Books Forward October 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the October 2021 newsletter here!

Ask an Expert: A Conversation with Alex J. Cavanaugh on the Insecure Writers Support Group

Have you ever felt insecure as a writer? You’re not the only one. Today we’re sitting down with Alex J. Cavanaugh to discuss the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, an online community of writers that provides encouragement and advice to one another.

1). How would you describe Insecure Writer’s Support Group to those who are not familiar with it?

It’s a safe haven for writers at all stages in the process. We began as a monthly blog posting before founding the website, which is the database of databases of all things writing related, plus there are weekly articles from experts. We also have a Facebook group where members can share and help one another, plus an Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads book group. We also hold an anthology contest and host #IWSGPit on Twitter.

2). How long has IWSG been operating?

The blogging began on September 7, 2011 (ten years ago!) and the website was founded the following year. The site has been named a top writing site by Writer’s Digest, The Write Life, and UK Writers Club.

3). How many members do you have?

Bloggers – 150, Twitter – 10,900, Facebook – 4,800, Instagram – 1,180, Goodreads Book Club – 440, and following the website – tons!

4). What kinds of writers can we find in IWSG? (Traditionally or indie published, unpublished, specializing in certain genres over others, debut or seasoned authors, etc.)

It’s a total mix, which is perfect as there is always someone one step ahead who can offer advice. But otherwise, we are all equal here.

5). In your opinion, what can writers who participate in IWSG expect to get out of the community? What purpose / benefit does IWSG serve for writers?

They will get support, encouragement, advice, find critique partners and editors, help with marketing, maybe land a book deal, and all while learning along the way.

6). Does your IWSG exist only online, or are there physical branches as well?

No physical groups, although you can own a piece of the IWSG from our swag store – https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-merchandise.html

Bonus question: In your opinion, what does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

One who is still moving forward, still growing, and still finds joy in writing!

Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design and graphics and is experienced in technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Find more at http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com and https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Bachelorette Nation: Here are 15 romance books we’d give our roses to

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Nope, not Christmas or Thanksgiving — a new season of The Bachelorette is upon us! I am so ready to dive deep into Michelle Young’s journey for love, and it’s also the perfect excuse to break out some swoon-worthy romance books. Want to find the perfect read worthy of your rose? We’ve got you covered!

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

With a shiny new design degree but no job in sight, Cindy moves back in with her stepmother, the executive producer of the world’s biggest dating reality show. When a contestant on Before Midnight bows out at the last minute, Cindy is thrust into the spotlight. But being the first and only plus-size contestant on Before Midnight turns her into a viral sensation — and a body-positivity icon — overnight. To make it to the end, despite the fans, the haters, and a house full of fellow contestants she’s not sure she can trust, Cindy will have to take a leap of faith and hope her heels — and her heart — don’t break in the process.

The Charm Offensive by Allison Cochrun

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. When her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding, her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself — even though she’s not entirely sure how. Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car — supposedly by accident. Yeah, right. Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore… and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers — and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze.But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television? Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets a call from Main Squeeze, who wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition: Under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men — and herself — for a chance to live happily ever after.

Beard Science by Penny Reid

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need? Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate. And desperate times call for Cletus Winston. Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do? Likely, the last thing you expect.

A World Between by Emily Hashimoto

In 2004, college students Eleanor Suzuki and Leena Shah meet in an elevator. Both girls are on the brink of adulthood, each full of possibility and big ideas, and they fall into a whirlwind romance. Years later, Eleanor and Leena collide on the streets of San Francisco. Although grown and changed and each separately partnered, the two find themselves, once again, irresistibly pulled back together. Narrated in sparkling prose, A World Between follows two strikingly different but interconnected women as they navigate family, female friendship, and their own fraught history.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single. So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine” — Millie’s fictional profile persona. Soon “Catherine” and Millie’s best friend Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, she’ll have to face her worst fear — intimacy — or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites.The only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. But being with Quan is more than sex — he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

The Dating Playbook by Farah Rochon

When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle. And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There’s just one catch — no one can know what they’re doing. But when they’re accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor’s game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?

The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Clara Wheaton is the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But when Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too tempting to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true. After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet…His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.

You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of NY to film the starring role in a bilingual rom-com, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow — until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

Recommended for You by Laura Silverman

Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape. When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan. Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. As the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials. Marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning ex-fiance. Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own. Soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When her stepfather decides enough is enough, he cuts her off, sending Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington. Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. She’s determined to show her stepfather — and the hot, grumpy local — that she’s more than a pretty face. Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The two are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. And as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan — and this town full of memories — may have already caught her heart.

Books Forward BFFs October Influencer Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

Download the October 2021 newsletter here!

