Archives: Business

Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson released her new book, Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Thin, Happy, and Free, which was a New York Times bestseller and #1 New Release on Amazon and continues to take the health and dieting world by storm. We were overjoyed to see Susan at her book launch event at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, attended by almost 800 people, where Susan rocked the stage to a long standing ovation. Rooted in cutting-edge neuroscience, psychology, and biology, Bright Line Eating explains why people who are desperate to lose weight fail again and again: it’s because the brain blocks weight loss. By working with four “Bright Lines”—clear, unambiguous, boundaries—Susan  shows us how to heal our brains and shift it into a mode where it is ready to shed pounds, release cravings, and stop sabotaging our weight loss goals. We at Lucinda Literary are grateful to be a part of the Bright Line Eating movement, a paradigm shift in nutrition and psychology alike that is changing the way we approach weight loss, helping tens of thousands of people across the globe be and stay happy, thin, and free. Featured in photo with Patty Gift, Susan’s editor at Hay House.

Peter Heller, bestselling author of the gorgeous, post-apocalyptic bestseller, THE DOG STARS spoke at Greenlight Bookstore with Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven) in Brooklyn as part of his book tour for Celine, already named an Indie and Denver Post bestseller, a luminous, masterful novel of suspense — the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past. We had the pleasure of witnessing Peter’s riveting discussion of his distinct craft of poetry and prose, how he begins a novel based on “the music of the first line” and how Celine was a means to spend more time with his mother who had recently passed away. In his latest Amazon article, “How I Went From Journalist To Fiction Writer” Peter details the wild path he trod to literary stardom, from his early beginnings as a pizza delivery boy and his first day in journalism when a man died in his arms. We’ll be reading Celine with Lucinda Literary’s Book Club at WeWork next month. (Email connor@lucindaliterary if you’re interested in joining!)

Along with Peter Heller, we are thrilled to have Ann Shoket join our speakers bureau in conjunction with her incredible new book THE BIG LIFE — a guide for millennial women who are changing what it means to be powerful and successful in the world. As the editor-in-chief of Seventeen and a co-founding editor of CosmoGIRL, Ann has been a key architect in shaping the national conversation for millennial women. Ann’s popular Badass Babes dinners with millennial women (and men) recently attracted the attention of Good Morning America and the New York Times, and is inspiring a generation of women who are determined to carve their own path, on their own terms. We are supremely excited to carry the millennial conversation with Ann and help young women tap into their ambition, honor their dreams, and create their own version of The Big Life. Find Ann on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

urlWe are thrilled to announce the launch of our new Speakers Bureau! Adding to our multi-pronged literary and marketing approach, our Speakers Bureau features distinct voices in literature who inspire audiences and facilitate progressive thought and conversation. Unlike traditional bureaus, our objective is to focus only on the work of authors and connect them with venues nationwide and globally. 

Our roster features leaders in productivity and leadership Chris Bailey and Rajeev Peshawaria, New York Times and internationally bestselling authors Nicola Kraus, Sam Wasson, and Douglas Kennedy, Olympian Ginny Gilder, award-winning neuroscientist Susan Peirce Thompson, and more. At Lucinda Literary, we take immense pride in connecting our authors to the broadest audiences possible, and are excited to explore the vast, uncharted territory we see in matching authors to venues.

We are currently seeking to expand our Speakers Bureau through the referrals of colleagues in publishing. We are not accepting unsolicited submissions at this time.

If you are interested in booking one of our speakers, visit: http://www.lucindaliterary.com/request-a-speaking-appearance/.

imagesWe coupled up with superstar booker Ashley Bernardi, principal of Nardi Media, to talk about her work with authors and some lessons she’s gleaned from what really sells books to how authors can approach media themselves. (Though, we’ll be honest, it’s a heck of a lot easier with Ashley in your corner.) Here’s what she had to say.

1) What are the challenges authors face in getting booked on radio/television?

