Thursday, May 29, 2008
At one house they had several boxes of books that I decided to rifle through. As I read the titles, I grew more and more uncomfortable.
First there was Time Management For Dummies. Okay, we could all use a little help there.
Then there was Your Pregnancy Day by Day. Uh-oh, the bad time managers are having a baby.
Next I ran across Keeping the Spice in Your Marriage. Bad time management plus a new baby equals no time for romance.
Then the final blow: Surviving Separation and Divorce. Guess we should have seen that coming.
I had better luck in the next box: A copy of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons for 50 cents. Not my kind of book, but my associate editor once worked for Brown's agent, so I figured I'd better brush up. And so far, even though I see its flaws, I'm enjoying it.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Our sales and marketing people are already on their way out there to set up the booth. My boss and I are making like seagulls and swooping in Friday morning and swooping out Sunday morning. We mainly want to be there to support our authors and scope out the competition. Oh, and maybe to get Alec Baldwin's autograph.
Several of our authors will be making appearances in the Autographing Area on Saturday:
- Molly Fletcher, Be Your Own Agent, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, Table #7
- Susan Britton Whitcomb, The Christian's Career Journey, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, Table #3
- Robert Orndorff and Dulin Clark, The PITA Principle, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Table #13
Interestingly, my husband the book fair maven is not going to be there. Any customers he didn't manage to see in London in April, he'll see in Frankfurt in October. His customers are all based in eastern Europe, and L.A. is just a bit too far to travel for them. But his colleagues' Asian customers will be there in full force.
If you'll be at the fair, drop me in line in the comments and maybe we can plan to meet up.
I'll be posting again tomorrow. But after that, you might not hear from me again until Monday. At seven pounds, my four-year-old dinosaur laptop with the bad wireless card is not worth lugging there.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Big sigh of relief!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
- Agent blogs
- General Resources
- Just for Fun
- Protect Yourself
- Publishing Resources
- Writing Communities
There's lots here for everyone, so check it out!
Friday, May 23, 2008
The unspoken point is, of course, that when people are allowed to just publish books without the help of a professional editor and a traditional publishing house, you're gonna get some crazy stuff. I still applaud everyone's right to write, and I don't think the few should be able to decide what the many will read. But it's sad to see what some people think passes for a good book idea, a great title, and good editing. This is, as one commenter put it, what my slush pile looks like.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
As summer approaches, I am seeing more and more bloggers announcing that they are going on vacation soon and need people to fill in for them while they are gone (why didn’t I think of that instead of just leaving you hanging for 10 days while I went and contracted influenza in Europe?).
Although you can’t usually expect to get paid for it, guest blogging is a great way to channel your creativity and add “published” pieces to your portfolio. And if you already have a blog, the exposure you get during your guest stint could probably win you a few new readers.
How do you go about finding opportunities to be a guest blogger? This post at ProBlogger gives some tips. And hey, I would be glad to look at any guest blogging ideas that any readers might have (just be sure they're relevant). Send them to me via the comments or loricateshand at yahoo dot com.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I've mentioned before that we're publishing our first hardcover trade title, The PITA Principle, this summer. We're in uncharted territory on a number of fronts, not the least of which is "How do you manage the details of producing a hardcover book?" We are so used to doing our softcovers that we are having to really study up to deal with the various aspects that are different for a hardcover, such as
- Designing a dust jacket: In addition to the usual front and back covers, we need to have a front flap and a back flap. I did research at the bookstore to figure out which text goes where. And we have to get a special template from the printer to show us the dimensions to use. And we have to decide whether we want matte or gloss finish, or a combination, and whether we want to emboss anything (make it stick up) on the cover.
- Picking a paper stock: We have to decide whether we want white or "natural," and how thick it needs to be to give us the spine width we want without going over the budget I set earlier.
- Selecting a color for the hardcover: We can choose from just a limited selection, and of course none of the colors matches our dust jacket exactly. So we have to go with something that complements it.
- Deciding whether to have a "spine wrap": That's the contrasting color band on the spine of some hardcover trade books. It costs more, so we're skipping it.
- Choosing a finish for the cover: We have several textures to choose from, from flat to leathery to dotty to something that looks like cloth.
- Finding a foil color: The title can be embossed on the front cover and spine using foil. We have to select the color of foil that looks nice with all our other colors and is readable. We've also decided to emboss just the spine and not the front cover.
