
The children's e-book market is up 475% this year alone, which makes it one of the fastest-growing book categories on Amazon.
Plus, once you know a simple formula, children’s books are one of the easiest types of books to write.
To discover how to get started writing and publishing your own children’s e-books, join Steve Harrison for a free webinar this Wednesday, April 1. (link redacted)
Steve will be interviewing an author who wrote a silly little 26-page Kindle children’s book in less than seven days, which, more than two years later, still produces more than $1,000 in royalties each month!
The idea that anyone can write a children's book using a "simple formula" is offensive and misleading. Writing a good children's book is not easy, it's hard! It takes dedication, hard work and a willingness to educate yourself about children's writing.
A common misconception is that writing for children is easy, because the writing in children's books appears simple. But that simplicity is deceptive; it takes skill and experience to know how to write for children in a way that's appealing without talking down to them. Writing good children's books is harder than writing good adult books. That book your children beg you to read every night? It was probably the result of many rounds of edits trying to get exactly the right words and the right tone. Of course, good adult writers do the same thing, but they don't have to agonize over every word, every sentence the way children's writers do.
Simplicity is hard! Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is one of the most well-known and beloved children’s writers. The seemingly simple rhyming text of his stories has fooled many writers into thinking that it’s easy to write such books, but Geisel labored over each book, writing and rewriting, sometimes for a year or more.
Encouraging people to write a "silly little" children's book using a "simple formula" does no one a service, least of all the writers themselves. The marketing copy above leads people to believe that fame and riches are just around the corner and easy to achieve, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. There are thousands of new children's books published every year, probably even more than that when you count all the self-published books. Many of those will languish in obscurity, many others will sell a decent number of copies and sit solidly midlist, and very few will sell a large number of copies. I personally know many, many children's authors, both traditionally published and self-published, and very few are getting rich. (Actually, I don't think any of my author friends are rich. If you are, let's talk!)
If you want to write a children's book, great! I admire anyone who pours their heart, soul, time, and effort into writing a book. But don't do it in expectation of making money. Yes, you might get lucky like the author mentioned in the ad above, but that's the exception, not the rule, and unless you are very, very lucky you won't achieve that. There is no magic formula that guarantees success - believe me, if there were, the big publishers would be using it! If you're going to write for children, do it for love, not for money. For most authors I know, the letters they receive from children mean much more than the royalty check. There's nothing wrong with wanting to make money from your writing, but if you go into it with that as your primary goal, there's a good chance that you're in for disappointment.
As a book blogger and Cybils Awards organizer/judge, I'm active in the children's book blogging community. Self-published books have developed a bad reputation in the community, and many bloggers now have review policies that exclude self- or indie published books. For years, I've advocated for indie publishing among my peers. Authors self-publish for many reasons, and self-publishing by itself is not an indicator of the level of quality. Self-publishing gives a voice to those who are disenfranchised by the traditional publishing industry. As one of the leaders of the Cybils Awards, I continually advocate to keep self-published books eligible and judged fairly and impartially. There are excellent self-published books, and a few have even been finalists or winners in the Cybils Awards.
But I sometimes feel that advocating for self-publishing is an uphill battle, when for every excellent book there are hundreds of others that are poorly done. People like Steve Harrison are making the situation worse by encouraging people to take the easy road, to produce more dreck that will further drag down the reputation of self-publishing. Not only that, but it misleads authors to believe that there is an easy road to success. There is no easy road that guarantees success! You might get lucky, but then, someone wins the Publishers Clearing House, too.
If you want to write a children's book, go for it! But rather than looking for easy formulas, take the time to learn what makes a good children's book. To start with, read a great many children's books. (If you have children, this isn't hard!) Read them critically, with an eye to what works well and what doesn't. (I've learned so much about children's books from nearly ten years of reviewing them for the blog, and nine years of being a Cybils judge). Read books about writing children's books. Take classes from reputable institutions or teachers. Join the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and your regional chapter of it. Attend writing conferences. Join or form a critique group. Check out any potential agents, publishers, promotional companies, contests, and more on the excellent Preditors and Editors.
One of my good friends, Anne Boles Levy, has her first book coming out in August, a YA fantasy published by independent publisher Sky Pony Press. For Anne, it's been at least a fifteen year journey: writing, editing, revising, and submitting the book. Anne works regularly with a critique group that includes multiple award-winning authors; I believe that the group has been working together since before any of them were published. During that fifteen years, in addition to writing Anne also invested a lot of time into things that helped her to be known in the children's book community: blogging, attending conferences, and even founding a children's book award. None of that guarantees any good reviews, of course, but it does mean that Anne has a better than average chance of getting bloggers to take a look at it. I haven't yet seen the book (although I can't wait!) but I assume that all the work she put into writing it has paid off in the form of an excellent book.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone needs to invest fifteen years. That's a lot of time to wait to achieve your dreams. But I am saying that true success does not come overnight in most cases, and if you want to succeed, you need dedication, perseverance, hard work, and a willingness to learn.
Don’t give in to the siren call of get-rich-quick schemes. Instead, invest your time and money in learning the craft and trade of children’s writing and publishing.
Here’s more from BusinessInsider: “The contract presented to HarperCollins was the same contract recently signed by Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan, our source says. If HarperCollins and Amazon don’t come to an agreement, no print or digital HarperCollins books will be available on Amazon once its current contract runs out ‘very soon,’ our source says.”
