Why Comparable Titles Matter

This will be on the final test...for your book. 


It’s easy to list the Hunger Games as a comparable title. Surely there’s a Malcolm Gladwell book orbiting your book idea. Spend a minute reviewing the bestseller list and you’ll find one or two books similar to yours, close enough that you can list them as a comparable title in your book proposal. This is a trap, and it’s the fastest way to get your book proposal ignored. 


Comparable titles are a great way to start the conversation.


There’s a hurdle out there waiting to trip up your book proposal and derail your project. It’s lurking, waiting to come up in conversations. You might even think you’ve checked that box.


Oftentimes when we are in a conversation with a potential author, we’ll ask them about their comparable titles for their book proposal. It’s a test. We want to know if you know what you are doing. How you answer can determine where the next steps in...

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Can Blurbs Help Authors?

Are they of any value or should they go?


Not too long ago, the Wall Street Journal did a piece on pre-publication blurbs. In it, they asked: Are they of any value or mere relics that deserve to go? It’s an interesting debate, one worth considering for every author, but for today’s post, we’re going to be pro-blurbs.


You’ve seen them on the covers of books, declaring a book “Brilliant,” “Classic,” and the frequent, “A must-read.” They are almost as common as the other elements on the cover – title, author’s name…and blurb. What was once considered a highly valued marketing tactic, a blurb can still be a very effective tool for garnering a reader’s attention, in our opinion.


On a recent call with a client, they asked, who should I ask for an endorsement? In publishing, the words “blurb” and “endorsement” are used synonymously. An endorsement can be about the person or the...

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Great Book Ideas Need This

What’s the deal with book proposals?


Recently on a coaching call with a potential author, they told us about how they’ve got a great book idea but the response they were getting was crickets. Have you ever experienced that in your writing journey? It's one of the top frustrations we hear about at Author Coaching.


But what if it’s not what you are saying but how you are saying it?


If you want to give your book idea the best possible chance at success, it needs to be in a proposal.


“If you want your book idea to be taken seriously, you need a book proposal.”


What’s a proposal?


It’s the key to securing a literary agent, a publishing partner, and a future for your book idea.


When a publishing professional gets your email, the difference in getting a response or silence comes down to making your book idea as accessible as possible. You know this because you’ve heard it before: literary agents and editors receive dozens, if not hundreds of...

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Why Pre-Orders Matter (And What You Need to Know About Them)

Have you ever pre-ordered a book?


It’s okay if you haven’t. Most consumers don’t pre-order books. Very few take advantage of the opportunity, even though retailers like Amazon offer the lowest guaranteed price: “Amazon.com's price for not-yet-released items sometimes changes between the time the item is listed for sale and the time it is released and shipped. Whenever you pre-order an item eligible for Pre-order Price Guarantee, the price we charge when we ship it to you will be the lowest price offered by Amazon.com between the time you place your order and the end of the day of the release date.” That’s a pretty great guarantee!!! Unless you are a super fan of books like Harry Potter, you probably weren’t aware of that hidden pre-order perk.


As literary agents and book enthusiasts, we preach the benefits of pre-ordering all the time. You save money and get a book you were already going to buy the day it releases. That’s a win-win!


...

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How Do You Build a Book Proposal?

What’s the deal with book proposals?


You can’t apply for a job without a resume, nor can you find a publishing partner without a proposal. That’s why book proposals are so important: They are a resume for your book idea.


A proposal is like a job resume for your book. Literary agents and publishers review them to gauge their interest in working with you. Just like a resume, it needs to have professional elements to help garner more interest. You wouldn’t show up to a job interview in cargo shorts and your favorite team’s t-shirt, would you? Remember that old adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have?” If you want your book idea to be taken seriously, you have to make sure it looks the part for the role.


That’s why book proposals are so important.


Book proposals are essential. They are the key to advancing your publishing career. Without them, the chances of finding an agent or a publisher go down drastically....

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Change Your Writing

What’s the one habit that will change your writing?


One of our Author Coaching clients, John, asked: "I want to set some writing goals, so I'm curious about your experience working with many other authors. How do you encourage them to build daily writing goals and habits? Are there goals that you've seen be most effective as you coached other authors?" Great questions from John, and we wanted to share them with you here.


It’s true, writing is a habit. “Writing requires writing. It demands work,” as we like to say. To do your best work, the type of work that isn’t compromised by noise and distraction, you need a writing habit.


Previously, we have recommended James Clear’s Atomic Habits. It’s a great book for building good habits (and maybe breaking some of those bad ones). As Clear points out, “You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” A writing habit is a system you...

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Don't Let Burnout Stop You

Suffering is not a requirement of writing.


Too often writers associate passion with suffering. If you are not suffering for your writing - for your craft - are you really passionate enough about it? These questions often come up when burnout begins to hinder the writing process. Like an indicator light on a vehicle’s dashboard, burnout is warning us that something needs to change. Today, let’s focus on three tips that can help you avoid burnout in your writing.


The first tip is to lean into your habits.


Maybe you are coming out of a busy season and you’ve neglected your writing. You are feeling exhausted and burned out from your home life or maybe work has been especially hard - or both. Habits are a great way to hit the reset button.


Give yourself the grace to get back to your writing habit again. Sometimes returning to habits can feel tricky. We start hearing that voice in our head tell us we wouldn’t have to start over if we had stuck to it and other...

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How to Keep the Fire Burning

You know that meme, right?


There’s that meme, the one with the dog with a hat; he’s at the table drinking coffee. Everything around him is on fire – the house is burning down. A word bubble says, “This is fine.”


As a writer, there are times that you can probably relate to the dog.


Pursuing your goals hasn’t changed but the world around you has. It’s required more, for sure.


If you’re reading this right now, then you have set a goal that you would like to write a book one day, or you see publishing or self-publishing as a part of your business goals, or maybe you’ve even dabbled in publishing already. You’ve made a commitment to the goal. That was the easy part. Now comes the doing, and with it, the resistance.


So, how do you dive into your creativity during a crisis? We want to share with you some inspiration to help you tap into your creative juices so that you can create something amazing and impactful.

“Your goals...

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What to Talk About When You Talk About Platform

Every writer wants to know how to build a stronger platform. We get constantly asked, How much is enough? What numbers should I shoot for? 


When asked how much money is enough, John D. Rockefeller famously said, “Just a little bit more.” The same goes for platform numbers. More is always better. Even if you have a large platform, it could be a bit bigger, right? Most writers are in platform infancy. So what do you do when you’re pulling together your proposal and you want to talk about your platform that you wish was, “Just a little bit more?”


Here are three ways to talk about your platform when you don’t have one: 

  • Talk about the good. What’s the strongest part of your platform? That’s where you want to emphasize the good. That’s a great place to focus on and explain why it will help sell your book. Good beats great when it comes to feeling like your platform has to be perfect. There is no perfect. As Seth Godin...
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Get Answers to Your Publishing Questions

What’s your biggest publishing question?


If writing a book isn’t hard enough, there are also the questions that surround what to actually do with your book when it’s ready to publish. How do you build a book that will appeal to publishers? How do you create a proposal or query an agent? Most writers neglect the actual business part of writing because of the sheer difficulty of it.


The business of being a writer is complicated. Don’t let it get between you and your publishing dreams.


You’ve got questions that need answers. Every writer does. Oftentimes those questions are what stand between you and achieving the next step in your publishing career.


But what if there was a way to alleviate those pesky questions?


At Author Coaching, one of the many services we provide is one-on-one coaching. You can book a meeting with one of our agents to go over the questions you have.


We teach and coach first-time and veteran authors interested in advancing their...

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