Every writer faces rejection. The difference between the writers you read about and the ones you don’t, comes down to who conquered that fear. It’s up to you to decide which path you choose.
But it’s not that simple, is it?
It’s easy to list how many times great books were rejected – J.K. Rowling was rejected numerous times before she finally found a home for Harry Potter – but we lose sight of the choice that the writers made. They chose to lean into The Resistance.
Let me explain.
Rejection is an outcome, but what if it was actually a positive outcome? To be rejected, you have to revise, submit, and query. You have to hone your craft. One of the biggest secrets writers don’t get to see, and sometimes ever know, is that they oftentimes have less control over rejection than they think because it’s a numbers game.
“The Resistance can’t win if you keep writing.”
A writer can’t control an agent...
If you’ve ever spent a Saturday watching or participating in a track and field meet, you’ve probably witnessed someone falling out of the blocks. The sprinter is crouched and ready, head down and waiting for the starting gun . . . And then, the moment arrives and they stumble and fall.
It’s a tough thing to witness, even tougher to have experienced.
We’ve all been there, right? We're ready to go, the race is ahead of us . . . and we fall out of the gate.
This time of year, “New Year, New You” gets all the hype. Encouragement is abundant for 2023. And who can dismiss a fresh start, especially after the last several years? Like the sprinter, maybe you were ready to go, the race ahead of you . . . and then you crashed.
If that’s you, today is about helping you up after you've broken the promises you made to yourself about your writing goals, your publishing plans, or any other resolutions you’ve made around your...
2022 is behind us. And while it was a down year for the industry as a whole, there are reasons for hope. But a little less hope if you work at Amazon.
Final (preliminary) Numbers
With 2022 in the books (I'm sure we’ve used that one before), sales of print books finished 6.5% behind 2021. The decline was anticipated, as the world returned to a sense of normalcy, and with it more opportunities for entertainment besides reading. But, on the bright side of the street, 2022 was still 11.8% over pre-pandemic 2019. Again, for those avid readers of the Update, you’ll recall that we were pleased as punch about 2019 while it was happening.
Our analyst colleagues at BookScan note that a couple of symptoms from the pandemic carried on into 2022. First, with fewer brick-and-mortar stores, it was harder for new books to get their footing, so frontlist sales continued to slip (down 10.5% from 2021). Then, with that pesky inflation still lurking in every...
The Christmas shopping season is here—with not a bang, but a whimper. But more on that later.
From the “Didn’t See That Coming” file, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle shocked much, if not all, of the industry, abruptly announcing his departure from the apex publisher effective at the end of 2022. He did oversee the company during the very long and enormously expensive—yet failed—effort to acquire fellow Big 5 competitor, Simon & Schuster. But that sure didn’t seem like something people were blaming on Dohle.
S&S parent, Paramount, did decide to take their $200 million ball and go home—in the form of the negotiated kill fee due if PRH was unable to affect a closure of the deal in two years. In theory, that puts one of the publishing industry’s crown jewels back on the auction block. But with the Justice Department’s trust-busting win last month, it’s hard to see any competing...
You are what you read.
To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader, too. Behind every writer is a book that played a pivotal part in inspiring you to become a writer. Maybe it was a childhood book or something from grade school that made you want to pursue this passion. Now that you are chasing this dream, it’s time to have an intentional reading list. It’s vital to a writer’s success, and with it being Christmas time, there’s still time to treat yourself.
Here are three book recommendations for helping you become a better writer.
He may not inspire you to become a horror writer or read The Shining, but Stephen King’s On Writing is an essential read for all writers. Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, On Writing shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped King and his work. What makes King’s On Writing so good is the way it blends his story into a book about how to become a better writer. That...
Are you struggling with having confidence in your writing?
Every writer reaches a point where their confidence in the manuscript begins to wane. Maybe it’s the structure and how the chapters are ordered. Maybe it’s the voice: “Does any of this sound good to my ideal reader?” Or the grammar: “I’m 50% confident in how to use a semicolon.” Or, and this is a big one, connecting with a reader: “Is any of this working?!?!”
Any one of these questions is enough to make a writer throw their hands up in the air and yell, “Help! I need an editor.”
Editors are God’s gift to writers. They help us clarify, build confidence, and correct those pesky grammatical errors, among other things. A good editor can help you regain confidence in your writing while pointing you in the right direction. The key to finding an editor who can really help you is to know what you are looking for.
Let’s identify the different...
The Big 5 is still 5.
Just before leaving for her new appointment to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Florence Pan issued her ruling on our Trial of the Century – at least until another Big 5 publisher tries the same stunt.
Determining that the proposed acquisition by Big #1 Penguin Random House of Big #3 Simon & Schuster would “substantially lessen competition in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books,” Judge Pan officially blocked the merger. PRH has threatened to appeal, but some sources aren’t so sure that S&S parent Paramount will be willing to wait around.
In an interesting deal point, the original agreement between the publishing rivals included a $200 million expiration fee if the deal wasn’t consummated within 2 years of the November 24, 2020, agreement date. With S&S still raking in record sales and even higher profits (see...
What’s the biggest thing your book is missing?
Have you ever read a book and when you described it you said, “It didn’t deliver?” That thing it didn’t deliver, that piece that was missing, is the promise. Every book makes its reader a promise. If you don’t deliver on that promise, it’s doomed. That’s why it is so important to define your book’s promise. Let’s unpack how to create a promise so this doesn’t happen to your book.
The Promise Your Book Is Making
The book’s promise is what fulfills your commitment to the reader.
When we are talking about a book’s promise, here’s what we mean: let’s say you were sitting with one of your readers telling them what your book was about (the premise). And then you say, “I promise that after you finish reading my book you will …”
One of the most critical mistakes a book can make is breaking its promise to the...
What’s the best way for me to figure out if my book idea is any good?
There’s this great cartoon of a doctor holding up an x-ray to a patient and saying, “It looks like you’ve got a book in you.” In the x-ray, there’s a book lodged in the patient’s ribs.
If you’re reading this, you probably feel a lot like the patient, metaphorically, of course. Instead of wondering if your book idea is any good, let us help you figure that out.
Great book ideas start with the premise!!!
The very first step you should take when trying to figure out which book you should pursue first is to sit down and write out a premise of your book idea. The premise of your book is basically its thesis statement.
“What are the important factors I should consider
when I am developing my book idea?”
But what if you have two book ideas and can’t decide which to write about first? The premise is a great...
We all love the fall. Crisp temperatures, colorful trees, and—best of all—football. But this year, it’s more than just the leaves that are falling.
3rd Quarter Results Head South for the Winter
The early results are in (who’s ready for election season?!), and the good people at NPD BookScan are telling us the results are not good. Through the first nine months of 2022, book sales have slid 4.8% below the same period in 2021. Adult fiction readers answered the bell, driving sales up an industry-best 9.2% for the year thus far. But in the all-important category of adult non-fiction, the bestselling book this year is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear—which came out 4 years ago! (I hear it’s pretty good).
At HarperCollins, the fall has ushered in a falling headcount. In what might be the direst harbinger in this month’s Market Update, the Big 5 publisher (or is it 4 now?) announced an “elimination of a small...