Tag Archive - Mark Gottlieb

The Indie Bookstore Renaissance

Today’s guest post is by Mark Gottlieb, literary agent at Trident Media Group.

Indie bookstores have always been paradises for book lovers, offering a browsing experience unmatched by many other retailers. Just mind your way around the outdoor book carts on the way in; smell the old yellowing pages; listen to the creak of wooden floors; the tallness of shelves that have a tendency to envelop … and you will know that these things cannot easily be recreated elsewhere or online.

Or you might even see near-exact replicas of Fred Armisen’s “Candace” and Carrie Brownstein’s “Toni” in a Portlandia sketch about two feminist bookstore owners in Portland and have to look twice!

Although, in the face of chain stores and online retailers, it has saddened many readers to know that independent bookstores have been struggling for a long time. We have gone from what might once have been many thousands of independent bookstores in the United States down to 2,321 independent bookstores, as reported by the American Bookseller’s Association.

Just the other day, Book Culture—an independent chain of four bookstores in New York City—announced that they would need a $500,000 cash infusion to keep their chain going. So this all begs the question: How could hope for an indie bookstore “renaissance” possibly be on the way? The answers might actually surprise you. Continue Reading…

Why Did I Get a “No”? – The Dos and Don’ts of Query Letter Writing

Today’s guest post is by Trident Media Group literary agent Mark Gottlieb.

As a literary agent in major trade publishing at the Trident Media Group literary agency, I often have to explain the elements of a good query letter to new clients. This post is intended as a description of what goes into a good query letter, for new authors unfamiliar with what literary agents and editors are looking for in a query letter intended the book-publishing world.

For a writer who might be currently querying literary agents, or even contemplating that process, this might be helpful reading. Considering the high rejection rate in the book-publishing industry for writers trying to become debut authors, this article will, hopefully, be enlightening for the countless writers who are experiencing rejection due to a poorly constructed query letter.

A lot of authors dread writing query letters. I know many authors who can write a novel in a matter of months but who could endlessly spend years toiling over writing a query letter. My advice to authors along the querying process is to really nail the writing of that query letter.

A query letter that reads well is usually a good indication to the literary agent that the manuscript will similarly read well, inclining the literary agent to request a manuscript. Often the query letter can go on to become the publisher’s jacket copy, were the publisher to acquire the manuscript via the literary agent. Continue Reading…