We’re so excited about the new edition of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published!
As a thank-you for your support, we’ve planned all kinds of giveaways and contests designed to help YOU get published! We’re giving away a one-hour consultation on your query letter to help you reach the right literary agent or publisher for your book. This is a $250 value.
For your chance to win, sign into the entry form below. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be able to enter four ways:
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You’ll get an entry for each of the entry options. You can choose one or do all four for more chances to win.
The giveaway runs from Monday, November 30, until 11:59 p.m. (EST) on December 21, 2015. On December 22, we’ll select one random winner. We’ll email the winner directly and announce the winner on social media. Be sure to take a look at the terms and conditions.
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Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, January 14, 8:00-10:00 p.m. EST.
About the Webinar
Now, you can participate in the Pitchapalooza magic without leaving your home or changing out of your jammies! Now Pitchapalooza is a webinar. And, unlike the live event, writers are GUARANTEED to have their pitch heard. As always, writers get one minute—and only one minute—to pitch their book. We will help you improve the pitch, not tell you how bad it is. We will critique everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace to comparable titles, and so much more.
Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founders of The Book Doctors, a company that has helped dozens and dozens of talented writers and experts become professionally published authors. They are also co-authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully (Workman, 2010). Arielle Eckstut has been a literary agent for over 20 years at The Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. She is also the author of nine books and the co-founder of the iconic brand, LittleMissMatched. David Henry Sterry is the best-selling author of 16 books, on a wide variety of subject including memoir, sports, YA fiction and reference. They have taught their workshop on how to get published everywhere from Stanford University to Smith College. They have appeared everywhere from The New York Times to NPR’s Morning Edition to USA Today.
Anyone who buys a copy of our book, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully, will receive a FREE 20 minute consultation ($100 value) from The Book Doctors. Just email a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DATE: January 14, 2015
TIME: 8-10PM EST
How to join us
- Click the button below to pay online.
- We’ll email a link to the webinar.
- On January 14, follow the link. Log in 5 minutes before the webinar to view.
How To Busk Your Way Into The New Yorker: How Heth and Jed Weinstein Went from Street Performers to Published Authors
The other day, we got one of the best emails an author can get. It was from two dudes and it said, “Recently we released a memoir (Soft Skull Press) called, Buskers: The On the Streets, In the Trains, Off the Grid Memoir of Two New York City Street Musicians. We never could have done it without you AND your book The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published. We wanted to say hi and thank you!” Of course, we wanted to know more. So we wrote back and said, “Do tell how it all happened!” and they did. Here’s their story:
We would be hanging out at a party, getting our drink on, and guests would find out we were street musicians. That’s when the Q’s & A’s would fly fast and furious. No shit? How much do you guys make an hour? (between $0.00 & $200.00) Do you need a permit to play on the streets? (not unless they catch you) Is there a union you had to join? (what are you, nuts?!) And folks ate up our juicy busking war stories. Like the time we beat a mugger into submission with our trusty microphone stands after he helped himself to about two hours worth of hard earned tips. The conversation would almost always end with: “You guys should write a book!”
Yes, but how do we do that? The answer remained a mystery until destiny intervened. A mutual friend at Simon and Schuster recommended we pick up a copy of Arielle and David’s book The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published—that’s when the veil of confusion lifted. EGGYP provided the road map we desperately needed for organizing our thoughts into a solid proposal. With our confidence bolstered, we spent the next six months meticulously focusing on each and every component, until the Outline, Overview, Competition, Sample Chapters etc… became a part of what several literary agents eventually deemed “the most thorough book proposal they’d ever seen.”
Next, by adhering to the guidelines in the righteous chapter, Locating, Luring, and Landing the Right Agent we managed to concoct a rather killer query letter. Here is an excerpt . .
My brother and I are street musicians in a duo called Heth and Jed ( www.hethandjed.com ). Perhaps you’ve seen us playing in the subways. Over the last four years we’ve performed in excess of 1,000 shows, and sold more than 50,000 copies of our independently released CDs–all without ever leaving New York City. Together we’ve written a proposal for a book entitled, Buskers: The-On-the-Streets, In-the-Trains, Off-the-Grid Memoir of Two New York City StreetMusicians. We’d be thrilled if you would review our proposal and consider representing us.”
Then it was GO TIME! With the book proposal and query letter “in the can”, we plunked down twenty bucks to join publishersmarketplace.com and sifted through a list of the Top 100 Deal Making agents. After boldly firing off an arsenal of query letters we sat back and hoped for the best. Within hours our inbox was filling up with top agents requesting a look-see at our proposal. For the first time we held out tentative hope that we might someday know the thrill of having our magnum opus published. The more we sat and thought about the whole thing, the more surreal it became. Here we were, two accomplished musicians who couldn’t get a record company to give us the time of day, but within hours of the initial mailing, the gatekeepers of the literary world appeared to be welcoming two guys with the combined SAT scores of around 900, with open arms.
