Chip MacGregor

October 21, 2010

What's the latest news?


Random thoughts on proposals and writing as we end the week…

I am teaching a one-day workshop in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday, November 6, at the Sierra Hotel near Short Pump. If you're in the area, I'd love to have you participate. All the details can be found here:

My friend and fellow agent Noah Lukeman has some great advice to share on how to write a strong query letter, and he's giving it away as a FREE downloadable book. Check it out at:

And noted author Harlan Coben had some fascinating things to say about author branding in an interview he did with The Atlantic. Check out his thoughts at

Several folks have written to ask if there is a book-marketing site I like. There is — check out what Rob Eager does at

And there's fascinating advice on how to make the most of social media here:

I've had at least a dozen people write to ask what's going on with the various lawsuits among the guys who created the novel The Shack. Frankly, it's a mess. One guy is suing his partners for not sharing the money equitably. They are in turn suing him and claiming they helped write the book. And the publisher is even being sued (though it sounds like all they did was stick the earned royalties into a suspense account until the various other lawsuits could be resolved). It's ugly… and it's coming from people who bragged about how they didn't need an agent because they were all such good friends. Ugh. You can read about it here:

There's something new coming up on the market — "Kindle Singles," a new idea from the folks at Amazon to create and sell e-books under 30,000 words (a size that is almost impossible to sell to a regular royalty-paying publisher). With the advent of e-readers and book-reader phone aps, there's a renewed interest in shorter reading projects. I don't know if this is going to be a trend or not, but it's certainly an interesting idea. Give a look at:

By the way, Publishers Weekly reported that e-book sales were up 172% in the month of August. Wow. Now that's what I call a trend. 

And Barnes & Noble is getting into the world of self-publishing — making e-books available for authors who want to sell through the B& website to all those Nook users (and I think the Nook is fabulous — I like it better than the Kindle, in fact). There are mixed feelings about this sort of thing — it means the retailer is now in direct competition with their suppliers (the publishers), but it also seems like a good deal and something a bit different from the self-publishing program at Amazon. If you're interested, the details are here:

Finally, I'm sure you've been waiting to see a new shot of the cutest new baby on the planet — here she is, dressed as Tinkerbelle and flying into my arms:

Maelie as Tinkerbell

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  • Awww, she makes my womb ache.
    What a sweet girl. πŸ™‚ Enjoy her!!

  • Nan Jones says:

    Chip, That sweet baby girl is precious! I asked the Lord how I could describe the joy of holding my first grandchild. His answer? “A double blessing! All the joy, love and goosebumps you felt for your children are dished out in double portions in each grandchild.” I love that answer. Feel free to use it anytime you wish :).
    This is such a helpful post. Thank you for sharing the knowledge.
    Bless you!
    Nan jones

  • Lauren Sylvan says:

    I read the Noah Lukeman ebook at one sitting, as I am now navigating the shark-infested waters of Query Straight. It worked — I popped for his book on literary agents. Hey, considering all the time, sweat and tears that I put into writing, shelling out a few bucks for a useful resource is good management.
    The Harlan Coben article was food for thought, too.

  • Someday she’ll (Tinkerbelle)use that photo for an interview…She’s pretty awwwdorable!
    I was fascinated by the social media YouTube. The part about your brand already being “out there” in internet space was what got me. People in my little world (internet world) already have an understanding of who I am?? (And here I’m trying to figure it out.) Anyway, I love stats and comparisons so that had me mesmerized.
    Oh. And NOW you come out with I-like-theNook-better-than-Kindle after I got a Kindle. Why do you like the Nook better than Kindle? Sigh.

  • Theresa Lode says:

    Thanks for the great resources! The social media clip was fascinating (except for that annoying music that, between a wee bit too much coffee, nearly caused a anxiety attack before I could get the volume button turned down. Guess that show my age.)
    And yes, your worldwide audience concurs: Tinkerbell is adora-bib-ble. That sweet little bald head reminds me of my babies. Sigh…it does fly by.