One of the main challenges that authors face is making the pitch relevant to the news cycle. We can overcome this challenge by using recent data, statistics, and research on the subject that was written about about to make the pitch buzzier and more relevant to the news cycle. Producers and reporters are fact-driven, so if we can present them with facts that tie in news of the day/week/month, and use the author and book as a jumping off point for a conversation about it — we usually see traction. I always try to use numbers, data, demographics, and more, to tie in a pitch. Sometimes the pitch is not just about the book itself – but where the author grew up, where he/she is based, and more. There is so much we can work with and that’s the best part about the process!

2) What can authors do to make themselves more attractive media candidates, and get a producer’s interest or attention? What are the most important “ingredients” to include in one’s pitch?

The approach to pitching radio and television varies, as well as the particular show you are pitching. Know who you are pitching and what the show has covered recently. Remember that a producer/reporter will do research on you, so it’s your job to do research on their show. What has been covered recently? Any pieces or segments that you liked or stood out to you? Is there a connection to your book or subject matter?

Another important factor is the pitch itself. You can and should specify and tailor a press advisory based off what a show covers. I usually never work with one generic press advisory. If you give a broad blanket advisory to every single national radio and television show, you won’t see results. But if you can tailor press advisories to specifically what a show covers (health, finance, etc), you’ll see results.

The most important ingredients to a broadcast pitch: Pre-existing video of the author(s) in an interview setting, street credibility (ie prior media placements in print, online, TV, radio), a pitch tailored specifically to what the show covers or has been covering, and making it newsworthy using recent statistics and data.

3) What kind of interviews are most effective? Does it always need to be a national media hit to cause an impact?
Obviously a national television or radio hit creates a big buzz and a wide range of exposure, but don’t discount the local radio stations, especially NPR affiliates. People who listen to NPR read books. I’ve had book authors do local interviews with NPR affiliates around the country, and they’ll see their book sales and Amazon ratings increase just from one radio interview alone.
There is also a huge added bonus to television and radio in today’s media world: online exposure. Nearly every television and radio segment now gets published online – which is a whole new audience reached!

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It’s expensive to launch a “successful” book, whether the investment is the publisher’s, yours, or a combination of both. And by successful, I’m not even talking about New York Times bestsellers, whose successes seem as much the result of a quantifiable financial investment as they are the result of unquantifiable variables like reader enthusiasm and sheer serendipity. By successful, I’m referring to any book that earns out its publisher’s investment and sells through its first printing. Any author who’s gotten that far should be immensely proud.

Here are some of the most critical costs I’ve seen responsible for creating a successful book:

*Print run (the number of books printed)
*Co-op (exhibition or shelf space the publisher is buying, whether at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com, to offer your book exposure to browsers. Involved explanation here.)
*Marketing & publicity (ranging from advertising to a freelance publicist)
*Buying back books (for events or giveaway/review purposes)

For authors who receive an advance in the tens of thousands of dollars, a robust first print run, co-op, or hefty publicity/events support isn’t likely. And even the rare, proactive publicist who works with you at your publishing house…his/her efforts may simply not translate. If your hope is to exceed expectations and give your book a real shot on the market, you will need to find ways to supplement what’s lacking in the publisher’s investment.

Here are some ways to properly prioritize your time and energy that won’t cost you a dime, excluding gas money.
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Presentation at Lucinda Literary/ WeWork's offices - Fulton Center.

On Thursday evening, we hosted a presentation on publishing for The Fresh Air Fund’s job shadowing program. Fresh Air is an amazing organization founded in 1877 with the simple intention to give inner city kids the experience of “fresh air”–at summer camps far from the streets of New York. Since then, it has become more like a family, offering children and their parents all kinds of educational resources throughout the year, and closely monitoring kids to ensure they stay on course to graduate college.

As part of the presentation, we created the short quiz below to discover which job in publishing was best suited to their personality traits. Take it yourself, or share it with young people curious about publishing careers, and tell us below the post how accurate you found your results.

