Category Archives: Blurbs for books

My yearly post

Hello my one reader out there! As you know, I don’t post blogs often. Not because I don’t think they have value, but
because I really don’t have time to keep people up to date with the world of being a literary agent. My life is all about hustle
and when I’m not doing that I’m enjoying an evening of mental rest with an episode of the Mentalist or The Office. With an occasional scotch and cigar. Oh, and enjoying a walk with my wife and dog. A head’s up to all of you who keep ignoring my submission guidelines. Guess what? Your email will be deleted immediately. My  brother Doug doesn’t have time to read queries about yoga, puppies, or anything else that I don’t represent. ( Although if it’s about puppies then feel free to send it to my wife Rachel and our dog Pumpkin over at they love those books).

Yes, send them to us- we love puppies!” Pumpkin.

For those of you who read poetry I was pleased to release my second book of poetry last year- Weekend Getaway at Generic Hotel
The blurb is as follows: Once described as “the real thing” by a professor of English at the University of Ottawa, Brian Wood’s new book is an attempt to stand apart from much of the poetry written today. This collection of prose and poetry pays homage to many of Wood’s favorites—Larkin, Dante, Frost, Auden and Donne—while striking a voice of his own—quiet, subdued, but sometimes unsparing. Some pieces are about history, others about the modern church, others about faith and belief, but the best poems are probably the ones about love itself.
If you quote a line from one of my poems you AUTOMATICALLY get a review of your work by me. Seriously!

So this year is going to be another one of great change and I’m looking forward to it!
Best to all of you!



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Catching up

As the smell of the fall leaves comes through my window, I thought I should catch you up on a few items. As you can tell I almost never get onto my blog because I am so busy making book deals! In the last few months I travelled to Toronto for my twice yearly visit, and met some great editors and publishers, as well as caught up with a few friends from Ottawa and Montreal. It’s always great to travel back east and take in the sites and sounds of Toronto, but I’m equally as happy to come home.

This year has been an interesting one for me and in general for the publishing world. In the media we are seeing more and more stories about authors going the self publishing route but then having issues when their books don’t sell, and then we see ones that breach their contracts without realizing it- and wondering why they just lost their 20,000 dollar advance.

That’s one of the reasons agents are valuable -for their knowledge and expertise in the industry. Too often I hear complaints after the fact about why an author lost out on a deal. My first question is always “Did they have an agent?” and if they didn’t then I tell them “That’s why your author is losing out.” Agents act in the interest of the author first, publisher second. Without an agent a writer has a higher chance of being cut out of profits and second book deals because they simply don’t know what they are signing- or they don’t think a point can be negotiated.

The next thing I hear is ” But Brian, it’s not that easy getting an agent. My work sits in a pile for months before they even respond- if they respond at all.”  My answer to that is
”  A) Did you read their submission requirements down to the letter? Did you follow them? B) Did you research the agent you are contacting? Do they even publish your type of book? C) Did you actually include the bottle of scotch and cigars or did you just say it was on the way? and D) Is your book any good? Not- friends and family good, but actually good- good grammar, good story, good subject. Is it interesting and exciting? Why would I want to sell this?

Remember- once you finish writing the book it moves into the business of selling. It’s not about how great you think your book is, and what ‘people’ say about it. It’s about how it’s going to do in the marketplace. How is your marketing, advertising, publicity going to be put together- what is your platform- does anyone know who you are? That’s what it’s about now, and that’s what you have to show to an agent. And if you do all that then who knows- you may end up with a great agent and a book deal.

And on that note, this Christmas please consider buying one of my newest releases Where There’s Smoke – Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man by William B Davis– he’s a great guy so go and buy his book!!

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So….this week I thought I would address all of you out there who are very close to finishing your outline/sample chapter to submit, whether to me, another agent, a publisher, whomever, really.

You have labored for months. You are just about ready.

And one day when you are thinking about something else… occurs to you: “Hey, my uncle knows Steven Spielberg! I wonder if that would help.”

Answer: it might.

An editor at Doubleday once told me blurbs were like icing: nice, but not essential.I would agree with that statement….but I would add this: if you are an unknown author building a career, blurbs can help you skip over piles.

That is, if the top of your submission has this:

“I could not put this down!” Steven Spielberg, Hollywood, CA

you stand a MUCH better chance of being looked at, esp. if you do not have an agent.

My point? Go ahead & line up blurbs BEFORE you submit. Make sure they are visible–believe me, it can’t hurt.
p.s. the same goes for intros/forewords.  Say you are writing a book on the history of the Canadiens; it will not hurt your chances if the intro is by Jean Beliveau.

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Filed under Agent Services, Blurbs for books, Book advances, Literary agent, publishers, publishing, Publishing strategies, Social media, Submission Guidelines, Writing