In the end, we met with a bunch of prominent agents and eventually signed with Andrea Somberg at the Harvey Klinger Agency. We swear we didn’t sign because she was the only one schmoozing us over pitchers of Brooklyn Lager . . . or maybe we did! At any rate, she was way cool and we believed she could sell our book.
Soft Skull Press subsequently published Buskers and our band was finally on the musical and literary map, receiving recognition not from the previously envisioned Rolling Stone or Spin Magazine, but in the form of book reviews from such sweet ass publications as theNew Yorker.
Presently, our book continues to unlock unexpected creative doors as we begin the process of adapting our story for the stage. Having our book “out there” has also separated us from the generic rock n’ roll pack and we couldn’t have done it without Arielle and David by our side. Like those two rockers from Aurora, Illinois once famously said, “We’re not worthy!”
Our fabulous Kansas City Pitchapalooza winner, Genn Albin, gives us part 3 of 4 of her journey to a six-figure deal for her YA dystopian fantasy novel, Crewel:
While I was making myself sick over how I would choose between seven amazing agents, I got an email from Arielle and David. As luck would have it, we hadn’t been able to schedule our phone consultation, they were checking-in. I quickly caught them up on the insanity, and I think they were as excited as I was. They offered to talk it over on the phone, but as I was developing some type of scoliosis from being on the phone so much, I opted for some emails.
By this time I had narrowed it down to two agents with one dark horse contender. I knew that if anyone would have sage advice on the topic, it would be David and Arielle, so I told them what agents I was considering. They responded with their wisdom about each and helped to solidify what I was already thinking.
That didn’t mean that weekend was stress-free though. I would go to bed one night quite sure of my decision and wake up feeling the opposite. I flip-flopped right up until decision day. But then I realized that when I had a question, there was one agent I wanted to ask first. I was already emailing back and forth with her. I knew exactly the right person to choose.
I spent the afternoon writing personalized thank you notes to each agent whom I did not choose. A lot of writers like to fantasize about rejecting agents during the query process, and I can tell you its not as fun as it sounds. I’d hit it off with each of them, but since I was only allowed to choose one, that meant sending rejections. Almost all of them responding with warm well wishes, which just made me feel better and worse at the same time.
But then I got to make my own call. To my own agent. The one I chose. And she was gone for the day.
Her assistant told me she would track her down, and I waited. I finally decided a celebratory pie was in order and headed out with the kids (pie is the champagne of moms). As I was buckling car seats, she called, and I accepted Mollie Glick’s offer of representation less than a week after I sent my first query.
Our fabulous Kansas City Pitchapalooza winner, Genn Albin, gives us part 2 of 4 of her journey to a six-figure deal for her YA dystopian fantasy novel, Crewel:
At the end of April, WriteOnCon.com hosted a live query event. I knew I wanted to participate, but I didn’t have a good query yet. I sat down with my husband and read him all the queries I had written. And he was…nonplussed. So we tried something different: a query that led up to the opening pages.
I trotted off in the wee hours of the morning to post it to the forum, and it wouldn’t go through. I tried several times and I kept getting a message that it would have to be approved by a mod. I waited a couple hours the next morning to see if it would show up, but it didn’t and more and more queries were grabbing the last few spots. I finally broke down and messaged a mod. She found it in the spam filter and, lucky for me, posted it in the spot it would have if I hadn’t waited for approval.
I spent the weekend much like the hours I spent leading up to Pitchapalooza – excited and nervous. I was more scared she wouldn’t get to my query than of hearing what she had to say. The agent hosting the event falls into the nice category, but I was still terrified that she would reject it.
Long story short: she liked it. She asked for more, and I gleefully sent it off. The next morning there was a request for the full manuscript in my inbox. I cried. I called my critique partners. And encouraged I sent off more queries. The next two responses asked for fulls, too. I was beginning to feel like I was dreaming.
Then a form rejection put me back in my place. And then another form rejection from someone I really liked and then a partial request.
Five days later, on a Sunday night, I got my first email requesting a call. I cried (I really don’t cry this much). My husband said I was scary (note to significant others: not the thing to say). The next morning I woke up excited, scared, asking if agents ever called to tell you that you suck. Before the call, I got two more full manuscript requests. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed but in a wonderful way.
