Posts Tagged ‘Publishing in New York’

Why is now the best time to join the NYC Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA-NYC)? Because new memberships received over the next few months will extend through August 2013! If that’s not enough of a reason, our Membership Chairperson, Rachel Weiss-Feldman, explains all the great benefits below:

If you are a writer, WNBA-NYC offers opportunities to read and get read! You can have your query letter reviewed by literary agents at our annual Query Roulette, entertain members and non-members alike with original prose at Open Mic Night (next one scheduled for May 23), or contribute to our monthly chapter newsletter or daily blog.

If you are a reader, the WNBA initiative, National Reading Group Month/Great Group Reads can introduce you to some of the best books and authors of the year!  National and local chapter events for NRGM are planned every Fall, featuring top authors such as Julie Otsuka, Scott Spencer, and Nayana Currimbhoy. Or get involved with Great Group Reads, an annual booklist selected by a members-only committee.

If you’re an industry professional (or trying to be), WNBA-NYC holds members-only networking functions and houses member profiles in a members-only database to help you connect to others. Our panel events—free for members—offer industry insight into the world of digital/e-publishing, marketing, production, bestselling fiction, and independent book sales, and more. Our social communities on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn offer networking opportunities, as well as promotions for your company, book, or project.

The WNBA-NYC Chapter’s annual year runs from September to August. Members may join all year round, but are up for renewal every August 31. Right now, however, a unique window for membership is open. Those that join between April and August have their membership extended to the following year—a result of up to four additional months!

Join now and take advantage of our upcoming events like The Historical Fiction Panel; Open Mic Night at KGB Bar; the downtown Indie Bookstore Crawl; and a neighborhood lunch at a local NYC restaurant. A full list of programs and events can be found on our website’s WNBA-NYC Program and Event Calendar.

If you’re a lover of books, writing, and publishing, you’ll love us as well! Go to the WNBA-NYC membership page for complete details and how to apply!

If you have questions or need further information, feel free to email Rachel Weiss-Feldman at membership@wnba-nyc.org


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We can’t wait for tomorrow’s Digital Marketing and PR Panel moderated by Susannah Greenberg!

The event starts at 12:30 PM (Check-in at 12:15 PM) at the Hachette Atrium, located on 237 Park Avenue. Enter @ Lexington between 45th and 46th Streets, 13th floor (Map)

The event is sold out but if you can’t make it, we’ve got you covered. You can watch it streaming live online at http://ustre.am/IBA2. (No registration required to watch online!)

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By Erica Misoshnik

Riding the subway can hardly be called a pleasant experience. At best, some of those dancing kids jump into your car and offer some entertainment during your commute. At worst, you have to put up with line changes, signal failures, and crowding that would make even the un-claustrophobic among us feel a little anxious.

If you’re anything like me, one of the few “cool” things about mass transit is seeing what others are reading. In fact, I often have to resist the urge to accost a total stranger and ask them what they think of the book in their hands. (It gets even more awkward when said stranger is using an e-reader and I glance over and recognize the text.) But I digress.

CoverSpy takes my (strange?) love of seeing what others are reading a step further. Formed in October 2009, this group of self proclaimed “publishing nerds” goes around the city anonymously to catalogue what New Yorkers are reading, and then posts their findings to Tumblr, and Twitter. Each post looks a little something like the image at the right (taken from the CoverSpy tumblr), though the Tweets are text only.

Now that it’s been a few years since their start, the folks behind CoverSpy are noticing over-all trends as well as smaller scale trends. For instance, did you know the book covers on the L train tend to be the “prettiest”, while the G train passengers read more of a range of books? For more trends, and some of the back-story, check out this interview with two of the CoverySpy masterminds.

Interested? Check out the links below for more:

Who knows? Maybe your cover will be spied on next…

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In honor of tomorrow’s much anticipated Query Roulette, this Member Monday interview spotlights Helen Wan, who found her agent at a previous Query Roulette! Read about her experience, her new book, and her advice to Query Roulette attendees below.

