Monthly Archives: December 2011
Here are six sentences from The Book of Margery Kempe, a novel due out in January 2011. Thanks for reading, and all comments are appreciated!
As a young girl, adrift in my loneliness, I created a circle of imaginary friends, drawn from the books I’d read. Afternoons, after school, I would stroll along the Thames near my home in Teddington, happily conversing with my favorite heroes and heroines of literature, Moll Flanders, Becky Sharp, Clarissa, Tom Jones, Julian Sorel and numerous others, discoursing and holding forth as I winded my way along the river, bending my ear to their voices, clapping with delight when they hailed me as the Princess of the River, the Mistress of the Tides, and I was happy for a time, until the darkness lowered itself upon the water and my steps turned reluctantly toward home.
I learned early that the river does empty itself of all things, bearing them to the great and unforgiving sea. There in the murk and swirl they are beaten into polished glass, whitened shell, fragmentary things; eventually, they wash up on another shore, different from what they were.
That’s what happened to me. I was emptied of myself…
Like most of you, I am well aware of the fact that a book cover is a critical component in luring a potential reader. I’ve been working with a graphic artist that I know and we finally, through trial and error, hit upon a cover that we both feel good with. Let me know what you think (ignore the black margins). The work is due out in January. Thanks!
I’ve often found that novelists are like academics: they abhor the business world and often make a living criticizing it. While all of us would like to play the role of Socrates, none of us would like to end up drinking hemlock (or, less dramatically, changing jobs, working two jobs, etc.).
I’m a former academic so I’m prone to a bit of arm-chair criticism myself, but I’m also an Internet entrepreneur, and find it satisfying to develop a product that someone will actually use, and which will enable me to make a living.
I have reprinted below, with some changes, Sequoia Capital’s outline for writing a business plan. Sequoia is one of the top-tier venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, and has backed numerous companies that have impacted all of us, from Apple, to Google, to YouTube.
Sequoia, like many investors, likes business plans that present a lot of information in as few words as possible. In the Valley, you often hear the advice to make your pitch (usually a Power Point presentation) ten slides long and to use an 18pt size. While that may be overdoing it, there’s a lot to be said about brevity and clarity of purpose. Hope this helps!
Purpose of Your Book
- Define the purpose of your novel (or non-fiction work) in a single declarative sentence.
Problem or Pleasure that Your Book Addresses or Provides
- Describe the gap within your genre (e.g., “no paranormal works featuring believable female werewolves”).
Solution that Your Book Offers
- Demonstrate how your work “fills” the gap.
- Show where your work sits in relation to other, similar works. (If you are writing YA, for example, where does your work sit in relation to The Hunger Game?)
- Provide use cases on how your work distinguishes itself.
Why Publish Your Book Now?
- Set-up the historical evolution of your genre.
- Define recent trends that make your solution possible.
- Identify/profile the reader you cater to.
- List competitors (other books)
- List your competitive advantages
- Development roadmap (when will your book be done?)
- Sales & distribution model
- How much will you spend to produce and market your book?