What a Sentence Can Do: James Altucher

Sidetracked by a perfect paragraph. Doesn’t happen often.

I run into lots of people dying to know how to get famous and sell books. Lots of other people, including me, earn a living by advising said people. The truth: you can’t get famous through a formula. Social media fame comes from writing really engaging stuff in an authentic voice. Words that surprise, ideas that contradict and twist and grab.

Today, killing time before the Broncos game (known to some as the Superbowl), I jumped on Quora to find an answer to a software question. They made me click on categories & read an article to join the club (a hook I found both admirable and annoying). I read this article by James Altucher because it had a cartoon at the top that reminded me of one my son drew for me.

Skimmed it just to fulfill my “I read it” obligation. Woah…put on the brakes at “have sex more [Read more…]

Top Ten Places to Discover Books Online

Too many bookstores are closing their doors.  How will we find our books?

That’s the rub.

bookstore closedNot a massage kinda rub, but an OUCH! bruising kinda rub.

Plenty of studies show most bookbuyers find books in bookstores or libraries, through word of mouth, regardless of where they ultimately buy them.

Not online. Online is confusing and overwhelming.

A bunch of companies are trying to make online book “discovery” more user-friendly.

Will they replicate the bookstore experience? Never. But if they help readers find worthy books online, and keep the business of publishing good books alive, everyone benefits, even booksellers.

What do you think? Do these spots work for you?

Newest “Recommendation Engines”

1. Bookish was years in the making; it’s the result of a major collaboration between some of the largest publishers in the world. The look and concept is cool: type in a book you love and through miraculous algorithmic juggling, others you will love pop up. Plenty of bells and whistles; plenty of early praise and complaints.  Compared to Amazon: easier and cleaner; both less suspect and less powerful. Good people behind it; good luck to them. [Read more…]

Sweating the Exception: An Exhaustingly Bad Idea

A worthy hit

Today my friend Michael Larsen, probably the menschiest literary agent on the planet, and I were talking about The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.  That book, published by the admirable Little, Brown, was a buzz book last BEA.   A first novel acquired for scads of money & published with great enthusiasm–but both Mike and I were underwhelmed by the read relative to the ransom.  Mike pondered:  What does this mean? Is character [Read more…]