Tag Archives: how to get an agent

What if Editors SOLD Books (in Big Stone Gap)?

nicholeRegular readers will know that I spent a week in NYC last month, doing a couple of events and goofing off visiting my editor Nichole (in the photo) and agent Pamela. During the course of the week, Jack and I were delighted to have a conversation with Ken, head of independent bookstore sales for Macmillan, and his assistant Matt; we talked about coping mechanisms for small guys, marketing strategies for big guys, and the very hopeful demographics showing rises from 2011-2013 not only in sales of books at indie bookstores, but in the number of indie bookstores that are out there.
After the conversation, Nichole made the casual comment that she wished she knew more about how indie bookstores sold books. “It’s like the Gold Standard of bookselling, the handsell. And I’ve certainly recommended lots of books to lots of people, but I’ve never stood in a shop and sold one.”
Thus an idea was born. Nichole and her trusty assistant Laura have been saying repeatedly they’d love to visit Big Stone Gap. In addition, my publicist Jessica is from Richmond, VA, and she’s never been to the more rural climes. So here’s my cunning plan: we need people to explain to Nichole’s editor-in-chief why Nichole and Laura and Jess could really use a week of handselling experience in a small town.laura chasen
Wouldn’t it be great to have Nichole and Laura (in the photo) and Jess spend a few days RUNNING The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap?  Pamela, my agent, has often said that if prospective authors who send pitches to agents had to sell the books they were pitching, they’d change their pitch—and tune. You have to know what will and won’t sell—and how to sell it—to write a good query letter.
Nichole and I have often talked about the failed algorithms of A**zon, how people who want to read books that don’t quite fit a specific category can’t find them, don’t know they’re out there, and how sales reps (that is, those who sell books in bulk to bookstores from publishers) have to make things easy for the stores and build their own relationships of trust in order to do their jobs well. And that there’s a disconnect between the writers, the editorial shapers, and the sellers. Think of it: Manhattan’s finest editors bridging those gaps (in The Gap!).
jessicaSo here’s what we need: leave a comment on this blog saying why Nichole and Laura and Jess (in the photo of her birthday dinner with us in NYC) should get to spend a week (okay, three days) running our shop. (Don’t worry about Pamela and her assistant Michelle; we have a completely different plan for them.) And while the trio are down here we can show them a good time. Please, in your comments, explain why this is a good idea to Nichole’s boss (who will be interested).
And if Nichole and Laura and Jess get to visit, we’ll throw a party, and y’all can come say hi!


Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, publishing, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing

(updated) Young Pup Literary Critic Savages Author’s Latest Work

a note from Jack: We normally put a blog up on Saturdays, but we’re waiting until Sunday today, for two reasons:

1) there’s been an outpouring of sympathy over the latest review of Wendy’s book (see below) and we want everyone to have a chance to weigh in; and

2) we are doing a Scottish festival this weekend and have time off Sunday, but not Saturday. So we’ll fill you in on the fun Sunday. Meanwhile, if you can add any puns to the report below…. well, you’d not be barking up the wrong tree!


My editor Nichole sent her friend Laura Yorke, who happens to be a literary agent, a copy of my book, just for Laura to have something to read on vacation. Laura has a new puppy at home. The rest, as they say, is history.

excerpt from CRITICS DIGEST—NYC, NY 25 Jan. 2013

In one of the most brutal attacks yet witnessed in the NYC literary scene, a young agent sank his teeth into a first-time author’s work and left no sentence unshredded.

“It’s the worst thing I’ve had in ages,” barked the agent. “Absolutely tasteless. Made my hackles rise.

“He just ripped it to pieces,” said Laura Yorke, another agent who witnessed the reviewer at work. “Page by page, he tore through the whole thing with such obvious glee. I mean, he was practically frothing at the mouth.

The agent in question is just a young pup on the scene, but has already developed quite a reputation regarding his keen nose for writing–not to mention his signature tooth-and-claw style. No doubt he will work many more writers over in this spineless fashion.

The author could not be reached for comment, but her husband said two bottles of red wine were missing from the liquor cabinet, and their bathroom door was locked from the inside.


Filed under animal rescue, book repair, folklore and ethnography, humor, publishing, Uncategorized