Month: November 2012

Monetizing Slush

By Shawn Coyne | 7 Comments

My first job in publishing was as editorial assistant (secretary/apprentice) to the editor in chief of a major publishing house (since dissolved and folded into a division of Random House Inc.). One of the first things presented to me was a very large pile of submissions that one and all referred to as the slush pile. I don’t know the derivation of the term, but I suspect it has something to do with the irritating mixture of ice, snow, rain, and garbage New Yorkers have to slog through during the winter months—the slush that forms only minutes after the beauty…

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Major Keys and Minor Keys

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

We were talking last week about thinking in terms of multiple drafts. The corollary is to concentrate on only one objective per draft — e.g., stakes, rhythm, theme, length, and so forth. Another one I like is Major Key and Minor Key. I’ll go over a manuscript or screenplay, for example, looking only for these. I’ll ask myself, How much of this piece is in a major key? Are there moments in a minor key, and, if so, where are they and why are they there? What do I mean by “major key” and “minor key?” Action movies are major…

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Outreach, Part III: The Book Trailer

By Callie Oettinger | 8 Comments

Two weeks ago I watched a work-in-progress version of Josh Hanagarne’s book trailer. It’s one of the best I’ve viewed. Why? It tells a story—and left me with something I wanted to share. That thing that stuck with me the most? His mentions of those people who wouldn’t let him fail—those friends and family members who encouraged him to move into today. AND: the images of him bending nails. In the June 2011 post “Do Book Videos Work?” I wrote: We don’t need videos—but they do help. If I was writing the post today, I would amend that line: Book…

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Thinking in Multiple Drafts

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

[Quick note: if you’re interested in the videos we started here last Wednesday (“A Long Tail Business“), they continue this week—and for the next month—on Mondays. Click here or on “The Series” drop-down menu above to view the other videos.] I imbibed this piece of screenwriting wisdom from Jack Epps (“Top Gun,” “Dick Tracy”) a few years ago: “You can’t do everything in one draft.” Hollywood is like major league baseball. The manager doesn’t hesitate to bring in a reliever. Writer #1 originates the script. He gets fired. Writer #2 is brought in to solidify the structure. She gets yanked.…

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The Pareto Principle Meets the Long Tail

By Shawn Coyne | 14 Comments

Remember last week when I wrote that Steve Pressfield’s publishing company, Black Irish Books, had sold 85% of the number of THE WAR OF ARTs that his Big Six publisher had sold per year? A few people who read the piece thought I overstated the viability of book publishing as a long tail business. The gist of their argument was that I was giving short shrift to the advantages of having bookstore placement for THE WAR OF ART and that the loss of 15% of sales in just one year was far more damaging to the long term success of…

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Unsustainable

By Shawn Coyne | 12 Comments

Breaking in and staying inside corporate book publishing is akin to gaining admission to a select New York cooperative building. Tenants are never issued a rules and regulations handbook, but are required to figure out the “way we do things” and abide nevertheless. If you don’t have the bona fides that indicate you will play by the unspoken rules when you apply, you’ll be declined. And the thing about New York Co-ops, as anyone who has been declined by one or who lives in one currently, is that they never have to give you any reason for rejecting you beyond…

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Narcissism and Resistance

By Steven Pressfield | 21 Comments

I’m aware that there’s an official definition of narcissism in the Psychiatric Handbook. The following is my unofficial definition—and a theory of how narcissism comes about in the first place. Narcissism is self-iconization. To control our internal terror, insecurity, etc., one mode of coping is to erect an icon in our minds. This icon might be a mentor, a role model, a guru. It might be a lover or a parent, a teacher, a coach. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Sometimes it’s healthy. It’s a stage in the progression toward independence and self-command. When we set someone up…

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Outreach, Part II: Your Home Base

By Callie Oettinger | 10 Comments

To learn more about the individuals being featured in this series, visit Outreach, Part I: The Introduction. “What’s your home base?” is the question that follows “What-do-you-want-to-accomplish?” Where are people going to learn about you? While the answer is Facebook for some, my preference is a blog. In this case, I’m a pessimist. We saw what happened to MySpace. Don’t rely on Facebook’s existence to share your work. Set up a blog. Own it.

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