What do you have to share?

 Author Tips  Comments Off on What do you have to share?
Feb 112010

I met an impressive man the other day.

My wife and I were buying a used motorized wheelchair for my grand-father-in-law. We found it on Craigslist and negotiated the fee and everything ahead of time by phone and drove to meet the seller, Justin.

It turns out that Justin has a business maintaining and reconditioning motorized wheelchairs. He serves about 3000 active clients. That’s an amazing number in itself.

I know nothing about wheelchairs, but Justin took about 40 minutes explaining every small detail of the chair and its features, and answered every question we didn’t even know we had.

Of course, while I listened to his presentation my thought was “he should write a book!” He was passionate about his expertise, and wanted to share as much as he could. At first, I thought he was in the business of reconditioning and selling these devices, but by the end I understood that he was in the business of helping people remain mobile and active and independent. I can think of few things more important to his clients.

Justin is a mobility expert, and his mission is about more than batteries and speed controllers. In retrospect I’m not sure there’s enough of a market for him to place a book, but his sort of expertise and passion are the same things I look for, and admire, in my clients.

As readers we often take expertise for granted and don’t always recognize what’s right in front of us. Or we may not recognize the preparation that has gone into the work before us.

On first hearing the title, you might think it’s another gimmick, but as I read the galleys of Roger Ma’s Zombie Combat Manual, I’m reminded that Roger is an expert martial artist who can write with wonderfully restrained wit about how to kill zombies using battle-axes, staffs, or various knives. There’s plenty of zombie gore, but Roger is also a credible witness and expert about mixed martial arts. Thankfully, he’s compelled to share his knowledge to help us protect ourselves against zombie outbreaks!

Likewise, every time I see an outline from Dan Gookin, I am reminded that Dan is a true expert at conceiving and organizing a book. There’s a reason that Dan’s book, DOS for Dummies, spawned such a huge and long-lasting series, and it’s obvious to me every time I read one of his outlines. Dan is an expert at speaking directly to the reader, eliminating the extraneous, and focusing on what’s really important. Ultimately, his organizational gift and unique wit have helped millions of readers learn to accomplish something that may have at first intimidated them.

What’s new these days is the ability authors have to share their expertise even before they pitch a book. Tamar Weinberg had written extensively about Social Media Marketing for several years before she pitched a book. Harold Davis shared his photos and techniques widely (and freely) on flickr and on his photoblog before he turned to books.

I can list a comparable expertise and innate helpfulness in every client I represent.

It’s really something to be an expert, and even more so to be able to share your expertise with others. If I was going to ask only one question of prospective clients I would ask “What do you have to share?”

 Posted by at 12:42 pm
Jan 292010

Welcome to my new WordPress blog. I’ve moved the entire site to WordPress in order to more easily update client news and bios and my submission guidelines.

2010 has been super busy so far with plenty of new books in the works and plenty more coming down the pike.

2010 is also my fifth year anniversary at Fresh Books. I’m thankful to all the clients and publishing partners who have worked with me and supported my agency from the get-go.

Thank you!

Congratulations to nutritionist Meri Raffetto on the publication of The Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies, and congrats to Meri and her collaborator Rosanne Rust on the publication of The Calorie Counter for Dummies.

A big congratulations to Harold Davis, whose books – Creative Close-Ups, Creative Night, Creative Composition, and The Photoshop Darkroom – shared space on Amazon’s Computer and Internet Top 100 over the holidays. I’m pleased to announce that Harold’s next book in the Creative series, Creative Black and White, will publish later this year.

Congratulations to Barrie Sosinksy on the publication of the Networking Bible.

Congratulations to Gary Bouton on the publication of his Xara Extreme: The Official Guide.

A big congratulations to Dave Crenshaw on finishing his second business fable, Invaluable: The Secret to Becoming Irreplaceable, which is due out this May.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm

New Books!

 Client News  Comments Off on New Books!
Oct 152009

Congratulations to Eric Groves, SVP at Constant Contact, on the publication of The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing, now out in hardcover from Wiley.
Congratulations to book packaging duo Harold and Phyllis Davis on the publication of the amazing Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing from Focal Press.
Harold is also launching a new Creative Digital Photography Tips and Techniques series with Wiley’s Visual group this month. The first three titles include Creative Composition, Creative Night, and Creative Close-Ups. It takes an amazing amount of effort and planning to release a new series in a timely manner and I’m proud to have been involved in the process of bring these books to market and helping make Harold’s vision a reality.
Congratulations to USA Today Puzzle Editor Timothy Parker’s new puzzle book, Crosswords for Seniors for Dummies.
And congratulations on another rush to publication effort by Ed Baig on his Palm Pre: The Missing Manual.
Thanks for working with me!

