…helping you tell a better story

LinkedUp: December 3, 2013

LinksWait, where did the last two weeks go?

Sorry, gang. I lost two Tuesdays in a whirlwind of unexpected out-of-town trips and looming deadlines. But let’s get back to business. The holidays may be upon us, but the book business is still going strong. What’s happening online that I think you should know about?

I’ll let you in on a few secrets….


1. Secrets of Book Covers

“…although book cover designs come in a wide variety, publishers consistently use reliable, time-tested techniques and guidelines to catch your attention and make the sale. You want your cover to be different and unique, but you also want to tick all the right boxes (because they work).”

This may sound strange coming from a copy writer, but the book cover is the most important marketing tool an author has. Get those colors and fonts and images right, and a reader will give the words a chance.


2. Secrets of Financial Success 

“It took a good 12-14 years, and many books, before the money became a happy factor of my writing career.”

We’ve heard a lot about multi-million dollar advances and overnight successes. It’s important to remember that writing is a job, and most writers only make a living by doing it the hard way: writing book after book, building a backlist and a following over time. Publishing once does not make you a career author.


3. Secrets of the Publishing House

“Approximately four out of every five books published lose money. Or five out of six, or six out of seven. Estimates vary, depending on how gloomy the CFO is the day you ask him and what kinds of shell games are being played in Accounting.”

What happens within the sacred walls of the prestigious New York houses? The same kinds of guessing games that the rest of us play with words and dollars.


4. Secrets of Social Media

“My standards for my work became higher because I was writing for a real audience…. The Tumblr audience is just readers who want something to be worth their time. If I didn’t produce quality work, they wouldn’t revisit my site and they wouldn’t share it with others. End of story.”

Why should writers spend their time on social media? Because it reminds you that your words don’t belong to you, but to the people who read them.


5. Secret Deliveries

“These are effectively drones but there’s no reason that they can’t be used as delivery vehicles.”

It’s not a joke. And if Jeff Bezos’ track record of predicting, and shaping, the future of retail is any indication, it may not even be as impossible as it sounds.


Which brings me to my bonus book recommendation of the week:

91jQbQf8lTL._SL1500_The Everything Store

…which I appropriately read between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and right through the launch of the Amazon Drone. It’s not always an easy read—Amazon is a tough place to work and Jeff Bezos comes across as a pretty brutal boss. But you’ll walk away with a better understanding of the tensions between Amazon and traditional publishers and bookstores, and probably a lot of respect for a brilliant mind that’s not only ahead of the curve; Bezos shapes the curve.
Read my full Goodreads review here.



Now, what’s on your secret list this week?

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