I spoke with the agent, and she loved the book. She offered representation and I told her I had other fulls out, she advised me to send email nudges to everyone, including the ones I hadn’t heard from, since it had been less than a week. I did and by that night I was up to ten full requests, and some well wishes.
Another agent called within a few hours of the nudge for a quick check-in to request the full. The next morning she called and asked if she could fly out and take me to lunch. We spoke for an hour about the book, she offered representation and sent me her flight itinerary.
I’d like to pause a moment here and reflect on how surreal the experience was becoming. I’m a mom by trade. I spend my time between loads of laundry, play dates, and changing diapers. And now I was picking up an agent at the airport to go on a business lunch. Does not compute, right?
Ok, back to the story. By the end of day #2, three agents had offered representation. Each was awesome, enthusiastic and had so much to offer. I couldn’t believe it, but in a week’s time I had four offers of representation!
The next day, I took a break from the phone and email for real human contact with a real human literary agent. I got us lost in the city about ten times, and I could tell by the time we made it to the restaurant that she was good under pressure (+1 point for visiting agent). We talked about the book, got to know each other, and discussed my career.
I got home to more emails and more call requests and a few people bowing out. I scheduled three more calls for the next day and tried to get some sleep. I spent five hours on the phone the next day, and my poor husband dragged the kids all over town.
In the end, I had seven offers of representation and the biggest decision of my career to make. That’s when the Book Doctors saved the day.
Get a free consultation with the Book Doctors, authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Whether it’s figuring out a great title, how to pitch your book, get an agent, market and promote, or self-publish, we can help you get successfully published. Just send proof of purchase of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Offer good til midnight Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.
David Henry Sterry & Arielle Eckstut, aka The Book Doctors are the authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Between them they have published 20 books, been a literary agent for 18 years, been on NPR countless times, contributed chronically to the Huffington Post, and appeared on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.
To purchase book: http://thebookdoctors.com/buy-the-book
Pitchapalooza Barnes & Noble Big Apple: The Goddess Next Door, Two Female Presidents, & a 1/2 Swedish 1/2 African Gigolo (With Pitching Tips)
10 years ago, before 9/11, the Kindle, Facebook and Twitter, Arielle, my ex-agent and current wife, and I both had books coming out. One about my childhood hero, Leroy “Satchel” Paige. The other was about her childhood hero, Jane Austen. Our publishers, Random House and Simon & Schuster, seemed disturbingly uninterested in helping us sell our books. So we called up our local bookstores and proposed doing events. They said if we could bring Leroy Satchel Page or Jane Austen down to the bookstore, they’d love to do an event with us, otherwise they were completely uninterested in us or our books.
Then one night we were at a party in San Francisco, and word got out that there was a literary agent in the house. Like moths to the flame writers flew furiously, pitching their books to Arielle. This was the lightbulb moment. Why not create an event that would explain how to take something you’re passion about, develop a book out of it, get it published and deliver it into the hands, heads and hearts of readers all over the world? Thus was born the Putting Your Passion Into Print event. I personally set up a 20 city West Coast tour. We were flabbergasted by how many Citizen Authors flooded out of the woodwork. Grannies, Goths, surfer dudes, soccer moms, PhD.s and homeless ex-vets. They all had two things in common: 1) They wanted to getsuccessfully published. 2) The wanted to pitch their books to an industry professional who could help them makes their dreams come true.
Thus was born Pitchapalooza—an American Idol for books where writers would get one minute to pitch their books to a panel of book professionals. The panel then critiques their idea while an audience of aspiring writers and those who love them soak the whole thing in. The panel evaluates everything from character to plot, presentation to marketing, title to comp books, befriending booksellers to finding an agent.
Pitchapaloozas prove Einstein’s theory of relativity over and over. Sometimes a minute goes by in a second. Sometimes it takes six months. But wherever we went, there were so many great stories out there, so many passionate writers who just don’t know how to navigate the stormy waters of the publishing ocean. And we’re proud to report that many Pitchapalooza participants have gone from being talented amateurs to professional authors with published books.
Which brings us to Thursday night, November 11, at the Barnes & Noble on E. 86nd St., in the throbbing center of the publishing mecca, NY, NY. It was the launch for The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published and our biggest Pitchapalooza yet. We had Larry Kirshbaum, a 40 year veteran of the publishing business, former CEO of Time Warner Book Group, now the head of his own literary agency, LJK Literary Management. And Bob Miller, newly minted Group Publisher of Workman Publishing. Since our book is published by Workman, it was a make or break time. We knew that if we put on a great event, it would go a long way to generating enthusiasm from the top down. And if it sucked, and nobody showed up, it could sink our book, which is just a brand new baby. We sent out hundreds and hundreds of e-mails to writing groups, publishing people, friends, relatives, friends of relatives, and relatives of friends. We invited all of our Facebook “friends” and Twitter tweeters. Luckily, we are blessed with a rarity in the book business: a publisher who actually supports their books. They hooked us up with Gotham Writer’s Workshop, who sent out an e-mail promoting our event to 70,000 writers. And Workman and Barnes & Noble took an ad out in the Village Voice.