Semi-spooky reads if you’re a wuss like me

I just can’t do horror books — I have tried. Much like with scary movies, I spend so much time hiding my eyes that I end up missing very important plot points. But it’s the spooky season and if you’re like me, you’ll want to read something witchy and magical. If you’re looking for some books that won’t leave you shaking in fear, try one of these stories!

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Georgina Fernweh waits impatiently for the tingle of magic in her fingers–magic that has touched every woman in her family. But with her eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come. Over the course of her last summer on the island–a summer of storms, falling in love, and the mystery behind one rare three-hundred-year-old bird–Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha–one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

In the town of Danvers, Massachusetts, home of the original 1692 witch trials, the 1989 Danvers Falcons will do anything to make it to the state finals–even if it means tapping into some devilishly dark powers. Against a background of irresistible 1980s iconography, Quan Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective progress of this enchanted team as they storm their way through an unforgettable season. Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza (whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all), the Falcons prove to be wily, original, and bold, flaunting society’s stale notions of femininity. Through the crucible of team sport and, more importantly, friendship, this comic tour de female force chronicles Barry’s glorious cast of characters as they charge past every obstacle on the path to finding their glorious true selves.

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis

Katrell can talk to the dead. And she wishes it made more money. She’s been able to support her unemployed mother–and Mom’s deadbeat-boyfriend-of-the-week–so far, but it isn’t enough. Money’s still tight, and to complicate things, Katrell has started to draw attention. Not from this world–from beyond. And it comes with a warning: STOP or there will be consequences. Katrell is willing to call the ghosts on their bluff; she has no choice. What do ghosts know of having sleep for dinner? But when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go. Only magic isn’t free, and dark forces are coming to collect. Now Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two. That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all. Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back — almost as if by magic.

The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet–her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there. Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing–she is a free agent with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them combat a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, but now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic; the storms, more destructive. All hope lies with Clara, a once-in-a-generation Everwitch whose magic is tied to every season. In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic–losing the ones she loves–is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather. In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference. In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses. In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves…before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good. So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton–if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real. Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny–especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

Coffee with Gilmore Girls character book pairings

Fall is here, the leaves are changing colors, the pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks… you know what that means: it’s time to rewatch Gilmore girls. Get that flannel and backwards baseball hat out of storage and live your best life!

To celebrate this momentous time of year, we’re featuring our favorite Stars Hollow residents paired with a good book and their ideal cup of coffee coffee coffee!

Lorelai Gilmore

Book: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry 

Coffee Order: Black

Would you really expect any less? She doesn’t want to dilute the coffee with any cream or sugar, she just wants it as strong as possible. And naturally she would pair it with a fan favorite, because she wants all of the romcom feels.

Rory Gilmore

Book: Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

Coffee Order: Vanilla latte with almond milk and an extra shot of espresso

Ok hear me out, I know she drank a LOT of black coffee in the series, but there WERE times where she ordered a little something different at the coffee cart: proof that people can change! I believe fully that Rory 2.0 from A Year in the Life has evolved to arguably the MOST basic of coffee orders with the vanilla latte, almond milk because again, basic, and the extra shot as a homage to her roots in caffeine. While her order is basic, her reading is anything but. Rory would only pick the most stunning of novels and memoirs to line her bookshelf. And, of course it has to be current: she’s already read everything else!

Emily Gilmore

Book: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Coffee: No coffee for the queen, just Abigail’s Blend black tea from the finest tea emporium, Elmwood Fine Teas. A splash of cream and sugar; no more than necessary, but just enough to be high maintenance. 

Just because it’s National Coffee Day does NOT mean everyone on this roster subscribes to coffee… and Emily Gilmore certainly does not. She is a class act that drinks out of vintage tea cups, and nothing less. She’s sophisticated, but also tries to stay current with literature, which leads her to reading a classic author like Ann Patchett. She even ordered a signed copy from Parnassus Books, Ann’s bookstore.

Richard Gilmore

Queue the tears. I refuse not to include the patriarch of the Gilmore family. Though he is no longer with us, I believe he’s somewhere drinking scotch and reading yet another classic, Proust perhaps? All the love to our fallen friend.

Luke Danes

Book: Arriving Today by Christopher Mims

We all know this guy isn’t drinking coffee, but you better believe he’s making his signature Luke’s coffee for his customers. No pumpkin spice, maple harvest blends here, folks. Taylor Doose already tried, and failed at that. It’s more likely that after hours, Luke is having nitwit juice (a beer) and reading a book about consumerism and online shopping, and likely is getting pretty heated about it.