What Job in Publishing is Right for You?

Choose just one answer for every question.

Choose the best quality combination to describe your personality from those below:

  1. Dreamy/Creative
  2. Thoughtful/Introverted
  3. Articulate/Passionate
  4. Talkative/Social

When you were little you wanted to be or were most drawn to the careers of:

  1. Artists
  2. Teachers or doctors
  3. Lawyers or CEOs
  4. Singers or Actors

You often find yourself:

  1. In your own world: observing people and imagining their lives
  2. Reading and helping friends with their schoolwork
  3. Socializing with other people, where you are often the storyteller of the group
  4. Browsing the internet, watching television and movies, communicating with friends

What interests you most in a career is:

  1. To leave something important behind for generations to come–a legacy
  2. To help others
  3. Learning about business and making money
  4. Working in a fun, fast-paced, social environment

You feel happy and stimulated when:

  1. Expressing yourself
  2. Giving feedback to others
  3. Helping others solve problems
  4. Positive feedback and rewards

You feel [fill in the blank] way about money:

  1. It doesn’t really interest you beyond the minimum you need to live your life
  2. You’d like to make a good living
  3. Making money is very important
  4. It’s more important to have a fun and fulfilling job than to make money

You feel [fill in the blank] about rejection:

  1. It hurts, but it won’t ever stop you from putting yourself out there.
  2. You find you’re able to make a rejection when necessary in a polite way.
  3. You can deal with it.
  4. It’s the worst thing ever.

It doesn’t bother you to:

  1. Be alone for hours in the day
  2. Do detail oriented work. You like the feeling of progress!
  3. Discuss or deal with money
  4. Talk to strangers. You can always find things in common with people!

keep-calm-and-check-your-answers-9

Mostly 1’s? Your personality is well-suited to be a writer.

Author

You are imaginative, creative, like to observe others, and are happy being in your own world—which is essential for all the hours you’ll need to spend writing if you have a career as an author!

 

 

Mostly 2’s? You could be a book editor!

Editing an English language document

You really thrive helping others (as you would be helping writers), and you have a natural strength for long, detail-oriented work, which will be necessary for all the manuscripts you’ll be editing.

 

Mostly 3’s? The best role for you in the publishing industry could be as a literary agent.

Lit Agent

Like editors, you enjoy helping people, and like publicists, you are social creatures, but your passion for business differentiates you from the rest of the pack.

 

 

Mostly 4’s? Book publicity would be a great career for you.

talk_to_my_publicist_jadedstarlet_couture_tank-rdf89eb12ed6b4c649346c38a680f4610_8nhmp_324

You love people, entertainment, and pop culture and are always in the know about news and trends. Working in a fast-paced environment and booking media for authors will bring you joy and immediate satisfaction.

There’s a whole lot of noise about crowdfunding out there, and in recent years, it’s permeated the publishing industry–happily so, since there are more writers wanting to publish than ever before and fewer agents and publishers willing to take the financial risk. Publishing crowdfunding models from Kickstarter to Pubslush (which we wrote about here) to Publishizer (more in a minute) give writers the resources to bring their books to market in unconventional, effective, and creative ways.

Unfortunately, crowdfunding sites have a bad PR problem: first, there’s the desperation factor, the very public admission that you need financial assistance in order to publish because you weren’t given a traditional book deal. (Hopefully Seth Godin has done something to improve upon that image!) And then, if you’re lucky and talented enough to succeed in your publishing campaign, you may have to contend with some serious slack for it.