 Posted by at 2:14 pm

Summer News and Updates

 Client News  Comments Off on Summer News and Updates
Aug 242009

I kept it to myself but we had a long spring here as my mom moved in with us at the beginning of the year and passed away in May. I ended up spending half this year as caregiver and half as agent, and it was a challenge. I’m fortunate that my authors continued to chug right along and that my dummies backlist especially continued to grow. I’m grateful to all of my clients in this time. Thanks for your support.
For the moment I’m happy to add a few new books to my list, with more to come soon.
Congratulations to Dan Gookin on the publication of his Troubleshooting and Maintaining Your PC All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies.
Congratulations to Rene Kratz on the publication of Molecular and Cell Biology for Dummies.
Congratulations to Holly Day and Sherman Wick on the publication of Walking Twin Cities (Wilderness Press).
Congratulations to Sue Jenkins on two new DVDs: The Designer’s Guide to Photoshop, and The Fundamentals of Photoshop Elements, as well as her latest book, Web Design All-In-One for Dummies.
Congratulations to Ed Baig on the publication of the 3rd edition of his iPhone book, iPhone for Dummies 3GS.
Congratulations to Tamar Weinberg on the publication of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, (O’Reilly).
Congrats to co-adventurers John Haslett and Cameron Smith on the publication of Wilderness Survival for Dummies. This is a book I’m tremendously proud of and you should also check out their hilarious promo video on YouTube.
I’m also pleased to announce one last “All-In-One” from the Dummies crew. Congrats to John Arnold, Ian Lurie, Marty Dickinson, Elizabeth Martin and Michael Becker on the publication of the Web Marketing All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies.

 Posted by at 11:44 am

2009 Updates!

 Client News  Comments Off on 2009 Updates!
Mar 042009

I’ve been woefully out of blogging mode and had some problems logging on for updates but that has been resolved, and the beat does go on and I have plenty of news and new books.
There’s no doubt that the book industry is troubled right now, and the loss of many independents and the weakness of Borders especially is cause for concern. That said, books, whether “e” or not, are not going away, and the environment for selling them is only becoming more diverse and multi-platformed.
I’m currently working on three projects that I love and hope to share news on them in the near future. For now, here’s a roundup of a few of my projects that have shipped in the last few months. We have plenty of new books coming, and I’m pleased to congratulate a few new authors as well. I have a lot of tech in this update!
Congratulations to Brian Desmond, on his revision of the newest edition of Active Directory: Designing, Deploying and Running Active Directory, (O’Reilly).
Congratulations to Ed Baig on the publication of Macs for Dummies, 10th edition.
Congratulations to Renato Bellu on the publication of his first book, Microsoft Dynamics GP for Dummies.
Congratulations to Chad Perkins on The After Effects Illusionist: All the Effects in One Complete Guide, Focal Press.
Congratulations to Sue Jenkins and Rich Wagner on the publication of the 2nd edition of Dreamweaver CS4 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies.
Congratulations to John Mueller on the publication of MS Exchange Server for Dummies, and his newest book, C# Design and Development, from Wrox Press.
One of the cooler game titles I’ve ever seen is shipping right now: congratulations to Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton of the Armchair Arcade on the publication of Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario and the Most Influential Games of All Time, from Focal Press.
I’m also please to announce a few recent deals — The Zombie Combat Manual from the creator of the Zombie Combat Club website, to Denise Silvestro at Berkley; The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing, to Richard Narramore at Wiley; and Invaluable: A Fable about Becoming Irreplaceable to Your Boss and Customers, a follow-up to Dave Crenshaw’s The Myth of Multitasking, again to Karen Murphy at Jossey-Bass.

 Posted by at 7:52 pm

Fresh Books: addicted to backlist edition!

 Client News  Comments Off on Fresh Books: addicted to backlist edition!
Oct 092008

I have a lot of new “for Dummies” titles this fall. I’m probably unique among agencies in how many books I’ve done with Wiley (and previously IDG), but that’s my reward for working with some of the very first Dummies authors.
As the tooth fairy says when she comes to our house, “thanks for the teeth, I love the teeth,” well I say, “thanks for the books! I love the backlist!”
Congrats to Ed Baig on the second edition of iPhone for Dummies.
Congratulations to Cameron McPherson Smith and Evan Davies on the publication of Anthropology for Dummies, a book that should backlist well.
Congratulations to USA Today puzzle master Timothy Parker on the publication of his multi-puzzle project, Brain Games for Dummies.
Congratulations to Dave Crenshaw, whose business fable The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing it All” Gets Nothing Done, was reviewed in Time Magazine this week.
Congratulations to Gary Bouton on the publication of his newest book, CorelDraw X4: The Official Guide, from Osborne/McGraw-Hill.
And a big congratulations to Michelle Waitzman on her second book Living Abroad in New Zealand, from Moon Handbooks/Avalon.
That’s it for now, thanks for working with me!

