A 2-Minute Retreat for Writers

guided meditation for writers with anxiety

But first, the publishing stories worth reading this week:

6 Strategies for Getting Your Book Published (Chad R. Allen): This is a must-read post for nonfiction writers. Because it’s true: there is a very set, step-by-step formula for getting a book deal. That’s not to say the steps are easy, but if you stick with it and follow Chad’s advice, you will see agents and editors come a’knockin’!

20 Signs You’re the Biggest Book Nerd in Your Friend Group (Jen Harper on BarnesandNoble.com): “So you think you may be the biggest book nerd in your squad? We’re here to help you confirm it.” I have to say, none of these applied to me. I also have to say: that’s a complete and utter lie. I am guilty, guilty, guilty.

The Top 4 Secrets to Keep Book Sales High Post-Launch (Chad Cannon): “One of the biggest misbeliefs I see in the publishing world is that you can push a book into the marketplace with an awesome launch plan…and then just call it done. The reality? Marketing is never done.”

100 Must-Read Books About Books (Margaret Aldrich for Book Riot): If you love to read books about books (me, me, me!), you need this list. And if you’re fascinated by design and book covers, take a peek, too. Do you see how the cover and title for The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is so similar to the cover and title of the big bestseller in the category, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society? THAT is how you signal to readers that if they liked that book, they’ll like this one, too. And it works. Broken Wheel was just added to my to-read list.

Everyone’s Getting Into Video. Should You? (Jane Friedman on Writer Unboxed): “Unless you’ve been garreted away working on the Great American Novel—and maybe you have!—you’ve probably noticed that video is becoming a big deal…As a writer, should you care? And if you’re interested, what’s next?”

A Two-Minute Retreat for Writers (& A Book Deal Announcement!)

meditation for writers and bloggers with anxiety

A writer’s life is filled with anxieties. Really, the life of anyone who puts their work out into the world is filled with anxieties. Will people like it? Is it any good? Will it succeed? Will it have impact? Should you shred it right now because, oh wow, this is terrible?

I’m a firm believer that 80% of the creative battle is won in the mind. I see it all the time—the most successful authors have fought those show-up-and-just-do-it battles early in their careers, and they’ve made peace with the fact that their work isn’t for everyone.

Even some of my sweetest, softest-hearted authors will laugh about how you can’t please everyone on the Internet. And if you can’t please the Internet masses, you sure as heck can’t please everyone in publishing.

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The 4 Elements of a Knock-Out Conference Pitch (And Book Deal News for THE HAPPY TRAVELER by Jaime Kurtz, Ph.D.)

how to pitch an agent at a writer's conference

But first, the stories worth reading this week:

Killer Takeaways From a Bestselling Book Launch (Chad Cannon on MichaelHyatt.com): This is the must-read article of the week! Chad Cannon gives us a behind-the-curtain look at how Michael Hyatt recently launched his newest bestseller, Living Forward. “Our marketing team built out a launch plan over a year ago and spent countless hours refining and executing it in anticipation of release day. Lots of strategy and hours of rich, dynamic discussion. And I’m proud—and humbled—to say that we dove into release day with more than 18,500 preorders.” That is a very, very nice number.

James Patterson Has a Big Plan for Small Books (Alexandra Alter for The New York Times): I get giddy seeing this sort of publishing innovation happening. James Patterson wants to make books more mainstream so that they’ll appeal to the 27% of Americans who read zero books last year. As he says, “’You can race through these — they’re like reading movies….It gives people some alternative ways to read.’” If you ask me, getting more people to read is always a good thing, no matter what they’re reading.

Hot: A Theory of Propulsion (Seth Godin): “The cliché was that the author used to live for the solitary moments of considered thought and solo writing. ‘Leave me alone and let me write.’ The publisher paid the bills with the backlist, the old books that sold and sold. Today, without propulsion, most people aren’t making the time or the focus to pursue inert wisdom. Without motion, the words get moldy.”

And Some Select Author Press: Congratulations to Francine Jay and Amanda Sullivan on the great feature in Publisher’s Weekly of new House & Home books releasing this spring. And another round of congrats to Francine on her New York Times review and for being selected by Amazon as one of the Big Spring Books of 2016. Francine’s beautiful book launches on April 26th, but you can already preorder your copy today!

The 4 Elements of a Knock-Out Pitch (And Book Deal News for THE HAPPY TRAVELER by Jaime Kurtz, Ph.D.)

I love book deal announcement days. There’s no hiding that (in fact, you can see more announcements here). I think it’s just because I’m a hopeless gusher—I love, love, love bragging on the smart people I get to work with. And I love using the word “love” too much. I can’t help it.

So today I’m excited to introduce you to Dr. Jaime Kurtz, who will be writing The Happy Traveler: Travel Better, Smarter, and More Happily, No Matter How Near or Far You Roam for Oxford University Press. Here’s the official deal report from Publisher’s Marketplace:

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Book Deal News: The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

The joy of less by francine jay book cover

But first, the stories worth reading this week:

How To Win With Your First Book: Podcast (Michael Hyatt): “Whether you’re an entrepreneur, counselor, pastor, or pundit, writing a book is one of those bucket-list items, isn’t it? But navigating the publishing world is like exploring a new country.”

Bill Gates on Books and Blogging (Katherine Rosman for The New York Times): “Bill Gates, the co-founder ofMicrosoft, has emerged as a force in the publishing industry, thanks to the book reviews he posts on his blog, Gates Notes. Mr. Gates, who says he reads about 50 books a year, discussed his love of reading, how he makes his selections and what book Warren Buffett recommended.”