Helen Wan is a writer whose first novel, tentatively titled THE FIRM OUTING, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2013. She is also Associate General Counsel at Time Inc., where she advises the Lifestyle portfolio of magazines and websites and the branded book division. A graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law, her essays and reviews of fiction have been published in The Washington Post and elsewhere. Helen lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and first joined WNBA-NYC in 2003. You can follow her on Twitter @helenwan1.

Hannah and Erica: Congratulations on the upcoming publication of your new novel, The Firm Outing, with St. Martin’s Press. Can you tell us a little about how you came to write the book?

Helen: Sure. Over a dozen years ago, when I moved to New York to start my first job as a young associate at a big corporate law firm, I quickly discovered that writing (in bits of stolen time, at odd hours and on my rare weekend off) was a welcome respite from the stress of my day job. I also knew exactly what I wanted to write about, which really helps. I knew I wanted to write the story of an outsider in the workplace; what exactly happens when a young, smart woman confronts The Glass Ceiling for the very first time? First I thought I would write a collection of essays, as I’d published a few articles in The Washington Post while in law school. But not surprisingly, nobody was interested in a bunch of essays from an unknown writer who spent her days toiling away at a law firm. Finally I signed up for an “Intro to Fiction Writing” class at the Asian-American Writers Workshop. The pages I wrote for that class became the seed for this novel.

Hanna and Erica: You found your agent at last year’s Query Roulette – can you describe that experience?

Helen: Query Roulette is an amazing opportunity for writers. First of all it’s really rare for an aspiring writer to get to meet and talk one-on-one with up to ten reputable literary agents about your book, but what I truly liked about the set-up was that there’s no pressure to pitch your book – the two of you are simply sitting down together to talk about how to make your query letter work better. This task-focused approach took a lot of the intimidation factor out of it for me, so I could feel much less nervous about the whole process.

Hanna and Erica: Do you have any advice for writers attending this year’s Query Roulette?

Helen: Sure. One, make sure you do all the homework on the agents you’re meeting with. If they represent a book or author you love, tell them so, and even more important, tell them why your book might resonate in a similar way with a similar audience. (It’s really hard to fake this stuff, though, so don’t try. If you’re meeting with an agent who represents primarily science fiction and you’ve never read a science fiction book in your life, there’s no need to try and pretend otherwise. That agent can still have really useful advice for you on your query letter.) Two, it sounds obvious, but make sure the query letter you bring to work on is already the very best query letter you can possibly write on your own. It should not be a first draft. The hook should be front and center, the synopsis concise and cogent. Stick to one page. I know it sounds like a shampoo commercial, but you really do only get one shot at that first impression.

Hannah and Erica: Did you run across any hurdles in finding a publisher for your upcoming novel?

Helen: Ha! How much time do you have? I think there are very, very few authors out there who can honestly answer “No” to this question (and the rest of us don’t like them very much). Over the nearly ten years I worked on it, I definitely had my fair share of hurdles. At one point, I was sleeping horribly. I kept waking up at four-forty (always four-forty, for some reason) to mull over all my rejections from agents. Too commercial. Not commercial enough. Too literary. Not literary enough. And so on. One of my favorites was the agent from a big-time firm who called to tell me she loved my writing, but one of her pet peeves was that talented new writers always feel the need to write about their ethnicity in their first book. What if I rewrote my book but not from the point of view of a minority? Happily, my agent and my editor don’t feel that way!

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

Helen: Well, it’s not really a guilty pleasure, but I love, LOVE the entire Harry Potter series. I think, truthfully, that J.K. Rowling can be properly called a genius. I will read anything she writes.

Hannah and Erica: How did you make the transition from attorney to writer?

Helen: Well, I actually haven’t made a transition from attorney to writer. I do both. I’m a lawyer for Time Inc.’s Lifestyle portfolio of magazines and websites. So I get to marry my interests in writing and law, and I get to be around writers, editors, and other creative people all the time at work. It’s a great fit for me.

Hanna and Erica: What is your favorite word?

Helen: Confluence. In the fifth grade, I had a wonderful teacher who told us, “Never, ever, pass up an opportunity to use a marvelous word where just a good one will do. For example, ‘confluence’ is an extremely marvelous word.” It really is, in both sound and meaning. To this day, I never, ever, pass up an opportunity to use it.

For more on Helen, be sure to follow her on twitter @helenwan1!

