Friday, December 10, 2010

Smart Investors Require a Business Plan

PART 5 IN A SERIES on the business of writing

Anne McDermid & Associates is partnering with One Writer’s Voice to issue a series of posts on the business of writing based on the premise that writing, like publishing, is undergoing profound change. The series will post weekly, alternating between the McDermid blog and One Writer’s Voice.

Smart Investors Require a Business Plan is the fifth post in our series and is up now at One Writer's Voice.

We look forward to questions and comments.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Apologies and an Update

And we're back!

Sorry, it's been a few months. I've done exactly what we always advise against when talking about blogging -- I've let it go for far too long. So I'm back to apologize and get things rolling again (I could make excuses about being busy etc., but who wants to hear it).

Luckily blogging friend Mary Tod has kept things rolling at One Writer's Voice where she has posted the outline for our continuing series (image above left).
Mary will be posting the next piece in the series this week and we will be linking to it.
And we'll be posting regularly from now on (pinkie swear).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No Writer is an Island

PART 4 IN A SERIES on the business of writing

Anne McDermid & Associates is partnering with One Writer’s Voice to issue a series of posts on the business of writing based on the premise that writing, like publishing, is undergoing profound change. The series will post weekly, alternating between the McDermid blog and One Writer’s Voice.

No Writer is an Island is the fourth post in our series and is up now at One Writer's Voice.

We look forward to questions and comments.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nine Questions to Test Your Entrepreneurship

PART 3 IN A SERIES on the business of writing

In the first post of this series – The Business of Writing – we stated that good writing isn’t enough, that writers must act like entrepreneurs who are business, market and technology savvy. Typically entrepreneurs are willing to take risks, seek independence and are both decisive and adaptable. They are driven by an idea – a service or product that will capture the market – and are disciplined self-starters who juggle multiple tasks. A daunting list of attributes.

Throughout the series we will delve into these concepts and describe how they apply to writers. In this post we outline nine questions a writer-entrepreneur should consider.

1. Do you think of yourself as an owner-operator? An owner-operator is a small business owned by the same person who is running day-to-day operations. In addition to the day-to-day business of writing, as an entrepreneur-writer you should be planning the business, managing its financial aspects, and determining your marketing strategy.

2. Do you think of your work as a collection of products and services? Entrepreneurs may begin with one product but most evolve to sell a complementary set of products and services in order to more fully satisfy their customers. The cost of acquiring customers is high; it is much easier to sell additional products (books are a product as are freelance writing, short stories, speaking engagements and blog posts) to existing customers than acquire another set of customers. Have you thought of your writing this way?

3. Do you understand your product development cycle? Every entrepreneur seeks to offer excellent products and services in a cost-effective manner. As market conditions change they adapt with new products, improved services and innovative marketing and promotion. How long do you take to write a new book? New freelance article or blog post? What is your process and why? Do you know your product development cost?

4. Do you know your readers (customers) and the value you offer them? Before launching a business or a new product, entrepreneurs determine the size of the market, test market their products and find creative ways to interact with customers. Entrepreneurs remain alert to changing market conditions and adapt by creating new products and services. Who are your readers? Why do they purchase your works? How will you reach them?

5. Do you know your competitors? Entrepreneurs know their competitors and how they operate. They know when changes have occurred in their slice of the industry. Both fiction and non-fiction writers should be equally savvy.

6. Do you understand your selling role? Entrepreneurs are passionate about selling their products and if they aren’t born salesmen they hire one. Publishers have limited advertising and promotion budgets. As the owner-operator of your writing business, building an audience and selling to them is one of your critical responsibilities. Are you comfortable selling?

7. Do you know how your business will make money? At a very simplistic level, revenue minus cost equals profit. Successful entrepreneurs develop good financial controls, know the cost of doing business, seek ways to be more efficient. They also look for ways to enhance revenue generation; for example, some authors enhance revenue through freelance articles, workshops or speaking engagements.

