This is not the 2020 any of us thought we were getting. It was filled with setbacks and heartache, complete changes to how we live and work.
And yet there’s a lot to be grateful for, too. Perhaps one thing you haven’t considered is how 2020 has made you a better writer. You might look down at your creative goals for this year and see more dreams than accomplishments. We’ve stewarded multiple clients through finishing books while they took on new duties at home like virtual school or their entire list of speaking engagements being canceled.
And yet, this is actually how it always goes. Maybe not in scope or collectively, but there are always going to be hurdles and cancellations, both minor and major. You see, writing a book means throwing caution to the wind. You are inviting obstacles to distract you, for life to give you hurdles. You might not be asked to virtual school a junior in high school, but you might be given another task that’s going to take time...
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...
Welcome back to our latest issue of the Yates & Yates Author Coaching monthly newsletter providing a brief update of the current state of the book publishing industry. As always, feel free to share with your friends, colleagues, or anyone else who might be interested.
THE 800 POUND GORILLA 1100-POUND PENGUIN
For nearly all of 2020, ViacomCBS has been shopping its publishing arm, the storied publishing stalwart Simon & Schuster, with two suitors emerging in recent months: NewsCorp’s HarperCollins and Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House (welcome to a world dominated by international media conglomerates). When the bidding stopped, Penguin Random House was on top at nearly $2.2 billion. Cue the antitrust allegations.
A combined PRHSS (no idea what they are going to call this behemoth) would be over $3 billion in annual US sales—nearly triple its nearest competitor, the aforementioned HC. PRH claims that its acquisition isn’t an antitrust problem,...
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...
Your word count matters.
Should you be concerned with your book’s word count? Absolutely. Knowing and understanding why word count matters is an important indicator for your project. Let’s make sense of these numbers.
One of the scariest requests a writer can get is to add words to a manuscript she thinks is complete. Suddenly, what you thought was done or close to it, needs an extra chapter or (and this happens) an extra 5,000 or 10,000 words. That’s a lot of words to add to something you thought was done. But why does word count matter? Wouldn’t coming in with a low word count just mean the book will be shorter?
It’s not quite that simple.
There are two reasons why word count is important.
The first reason is word count helps a reader determine if your book is a fit for him. Every reader has an expectation for how long a book will be based on the genre they are wanting to read. For example, if you write a novel and it is long, like Russian literature...
Welcome back to our latest issue of the Yates & Yates Author Coaching monthly newsletter, providing a brief update of the current state of the book publishing industry. As always, feel free to share with your friends, colleagues, or anyone else who might be interested.
And what’s bigger than Amazon?
Love him or hate him, we all secretly hope Jeff Bezos is our long-lost uncle. It should come as a surprise to exactly NO ONE that Amazon is having a momentous 2020. For the quarter ending September 30, 2020, Amazon exceeded already high expectations with a 37% jump in revenue and a near-doubling of net income ($69.1 billion and $6.2 billion, respectively).
Amongst the numerous business lines companywide (of which I expect the public only has a partial understanding), Amazon reported an increase in its online store sales of 27%/$48.3 billion, which was dwarfed by the increases in revenue from third-party seller sales (53%/$20.4 billion). It seems that while selling items...
Readers can be so selfish, right? Me, me, me.
At first, it sounds super selfish but thinking about what’s in it for your reader will change how your audience connects with your writing.
When a reader engages with a book, they are making a choice because they believe something is in it for them. It could be as simple as entertainment or as deep as healing past trauma. No matter what the book is, there’s an expectation from the reader that there’s something in it for them.
That’s why we want to share with you The Reverse Hook move.
Nope, it’s not a wrestling move or a fishing lure. The Reverse Hook is really an easy way of flipping around the question we talked about before when it comes to crafting a book hook.
Remember: The hook of your book is a sentence or two that is meant to tease the reader to purchase your book. Check this out to learn more, "Give your Book a Hook".
A great way to sharpen or test your hook is to pretend to be your...
Welcome back to our third issue of the Yates & Yates Author Coaching monthly newsletter providing a brief update of the current state of the book publishing industry. As always, feel free to share with your friends, colleagues, or anyone else who might care.
Onward and Upward
September picked up where August left off. After August saw a 5% increase over the prior year, September did one better – 1% that is. Juvenile Fiction remained on a tear. And Bob Woodward’s Trump exposé, “Rage,” sold over 450,000 copies in half a month. With essentially all genres outperforming last year’s numbers, September 2020 was clocked at around 6% above 2019.
Exceptions: Brick-and-Mortar Still Stuck in COVID Concrete; Scholastic Still on Detention
It’s not all good news. We’ve witnessed an incredible rebound in the publishing industry after the initial shelter-in-place shutdown. But there are still segments that are struggling. July numbers showed that...
The reason most book covers fail to attract readers is because they are lacking this one crucial design quality.
If designing book covers was easy, we wouldn’t have so many examples of bad ones. You know what we are talking about. Think about the last bad book cover you saw. Did it have poor title treatment, making it hard to read? Was the image too loud? Not loud enough? Covers can be really tricky. Many times they fall into the Goldilocks paradox – it’s got to be just right. So what does that mean, “just right?”
Besides the content and title, one of the most important elements of your book is the cover. We all know the age-old English idiom "don't judge a book by its cover." This metaphorical phrase means one shouldn't prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone. You probably heard this once or twice from your high school English teacher.
The ironic thing is we do judge books by their covers all the time. Your...
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 complicated. Simple and easy will get the job done. So how do you make the ask?
“Getting people to say nice things about your book
starts with a clear and simple ask.”
The best way to request an endorsement for your book is to be clear about what you are asking. Here’s an example: I’d love for...