How Far Can Your Book Go?


Don't Forget: Your Book will Reach More People than any Speaking Git, Article, or Facebook Post

“Words have the power to make things happen.” - Frederick Buechner

Most readers know this to be true -- books are soul food to nourish our spirit, to guide us along, equipping, inspiring, challenging us to live bolder, braver, more intentional lives.

But how exactly do you write a book? How do you put words to paper to impact lives?

Whether you are staring at blank pages, a half-finished manuscript, or even a full manuscript collecting digital dust, we believe you can change the world with just one book.

  • Someone’s marriage can be saved because they read your work.
  • Businesses can grow.
  • Families can heal and thrive.
  • Dreams can turn into fresh, exciting realities.

Books are powerful instruments that shape lives.

|Your book is a way to reach exponentially more people than any speaking gig, sermon, article, or social media post. Your book is also a way to share your...

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How to Grow Your Email List

An email list changes everything.

If you never ask, the answer is always the same.

This post is about the importance of email and the one thing you can do to start building (or enhancing) your list.

First a story.

During a recent exploratory call with a potential client, when asked about their email list, they said, "Yes, I have one." Game changer. Suddenly the entire conversation shifted because this author had taken the most important element of platform building and was doing it.

Having an email list signals to us as literary agents that you take your platform building seriously. You are investing in your career as a writer and author.

“Email > Social Media”

Too often in conversations about platforms, writers focus on followers on a variety of platforms. Mark Cuban said it best when he described why this is a problem: “You wouldn’t build your home on rented property, so don’t build your platform on social media.” Email is the foundation you...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 4, Issue 5


News and Corporate Information about Simon & Schuster, Inc.


Back on the Auction Block

One of the lone bright spots in the publishing industry, league-leading Simon & Schuster posted another banner quarter.  Q1 2023 saw sales increase 19% and operating income jump 18%. Regular readers of the Update will remember that these results are being compared to a “gravity-defying” 2022.  But, all the S&S success isn’t fazing corporate parent Paramount Global.  Paramount still insists that they want to off-load this “non-video” cash cow.  

If anyone is looking to invest a couple of billion dollars, seems like a solid opportunity to us.

Meanwhile, Penguin Random House—the former suitor whose advances were rebuffed by the Justice Department—was saved by the (former) prince. Over 4 million copies of Harry Windsor’s “SPARE” were credited for German parent Bertelsmann’s Q1 2023 sales increase of 5.6%.

One last item in the...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 4, Issue 4

Publishers Begin to Report Full-Year Results 

As the various regulatory filings trickle into the folks at the SEC and beyond, we start to get a more in-depth picture of the health of the industry.  Unit sales are the closest measure we have to any “real-time” data in this industry, but eventually, profits are what keep the presses running—and BookScan reports can’t help us there.

Case in point, the 800-lb. Penguin (Random House) saw sales rise 4.8% in 2022 over 2021.  But that pesky inflation, and some exchange rate shenanigans, left PRH parent Bertelsmann with only bad news for their shareholders, as earnings dropped 11.8%.  The company didn’t blame the massive legal bills or the hefty $200 million kill fee from the failed Simon & Schuster deal, but those couldn’t have helped. 

Deal Reports in Decline

Another less scientific, but leading indicator is the number of publishing deals signed in a given period – and...

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Requesting Endorsements for Your Book

How do I request endorsements for my book?

If you want people to say nice things about your book but you don’t know how to ask them to do it, this message is for you. Making an endorsement request is a sensitive, delicate ask. You don’t want to say the wrong thing. What if it’s not about what you say but how you say it?  

A great endorsement is one step closer to getting a potential reader to buy your book.

One of the best compliments your book can get is a great endorsement. Whether it’s on the cover of your book, collected in the interior, or used for marketing, those words give a huge boost of credibility to the author and give the content credibility with the reader.  

Recently a client of ours asked about best practices for requesting endorsements. He had a HUGE list of asks and was trying to figure out how to manage it all. It was super complicated. The quickest way to get someone NOT to endorse your book is to make it...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 4, Issue 3


 What is Happening at Simon & Schuster?

Unless you’re new to the Update, you’ve already heard about the trend-bucking results that S&S has been having for the last couple of years. And 2022 was no exception. Sales were up 10%, topping $1.1 billion. Even better, operating income jumped 16% to $248 million. Some enviable numbers, to be sure. All this, while CEO Jonathan Karp and his moneymaking colleagues worked under the cloud of uncertainty that was the pending—now imploded—sale of the company to Penguin Random House.

Yet, Simon & Schuster parent Paramount continues to say that the publishing juggernaut isn’t core to their video-based business and still intends to sell it off. Man, if that’s a “non-core asset,” I would like to have one or two “non-core assets.” Reuters reported that a Wall Street firm is in talks with Paramount to shop S&S with the target price being between $2 billion and...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 4, Issue 2

Is the End in Sight for Amazon?

No, of course not.

But the multi-category behemoth just posted its first loss since 2014…and to the tune of a cool $2.7 billion.  That’s more than petty cash, even at one of the world’s biggest companies. While their holiday sales grew 9% from the prior year, Amazon took a huge loss on its investment in the electric truck maker, Rivian, whose stock value plunged 82% after Amazon took a 20% stake.  

So, it wasn’t just me…

The other drag on profits came from Amazon’s pandemic-fueled growth plan.  CEO Andy Jassy commented that in just a couple of years during the pandemic, Amazon nearly doubled the warehouse space that it had previously built over the prior 25 years.  Amazon has announced a pull-back on many of those new warehouses, and last month revealed a plan to cut 5% of its workforce (18,000 jobs) this year.  Another astonishing figure from Jassy that exacerbated the losses in...

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What Question Are You Asking Yourself?

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...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 4, Issue 1

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...

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Publishing Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 12

The Christmas shopping season is here—with not a bang, but a whimper. But more on that later. 

Dohle-d Out!

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...

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