June IndieNext Nomination: The 3 Step Plan

The deadline for nominating titles for the June 2015 IndieNext list is this Friday, April 3. By dividing the task into a few 300 Second blocks of time, you still have time to submit a thoughtful nomination.

  1. Today, select a title to nominate that will be released June 2015 or beyond. Take a few seconds to write down initial thoughts.
  2. Tomorrow, look at what you’ve already written and tweak it a bit. Have you captured what you want to tell readers and booksellers?
  3. And then on Friday, look over your nomination one last time. Read it out loud. Once you’re pleased, use this nomination form or send an email directly to the ABA.

Take Another Look at Your News Release

Last fall, I was asked to give a presentation to booksellers about the basic marketing mix. Around that same time, this post came across my Facebook feed from a friend who, as a local host for NPR’s Morning Edition, compiles the morning newscast:

Screenshot 2014-10-11 09.22.22

Since news releases fall under the public relations portion of the marketing mix, I sent Kate a note and asked if she had other insights for those writing/sending news releases. Here are her tips:

  • Release the press release at least several business days before the event, preferably a week or more. Most stations/papers have small staffs and they have to plan coverage.
  • Don’t call something like an interview with the president of the 4-H club an “Amazing Opportunity.” There’s probably something genuinely amazing about your event or story; find that and don’t hype up boring things with random buzz words that make the journalist think you’re trying to “trick” them into caring.
  • Don’t make the press release about the presenting organization, the cute graphics in the press release, or the alliteration in the copy. Make it about the charity or book or event being presented.
  • We often have 5-20 press releases per day in our inboxes to wade through, and we scan each one for 5-30 seconds. Cutesy graphics and color schemes make your release harder to read. Give us great information, well organized, with good white space so our eyes can read from item to item well, and of course, your contact info prominently placed.
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle

The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle

the harder they comeFans of The Tortilla Curtain, rejoice! T.C.Boyle returns with another contemporary take on the social novel. As usual, he does it with humor, moral ambiguity, and lively characters.

This book, though, doesn’t stop at lively. Boyle plumbs the depths of some very warped minds here. From the jungles of Costa Rica to the placid northern California countryside, readers will encounter humans doing violence to other humans for a host of reasons. Some of them have a firmer grasp on reality than others, and while the characters plainly tell how they think each violent act is justified, it is this personal and/or social justification (or lack thereof) that gives the novel its heft and meat.

The novel opens with a D.H. Lawrence quote: “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.” It is this American soul Boyle invites his readers to explore and inspect beneath the microscope of his words. The examination neatly ties the bad-boy frontiersman archetype (that darling of young men in middle school history class) and contemporary, grown-up constructions of masculinity into a tidy bow. Unlike what many readers may imagine when they think of a “social novel,” however, The Harder They Come doesn’t read as preachy. Boyle avoids easy moral or political points, raising questions about violence in our society with more subtle probing. Here, a thread of hypocrisy runs through liberal, tree-hugging baby boomers; survivalist right-wingers, and American culture at large. Boyle tugs it, turns it every which way, and sets it in the reader’s hand alive and twitching.

This is a long read, but the nuanced characters make it more than worth the effort. There are several moments in this book where one character or another approaches a fork in the road, and readers can see where each will lead, though the characters cannot. I found myself intently hoping they would do the right thing, only to realize I was no longer sure what “the right thing” meant for them any longer. That, readers, is how T.C. Boyle does a social novel.


The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle (Ecco | 9780062349378 | March 31, 2015)

photo credit: Jamieson Fry

April Content Calendar

I love April. Not only is it a month for poetry and those who appreciate Jazz, it is also a time when we can allow ourselves to suffer fools. (Or become one.)

Here are a few days to consider when creating content for social media, for your blogs, or for in-house sales and promotions.

  • April 2 – Children’s Book Day falls on Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday. It celebrates children’s books by encouraging children to read.
  • April 3 – IndieNext Deadline for the June 2015 List
  • April 5 – Easter
  • April 10 – International Safety Pin Day
  • April 11 – National Pet Day
  • April 12 – DEAR Day. Drop Everything and Read.
  • April 13 – Scrabble Day. You can celebrate this day in a large way, by hosting a tournament, or in a small way, by promoting your Scrabble Dictionary.
  • April 15 – Tax Day.
  • April 16 – High Five Day. (I’ve learned that the appropriate way to give a high five it to look at the participating party’s elbow when you deliver. Try it.)
  • April 22 – Earth Day & Administrative Assistant Day
  • April 30 – International Jazz Day

The Natty Professor on the Mentoring Process

Tim Gunn–author, Project Runway host, and former teacher and chairperson at Parsons The New School for Design–takes to the streets of New York to share ideas with everyday people about teaching, mentoring, and leadership.

Gunn’s new book, The Natty Professorwas released last week. Tag him on Twitter @TimGunn.