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What It Takes

What It Takes

Pitching, Productivity & Strangers: That’s Not How It Works

By Callie Oettinger | Published: September 23, 2016

productivity by Mark McGuinnessMark McGuinness has a new book out. He’s giving it away for free.

I haven’t read it yet, but I’m suggesting you check it out.



I know I’ll respect whatever Mark produces.

That’s Not How This Works

Last week a pitch letter from a stranger arrived. The stranger has a book idea and wants to obtain a signed author contract with a publishing house before he writes his book. In order to achieve this goal, the stranger explained that he is requesting support from established authors. He wants the established authors to provide an endorsement for his book idea.

Breakin’ it down:

The stranger doesn’t have a book to review.

The stranger has a book idea he’d like supported.

The stranger doesn’t have a relationship with the established authors.

The stranger wants established authors to spend their time on his work.

The stranger doesn’t have a proven track record.

The stranger wants authors to trust him and lend their names to his unproven work.

As I read the pitch, an Esurance commercial — the one with the woman posting pictures to the wall of her home — came to mind. She and her friend start disagreeing and her friend says, “That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.” (more…)

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What It Takes

What It Takes

The Vote Is In!

By Shawn Coyne | Published: September 16, 2016

Option 1.

Option 1.

Thank you for all of your input about our potential covers for Steve’s new novel, THE KNOWLEDGE.

And yes, we’re changing the subtitle from A Too Close To True Memoir from the bestselling author of The War of Art to A Too Close To True Novel from the bestselling author of The War of ArtAs my grandmother used to say, we were being “too clever by half” with that Memoir classification fudge. If this were a movie, the tagline would be Inspired by a True Story which basically means it’s mostly made up. And readers know that fiction is a “novel,” not memoir…A Million Little Pieces notwithstanding.  Big thanks for that help!

We’re thrilled at the enthusiasm of the response and how many people wrote in. Plus our grand tally of votes came in over 1000. It was tremendously helpful and we can’t thank you enough.

Option 2.

Option 2.

We are going back to the drawing boards and rethinking heavily to incorporate everybody’s GREAT input.

And wait to you see our back cover image!

Stay tuned for the upcoming launch on Wednesday November 23, 2016…the day before Thanksgiving.

Without further ado, here are the results:

Red Cover, Option 1., received 653 votes (64%)

Yellow Cover, Option 2, received 366 votes (36%)

Callie Oettinger will be back next week at What It Takes for our regularly scheduled programming.

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

Cover Advice

By Shawn Coyne | Published: September 9, 2016

Option 1.

Option 1.

We at Black Irish Books are preparing for our annual end of the year blow-out Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa extravaganza and we need your help.

(Mark your calendars for Wednesday November 24th for the Writing Wednesdays launch. For all of you First Look Access people, you’ll get a first dibs email for the deal/s on Monday November 22nd.)

We’ve got a brand new book from Steve called THE KNOWLEDGE to share.  It’s the wild and woolly origin story behind The War of Art.  Set in the mean streets of 1970s New York when Steve made every amateur writing mistake imaginable (how do you think he knows so much about them?), we’re calling it a “Too Close To True Memoir.”

Option 2.

Option 2.

[Attention Joel and Ethan Coen…you guys need to option this ASAP!]

Alas, we’re unsure of which cover to go with…

So we thought it would be fun to get your takes.

You can vote here!

We’ll keep the ballot boxes open until midnight, next Friday September 16, 2016.

Callie will give you the results in her WIT column next week.  Many thanks for voting early and often. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
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