5 Steps for Setting Writing Goals You’ll Actually Keep (Kristen Pope on The Write Life): “Taking the time to step back from your immediate deadlines and projects allows you to think about where you’d like to be—and chart a path to get there.”

The Complete Guide to Query Letters: Nonfiction Books (Jane Friedman): “It’s also important that prospective authors give some thought to their author platform, or their ability to market and promote their book to an existing audience they can reach, without the publisher’s help, through online or offline activities.”

Why Designers Love The Ampersand: A Romance That Dates Back to Pompeii (John Brownlee for Fast Company): “Cheerily nuzzled above the ‘7’ key like a pear-shaped pill bug, the ampersand is perhaps the most intriguing character on the keyboard.”

Book Deal News: The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

Minimalist Flowers

I have a book deal that I am so excited to share with you today! (I hope you can hear the sing-songy excitement in my voice!) Finally, I can tell everyone about The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay, who’s the Founder of MissMinimalist.com. Here’s the official deal listing:

the joy of less francine jay book deal

Publisher’s Weekly also wrote up a nice little feature on the book deal–read it here!

I am extra excited about this book, because my own personal history with it goes way back. (I’ll tell you that story in a second.) Francine originally self-published The Joy of Less, and it already had a tremendous cult following and over 70,000 copies sold before we started working together. But Francine was ready to get the book into bookstores and spread the message of minimalism to a wider audience. And we were lucky to find the perfect partner to make that happen: Chronicle Books. They’ll be releasing a gorgeous, completely redesigned and revised print edition on April 26th, and yes, you can already preorder your copy now! Francine also has such an interesting story and perspective as an author who started out self-publishing before moving to traditional publishing–you can read why she made the leap to getting a traditional book deal here.

We’ve also been lucky to have so many foreign publishers fall in love with this book, and we’ve now sold translation rights to publishers in 17 (!!) countries: Bompiani will publish in Italy, Paralela in Brazil, Planeta in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries worldwide, Mosaik Verlag in Germany, Editions First in France, Book21 Publishing Group in Korea, Eksmo Publishers in Russia, Prometheus in Holland, Beijin Han Tang Yang Guang Media in Mainland China, PT Gramedia in Indonesia, TYTO ALBA in Lithuania, Muza in Poland, Objectiva in Portugal, and As If Books in Taiwan, Post Books in Thailand, Notos Kitap in Turkey, and ANAG in the Czech Republic. Brilliance Audio will also be producing an audiobook, which will be released at the same time as the print book.

This is a book that changed my life when I first read it, and it’s a book I feel honored to be able to bring to a worldwide audience.

I first heard about the self-published edition of The Joy of Less when I was an editorial assistant, working at a publishing house in New York. It was just about the financially toughest time in my life—editorial assistants always start out in the industry working long hours for tiny salaries and being surrounded by higher-up editors who are much more well-dressed and sophisticated. (Although, really, it doesn’t take much with me–ha!) When you work in New York as an editorial assistant, you quickly realize that nearly everyone in the city has much nicer shoes, clothes, jewelry, apartments, and restaurant reservations than you. You’re at the bottom of the ladder, and you’ll be there for awhile.

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Book Deal News: The Once Upon a Chef Cookbook by Jenn Segal

jenn segal once upon a chef book proposal

Here it is, the first announcement day of 2016! This time congratulations are in order to Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef, who will be publishing a beautiful cookbook with Chronicle Books. Here’s the official deal listing from Publisher’s Marketplace:

publisher's lunch book deal jenn segal once upon a chef

I’m so excited about this book for two reasons (well, actually it’s more like two trillion reasons, but I’ll spare you the exhaustive list):

Reason #1.

Jenn is such a success story and a great inspiration for anyone who’s on the journey of building their platform. Jenn’s big dream was always to write a cookbook. After graduating from college, she went to culinary school at L’Academie de Cuisine and began working in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants like the L’Auberge Chez Francois. But, as she wrote in her proposal:

“Not only was I the only woman in a hot kitchen full of big, sweaty men, but I was also not at all right-sized for the massive equipment that surrounded us. At 5 foot, 2 inches, I had to get lifts on my shoes just to reach the plates. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to cook in a restaurant kitchen, just imagine trying to juggle multiple orders in your head and cooking on four different burners with food in the oven at the same time. Plus flames, sharp knives, hot pans, and an incessant stream of orders. It was terrifying!”

I love this story because it shows how not every food job is the right fit for everyone, no matter how passionate you are about food. I’m 5 foot, 2 inches, too, and I can tell you that the restaurant world is just NOT designed for the slight of stature. But you know where height doesn’t matter? In the writing and blogging world.

So when Jenn gave birth to her son and decided to stay home with him, she hung up her chef’s whites, picked up her apron, and went back to that cookbook dream. The problem was, she needed a platform.

And a platform she built. Over many years—one recipe and one blog post at a time—Jenn built a wonderful, engaged, and highly active community at Once Upon a Chef. She now has over 4 million page views, an email list of over 100,000, and a real connection to the people she’s helping. That right there—a close sense of knowing your readers and being dedicated to serving them—is the real purpose behind platform-building.

Lucky for us, Jenn has graciously agreed to share a few bits of advice about what it was like building the platform that got her the cookbook deal of her dreams:

What one thing worked best for you to grow your audience and increase traffic?

In the beginning, contributing to larger blogs, like HuffPost, Parade and Serious Eats, exposed me to a broader audience and drove lots of traffic to my site. (Reach out to the editors; sometimes it’s not as hard as you think to become a contributor). More recently, I moved away from the typical blog format/design and invested in a custom site redesign, which increased my numbers dramatically.

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