Our challenge was to design the most appealing package for the audience without blowing the budget. I'm happy with the choices we've made and am now looking forward to seeing the finished book. But first...back to checking second-pass corrections on it!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Important features on Quintessential Careers include
- Career Toolkit for all aspects of your search
- Education advice
- An active and insightful blog
- Daily advice from The Career Doctor
- A job search portal and resume posting site
Quintessential Careers tops many lists as the best career site on the Web. It boasts 3,400 pages of information, so it's definitely worth a look.
P.S.: These authors don't write for JIST, so this is my totally unbiased opinion!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Just as we were polishing off our massive desserts at Maggiano's, a collective gasp went up. "It's Jason Priestley!" someone whispered. And so it was. The former 90210 hunk is heavily involved with the racing scene, so he spends a lot of time in Indianapolis in May.
On his blog he calls himself an epicurian, so I guess it's sad that he was hanging out at a chain. He brought along his wife and baby girl, who is just as adorable as you might imagine.
We tried not to be Midwestern rubberneckers. We snuck a few peeks at them and then filed out, purposely looking disinterested.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD! IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD! IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND! IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND! HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE! HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE! HE CANNOT THINK -- HE ONLY SEES!
He advocates that parents not use the TV as a babysitter. When they protest, he offers this:
'What used the darling ones to do? 'How used they keep themselves contented Before this monster was invented?' Have you forgotten? Don't you know? We'll say it very loud and slow: THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ!
It's funny to think that maybe our brains didn't rot as fast as he predicted, and that books still aren't quite dead. And wouldn't he have a cow now if he saw how the Internet, cell phones, text messaging, and video games have dragged children even farther from reading?
It's important to note that we are reading this book to our four-year-old a chapter at a time, and she is loving it. But she would have no interest in it had she not first been entranced by the two movie versions of it, which she has watched no fewer than 200 times each. Yes, yes, I have used TV as a babysitter. But I think that as a result, she has become amazingly imaginative, and extremely insightful about the various aspects of storytelling and moviemaking. And we can also use Veruca Salt as an example of how not to act.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
- The trend toward books with amusing and clever "hooks" that are backed up by (hopefully) solid business principles. Examples would include The Starfish and the Spider, Who Moved My Cheese?, Fish!, and The Dip. Oh, and The PITA Principle, of course. Kind of a food and animal thing going on there.
- Personality-driven books that focus on one prominent person's insights and how they can be applied to the reader's own career or business. Examples include Basic Black (Cathie Black), Tough Choices (Carly Fiorina), and Winning (Jack Welch). Joe Blow on the street couldn't write one of these because nobody would care. But someone with a national profile and reputation has the marketing clout to pull it off. We are a nation still obsessed with the cult of personality, so we're all ears when someone famous wants to sell us their inside scoop. So this is why I hope people will also like our upcoming title Be Your Own Agent by Molly Fletcher, America's top female sports agent.
I'm probably a day late and a dollar short on these, but they're what came to my mind first when I was asked about trends.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
- With the retirement of the Baby Boomers, experts predict a massive labor shortage that no amount of immigrants can fill. (The expert in particular that I'm citing is Lynn Guillory, VP of HR for Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Company, who spoke a couple years ago at the Career Management Alliance conference on this topic.)
- Thus, retaining the best employees will be of paramount importance. On average, it costs 150 to 250% of an employee's annual compensation to hire and train a replacement for them.
- Employers will have to go to great lengths to attract and keep the Gen-Y and Millennial workers, who have in general experienced a great deal of hands-on parenting and expect their managers to be more caring and humanistic than the stereotypical "big-business" management protocol.
- One of the biggest factors that causes employees to leave a job is not liking their boss.
- Enter JIST's upcoming flagship business title, The PITA Principle: How to Work with and Avoid Becoming a Pain in the Ass. It talks about various categories of "PITAs" that you might work with and how to get along with them (and it capitalizes on a business book trend of a clever/silly hook by comparing these types of people to different types of PITA sandwiches, such as the Soggy PITA, a needy whiner).
- The PITA Principle can also help train older managers to recognize and fix their own PITA characteristics, which makes them easier to work with, which in turn helps retain those precious Millennial workers.
- In addition to the importance of retention, productivity continues to be a key concern for businesses. As they merge and downsize, fewer people are doing more of the work. And if their work environment is filled with PITAs, they'll waste a lot of time dealing with them and will be less productive.
That's my take on things. Being a Gen-Xer, I'm pretty much watching the fray from the sidelines and hoping those whippersnappers will reshape the workplace into something more friendly instead of just falling in line like we did.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
It's only been in the last several months that PW has realized that we exist, I think. So I didn't want to blow the opportunity to put in a good word for our books, and possibly also get quoted saying something really insightful and amazing. But as an introvert who needs time to collect her thoughts, I have a tendency to say stupid things when attempting to think on my feet. Panic set in. Mercifully, I had only 30 minutes to stew about it.