8. Do you have the traits that foster success? In addition to the traits listed in the first paragraph, we would add the ability to anticipate and handle change, the willingness to hustle for clients (see point 6), and good organization and planning skills.

9. Do you have the financial resources to start your business? Entrepreneurs put personal funds into their business and also seek investment dollars. They must satisfy themselves, their families and their investors that the risk-reward equation is worthwhile. Writers put personal time into their business, time that often reduces their income from other sources. Writers too have to ensure that the rewards outweigh the risks.

Our series is intended to help writers think like small business owners in the context of a changing industry. The questions posed above may sound intimidating, but we believe they are vital to understanding the environment facing today’s writers and helping you plan your way forward.

Here is how we see the first part of the series fitting together.

Good Writing Isn’t Enough: read this to set the stage for the series
Old World – New World: understand the changing world of writing and publishing
Nine Questions to Test Your Entrepreneurship: consider the implications of each question for your career as an entrepreneur-writer
No Writer is an Island: explore the external factors affecting writers and consider how you will adapt (planned for the week of August 9)
Smart Investors Require a Business Plan: have a look at the contents of a business plan, start thinking about what you will put in your business plan (planned for the week of August 16)
It’s Not Just Ebooks, It’s Technology: technology used well can enable your writing business, your job is to choose the mix that works for you (planned for the week of August 23)

We look forward to your questions, comments and challenges.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Old World - New World

Anne McDermid & Associates is partnering with One Writer’s Voice to issue a series of posts on the business of writing based on the premise that writing, like publishing, is undergoing profound change. The series will post weekly alternating between the McDermid blog and One Writer’s Voice.

Old World - New World is the second post in our series.

We look forward to dialogue on this topic amongst the community of writers, agents and publishers.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Good Writing isn’t Enough


Anyone who has read about the life of writers knows that it takes more than literary talent to become a published author. Luck, passion, discipline, persistence, and connections are some of the attributes required. Today however, when publishing and book retailing are under siege, when technology is turning the traditional system upside down, and when authors are self-publishing in astonishing numbers, writers who want to be successful need to do more.

In this brave, new world, writers must also be business and technology savvy, know how to promote themselves, how to connect with customers, how to analyze their competition, how to determine and develop their brand and how to make money. In essence, they need to be entrepreneurs.

Chris Bucci, a literary agent with Anne McDermid & Associates Ltd. and a seasoned industry professional, along with Mary Tod, a writer of historical fiction and former management consultant, are beginning a series on the business of writing. Based on the premise that writing, like publishing, is undergoing profound change, this series will look at writing not from the perspective of craft but from the perspective of entrepreneurship.

Chris and Mary will consider the factors affecting writers, new writer-reader relationships, how to develop a business plan, the dynamics of profitability, the democratization of influencers and a host of other topics related to writers as entrepreneurs. The series will post weekly alternating between the McDermid blog and Mary’s personal blog.

We hope these articles will inform, spark dialogue and facilitate new thinking amongst writers, literary agents, publishers and retailers.

Mary Tod blogs about writing at One Writer’s Voice and is currently at work revising her first two novels, Lies Told in Silence and While the Secret Sits.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Books by Those Who don't Like Books

By guest-blogger Laura Penny

When I was pitching my second book, More Money Than Brains, I thought I had a pretty good line for the marketing types. I kept saying it was a book for readers, a book for people who really like books. Sounds totally sensible, right? You have doubtless heard countless commercials touting steak for steak-lovers and booze for real boozers. I was just trying to do what capitalism said on the teevee!

This is one of the many reasons why I have an agent.

The bizarro market of publishing functions differently. There is actually plenty of money these days, it seems, in catering to the tepid/sporadic reader or the people who despise bookish elitists and their snooty tomes.

I leave it to others to debate whether or not big hits, like Twilight and Dan Brown's oeuvre, eventually convert book-a-year folks to reading on the regular. I'm more interested in the latter phenomenon. Two of the biggest recent publishing success stories, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, are stellar examples of people who write books for people who hate book people.

