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Archive for January, 2012


Julie Otsuka, nominated for the 2011 National Book Award for The Buddha in the Attic, will be at Symphony Space this week. Otsuka, also the author of When the Emperor Was Divine, will be discussing The Buddha in the Attic, with the performer and essayist David Rakoff (Fraud, Half Empty). The book traces the lives of a group of Japanese picture brides who come to America in the early 1900s, beginning with the boat journey on which they imagine their husbands and concluding with their “disappearance” during World War II. Like Otsuka’s first book, The Buddha in the Attic is about identity and what it means to be “other” in uncertain times.  An excerpt will be performed by Rita WolfThe Buddha in the Attic is on the 2011 Great Group Reads list and Otsuka was kind enough to be on our panel of authors for the 2011 New York National Reading Group Month event.


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Before joining the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency as an Associate Agent in 2011, Linda Epstein read manuscripts, book proposals, and queries at Folio Literary Management; was Submissions Manager at the McVeigh Agency; and interned at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and also Meryl Zegarek Public Relations. A very active member of the NYC Chapter of the WNBA, Linda co-edits The New York Bookwoman, and is the editor of this blog! She graciously agreed to be our guinea pig for the blog’s first member interview:

Erica and Hannah: You’ve recently become a literary agent! What lead you to make this career change and how has it impacted your life so far?

Linda: Well, I’ve been working toward my goal of being a Literary Agent for quite a few years now, reading slush for other agents, interning at some great agencies, writing reader reports, editorial letters and submission letters, so it’s a natural progression to finally be an agent. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to begin my career as an agent at The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. Jennifer is absolutely fantastic, so encouraging and supportive.

Being an agent has impacted my life in a bunch of ways, but the most dramatic, I think, is that I don’t really have the leisure to just pick up a book that I heard about and I might want to read. Between screening queries, reading submissions, reading and editing my client’s manuscripts, and making sure I’m familiar with other books similar to that of my clients’, I don’t have a lot of time left to just read for pleasure. Honestly though, I kind of love it. I’m pretty happy reading all the time!

Erica and Hannah: What is your favorite part about working with the WNBA?

Linda: My favorite part of working with the WNBA is the camaraderie with the other members. I’ve met some fairly fantastic people and I’ve really enjoyed the events that I’ve helped put on and the ones that I’ve attended as a participant.  It’s great to be able to hang out with other women who love and work with books in one way or another. I also feel very proud knowing that I’m a member of an organization that came directly out of the Women’s Movement of the early 20th century. The Women’s National Book Association was formed in 1917 by 15 women booksellers who were excluded from the all-male Booksellers League annual convention. I think that’s pretty cool.

Erica and Hannah: What has been your favorite project to work on throughout your career?

Linda: Whatever I’m currently working on is my favorite project. I don’t take on anything lightly. I jump all the way in. So I have to love whatever I’m working on to be working on it. That would make it my favorite project.

Erica and Hannah: What is your biggest guilty pleasure book?

Linda: I’m not sure what a guilty pleasure book is, because I think just about anything is fair game to read. I guess I feel guilty when I’m reading something that’s not for work. So recently I read  A Game of Thrones, and I don’t represent fantasy books like that, but I totally enjoyed it, even though I felt like I shouldn’t be taking the time to read it. And that definitely does NOT mean I want people to start querying me with fantasy books like A Game of Thrones. Please don’t.

Erica and Hannah: What’s the most common mistake you find authors make when submitting manuscripts and query letters?

Linda: Authors make quite a few mistakes when querying and submitting manuscripts. The most common is submitting to an agent that doesn’t represent the genre that they write in. I have unequivocally stated that I don’t read thrillers, and it’s  just that I don’t connect to them, I don’t care for that type of a story. But people keep sending me thrillers. I don’t like having to reject people, but I really, truly don’t like or represent thrillers. So that’s a mistake. With query letters, authors need to remember that a. it’s a business letter, they’re not writing to a pal, and b. if it’s too long, I stop reading. There are about a million places on the internet that give advice on how to write a good query, so they really have no excuse for not writing one.

Erica and Hannah: We all know you love books, but what’s your favorite TV show or movie?

Linda: I’m very selective in my television viewing. Currently, my favorites are Downtown Abbey, Mad Men, True Blood, A Game of Thrones, Bill Maher and The Daily Show.

Erica and Hannah: If you could go on tour with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

Linda: That would be the Grateful Dead. Yup. Un hunh.

Erica and Hannah: Do you have any hidden talents?

Linda: That’s a secret.

Erica and Hannah: What is your favorite word?

Linda: penultimate or clandestine or slurpy

Erica and Hannah: What inspires you creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Linda: That is such a complex question to answer. I think I’m most inspired creatively by extremes. Sometimes that’s emotional extremes, like passion, hate or love. Sometimes it can be extreme circumstances or extreme beauty or poverty. Spiritually, I become inspired when I get present to the present. Emotionally, I’m very inspired when I witness people overcoming adversity, whether that’s on a personal level in their daily lives or on a grander scale, like for communities and the planet.  I think that basically I love people and I have hope that as a species we can get our act together before we destroy ourselves. That carries over into the kind of books I like to read, the kind of art I like to look at, the movies I watch, the music I listen to.