So I talked to the reporter, who had some set questions about young managers and "green" books. To be honest, I'm not sure exactly what I said to him, but maybe some of it was usable. I was even able to mention a few of our books gracefully. I was so thankful for all the time I have spent reading relevant blogs; otherwise, I don't think I would have had answers for him.
The story will appear toward the end of the month. Until then, I am trying not to think too much about which unfortunate utterances the reporter will choose to highlight.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Although it's always dangerous to stereotype, at least 16 million people have been able to suspend their outrage long enough to get a chuckle out of the site that profiles all sorts of different things that white people generally agree it's cool to like, such as New Balance Shoes, Starbucks, Obama, Having Gay Friends, Shorts, Dinner Parties, Study-Abroad, and Recycling. So I guess it was inevitable that they'd eventually get around to Grammar.
The post talks about how white people love rules and following them, love finding mistakes in publications (it makes them feel superior), and can't resist it when you ask them to proofread something for you. Funny stuff!
Friday, May 9, 2008
It sounds like a wonderful experience--if your company has enough faith in your potential to pony up five grand plus travel expenses. There are sessions for both book and magazine topics, as well as joint sessions such as “Harnessing the Power of Social Applications,” “The Truth About Mobile Platforms,” and “Designing New Media.” The book-specific sessions are
- The Core Idea: How It's Discovered, Focused, Delivered
- Web-Based Marketing Tools & Techniques
- Managing Creative People
- What Makes a Good Book Cover
- Strategies for Increasing Profitability
- Will This Book Cross Borders?
- How Digital Production Changes the Game
- Five New Ways to Work with Amazon
- What You Can Learn From the P&L
- Bookless Libraries and Second Life
Add to that all the networking opportunities and the synergy that comes from having likeminded people all in one place, and it most certainly looks like it’s worth the time and money.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Today her monthly newsletter featured a novel way to discover your career passion while clearing the clutter out of your house. I've heard lots of career-coaching tricks, but this is new one on me! Here's Nancy:
Have you ever noticed how cathartic spring cleaning can be? You uncover hidden treasures, bring order to chaos and finally rid yourself of the extras that are weighing you down. Clearing out the clutter gives you that calm, free-to-exhale feeling that provides the space for both new things... and new possibilities.
This year, why not incorporate a career treasure hunt into your spring cleaning routine? The things you hold on to can provide clues to your interests and passions. As you move through your home, room by room, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do all those saved, but still unread, magazines and articles I have accumulated indicate about my interests and passions?
- Are there unfinished projects (i.e., knitting, jewelry making, etc.) that I'd like to have more time to pursue? Do these projects represent "just a hobby" or could they be the foundation of a new home-based business?
- Am I holding on to work clothes that represent a dream unfulfilled?
- Do I have a stash of wonderfully creative scarves, jewelry or clothing that never sees the light of day? What does that say about the match between who I am and what I do?
- Why am I so overwhelmed by the amount of "stuff" I've accumulated? How can I streamline and simplify my life moving forward?
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
You can make your writing (and speech) more concise and economical by eliminating redundancy—words that creep in, unnoticed, that aren’t really needed. For example, I recently read a review of a film that was described as hilariously funny. Perhaps you’ve been in a house that had walls painted a rich chocolate brown, a living room with a large picture window, and a kitchen with a center island. Have you ever encountered a young lad who was said to be a child prodigy? Was he so talented that you wanted to clap your hands? Or did you just shrug your shoulders? How often do you gesture with your hands? Do you ever print out a document, or link two objects together?
One of my favorite examples of redundancy comes from a church bulletin I read many years ago. (This weekly bulletin was always so chock-full of errors that it could have served as an editing test.) One of the items offered “sincere Christian sympathy” to those who had recently lost a loved one.
Remember to watch for redundancy while editing and also in your own writing as well—even though it might not be possible to eliminate redundancy completely.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
In a nutshell, he's saying that there are many reasons why a company might not want to hire an intern, and often the pay isn't the biggest obstacle. There are also the problems of nobody having the time to supervise the intern (it's a big time-eater keeping someone busy all the time) and not having space for an intern.
Shawn has some ideas for anticipating objections and having a plan for getting up to speed quickly, which should make you a more attractive internship candidate.
Shawn notes that the biggest companies are now done with their on-campus intern recruitment for the year, so you'll have to look harder and work toward creating some opportunities for yourself at this point.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I've had a few massages before (the first being a parting gift from my former Frommer's coworkers, who thought I needed it pretty badly). But it had been four years since my last one, so basically I was a bag of muscle knots.