Beck has managed to move millions and millions of units of his own merch, which includes sentimental slop (The Christmas Sweater), pseudo-history (Glenn Beck's Common Sense), and bloviation (Arguing with Idiots). His latest bestseller is an ostensible thriller called The Overton Window. This sounds Ludlummy, but it is actually a think tank term for the acceptable spectrum of policy ideas. Anything too wacky is “outside the window”, so to speak.

The function of many think tanks and lobbies and clowns like Glenn Beck is to open that window, and encourage America to jump through it, into free-market free-fall. Which is precisely why the plot of Beck's book is that the left---the liberal, progressive elites who really run the government and big corporations---are forcibly defenestrating a once-great nation.

Beck has also become like unto the Oprah of the wingnuts; to bum a comparison from USA Today. His say-so has propelled all sorts of crazy stuff up the bestseller lists. Perhaps the best example of a Beck favourite is Cleon Skousen's The 5000 Year Leap, which he has described as “divinely inspired”. Now there's a blurb to set the marketing department all a-flutter!

Alas, Skousen was far more inspired by the John Birch Society than that hippie from Nazareth. Skousen was an anti-commie zealot, too right-wing for the Mormon establishment, and precisely the sort of conspiracy crank old-school cons like William F. Buckley snubbed and marginalized in order to develop an electable conservative movement.

The titular leap is the miraculous birth of the Constitution, issue of the holy union of the Bible and the Founding Fathers. Hundreds of 5 star Amazon reviews from Beck's faithful insist that the book should be taught in schools. It's important for kids to know that the Thomases Jefferson and Paine loved Jesus more than reason. A special American Jesus that wants to abolish welfare and taxes!

If the common man actually spoke in the style of Sarah Palin's smash hit, Going Rogue, I woulda superglued my Sonys to my ears quite some time ago. One of the most scathing reviews of the book, by conservative journalist Claire Berlinski, argues that the problem is not that the book itself is cliched, intellectually lazy, vulgar, and phony as Tiger Woods' apologies.

That's bad, but what is worse is that millions of North Americans believe this cheesy ghost-written, committee-cobbled blend of pap and polemics is “real” or “authentic”. Berlinski contends that this is evidence of something much more dire than bad literary taste: it is a “communism of the soul” to pretend the doggedly ordinary are Presidential material.

Palin's next book involves even less pesky authoring. America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, scheduled for release in November, is a mixtape of texts that have inspired her. It should not cost much, or take interns much time, to collate quotes from her dad, the John Birch Society newsletter, jock bios, Reagan speeches and the Taco Bell menu.

The fact that Palin and Beck cannot be bothered to write their own badly-written books might give book people the vapours. But the kind of people who buy Beck and Palin in bulk sneer at the suggestion that writing is a valuable skill or job, or. that publishing is an actual industry. Publishing is just a way for coastal elitists to get money for nothing and chicks for free.

This is simply to say that these recent publishing successes are actually based on venerable American marketing traditions best described by P.T. Barnum and H.L. Mencken. And while ghostwritten pap or paranoid crap are certainly not new, it is a bummer to see publishers underwriting and promoting products that insist the product—writing—is immaterial or inherently elitist and antique.

Laura Penny is the author of Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit and More Money Than Brains: Why School Sucks, College is Crap, and Idiots Think They're Right. She teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University and the University of King's College, in lovely Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hardcover and eBook Sales at Amazon

I was planning on blogging and doing a round-up of reactions to Jeff Bezos' announcement that ebook editions are outselling hardcovers at Amazon, but I found that someone did it faster and better. Guy LeCharles Gonzales has a great post on the Digital Book World site titled eBook vs. Hardcover: Beyond the Headlines. He also included links to articles by most of the major commentators, so I'll leave it to them.

Just one quick point: Bezos does say that Amazon's "hardcover sales continue to grow", so its not quite the end of the world.