I was introduced to the very smart and affable young CEO of crowdfunding site, Publishizer, about a year ago. Publishizer’s modus operandi is to give authors the “freedom” they want to publish, freedom that is as much financially-driven as it is creative. Since my business is with authors who are published with commercial houses, it wasn’t the crowdfunding piece (though I was certainly impressed by it) that compelled me. It was the potential of agents and publishers to work with Publishizer purely from a pre-orders standpoint. Some of Publishizer’s authors have raised $20,000-$30,000 in pre-orders; enough not only to produce a print run of books, but to fly around the world  promoting them. As publishing sometimes seems to gallop at an elephant’s speed, you remember those revelatory, re-energizing conversations when you can see yourself at the brink of something new and even earth-shattering for your industry.

Yesterday, the hope I’d harbored for Publishizer came true when a romance author of Full Fathom Five Digital set a campaign live on its site–the very first time Publishizer has launched a preorders campaign for 1) a novelist and 2) an author who already has a publisher in place. In less than 48 hours, The Absolute Novels Campaign has raised over $500, and by the time you read this, it may have broken 6. I am in love with this campaign–because of Publishizer’s design and seamless user experience, because SJ’s story is a real one and a tearjerker, and because the gift options she’s created for those who pre-order the book are brilliantly branded and creative. No doubt there will be haters. But I’m personally wishing SJ and the other authors on Publishizer all success.

In the past few years, I’ve seen young people in their twenties walk in the door and out, full of excitement and fear and earnestness and hunger. Each person–now counting 12–has taught me something fundamental. Some have displayed the occupational hazards of our digitally inundated world: poor grammar and spelling; the haphazard reply; even neglecting to acknowledge emails at all. The best have taught me the beauty of a short, respectful email of acknowledgment, a new social media tool, the pleasure of an exclamation mark.

Because an internship or entry-level job can be the first building block of one’s career, I thought it might be helpful to remember some dos and don’ts–the things that matter, to many of us.

Don’t Check Facebook and your texts all day long. A little break now and then is fine, but try to do this when stepping away from your desk after you’ve completed a task.
Don’t forget a handwritten thank you note after an in-person interview, a heartfelt email thank you when you accept an internship offer, and a written thank you when the internship has ended.
Don’t ask for a promotion too early. Six months, unless you’ve been told a different timeline, is appropriate. When you have “the conversation,” come prepared with reasons for why you should be promoted, and have a number in mind as well as a polite way to inquire about the number your boss has in mind. Most importantly, have the conversation in person, but only after asking your boss in advance for a good time to talk. You want to give your boss a chance to prepare too!
Don’t forget a pen and paper to take notes if you’re called in to your boss’ office.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep: if you mention taking care of work later from home or over the weekend, commit to delivering on this promise.
Don’t sneak out at the end of the day. Your boss should respect your leaving on time.
Don’t offer someone senior to you as a job reference unless you’ve previously cleared it with that person. You don’t want to catch anyone by surprise!
Don’t shy away from taking initiative when you know you’ve mastered something and can do it well.

Do prioritize responding to emails. Even if you’re overwhelmed and can’t humanly get on top of all the tasks flying at you, confirm receipt of an email and state when you plan to be working on whatever is being asked of you if it’s not something you can get to right away.
Do jot that task down on paper, or use a helpful task management system like Asana to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Do arrive ten minutes early and leave ten minutes late. Everyone notices small acts of diligence like these.
Do re-read emails to any third party you’re corresponding with before sending off, particularly if spelling or grammar is an issue for you. If you’re responsible for a company’s social media feeds, this rule applies doubly; and if you’re unsure about grammar or syntax etc., Google the correct language first.
Do run a draft by the person you report to: a letter, a tweet, etc. Until your supervisor authorizes you to do otherwise, sending a draft should be your MO.
Do err on the side of apology. Even when you know you’re right but are called out for an error, even when the mistake seems so small it’s not worth acknowledging, apologizing shows respect.
Do ask if you can grab coffee or lunch for others you’re working for. These little things count, and show awareness and humility.
Do dress for the job. This is your job. Even if you’re working at home, get out of your pajamas.
Do call your boss or swing by if you have a quick question. Too many emails with questions don’t help anyone’s workload!
Do ask if there’s anything else you can do when you’ve finished your daily tasks.
Do go the extra mile to check in every month to ask if there’s anything you can do to improve.
Do show general curiosity and ask questions about anything you’re unclear on or anything about the trade. You’re there to learn.

