8 Jobs of Modern Writers–Plus One: DOGGED TRUTHSEEKER

8 Jobs of Modern Writers–Plus One:  DOGGED TRUTHSEEKER

Spotted an excellent essay on the consistently fine My Name is Not Bob blog by Robert Lee Brewer, in which he lists these 8 Key Jobs of Modern Writers: Writer; Editor; Copywriter; File Clerk; Negotiator; Accountant; Marketer; Speaker.  I believe Bob left out one key skill:  RESEARCHER (or, more accurately, “Dogged Truthseeker).

ALL writers must be master researchers. This is harder than it looks (and it looks pretty darn hard).  Today, information is everywhere and truth is hidden.  The online world is filled with hamster-wheels of mock expertise.  Yet without [Read more…]

Query Letters: Jody’s Seven Goals

relaxing woman

Don't Sweat the Query

Query letters.  Yet again.

Holy smokes there’s a lot of query letter advice out here on the World Wide Web.   

And like everything in information-overload-land, that’s good and bad–it’s terrific for writers to have easy access to models and thoughtful counsel, but at the same time I’m a little concerned about the stressing out I see–the agony over each detail in each query; and the stridency of the dogma.  As in, “All query letters must start with x, end with y, and never, never include Popsicles.” 

Query letters are crucial, don’t get me wrong.  And yes, each book pitch does have to include some standard elements, like, well, the title of the book. 

But ultimately each letter is as individual as the book that is being pitched and the author who is writing it.  So rather than trying to fit your query into someone else’s mold, I suggest you sit back, take a deep breath, scribble out a quick rough draft, and [Read more…]

Book Proposals Go Digital #1

 Book proposals are read on Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers, and that should mean something to you if you’re writing or selling nonfiction.  

I will explain.

When I picture myself in any of my three corporate book publishing editorial jobs I always see a multicolored stack of two-pocket folders in a wire basket on one corner of my desk.  I often knew which proposals were from which agent by the color of the folder.  Smart move, I thought, so I copied it when I opened my agency.  I hoped the book editors who were now on the other side of my desk would move the “Jody Rein navy blue” folders to the top of their “read” piles, as I had done with literary agents whose taste I paticularly respected. I’ve been known to be painstaking in preparing the physical presentation from books sold through my agency, even going to far as to hand-stick little gold sparkly stars on the label of a proposal for a satirical work.  Just before packing the proposals into their 25 or 30 Fed Ex packages (score one big advantage for email), I would sit at my desk and stare at a the proposal, open and closed, complete with my pitch letter snuggled into the right hand pocket.  I’d rifle through the pages as presented, attempting to channel my old editor self into the physical interaction with the pitch–it did make a difference (we are all human, after all).

Now–throw that all out the window.

Proposals are now almost exclusively sent, and [Read more…]