Lane Kim

Book: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Coffee: Red Eye (brewed coffee with a shot of espresso) 

In classic Lane fashion, she’s drinking all of the caffeine to keep her energy up for that gig with the band later tonight. And, of course, what pairs better with a coffee buzz than the haunting jitters you feel when reading Lisa Jewell thrillers?! Lane reads EVERY novel from Lisa Jewell, and is obsessed with the twists and turns in each one. 

Paris Geller

Book: Reading? Paris isn’t reading. She’s writing her own biography. Not autobiography, no, a biography that she plans to publish under a pen name.
Coffee: Triple espresso

Even in her early days at Yale, Paris loved starting her mornings with a triple espresso. You will never find her having anything different.

Sookie St. James

Book: Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Coffee: FINALLY, our pumpkin spice latte QUEEN! And you KNOW she can make the best ones herself. They are likely a fall favorite at the Dragonfly for all but Michel, who can only have milk with the blue cap.

Sookie wants to read all the steamy romance while drinking her PSL, and who can blame her? She loves a Reese’s Book Club pick, and she loves anything spicy. She’s heard a LOT of great things about it, and couldn’t wait to go buy a copy at the bookstore from Andrew. 

Kirk

Book: No books, just the Stars Hollow Gazette. He’s got to stay up on the town.

Coffee: Decaf only. The whole town is in on it. Anywhere he goes, no matter what blend he orders, Kirk is only given decaf.

How does a book publicity firm decide which authors to represent?

Many writers dream of publishing a book, but few realize that publishing is just the first step in a dynamic journey of getting your book in front of–and loved by–readers. Our book publicity firm Books Forward has represented more than 700 amazing authors during our 20 plus years in business, and a question I hear frequently is “How do you decide which authors you represent?”.

We are so lucky to hear from incredible authors every day interested in using our services. While we wish we could help everyone (seriously, I’d love to help every writer fulfill their biggest book dreams!), we have to be selective about the authors we represent for a number of reasons. And with thousands of books launching daily in the U.S. alone, I want to share our selection process with writers so they can make the smartest, best choices before querying publicists for representation.

Our team at Books Forward choose the authors we represent by asking ourselves the following questions:

First and foremost, are we excited about the book? As avid readers ourselves, we love great books, and we read a lot of them! Our team has diverse reading tastes, so we embrace a variety of genres and content, but across the board we are looking for books that pull us in and keep us hooked.

Do we see specific ways to promote this book to its target audience, and help it stand out among the competition? We want to help our authors reach as wide an audience as possible, but we also want to help them reach their specific target audiences–aka the readers who gravitate towards (and are engaged enough to buy) this specific type of literature. The better we understand a book’s target audience, the better we are able to help get that book into the hands of fans.

Does our team have experience in this genre? Can we bring our A-level expertise to this project? We always want to bring our best to every project. We’ve worked with all kinds of authors in almost every genre, and our publicists and digital strategists each specialize in different areas. We always consider if we are a strong match for a campaign, and if we’re not, we may refer authors to another firm. We’re always transparent about the best options for them and their books!

Will the author be a partner in publicity? We bring a vast amount of work and expertise to every campaign; however, publicity is a partnership. We are looking for authors who will be available for interviews, open to writing guest articles, active on social media and willing to promote the book to their own networks. We want our books to succeed, and author participation is essential for establishing a brand and a loyal readership.

Will the author have awesome goals, but also realistic expectations? After more than two decades in the publishing industry, we have seen (and continue to see!) publishing evolve constantly. The industry is more competitive than ever, and we seek to partner with authors who understand that the promotional tactics that worked even just 1-3 years ago may no longer be as effective. Our best clients are those who are open to trying promotional strategies that are innovative and out-of-the-box, as well as tried-and-tested publicity tactics.

Is there a budget in place for publicity and marketing? If they are indie publishing, are they willing to work with a book-specific editor and designer to get the book into the best shape possible? While we always seek to find promotional solutions that work within an author’s specific budget, quality publishing and promotion requires both time and money. A book is, in many ways, a product–and cutting corners reduces the quality of the product, as well as its ability to reach its target market. We look for authors willing to invest time and resources to publish and promote their book, so that together we can give each title its best chance of success.

And lastly, does this book help move the world forward? Here at Books Forward, we want to represent books that elevate voices from a diverse group of authors, break barriers in the publishing industry and convey a story that will resonate with readers. We’ve been fortunate to work with so many authors who are doing just that–and we are thrilled and grateful to continue representing incredible, innovative authors for years to come.

I hope this helps you on your journey to publishing and planning promotion for your book!

This post originally appeared on https://www.teenink.com/ in July 2021.