Do you measure up to our “Do” list? Or know someone who would? Great, because we’re hiring! Part-time intern positions are now available at our New York City office.

What was your greatest internship lesson?

“The sport of book promotion is more of a relay race than a sprint.”

It’s almost a cliché to hear an author complain about his or her publicity team. But the fact of the matter is that celebrity has become as important as literary merit, with more titles competing for consumers’ attention than ever before, so authors need to work just as hard as their publicists to promote their work.

That can be frustrating, unless you’re able to “rewire” the way you approach publicity. It begins with remembering that you and your publicist are on the same team, and that the sport of book promotion is more of a relay race than a sprint. There’s no recipe for guaranteed attention, but with the right partner, you can at least have a hand in orchestrating your book’s destiny. As an author and a publicist, here are a few things we’ve learned.

1) Rewire the way you think about publicity.

What does publicity “success” mean to you? If it’s getting an interview on NPR or a book review in the New York Times, you should be plugged into those outlets, knowing the kinds of authors and subjects they cover. While it’s always difficult to attract national media attention, if you can convince your publicist that your book should make the cut—e.g., based on the success of comparable titles, or news trends—you’re giving her the artillery she needs to make the case for you.

If national media isn’t available to you, it’s time to rewire. Coverage by a wide network of bloggers, a Facebook post by a celebrity author, or a viral op-ed in Huffington Post gives you a lot of exposure and often translates to sales. Website analytics yield more data than offline media. We can’t recommend enough that authors follow their traffic, experiment with posting online, and actively engage with reader communities to exploit the loudspeakers of social media.

For Bianca’s book launch, a series about a vintage-obsessed 12-year-old girl who’s carried away to different historical eras, we found immense support from YA and style bloggers, who hosted Bianca on a blog tour and posted images of her book on Instagram. When drumming up book reviews proved difficult, we placed larger profiles about Bianca in adult fashion outlets.

Read the full essay with Bianca Turetsky at PublishersWeekly.com 

Marketing begins with an immediately accessible concept. As more books go digital and jacket art becomes a less important draw to readers, your title becomes your best (or worst) marketer. Look at the New York Times Bestsellers list each week: you’ll see common words repeating almost formulaically by category. How can one tap this formula? Simply by paying careful attention, even just looking at your own bookshelf or Kindle queue. Here are some of the top-selling titles we found to guide you in the right direction. Some might surprise you!

1. Guide to, Ways to, How to: 1,638,764 / 194,230/ 584,472

Practical titles caught us as the most prevalent: promising to fulfill something you need. But you don’t necessarily need to have written a self-help book to use these phrases.  Toby Young’s memoir How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, a spin-off of the famous prescriptive business title: How to Win Friends and Influence People picks up on these buzzwords. Even fiction authors can take advantage: think of Melissa Bank’s breakout book, The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing.

Get creative with nonfiction help titles too by remixing classics like “What to Do When…” (119,112 in Search Results on Amazon) or calls to action, like: “How to Start…” (107,615 in Search). Readers browsing for particular information, whether for personal or professional interest, will respond to both the authority of a “How to” title and the originality of your spin on it.

2. Lives/Life: 1,665,413/1,665,455

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: A Novel, Life Beyond Words, My Horizontal Life, The Secret Life of Violet Grant… We were surprised by the number of books on bestseller lists containing these words. Three possible reasons: the word “life” implicitly suggests an arc, or progression, or wholeness to a story; it caters to voyeurism, an intimate look at someone else’s life; and finally, it brings a kind of drama through that voyeuristic lens. Many readers appear to respond to a title that feels both honest and sensational.

