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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Literary Agent Launches Social Networking Site For Book World

My good friend Jeff Herman, a veteran literary agent, is launching a new interactive site for the book publishing community. Below is a press release he shared on this – I recommend you sign up.

NEW YORK, NY – Oct 25, 2011 – WAENet.com is the first truly interactive Social Network for Writers, Agents and Editors. Agents and editors will use their own dedicated pages to post in their own words more information than exists anywhere else. Many innovative features and apps will provide enriching and enjoyable visits for all participants. The site will incorporate state-of-the-art Web 2.0 communication tools that enable real time conversations, information exchanges and archiving.

As a leading literary agent and top selling published author for 25 years, Jeff Herman understands the publishing business from all points of view. Herman says that writers are needlessly handicapped by a lack of access to agents and editors, which cloaks them from seeing and understanding how publishing functions and how to maximize their own value for mutual benefit.

“Agents, editors and writers are all on the same team, though we often don’t behave that way. There’s no telling how many wonderful and profitable books don’t get published due to an outdated editorial process. While technology has vastly and rapidly changed how editors, writers and agents work and communicate, the quality of the communications has actually declined.”

The WAE Network concept has been germinating with Jeff Herman and his business partner and spouse, Deborah Levine-Herman, for over 10 years. The Herman’ fortuitous meeting with serial entrepreneur David Borish, Founder & CEO of BPWiz.biz helped bring WAENet to life. Herman is also an Advisor for BP Wiz.

“I created the software BP Wiz as a free tool to help writers draft query letters and book proposals,  so when Jeff and Deborah told me about their ideas for the WAE Network, I knew right away that it was a perfect fit for BP Wiz,” says Borish.

WAENet is scheduled for a November launch. Until then anyone can sign-up at www.waenet.com. The first 1000 people who sign-up and share with their friends will receive a FREE Lifetime Membership.

Road Tour Tips


Road tours used to be very common in promoting a book. Authors would be gone for weeks at a time, publishers would pick up the tab on expenses and local media would cover you like a celebrity. But a lot of that has changed. For one, technology makes most road tours nearly obsolete for the media. You can do a radio tour via phone or a television tour via satellite -- and not have to travel anywhere. For another, the novelty of road tours has worn out. The market became flooded with them, so they are no longer as special for the news media. Finally, they are expensive. You don't have a publisher to cover the costs of travel and hotels. However, doing promotions in other cities still has value and here's how to do it the smart way.

First, promote your book in cities that you have to be in anyway. Perhaps you're going somewhere on business. Or you have a wedding to go to out of state. Maybe you want to visit friends and family in other cities. Then you do what's called piggyback touring.  By doing this you reduce your expenses and make better use of your time. However, the key is planning.

To get the best travel deals you often have to book a month in advance. You should pursue cities that have sizeable markets - -but that are not so big like NYC or LA, where you get lost in the shuffle. You face less competition in Milwaukee, Charlotte, or Denver than in San Francisco. Find cities that meet your demographic needs. Obviously, if your book has to do with fishing, visit coastal cities; if it's a book on African-Americans, try the South or Northeast cities; if it's a book that appeals to politics, hit DC; technology is Silicon Valley, etc.

So what do you do once you're in a city? 3-6 weeks in advance of your arrival, you should call the local media and let them know you'll be in town to promote your new book. If you have bookstore signings, seminars or workshops planned, invite them to attend. You should also contact groups you envision being your readership, and see if they will meet with you or host you as a speaker.

You can set up workshops at places like the Learning Annex -- but it has to be done several months in advance. Same thing with bookstores. You can do two things in this regard.

You can merely visit as many bookstores as you can locate in a city, come by unannounced, walk in and ask to speak to the manager. Let him or her know that you are the author of a new book and would like to sign any copies they may have in stock. By doing this, you virtually guarantee the books won't get returned (because they're signed) and they might get positioned more favorably in the store -- perhaps even in the store's front area or on a special display for autographed copies.

The other thing you can do is set up book signings. Stores are getting pickier about who they let participate in signings. You need to contact them at least 6 weeks in advance. They like to set up a calendar of the events and list them in their newsletter. You should pick Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Mondays are hectic days and Fridays usually gets lost in the weekend shuffle. Of course a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday afternoon presentation is nice. If it's a business-oriented book, your best bet is weekday lunchtime at a downtown bookstore.

Of course, whatever travel-related promotions that you plan on doing, inform your publisher or distributor so they can make maximum use of this information. Good luck!

Interview With Barbara Lalicki, SVP & Editorial Director, Harper Collins
1.      As the SVP and editorial director at Harper Collins, how has publishing changed in the last decade for the better? The worse?  The readership has risen dramatically so that books for kids, and particularly YA, can sell in huge numbers, which, of course, means that there are many more readers for a successful book.  The worse?  There doesn’t seem to be enough time to do all that needs to be done.

2.      Where do you see the industry heading? We are racing headlong into uncharted territory and trying to come to grips with exactly where we are going on this exciting journey with many twists and turns, unreadable road signs, bumps in the road, and hitherto unseen vistas ahead.

3.      What do you love most about being part of the book industry? I love the people. I love the authors and artists, my colleagues, and the many passionate book advocates who review books, sell books, and share books with others.

4.      What is your typical day like (if there is such a thing!)? A typical day includes an ever-variable number of unexpected demands on my time.

5.      How do you work with authors to make their books better and more marketable? I’m getting to be of the mind that “better” and “more marketable” are not such big distinctions because a book needs to be able to say what it is so that the readers will be able to decide if “it” is what they are looking for.  I sometimes think that one of the hardest things for a writer to do is to say just what he or she means to say.  Clarity of voice and vision not only helps the story, it helps the marketing of the story.

To follow her on Twitter, just follow @ancienteditor.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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