 Posted by at 9:41 am

Some Advice on Sending Queries

 Book Proposal Faux Pas  Comments Off on Some Advice on Sending Queries
Aug 262008

I just mailed out a bunch of rejections this morning, which is never very fun. Based on what I read today I wanted to add a few quick faux pas and some general advice!
Many agents will take electronic queries these days (I prefer them). You can save yourself postage and reach out to those agents electronically. You might also get a more timely response. With agents that don’t read e-queries, be sure to follow their instructions and contact them appropriately.
If the agency is easily found and you have my contact info, then you should know I’m not “Sir or Madam.”
I don’t rep novels. Maybe someday, but not now. This is noted everywhere you might find my info except maybe in Everyone Who’s Everyone in publishing. I do want to see queries for memoirs, narrative non-fiction, how-to, reference, technical titles, design and photography, and anything of a western regional bent, including travel.
Keep track of your queries. If I turned it down once I will turn it down again.
Make sure the correct letter goes into the correct envelope.
Don’t quote your rejection letters. We know you need an agent before Scribner will read your manuscript. If you include five “positive” rejections you’re just telling the agent you’ve already shopped this and nobody bit.
Please don’t despair if you see a short rejection letter or even a form letter. Most often “it’s not right for me” is just that, even if your project might be great for someone else. You want your prospective agent to love your project, so it’s vital to weed out those who don’t. The history of publishing is filled with rejection. We hear it too on our side of the fence.
Good luck!

 Posted by at 10:21 am

The Myth of Multitasking Blog Tour

 Marketing Your Book  Comments Off on The Myth of Multitasking Blog Tour
Aug 202008

It’s great to see the kick-off of Dave Crenshaw’s blog tour in support of the The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing it All” Gets Nothing Done. He made a great effort to reach out to like-minded bloggers, folks who write about productivity, time management and organization, and he’s been successful so far.
In the last three days Dave has been covered, reviewed or interviewed in the following blogs:
Virtually Organized
Change Your Thoughts
Cranking Widgets
Genuine Curiosity
Awake at the Wheel
Dave’s great results so far aren’t the result of some high powered PR agency; it’s the result of his own focused preparation and roll-out plan.
Per my recent post, you can’t expect that people are going to hunt down your new book to review it. You have to take the lead in finding the very best possible reviewers with the most focused message and audience.

 Posted by at 4:50 pm

Reviews don’t “just happen.”

 Marketing Your Book  Comments Off on Reviews don’t “just happen.”
Aug 132008

Don’t assume that just because you wrote a book someone is going to want to review it.
Too often I find that writers forget about following through once a book is published, but in reality that’s the most important time to plan for a real push to find and solicit reviewers of your book. This goes for Amazon reviews too.
Your publisher should solicit a list of potential reviewers who should be sent the book, but if they don’t, be sure to pipe up and send them a list. You can find reviewers throughout the blogosphere, or in user groups, or for tech books on sites like Slashdot, and if you have a trade title with a great niche (ala Sex in a Tent) then actively read the magazines that cover your topic and try to make connections with reviewers (Glamour, Cosmo, Outside, all fit the bill for SIT).
Very important: try to find reviewers who are definitely interested in your topic. Reviewers, and bloggers, are overwhelmed with review requests, so try to find a like-mind!
I know this sounds sort of basic, but someone just asked me today if I had seen any reviews of their book and I had to ask, have you asked for any reviews?
I promise, your publisher will be more than happy to send copies to prospective reviewers.

 Posted by at 11:14 am

new to twitter

 Random Postings  Comments Off on new to twitter
Aug 062008

I figured I could keep better track of my twittering authors if I joined in, so you can find me on twitter now: I may not update often but update I will when I can!
You’ll find me doing all sorts of fascinating things, like stepping out to skim the pool, chasing the mailman down the street, or trying to find the darn SASE that goes with the query letter on my desk — and let me take a moment here to tell prospective clients that the absolute best way to query me is to query me electronically, by email, in which case I will most likely get back to you very quickly.
If you’re on twitter you can follow me here.

 Posted by at 2:15 pm