3. Children: 1,649,100

Everyone love talking about kids: Their kids, other kids, genius kids, and “those darn kids!” So it’s no surprise “children” is a popular search title. There are plenty of self-help books on how to raise a child (The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children). However, other popular fiction writers are also quick to play to our parenting sensibilities, like bestselling YA author Ransom Riggs’ novel Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, or Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.

4. House/Home: 1,124,405/481,749

A house: one of the most basic units of life. Houses and homes are close to our hearts as well as our wallets. A self-help or style book focused on the house or home would do well to include these keywords, but even fiction books like House of Leaves by  Mark Z. Danielewski and Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch can capitalize on the ubiquitous and comforting nature of these words.

5. Perfect: 1,057,687

Are we more perfectionist than ever? Apparently so! Popular book titles reveal a lot about human psychology. Using the word “perfect” seems to automatically guarantee a better shot at bestsellerdom, from the book-to-film, A Perfect Storm, to self-help (and in this case self-published) bestsellers, like Creating Your Perfect Lifestyle.

5. You/Your: 776,534  / 486,158

Frame the topic of your book around a well-placed “you” or “your” and you have immediately established a connection with potential readers. You can go the more traditional route: Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company, or… Welcome to Your Brain and Don’t Look Behind You are playful takes on this tactic.

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I remember meeting two years ago with an internationally published author who came to me with this perspective: “If I could find a major publisher in the U.S., I wouldn’t even require a book advance.”

When I asked writers if they would take a “free” book deal on Facebook, I got several immediate “Yes! Yes!” responses. The logic makes sense: if you have already written a book just lying on a shelf somewhere or in an agent’s slush pile and you’ve spent years writing this thing, would the offer to see your book to market, in print and in stores, not be somewhat compelling?

E-book publishers like Amazon, Diversion, Vook, Thought Catalog and many others are already offering writers the opportunity to publish using their resources – different from the go-at-it-alone approach of self-publishing – and given demand, these publishers are getting more selective. But when the author I spoke with prompted me to look into print publishers who might consider a free book deal, I found only a few paperback romance and/or smaller vanity publishers, none of which I’d heard of before.

In publishing, like other industries governed by people, not products, herd mentality still reigns. Just consider the premise of book auctions, perhaps spurred more by competitive interest than merit, often placing false value on books that more often than not lose money. And yet, even while low-cost equations like Amazon and smaller startups like Storyville or Wattpad push us toward Anderson’s prediction of “economic gravity,” print publishing remains the celebrated, curated system in which only those books deemed promising have a shot. And the fee paid for the material symbolizes that internal enthusiasm and support.

There are plenty of writers who couldn’t, or shouldn’t, in today’s publishing landscape, make the free book deal. If you need an advance to travel and research your book, how could you? If you have a competitive offer, why would you? But for the vast majority, the benefits are worth considering: the advance may be zilch, but the royalties and creative control are more advantageous than any standard book contract. (You can find a short overview of e-publishing options and pros and cons here.)

Forward-thinking authors like the person I spoke with also realize that nothing in this world is actually free. You, too, will be “charged” with promoting your book—that’s after the uncompensated work you’ve already done writing it. And your publisher will theoretically be investing in your book’s production, design, marketing and distribution — with or without the added book advance.

I am not arguing that publishers become the sort of “anyone and everyone” aggregator model established by Amazon. What I’m suggesting is that there are many proposals and manuscripts that come so close to making the cut…so what if there were more leeway in making “buying” decisions? With allowances for greater risk-taking, open-mindedness and creativity, the realization that successful marketing lies in both the estimable (promotional costs) and the inestimable (word of mouth), traditional print publishers like their e-counterparts, may soon find value in the model of the free book deal.

 

*A version of this essay was originally published May 30th, 2012. Since then, several of the bigger publishers are experimenting with new digital imprints that offer no or near-to-nothing advances.  Slowly, perception may be shifting…