If you want to read more from Linda, visit her blog, The Blabbermouth!

To find out what Linda is looking for in a manuscript, go to jdlit (dot) com.

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We know it’s a little early, but we are so excited we just couldn’t wait!

Query Roulette 2012*

Like speed dating for agents and writers!

No pitching required!
Tuesday, February 28, 6:30 – 8:30
In Good Company, 16 West 23rd Street, 4th Floor, NYC

*Names of participating agents and additional information coming soon!

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Advertising used be an exclusive world of “mad men” but thanks to the digital age, anyone can do it! In her New York Bookwoman column, “Greenberg on Book PR & Marketing in the Information Age,” Susannah Greenberg breaks down the differences between Goodreads, Facebook, and GoogleAdWords.

Designing, targSusannah Greenbergeting, budgeting and analyzing your own online book advertisement is now possible for anyone, no experience required, even on a limited budget.  Goodreads, Facebook, and Google AdWords all offer affordable, do it yourself, pay per click (PPC) online advertising.

The marketing campaign for self-published eBook author Darcie Chan is an example of successful online advertising.  Chan was recently profiled in a Wall Street Journal article, and authored one of the best selling books of 2011, The Mill River Recluse, currently a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.  In the Wall Street Journal article she describes how she placed online ads for her book for a budget of $1,000,  including an ad on Goodreads.

Goodreads is a social reading site with 6.7 million readers, more than 100 million pageviews, and 14 million unique visitors a month. What Goodreads has over Google AdWords and Facebook is an audience of all book readers.  More information on the advertising program is here. For tips on other author promotions on Goodreads, including free ones, visit Goodreads Author Program here.

Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Advertising on Facebook is easy.  The online program works very smoothly.  You can target your ad in many ways,  by ‘likes’ and interests, or targeting current fans of your page with special offers.  For more information on Facebook advertising, follow the link on just about every Facebook page for ‘advertising’ or go here.

In Google AdWords paid search ads, ‘keywords’ selection helps you target your market. Keywords are words which are relevant to whatever it is you are trying to sell. Selecting the proper keywords is a bit of an art.  Definitely look for and use Google’s free advertising offers online to help keep down the price of the learning curve. The singular advantage of Google is that you tap into the enormous universe of anyone who uses Google searches.  Google is the most popular search engine in the world according to many web sites with 150 million unique visitors. Check out this article from HubSpot: How to Launch a Google AdWords Campaign the RIGHT Way .

Goodreads, Facebook and AdWords all offer powerful, cost effective, online self-serve advertising tools, each reaching a slightly different audience in different ways.  The best way to learn to use them effectively and efficiently is to test the waters by setting a low budget cap and then monitoring the reports they provide very closely to see how you are doing. If you find your ads aren’t working, change them.  Since this isn’t print, you aren’t locked into your copy in any way.  Also, you can lean heavily on the customer service or tech support for advice on how to optimize your ad.

Susannah Greenberg is president of Susannah Greenberg Public Relations, http://bookbuzz.com, and Publicity Chair of the Women’s National Book Association, NYC Chapter.


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Why become a member of the Women’s National Book Association? You can find out more about who we are and what we do on some of our past blog posts. But let’s talk about some of the benefits of membership (besides getting to meet extraordinary women and men involved in all areas of the book world!).

                                                                              Networking: By joining the WNBA, you become part of a dynamic local and national network of publishing professionals, which provides you with valuable contacts and connections that can be beneficial at any stage of your career.

Free, Reduced, and/or Priority Admission to Panels and Social Events: Members can attend any of our panels, workshops, and networking events, and can listen to or download streaming audio of past panels on the Members Only page of the chapter website. Members are also invited to bring guests without charge to the annual networking party in September. Members enjoy priority registration and discounts for those events open to the public. For a list of upcoming events, see the events list.

Subscription to The Bookwoman: The WNBA National print newsletter is published three times a year and updates you on Member News and Chapter Events in all our chapters across the country, as well as WNBA National initiatives like National Reading Group Month, Great Group Reads, and the organization’s United Nations affiliation.

Subscription to the NYC-Chapter newsletter, The New York BookwomanAs a WNBA-NYC member you are welcome to contribute to this monthly online newsletter as well as share your successes and book reviews. The NY Bookwoman also recaps programs you may have missed, interviews members, and gives you up to date information about priority registration for our panel events.

Chapter Membership Directory: This networking tool—available only to members—lists names, addresses, and professional affiliations of all active members.

Membership in National WNBA: Connect with WNBA members across the country. Attend WNBA-related programs and events at the national meetings of the BEA, ALA, and MLA.

Add Your Blog to Our Blog Roll: A new benefit—available only to members—is the addition of links to member blogs on our blog roll (coming soon!).

Register Here to become a member of the NYC Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association today!

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