While you are there check out what DBW has to tell us about Google Editions -- the next supposed 'game-changer' in the ebooks world.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Agents get Paid?

Earlier this week literary agent Colleen Lindsay started a great discussion on Twitter by asking how things would change if agents started charging based on billable hours (much of the discusssion is collected here #agentpay) rather than commission. Part of the point is that as publishers seem to be offloading their responsibilities agents have seen theirs expand without an equal increase in pay. Of course at the same time authors advances seem to be going down (unless of course you are Sarah Palin. WTF?!!!) so they probably don't want to pick up any additional costs.

So what to do?

Thankfully the internets have allowed a number of smart people to chime in on the subject. I particularly like the point-counterpoint pieces Digital Book World have provided. One, by Victoria Strauss, founder of Writer Beware, is titled 'Are Agents Due for a Raise?' The other, by Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest, is titled 'Agents Need to Develop Alternative Models.' Both make some great points so read them. For the record, I couldn't agree more with Jane's title (as for Victoria's lead question: yes please!). also has some interesting thoughts on paying agents by the hour. As do KT Literary, author Jodi Meadows, and the people at Wylie-Merrick Literary (this is the internets after all).

Now I want to know what you think?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guest Post: Mary Tod

Chris Bucci’s recent post, Some Social Networking Pros and Cons, offers an important reminder that social media, while an intriguing and useful tool, is not a panacea. I am delighted to guest post on the Anne McDermid & Associates blog and offer additional perspective sparked by Chris’ insights.

Today’s excitement about social media reminds me of the dot-com bubble in the 90’s (yes, I’m old enough to have lived through that) and the excitement about e-commerce several years later. Hype upon hype, traditional business models threatened, get in while it’s hot, the allure of easy money followed by toppled careers and lost fortunes.

Early in my business career I worked for IBM, a paragon of sales and marketing, and recall attending a lecture on the buying cycle as part of sales training. According to our instructor, the cycle consists of five steps: (1) awareness, (2) knowledge, (3) liking, (4) commitment and (5) buy. In other words, there are many steps before someone buys and each step requires deliberate planning and execution to prepare for success. I believe this cycle applies to books just as it applies to computers or laundry detergent.

As Chris points out, social media is only one part of a complex equation the variables of which are the strategies and tactics of positioning, marketing, promotion and sales applied not once but consistently over time.

As I explore the business of writing, I am beginning to see myself as an entrepreneur with products to sell. From that vantage point, writers – myself included – need to consider a host of questions related to marketing and sales:

- how are you positioning your book(s) and in what market segments?
- what differentiates you from your competition?
- what are the key messages you wish to convey through the buying cycle?
- what type of media, including social media, will you use to promote your work?
- what is your plan in terms of timing, frequency and people involved?
- how will you use PR to assist your efforts?
- what will you do, what will others do on your behalf, how will you integrate their efforts with yours?
- how will you build a community of potential readers and interact with them?
- what channels will you use to distribute your works and how will they affect the marketing you do?
- will you form any alliances to help you reach your target markets?

These questions stem from materials I’ve used to help clients build a sound business plan. Imagine convincing investors to put money into your writing business. Before securing their endorsement, they would want answers to questions like these and many more. Wouldn’t you?

Mary Tod blogs about writing at One Writer’s Voice and is currently at work revising her first two novels, Lies Told in Silence and While the Secret Sits.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Some Social Networking Pros and Cons

Earlier this week I shared a link to a post called The Hidden Costs of Social Networking on our facebook page. I thought it might be an interesting corrective to some of the more far-fetched claims made for the efficacy of social networking as a marketing tool.

In part this was also inspired by a couple of conversations I had while at BEA in NY. The first was with a prominent agent who has had at least one NY Times bestseller attribute a great deal of her book's success to the social media work she put in before and after the book's publication. But my agent friend went on to stress what a time-suck these eforts can be for all involved and relayed the story of another client who had done all the right things according to the "social media bible" and still the book disappeared without a trace. It seemed to me that the obvious lesson was that social media isn't going to sell every book -- like just about everything else it works in some cases and not in others (and don't spend all your time twittering).