So as we showered, shaved, and dressed in our Sunday best, we were tingling with excitement and sick with nerves. Imagine our surprise and delight when we showed up at 6:15, and there was already a gaggle of nervous writers with dreams in their hearts and stars in their eyes, waiting to pitch. By 7:00 Citizen Authors of all hue, with hair blond, green and even blue, packed the room, 130 strong, Standing Room Only. As we took our places at the podium with the other judges, you could smell the fear. It was a stifling hothouse of wide-eyed hungry hope and raw vulnerable terror, electricity crackling and buzzing through the room. It was one of the most charged atmospheres I’ve ever been in, and I worked at Chippendale’s Strip Club in the mid-80s, when it was the hottest show in New York City.
And then it began. An old white guy pitched a book about black wisdom. A lawyer lady pitched a thriller involving a lawyer lady. A life coach who called herself The Goddess Next Door pitched a book for women Entrepreuners. An Italian immigrant septuagenarian pitched a book about how he learned English when he came to America as a youth, the first words he learned were: zank you, asshole and son of a bitch. A Norwegian oncologist pitched a book about how fragile life is. Two different people pitched novels about the first female president. A Puerto Rican man pitched a thriller with a mambo beat. A half Swedish half African immigrant pitched a memoir about being homeless and ending up in the sex business: “Coming to America meets American Gigolo.” A tall stately young woman pitched a book about helping women get athletic scholarships to college. A woman who spent time in jail pitched a prison memoir. A security guard pitched a memoir about becoming his own lawyer and winning a lawsuit against NYU. A woman driven by the desire to help sick children pitched a kid’s book about Pointy the umbrella. A man in a hat pitched a book of poetry about how awesome women are. But the winner, Verne Hoyt, gave a pitch which sent shivers through the judges and the crowd. It was a stunning story, simply and exquisitely told.
The event was America at its best. A simmering melting pot of grit, humor, pathos, wild imagination, mad passion, and stories about triumphing in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Sadly, only 23 people got to pitch, so over 100 writers were victims of pitchus interruptus. So the second the event was over, they rushed the stage, clamoring to be heard, ravenous to tell their stories. It was the closest we’ll ever get to being a Beatle: getting swallowed up by a crowd obsessed with grabbing a piece of us. It was terrifying, overwhelming and incredibly cool all the same time.
I honestly believe there were a dozen pitches which, if properly executed, would make powerful, important, and deeply entertaining books. A number of writers were approached by agents and publishers who were in the audience. And it was a true education to see what ignited the crowd and what made it glaze over. For us, it could not have gone better. The head of Barnes & Noble events was there, and he was incredibly gracious. He told us he thought this was a reality show waiting to happen. Which is just what we’ve been saying for years.
Every once in a while you get a vision, an inspiration, an idea that seems so powerful and valuable and right that it won’t leave you alone. Inevitably everyone tells you why it won’t work. But sometimes, the vision is so powerful that you push on through, determined to prove the playa haters wrong. You work, you buff, polished, and refine. Then somehow, suddenly, it all comes together, and your vision becomes a beautiful reality. Exactly like you saw it in your head. Wouldn’t it be great if life was always like that?
6 tips from the Book Doctors on how to perfect your pitch:
1) A pitch is like a poem. Every word counts.
2) It’s always better to present specific images than make general, generic statements.
3) Don’t tell us it’s funny, make us laugh. Don’t tell us it’s scary, scare us. Don’t tell us it’s lyrical, wow us with your poetry. It’s like those people who wear T-shirts that say SEXY. Please, let us be the judge of that.
4) Don’t oversell. Claiming to have written the next Eat Pray Love or Harry Potter only makes a writer look like a deluded amateur.
5) Never say that your book is like no book ever written. That book will never be published. Publishers want books that are familiar but unique.
6) Develop an elevator pitch . An elevator pitch is a Hollywoodese short hand way of describing your book, where X meets Y. For example, Jaws in Outer Space=Alien. Ann Rice meets Gossip Girl=The Twilight Series. The elevator pitch for our book is the What To Expect When Your Expecting of publishing. Yes, we borrow from a title in an entirely different section of the bookstore, but you know exactly what you’re going to get from this elevator pitch.
Book Doctors thank Huff Po!