Marissa DeCuir is the president and partner of Books Forward publicity and Books Fluent publishing. As a former journalist, she’s always looking for the best hooks to utilize in author publicity and book marketing and believes in taking a personal and strategic can-do approach to help authors reach their goals.

Making the most of a festival appearance as an author

Attending a festival or book event as an author can seem intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. But it can be so much fun, and hugely helpful to your writing career! As things (maybe) start to be in-person again, here are some tips to help you make the most of your time.

Before the event

  • Connect with previous attendees: ask them what they enjoyed last year and if they will be there again this year.
  • See if the event has a list of people who will be there this year, and reach out to anyone you’re excited to meet and tell them just that. Try to set up a time to meet for coffee or something similar.
  • After registering, see if there is a panel or discussion you can take part in. If you don’t see one, email the organizer to let them know what you can speak on — it can’t hurt to try!
  • Look at the schedule of events ahead of time to plan your days. You will likely not be able to do everything, so you want to maximize your time.
  • Check the social media hashtag for the event and engage with fellow attendees.

During the event

  • Have an elevator pitch for your book. You are likely to meet a lot of people and not spend a ton of time with each of them, so you need to be able to sell yourself quickly.
  • Bring lots of business cards, bookmarks, postcards or other swag that people will hang on to! Networking is likely to be one of the most valuable things you can do at a book event.
  • Get contact info from people you meet or speak with, when appropriate, so you can follow up with them later!
  • Support your fellow authors — buy their books, join their mailing lists and talk with them! They’ll likely want to support you as well.
  • Share photos and videos from the event on your social media – allowing your readers to follow along with you!

After the event

  • Follow up with anyone you met with, thanking them for their time and referencing something specific you spoke about if possible. Make sure to have a link to your website in your signature, and encourage them to reach out if they have any questions about your book.
  • Post recap photos to social media – and tag the appropriate people, publishers, etc. in them.

Books Forward September 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the September 2021 newsletter here!

Eight bookish podcasts to check out on International Podcast Day!

Happy International Podcast Day! As readers, we don’t just read books — we also participate in tons of extracurricular activities involving books. We talk about books, join book clubs, look for great reviews, and writte as well.

One of the biggest ways we discuss books is through podcasts, and not only are there shows about specific books, but there are podcasts on books for your radar, book club podcasts, and even writing podcasts for authors. There’s a little bit for every reader and author on this list, so I hope you give one a listen.

All the Books at Book Riot

If you want to keep up with what’s new and cool in the bookish world, then All the Books from Book Riot is your go-to. With new episodes every week, the hosts share what’s new and trendy that’s being published. With expert recommendations, you’ll definitely keep abreast of what’s publishing at all times.

The Stacks Podcast

If you’re looking to join a book club without the stress of going to meetings, hearing expert author interviews, or discovering books you may not have heard before, then The Stacks Podcast may be the one for you. Offering everything you’d need to be as prolific a reader as you can be, the Stacks Podcast hosted by Traci Thomas has it all.

The Maris Review

If you’re a fan of listening to author interviews, then this is the podcast for you. Hosted by Maris Kreizman, the podcast features some incredible authors of today, includes exciting topics to discuss, and learning a little bit about the authors we all so love and adore.

Minorities in Publishing

Unlike the other podcasts on this list, Minorities in Publishing discusses the deeper and wider expanse of publishing. Specifically, it discusses the diversity (or lack thereof) in publishing, sharing interviews with publishing experts and authors and their experiences within the publishing industry.

Deadline City

Hosted by YA authors Zoraida Cordova and Dhonielle Clayton, get a look into the process of creating a book, expert author interviews, and learning what it’s like to be a popular writer! If you’re an author trying to get your book going, this podcast may give you the encouragement you need.

Beyond the Trope

If you’re a fan of SFF books, then this is the podcast for you. With interviews from today’s greatest SFF authors, you’ll not only find new books to read but completely unraptured by why these authors wrote these books. It’s a great way to dive deeper into the writing process, especially for those massive SFF worlds.

Black Chick Lit

If you’re looking for more diversity in your reading life, check out Black Chick Lit. This bi-monthly podcast covers not only books written by Black women, but also about Black women. Discussing some of the latest novels from BIPOC authors, these two intrepid hosts dive deep into the themes and stories that shape Black women’s narrative in modern literature.

Books and Boba

If you’re looking for a book club that focuses on the Asian American community and experience, look no further than to Books and Boba. With monthly book picks, author chats, and more, the hosts of Books and Boba covers all things coming out from Asian and Asian American authors. Find some great new reads, listen to some interesting author conversations and immerse yourself in the world of Asian American writing.