Discussion number two was with a high-powered publisher who was frustrated that authors expected too much from their social media efforts, and often didn't bother to co-ordinate them with the publicity and marketing efforts of the house. Again it seems that one rather obvious lesson is make sure you plan your efforts with your publisher's efforts in mind.

HOWEVER in spite of these stories, and the link I refer to above, I do think that social networking is a useful tool for many authors. No its not for everyone, and no it won't work equally for everyone (in spite of equal efforts) and please don't let it suck away all the time and energy from your writing. It requires planning and foresite, but also creativity and experimentation. Be wary of the evangelists claims but also be wary of the naysaysers.

To respond to just a couple of Rob Eager's points from the post: I think his numbers mean next to nothing. First he says that "at Book Expo 2009, John Sargeant CEO of MacMillan Publishing stated, "Viral Marketing doesn't sell a ton of books."" Sargeant goes on to talk about a very popular Macmillan video that only sold an extra 200 copies of the book. Eager then goes on to talk about a client with a blog boasting over 50,000 monthly readers, but has not seen an increase in book sales.

These anecdotes lead to a number of questions, like: 2009? I think facebook and Twitter, to name two, have grown by millions of users since then, might things have changed? Of course they will change again by this time next year - maybe for worse. Perhaps videos don't sell books? And maybe your client has just tapped out his market -- if he wasn't blogging maybe his sales would be falling. But what is more interesting to me is that I just can't seem to believe any of the numbers that claim to tell me how many books a certain form of publicity or marketing or social media actually sells.

I used to work with some old-school publishing types who liked to repeat the nonsense that "An ad never sold a book." (I suppose that's why we are inundated with thousadns of ads everyday) even though they never attempted to prove that statement. Anywhoo, the point is that one ad in the wilderness will not sell a book - a well planned ad campaign might. A well planned ad campaign, plus reviews, plus publicity and a well planned marketing campaign, plus having some books in stores probably will. Throw in some of that social media stuff and you'll probably sell even more. But will we ever be able to measure ROI on that? Not until we have chips planted in our brains that track every decision and the circuitous routes they take from first becoming aware of something to the point where we actually buy it. One mention is almost never enough to get someone to buy something (unless you're my 8 year old apparently, and even then he needs me to actually buy it) but a number of re-inforcing mentions in influential places might. Of course that's where social media can help.

That was a long post. What the hell was I talking about.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Winners! More Money Than Brains

The winners of our More Brains Than Money contest are: Janet Butt and Ian McKechnie. Congratulations! You will be receiving copies of MORE MONEY THAN BRAINS in the mail. Thanks to everyone who participated, and the folks at McClelland & Stewart and Random House who helped us out.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Where We've Been

In case you were missing us (please tell us you were missing us, we are needy that way), we've been at Book Expo America 2010 in NY city. It is the big industry conference that goes on every year and it attracts just about everyone from the biggest to the smallest in the world of publishing. People are hawking their wares, sharing ideas, catching up with old friends and (this was news to me) getting drunk.

So what did we do, you ask?

We had meetings with literary scouts, agents that we work with and editors that we pitch projects to at Random House and Penguin (I even learned about their igloo).

We also attended a number of great sessions at the show. Including:
Bringing Your Authors to the Social Media Party....And Getting them to Stay

Building Online Reader Communities with an Eye on ROI

When Gutenberg Meets Zuckerberg

"I'll Never Pay Over $9.99 for E-Books!" and Similar Lies (this one was standing room only)

7x20x21 (a personal fave because Jennifer Egan spoke to a large crowd)

Are e-books Good For Authors (also Standing room only and very informative)

What can I say there was a lot to do and learn.

And finally I'll close up with some BEA 2010 thoughts from others.