  • Thanks for fixing the picture. Or maybe it was just a cyber glitch.
    Either way I am happy I checked back to see little Tinkerbell.
    Is that Captain Hook holding her? Look’s like an evil grin. “Gottcha now my pretty.”
    Enjoy her. She will grow up much too fast.

  • Oh, what a precious Tinkerbelle!
    Great post, Chip. Thanks for the goldmine of info!!

  • Stevierey says:

    That’s a goldmine, Chip. And that little girl is absolutely adorable. I expect a full blog review on the Twain autobiography, by the way, before I shell out forty bucks…they even wrapped it in plastic so I can’t hang out at barnes and noble and read it…dang dirty trick if you ask me. Contemplating thoughts of blowing off my bills and driving thirteen hours to Richmond next week. It isn’t the craziest thing I’ve ever done and it doesn’t involve marrying anybody so I’ll probably end up actually saving money.

  • Beth K. Vogt says:

    Hadn’t heard about the whole mess with the authors of The Shack. How disappointing.
    But the photo of the newest Tinkerbell brought a smile to my face–but not as huge a smile as the one on your face, Chip!

  • Oh my goodness, cutest baby ever! (2nd to mine, of course) πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing the links.

  • Sandra says:

    Pic of Maelie as Tinkerbell is now fixed.
    I wonder if she’s thinking she’d really rather have been a pirate …

  • “It’s ugly… and it’s coming from people who bragged about how they didn’t need an agent because they were all such good friends.”
    that made me laugh.
    A little less funny is that it’s coming from people who had supposedly learned to trust God in really horrific circumstances like, oh, say, having a child brutally murdered. And now they can’t even trust him in the unimportant things like not being paid as many millions as they think they deserve. UGH.
    On a happier note: I want Tinker Bell, too. Fix that picture, please. You can’t tell us about Tink and then not give her to us.

  • Ed Hird says:

    Noah’s book on the query letter was very practical, and well worth-reading. He nailed it.

  • Just adding my name to those waiting to see li’l Tinker Bell. You ARE going to give us a working link, right?

  • Angie B. says:

    I enjoyed the Atlantic article. Thanks for posting it. I loved this Coben quote about waiting for inspiration to write: “I come from a background where people worked…The plumber doesn’t wake up and say, ‘Oh, I can’t do pipes today.'”
    Question…you said that PubIt is “something a bit different from the self-publishing program at Amazon.” How so? I’ve been doing some research about e-book self-publishing, and so far the main difference that’s jumped out at me between B&N PubIt and Amazon Kindle-publishing is that Amazon offers a higher royalty rate than B&N for lower-priced e-books. For example, if an e-book priced at $1.99 meets certain conditions at Amazon, the author can get a 70% royalty. Over at PubIt, a $1.99 e-book can only get 40%. Would be interested in hearing your thoughts, if you have time, about how the two compare.

  • Darn, I wanted to see Tinkerbell, too, but it’s not working for me either. You’ll have to do a special post just for her alone πŸ™‚
    And oh yes, thanks for all the great info and links πŸ™‚

  • Bummer, the picture of your tinkerbell does not show up in my browser! The most important part of this wonderful post with all the great links.

  • I’m pouting! The baby pic didn’t come through. πŸ™
    I got my new Kindle about a month ago, I think. I really like it but I’m finding there are still MANY books I’d rather read in solid form: my Bible, research books (this surprised me because I thought it would be great for research) and books on health, etc that I might want to pass on to someone. It’s great for novels and some non fiction but that’s about it.

  • Picture isn’t working for me either. πŸ™
    I was super disappointed to hear about all the lawsuits and trouble surrounding The Shack.

  • Spent more time than I planned this morning with your fascinating links. I especially enjoyed the one in the Atlantic Monthly on Harlan Coben who is one of my favorite reads. Really great things in there beyond the branding. The literary vs. commercial writing for instance. Thanks for sharing.

  • Aw – the picture doesn’t work! I wonder if it’s just my computer, but I’m dying to see Tinkerbelle flying into your arms. πŸ™‚

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