Read, Eat, Drink: How Should Authors Tell Fans About Their Book?, Plus a Fourth of July Menu

How to get published


5 Real Reasons Agents Are So Darn Picky (Carly Watters): Agents are known for being “no” people. No, no, no, we say to query after query after query. But the funny thing is that we want to be “yes” people. But it needs to be a big enthusiastic “YES!” or no “yes” at all. As Carly Watters explains: “We’re picky because we have to be. We wouldn’t be able to stay in business unless we were choosy about everything we signed up.” Reason #1 on her list is especially important: We’re picky because every single person in the value chain–from the agent to the editor to the marketer to the bookstore buyer to the media producer to, ultimately, the reader–is also extremely picky.

5 Reasons Publishers LOVE Bloggers: Why Blogging Might Be Your Fastest Way to Secure a Book Deal (Chad R. Allen, Editorial Director for Baker Publishing Group, at A big “amen!” to every single one of these reasons. As Allen writes: “Anyone who is serious about getting published should consider blogging. It’s a great way to build an audience, field-test ideas, cultivate social credibility, learn the publishing process, and hone your writing skills.”

When Reporters Write Books, Does The Times Win, Too? (Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor for The New York Times):  Well, here’s an interesting one. The case at hand is David Brooks’s new bestseller The Road to Character and his use of outbound links in his column. The links lead to his book’s website, where he invites readers to participate in further discussion and, if they’d like, to purchase his book. Apparently, some readers of the Times are “appalled” by this. Is his column relevant to the topic of his book? Yes. Would his book further an interested reader’s understanding of the topic? Yes. Did he mention his book in a conversational, unpushy way? Yes. It’s hard to see how this is harming readers rather than helping them find ways to learn more about the topic.

It’s interesting because this is a completely acceptable (and encouraged!) practice in nearly every single other media outlet–after all, David Brooks’s platform as an author is the column itself, and his book is an opportunity for his column readership to engage with him in a deeper, longer format (making them more likely to increase their devotion to reading his column and subscribing to the paper). Yet, the Times called foul. As the editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal says, “It’s tricky. Books are inherently a commercial enterprise.” (And what are newspapers? Both books and newspapers are commercial enterprises, but they are also in service to the public discourse. And you cannot serve the public well by ignoring a new, important contribution to a topic.)

Eat & Drink:

Is it possible that the Fourth of July is becoming our country’s second most important food holiday? We can all agree that Thanksgiving is THE holiday for thinking of nothing but what we’ll cook, how much we’ll eat, in what order, and with how many extra helpings, but I think the Fourth of July is racing hot for the #2 spot. I determine this ranking by counting how many days I’ve spent daydreaming about the food.

And now it’s been about 4 days of visions of perfectly charred brauts, sauced up ribs, and juicy tomatoes dancing in my head.  I think it’s safe to say my brain is more food matter than grey matter at this point.

Jarrett and I are off to the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan for a long weekend, and we’ll be blissfully in the hands of superior cooks (and I’ll be blissfully facedown in a bowl of black bean salsa that I’ve been dreaming about for two years).

But if anyone else is still scrambling for menu ideas…

How about RIBS? Done 13 different ways on Bon Appétit.

Ribs recipe bon appetit

How about these cute Lamb Sliders with Tzatziki Sauce from The Yellow Table?

Lamb sliders recipe

How about a classic hot dog? Advice from Bon Appétit on how not to screw them up.

Bon appetit hot dogs recipe

How about these adorable Watermelon Skewers from Add a Pinch?

Watermelon skewers

How about this gorgeous Skillet Cherry Pie from Foodiecrush? Double points if you use Michigan cherries.

foodiecrush cherry pie

And how about topping it all off with this Red, Wine, and Blue Sangria from Damn Delicious?

Berry Sangria Recipe

Happy reading, eating, and drinking this weekend!

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