Literary agent Janet Reid thinks "Small Publishing Will Save the World" while Digital Book World wonders if "BEA 2010 was a Win for Publishing" and Jonathan Galassi of FSG doesn't seem to like the "digital frontier" at all.

That was a busy week!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Aurora Awards

Winners of the 2010 Prix Aurora Awards were announced over the Victoria Day weekend at a the Canadian National Science Fiction Convention in Winnipeg. AMcD client, Yves Meynard picked up the prize for Best Novel in French. Congrats, Yves!

Here's the complete list of winners:
Best Novel in English: Robert J. Sawyer, Wake (Penguin Canada)
Best Novel in French: Laurent McAllister (the pen name for Jean-Louis Trudel and Yves Meynard), Suprématie (Bragelonne)
Best Short-Form Work in English: Eileen Bell, “Pawns Dreaming of Roses” (from Women of the Apocalypse)
Best Short-Form Work in French: Alain Bergeron, “Ors blancs” (from Solaris 117)
Best Work in English (Other): Eileen Bell, Roxanne Felix, Billie Milholland, and Ryan McFadden, Women of the Apocalypse (Absolute Xpress)
Best Work In French (Other): Joël Champetier, editor, Revue
Artistic Achievement: Dan O’Driscoll, cover of Steel Whispers (Bundoran Press)

Friday, May 21, 2010


In this week's FREE BOOKS installment, we'll be giving away two copies (one each) of MORE MONEY THAN BRAINS by LAURA PENNY. Simply send an email to by Friday May 28 at noon EST with the subject line I'VE GOT MORE BRAINS THAN MONEY and you'll be entered for a chance to win.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


You aren't really supposed to know what CMAP means, I'm just playing on those annoying little etext acronyms we all use. CMAP means Common Misconceptions About Publishing, which is the title of a very good series of blog posts by a published author named Charles Stross. He now has nine posts, the most recent of which is about e-books, and I highly reccomend that authors and those who want to be authors read every one. They are full of level-headed facts about the publishing industry that you really should know.

CMAP #1 is here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seth Godin day

Apparently I don't have the clout to just go ahead and give days names but since I'm blogging about him I am just going to go ahead and call this "Seth Godin day." Any objections? Good then I'll continue.

Seth Godin is a modern marketing guru who is highly regarded by a number people in the publishing industry. He's got a lot to say about the future of publishing and his book TRIBES has become one of the seminal works for social media marketing people. I'm not sure I'm always comfortable with what Godin has to say (frankly Godin seems best at selling Godin) but I do think his ideas have to be considered and taken into account as we go further along the path of 21st Century publishing. So I've got a couple of Seth Godin links for you today.

The first is a brief interview where Godin discusses "What Book Publishers are doing Wrong." While the second links you to a video of Godin talking about "Rethinking the Publishing Industry." Finally you should check out Seth's insanely popular blog.

Told you it was Seth Godin day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Contracts, Contracts, Contracts

Hey guess what? Today I'll be posting about contracts. I've got three interesting posts with advice for authors regarding their publishing contracts.

The first is a post from literary agent Rachelle Gardner's blog, titled "What's in a Publishing Contract". Its a good primer on what to expect in a publishing contract.

A self-described Stroppy Author, has a series (9 so far) of good posts titled "How to read a publishing contract." They are longer posts that go into detail about standard clauses in publishing contracts, and well worth the read.

Finally over at COPYLAW they have a great post titled "Is you publishing contract enhanced e-book and Ipad ready." A very important question to ask given the quick development of e-reading and e-readers.

Aren't contracts fun?!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Free and the Volcano

Wanted to point out three related links that have to do with giving books or content away free -- and reaping the rewards.

The first (and the inspiration for the post) is a recent article about Lonely Planet giving away their city guides for free for four days during the volcanic ash/travel nightmare (I ain't typing that volcano's name). As the article points out the response was overwhelming: 4 million downloads in 4 days and revenues rose during the period.