[At a gaming conference] there is a strong success bias – you are not going to hear a lot of companies trumpet their failures. Failure, however, can be often be more instructive than success.
The same can be said of writing conferences. The keynotes are writers with “New York Times Bestelling Author” in front of their names, with awards and movie adaptations. We don’t see the worst-sellers speaking, but they have more wisdom — they know how to brace themselves for another disappointment, how to keep writing when you can’t make a living at it, and how to soldier on through a manuscript that might never find a single reader. They’ve weathered the storms and survived and can now tell us, like the wretched old man in that poem, about the albatross of regret.
Failure can mean lots of things in writing. A book that didn’t get published, a book that published and didn’t sell, a book that sold but got lambasted by reviewers, or even a book that did well on all accounts but still makes the writer cringe. There are PR disasters, author events where nobody shows, terrible interviews, and (for my crowd) school visits that make the author want to hit every bar on the way home.
But failures, mistakes, and bad experiences are learning experiences, and here is what I want to do: I want to destigmatize failure. I want writers to talk about their failures frankly, and what they learned from them.
I am going to make this a series, but won’t put an end point on it. One thing I’ve learned from past failures (remember the Mark Twain blog?) is to take these things slow.
But I’m going to put this idea out there now and solicit future interviewees or guest bloggers who can write about failure. It doesn’t even have to be about writing. Leave a comment or send me a message.
I am going to kick things off with my own story in a day or two.
Lonnie Mann is trying to raise $3,000 on Kickstarter to fund a comic strip book called Thoughts from Iceland, a Travelogue Comic.
Inspired by John & Hank Green’s \"Thoughts From Places\" videos on YouTube, the comics recount Mann’s experiences traveling around Iceland. Check it out:
I’ve self-published very small runs of the comic in 3 short volumes, which I sell at cons, and online. But they’re expensive to print, and so they’re also expensive for people buy!
This kickstarter is to raise money to print professional-quality, perfect-bound, softcover books of the whole finished comic. Plus, it includes 30+ pages of new watercolors and stories about the second trip I took to Iceland, a year later. And that’s not even to mention the Icelandic glossary, and pronunciation guide!
The cover for The Girl in The Spider’s Web, the fourth installment of the bestselling Millennium series, has been unveiled by The Wall Street Journal.
Swedish writerDavid Lagercrantz picks up where the late Stieg Larsson left off. Deadline reports that Lagercrantz did not consult “the partial manuscript for a fourth book that the author’s partner, Eva Gabrielsson, reportedly found in his computer.”
According to The Guardian, Quercus Books will publish the United Kingdom edition of this book on August 27th. Click here to watch the book trailer and see the cover art for this title. Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Penguin Random House, won’t release the American version until September 1st. Follow this link to see the American publisher’s book trailer.
Sean Fay Wolfe, a teen writer, has signed a three-book deal with HarperCollins. Wolfe became well-known for writing fan fiction stories inspired by the video game Minecraft.
Senior editor Pamela Bobowicz negotiated the terms of the agreement with Zachary Shuster Harmsworth literary agent Rick Richter. The publisher will release book one of Wolfe’s middle-grade trilogy, entitled Quest For Justice, on July 28, 2015. Book two will come out on October 27, 2015 and book three will follow on January 26, 2016.
Here’s more from the press release: “Sean Fay Wolfe was just 16 years old when he wrote, Quest For Justice, the first book of The Elementia Chronicles trilogy, which he originally self-published. Inspired by the best-selling game, this unofficial trilogy brings Minecraft fans and middle grade readers on an action packed adventure. In Quest for Justice, dark forces are at work on the Elementia server, and when new players Stan, Kat and Charlie arrive on the scene, they quickly find themselves in peril.”
Arlene Holmes, the mother of James Holmes, the man on trial for a massive shooting at a movie theater in Colorado during a screening of \"The Dark Night Rises\" back in 2012, has self-published a book.
Few people have analyzed the effect on the family of an accused shooter facing the death penalty. This prayer book is a unique look at the aftermath of a mass shooting from the perspective of the accused’s mother, as she prays her way through the pretrial court proceedings.
Lately I've been wondering what drives people to Barnes and Noble as opposed to Amazon or vice versa. They both have books in paperback and ebook formats, so what prompts someone to pick one over the other?
I'm an Amazon girl, but oddly enough I used to purchase all my books through Barnes and Noble. I don't know why I changed. It sort of happened one day without me knowing it. But let me share something with you from an author's perspective—something that has me admittedly perplexed.
I released an Ashelyn Drake title (Looking For Love) this month. It's a new adult romance, and I mention the genre for a reason. I've heard (not that I know if this is true or not) that romance sells better on B&N than Amazon. Well, for this book, that's true. My B&N ranking continues to get better every day, while my Amazon ranking is going in the opposite direction. Checking my sales numbers, I see a drastic different between the two sites. Now here's why I'm baffled. I don't use the B&N link to promote. I always use the Amazon link. Sure I have the B&N link on my website, but I don't actively promote it.
That's not the only reason I'm confused. You see the other Campus Crush novellas, before they were packaged as one book—Campus Crush, all sold better on Amazon. Hmm… So what is making this book different? I have a clue!
So I'm asking you all, which site do you gravitate toward—Amazon or B&N—and why?