Archive | June, 2013

Seattle’s Book Ecosystem

I recently was tasked with writing an article on Seattle’s publishing scene. I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle it, seeing as Seattle wasn’t home to scores of big publishing houses and literary agencies. But it does have a thriving community around books. And when I talked with Gary Luke, President and Publisher of Sasquatch Books, everything became clear. “I think there’s less of a publishing scene and more of a book ecosystem in Seattle,” he told me. Rather than just editors and agents comingling, the publishing landscape in Seattle is more of a literary pastiche, and the result is a vibrant, active community of people and businesses coming together around books in all their various forms. “There are publishers here,” Luke said. “But along with that, I’d include bookstores, the Richard Hugo House, food bloggers, 826 Seattle, the libraries, Hedgebrook, Town Hall and, of course, Amazon.”

With this, the article took shape and the result is a profile of a literary, creative, generous, book-lovin’ community. Read the article here.

(Photo: Josh Trujillo/Seattle P-I)

A few thoughts about the author platform

As an author and a publishing consultant, I have more than a few thoughts about the importance of a strong author platform. Through the Business of Books, my partner Kerry Colburn and I talk a lot about publicity and promotion on our site. And I was recently asked to write a guest post for Five Writers, a blog maintained by, yes, five writers. My friend Brad Windhauser is one of them (check out his blog, The Bible Project, where he chronicles his journey through reading the Bible); he asked me to offer advice to authors looking to create a platform.

I jumped at the chance.

Years ago, I was interviewed by the arts editor for my town’s weekly. I talked about the various books I had published, the writing process, and my philosophy on promotion. I believe I said, “Writing the book is only half of my job as the author. Promoting it is the other half.”

That guy didn’t get me, didn’t get that publishing is a business that requires authors to think and perform beyond their manuscripts.

Times have changed and these days, if you’re an author and not promoting your book in every possible way, you are setting yourself up to fail. Editors and agents are looking for authors who can sell their book idea and themselves. When you pitch your book proposal, you want to highlight your terrific writing plus the connections you have to personally help sell and promote the book.

So if you want six tips to start building a solid author platform, check out my post at Five Writers.