Then there is this interesting publication brought to us by the fine folks at O'Reilly (and brought to my attention by Sean Cranbury - thank you sir). It has the exciting title IMPACT OF P2P AND FREE DISTRIBUTION ON BOOK SALES and is a research report based on efforts by O'Reilly, Random House and other publishers to put real numbers behind digital distribution experiments.

Finally a brief article that suggests publishers online should charge for the right thing. That is because they are just replicating their offline models online they are charging at the wrong point.

Just another thing that digital publishing is causing us to re-think.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Still on that Transmedia thing

Good thing I wasn't the only one thinking about Transmedia this week or I wouldn't have anything to post. As it happens the fine folks over at Publishing Perspectives were riding a similar wavelength and posted about How Transmedia Storytelling Becomes a Billion Dollar Business. It's an interesting story about the creation of Inanimate Alice, and it involves our very own Kate Pullinger.

They follow the story up with the question "Can Publishers Transform into Transmedia Storytellers?"

Publishing Perspectives is another one of those sites that people interested in finding out where publishing is, and where it is going, should pay attention to.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Defining Transmedia

The other day I posted about a conversation I had regarding a transmedia project and linked to a couple of interesting articles about Transmedia. Well some people asked, "What's transmedia?" So today I'm linking to a post that attempts to define transmedia by referring to the Producer's Guild of America's recent recognition of a transmedia category.

The Guild says:
"A Transmedia Narrative project must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing in the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms: Film, Television, Shortfilm, Broadband, Publishing , Comics, Animation, Mobile, DVD/Blu-Ray/CD-ROM... These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms."

Read the rest of the article for a discussion of the definition.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FREE BOOKS: Adam Lewis Schroeder Rocks

Thanks to the generosity of the fine folks at Douglas & McIntyre books we'll be giving away one copy each of IN THE FABLED EAST, by Adam Lewis Schroeder and DARWIN'S BASTARDS, edited by Zsuzsi Gartner (including a story by Adam Lewis Schroeder). Simply send us an email by Friday May 7th at noon, with the subject line ADAM LEWIS SCHROEDER ROCKS and you'll be entered to win. Please send your emails to

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thinking Transmedia

Met with a wonderful writer this morning and in addition to her project we started talking about transmedia. Not what I expected when I was going to the meeting but a lot of thought-provoking fun. So I started thinking about a couple of posts I'd read recently about transmedia and thought I'd share. Certainly transmedia isn't for every author, but if you envision your stories, or characters across a number of media platforms, thinking of it as a transmedia project from the outset is probably the best way to capitalize on what you are doing.

The first post is a very useful 5 Stage Development Process for Transmedia Projects, and links to another post on a transmedia business model.

Post number two tells us that Transmedia Requires a New Breed of Writers, Publishers.

While you are there check out the Digital Book World site. It's full of interesting material about how publishing in the 21st Century is developing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

MEN BEHAVING BADLY: And the winner is...

Kate Webb is the winner of our MEN BEHAVING BADLY contest! She will be receiving her books from HarperCollins Canada. Thanks to everyone for the great response. We had fun, hope you did too.
Come back next week to see what we'll give away then!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why Publishers don't Market (well) And what Writers Need to do

Two great posts from Jane Friedman at Writer's Digest. The first tells you all you need to know in the title - Why Don't Publishers Market and Promote the Books they Publish? One of the questions I asked many times when I worked for publishers.

The second post is about what new gadgets like ereaders and the iPad mean for authors - and how they can be used. It also includes some great links to articles by some big thinkers on what these things will mean to authors and publishers of the future.