The masseuse said I was pretty much locked up, with knots up and down my "mouse arm" and all over my back. She even found some in my hips, which I hadn't even noticed ("You can only process so many pain messages," she said).
Her diagnosis: Too much time sitting in one position editing all day. She advised me to get up and walk around as much as possible. She also thinks that maybe I don't breathe when I edit (as evidenced by my poorly oxygenated muscles). I concentrate so hard that I forget to breathe.
The takeaways for anyone who spends a lot of time on the computer at work (especially editors):
- Get up and take breaks.
- Get regular massages (as Ferris said, "I highly recommend it if you have the means").
Of course today I am in serious pain, slumped over like Gollum. I really need to do this more often and it wouldn't be so bad. Maybe I can figure out a way to deduct it as an unreimbursed business expense...
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Yesterday I offered to take my four-year-old to a park here in Noblesville and asked her which one she wanted to go to. She picked Forest Park because of its carousel. On the way out the door I pocketed my camera because these days, you just never know who you'll run into.
As soon as we got there, I realized something was up. The place was swarming with Obama supporters. "A rally," I thought. But perhaps he was making an appearance. I stopped a lady and asked her what was up. She confirmed it: He was coming, but nobody knew when. Everyone had brought food and they were having a pitch-in for him and his family. (I have to admit that I was taken aback by the sort of brainwashed fervor these people were exhibiting. But perhaps I am just unused to anyone in Hamilton County admitting that they are a Democrat, let alone making a public spectacle about it.)
The line to get into the picnic area snaked around for half a mile, and it wasn't moving. My daughter isn't a great line-waiter, so we went about our business and played on the playground.
After about an hour it got chilly, so we loaded up to leave. On our way out of the park, the police suddenly stopped traffic on the road that runs alongside it. I knew this was it. So I pulled into a parking lot and jumped out with the camera. In came the motorcade. I snapped the above photo of the Obama family bus. If you think you see someone in the bus waving, you're right. But as it turns out, it's just my reflection.
This photo will join my collection of political "almosts," alongside the 1978 picture I took of Jimmy Carter's limo as he raced through Evansville, revealing nothing but a waving hand and a big set of teeth--thankfully, his and not mine.
Friday, May 2, 2008
So this year's lists of autographing sessions are now available online here. Since we'll be in L.A., there will be a few more TV people than usual. Here are some names that caught my eye:
- Alec Baldwin (Yeah baby! He's on fire now, even after calling his daughter a little pig!)
- Bobby Brown
- Dom Deluise
- Jamie Lee Curtis
- Garrison Keillor
- Vicki Lawrence as Mama Harper (uh, maybe I'll skip this one)
- Stan Lee
- Leonard Nimoy (although his book looks somewhat illogical to me)
- William Shatner
- Ty Pennington
- Dionne Warwick
- Kirk Cameron (preachy as ever)
- Ray Bradbury (he's still alive? I love this guy!)
- Cheech and Chong (one of them promoting a kids' book?)
- Judy Blume (I'm still in trouble for my contraband copy of Forever, but who didn't love Fudge?)
- RFK Jr.
- Brooke Shields
- Kevin Nealon
- Ernest Borgnine
And last but not least:
- Salman Rushdie (has the fatwah expired?)
So it looks like a pretty good crop of celebs--or the makings of a good CelebReality show. Of course, Dr. Ruth will be there as usual, and Henry Winkler and Scott Adams are back again, too. This is the one weekend a year that the book nerds rub shoulders with Hollywood. And I wouldn't miss it!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
- NYU Summer Publishing Institute: Takes place June 1 through July 11 in New York. The tuition is pretty steep at $4,760, but you'll work with 100 publishing experts for six weeks and you get a Certificate in Publishing when you're done. You can also parlay this into credit toward an M.S. in Publishing. The Institute is celebrating 30 years this summer and is hoping its nearly 3,000 alums will attend its gala event on June 10.
- The Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute at the College of Charleston: Readers who can be in South Carolina June 3 through 30 might choose to attend this more literary-focused publishing program. Total tuition is less than $3,000 (not including room and board), and you can opt out of a few programs and pay less than that. This event is a joint venture among a literary journal, an independent literary press, and a college. It's aimed at aspiring literary publishers and editors, as well as MFA students. Students will have the opportunity to assist and work alongside the judges of the Tupelo Press First Book Prize.
So there you go. If you're more interested in working on your career this summer than your tan, there are some options for you.