There are still a few spots open for Query Roulette! Click here to register.

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We’re so excited to reveal our amazing line up of agents for Query Roulette! Click on the links below for more information on individual agents.

Regina Brooks – Serendipity Literary Agency

Matthew Elblonk – DeFiore and Co. Author Services

Linda Epstein – Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency

David Forrer – Inkwell Management

Laura Langlie – Laura Langlie Agency

Anna Olswanger – Liza Dawson Associates

Katherine Sands – Sarah Jane Freymann Lit. Agency

Jesseca Salky – HSG Literary Agency

Brooks Sherman – Fine Print Literary Agency

Meg Thompson – Einstein Thompson Agency

Registration is currently open to members in good standing and will be open to the public on February 16. Click here to register now!

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By Erica Misoshnik

As the lovely Hannah wrote last week, books have the power to influence us in ways we never imagined possible. My own love affair with books started before I even learned to read, after seeing Beauty and the Beast for the first time at the age of 4. So I knew, no matter what, that when I grew up I wanted to work with books. Still, it wasn’t until my freshman year at Pace University that I knew how I could actually accomplish such a goal. It was my freshman advisor who first told me about the combined BA/MS degree in Publishing program when we met to discuss my spring schedule. I researched the program that night, suddenly saw a clear and attainable future for myself that just seemed to fit, and have never looked back.

It was also at Pace that I took an upper level literature course that forever changed my view of books, the publishing industry, and my own future. We were assigned The Hunger Games, the first book in a young adult dystopian trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. None of those things were appealing to me. Aside from a few novels, I had no interest in young adult books and dystopian lit was just not my thing.

Yet, about four chapters into the book, I was hooked. In fact, Hunger Games made me love young adult literature in a way I hadn’t since I was a young adult. It even brought me to middle-grade reads, such as the endlessly brilliant Percy Jackson series. Very quickly, I realized that these were the kinds of books I wanted to work with – books that made me feel like a little kid all over again, discovering the wonders of reading for the first time. Working with children for the past five years, and teaching them for two and a half, has only solidified that desire. There’s no matching the excitement of telling one of your students that in fact, yes, you have finally finished Son of Neptune, and no, you can’t wait for Mark of Athena either, and of course we can talk about the series at snack time.

But, I don’t have to tell anyone reading this how amazing and transformative books can be. We’re all here at the WNBA because we love them. That much was apparent when I met some of the women for the first time at the Brooklyn Book Festival back in October. I volunteered on a whim because of a posting on Pace’s publishing blog and ended up with a great afternoon, a newfound organization, and – a few months later – an internship working with the very women I was so excited to meet!

So yes, I’ve always known I wanted to work with books and yes, I’ve known for a few years now that I have wanted to work in publishing. Yet even I had no idea the impact one novel could potentially have on someone’s perception of an industry, or the way it could completely alter the course of a future. I had no idea that heading to the Brooklyn Book Festival would introduce me to so many wonderful new people. But I know now…and the story is only beginning.

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Query Roulette 2012  

Like speed dating for agents and writers!
No pitching required!
(Names of participating agents will be released soon.)
Tuesday, February 28, 6:30 – 8:30
In Good Company, 16 West 23rd Street, 4th Floor, NYC
Helen Wan met her agent at last year Query Roulette!
Read about her book deal in Publishers Weekly!*


Here’s how it works:

~ You select and pay for a ten minute meeting with the agent(s)of your choice.

~ We email you the time of your scheduled appointment(s).
~ You arrive on time, with your query letter. The agent(s) will give you feedback on your query, and if s/he is interested in your project, you both take it from there. (We suggest you bring the first ten pages of your manuscript with you.)
~ You may book as many ten minute sessions as you wish. The fees are on a sliding scale, so the more you book, the cheaper it will be.

~ WNBA members receive a 20% discount, and will have at least one week to book their appointments before non-members. To find out how to take advantage of this and other member benefits, please go to our website for information on becoming a member.

Query Roulette Fee Scale

* WNBA-NYC cannot guarantee you will find representation for your project(s) at Query Roulette.

Questions on Query Roulette: query@wnba-nyc.org

Questions on WNBA Membership: membership@wnba-nyc.org

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