And check out Writer's Digest site. It's full of good things for writers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

FREE BOOKS: Men Behaving Badly

Thanks to the generosity of HarperCollins Canada we will be giving away one copy each of GIRL CRAZY by Russell Smith, THE WARHOL GANG by Peter Darbyshire and TOBY: A MAN by Todd Babiak. Simply send us an email by Friday April 23rd at noon, with the subject line MEN BEHAVING BADLY, and you'll be entered for a chance to win. Send your emails to

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chris Anderson (WIRED, THE LONG TAIL) call Richard Nash a Genius

Chris Anderson of WIRED fame, and author of THE LONG TAIL, called Richard Nash, former publisher at Soft Skull and the brains behind the new project, Cursor, a genius.

We are big fans of Richard's and will have him give a keynote at the author conference we are hosting this fall (shhhhh). Here's a link to his most recent talk in Toronto.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Joys of Metadata: More Discoverability

It certainly isn't the sexiest subject in book publishing (although this might be) but 'metadata' is one of the keys to getting your book discovered.

"Metadata is, simply, information about data, stored with the data. In the case of a book (the data), a particular title's metadata would include the full title, author's name, publisher, date of publication and ISBN number ..."

And much much more. In the following article Laura Miller explains why it matters, what iBooks has gotten wrong so far, and what Amazon has gotten right.

Make sure your publisher gets all your metadata right.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Discoverability: Still A Book’s Biggest Problem

A really good article here about how the biggest problem books face is being discovered and how the old methods of discovering books is breaking down:

And take a look around the digital book world site. A lot of great information on where publishing is and where people see it going.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Follow The Reader

FOLLOW THE READER is a great new blog for 'those who read and reccomend books.' They have a lot of good interviews with publishing types who try to promote books. Have a look at an interesting post about building reader communities.

Many in publishing believe that building these communities will be essential to the life of writers and publishers in the very near future -- if they aren't already.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Good Site Helping Authors Promote Online

Another good site where authors can find some useful information and helpful hints when it comes to self-promotion. The site is called Best Seller. Here's a video from the site explaining how to add some unique pieces to your facebook page.

Hope it helps sell some books!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A couple other things to occupy your time

Want to let you know about a couple of other places where you can find out about the world of publishing and writing as we are seeing it develop. I know you have all kinds of extra time for FaceBook and Twitter, so here is where you can keep up with us.

Our Facebook page has been very active for a couple of montsh now, full of links to articles about publishing found all over the web. Take a look and become a fan.

For even more information you can also follow on twitter.

Finally I'd like to highlight one site that I think everyone who is interested in the world of publishing should be paying attention to. Yes it's a paid site but well worth it (says the guy whose company has a subscription). Publishers Marketplace is the place all the publishing insiders look at for deal news and smart analysis.

At least you'll have something to do this weekend when you aren't writing your book.

Some marketing sites for authors

Just came across some websites that I think will be useful to authors looking to do a little self-promotion.

The first, called Social Media Examiner, has a ton of interesting advice on how to use social media for building your business (your *ahem* platform).

The second, called Tribal Author, promises to help you 'build a worldwide tribe of die-hard fans, evangelists and influencers..." I don't know if it can deliver all that but they seem to be thinking the right way.

Give us some feedback if you find the sites useful...or flaky.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What We’re Looking for in 2010

As promised, here’s a wish list of the sorts of projects we’d like to see this year.

On the nonfiction front we would prefer to receive narrative nonfiction in the fields of popular science, politics, and contemporary issues. Authors we currently represent in these areas include Linda McQuaig, whose latest book is THE TROUBLE WITH BILLIONAIRES; Derek Lundy, who’s recently written a memoir about his motorcycle ride along America’s two borders; Jessa Gamble and her book on circadian rhythms and how they affect our day-to-day lives; and Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law & Policy, who has written a brilliant analysis of the relationship between the media and scientific research.

In terms of fiction we would love to receive commercial fiction of all types but in particular, impeccably crafted crime/legal thrillers set in Canada.

We are also actively looking for genre fiction right now, but not hard SF or epic fantasy. Urban fantasy, paranormal (YA or adult), and commercial novels that borrow science fiction or fantasy tropes, are preferred.

Please send all genre fiction queries directly to me at All other queries may be sent to