Monday, October 3, 2011


Just in time for NaNo 2011, Adams Media is releasing Martha Alderson's THE PLOT WHISPERER: SECRETS OF STORY STRUCTURE ANY WRITER CAN MASTER.
Don't take my word for it, you can watch Martha Alderson's  27 STEP PLOT VLOG SERIES!
Order from Amazon
Order from Barnes Noble

Plotting Made Simple, from the Plot Whisperer. When it comes to writing bestsellers, it's all about the plot. Plot is where most writers fall down - and they have no idea how to get back up. But with "The Plot Whisperer", celebrated writing teacher and author Martha Alderson shows writers how to breathe life into the most moribund of stories - one scene at a time. Alderson provides a plotting primer that's as easy to implement as it is to understand. With this foolproof system, writers of all genres can learn to devise a successful storyline that: tells the story in the best way; builds suspense; incorporates effective sub-plots; ties up all the loose ends; and, keeps the reader turning pages. "The Plot Whisperer" is the ultimate guide to writing page turners that sell.

Martha Alderson has worked with hundreds of writers in plot workshops, retreats, and plot consultations for more than fifteen years. Her clients include best-selling authors, New York editors, and Hollywood movie directors.

I want to also share WHAT I THINK MAKES A BOOK SELL so that you can SELL your NaNo book in 2012!

It is NOT how fabulous your website or blog is. It is NOT how many facebook or twitter friends you have, how many publishing links you forward or put on said website, blog, facebook and twitter. It is not how much editors and agents like you, though being a pain in the arse will NOT help you in any way, shape or form. 

What sells a book is THE WRITING coupled with an ORIGINAL, COMPELLING CONCEPT! 

You have heard that great writing will rise to the top and find its way. Yet we all know that not all great writing sells. There is marketing and sales to contend with, and even in my 2 short years of being an agent I have had quite a number of books that editors loved and sales and marketing told them that it would sell, but just not enough....and the books are still not published. Breaks my heart. Breaks the editors' hearts. And oh, the author. So very unfair. BUT, publishing is a business and fair is not the leading part of the equation here. 

But couple GREAT WRITING with an ORIGINAL AND COMPELLING CONCEPT and you are 75% there. The rest is luck, timing, bizarre unknown factors that none of us understand but we kill ourselves trying to, and kismet. When HARRY POTTER, TWILIGHT, WIMPY KID, 13 REASONS WHY, etc were brought to acquisitions meetings and given the green light, publishers made an educated guess that these books would sell. They make those educated guesses on other books (and in some cases pay big advances and pump marketing dollars into them) that are equally fantastic but for some mysterious reason never find their audience. I worked in marketing for a couple of decades and this is just how it goes. What made the Pet Rock, Silly Bands, Chia Pets, Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Bear Soap, etc sell? Don't know.

Is it all word of mouth? Is it superior product--maybe yes in books, but in Pet Rocks? What do you think?


  1. It is interesting Jill how you mentioned, "why do certain things sell and others flop?" I majored in Marketing and this was the “big question”. Malcolm Gladwell’s book the Tipping Point really gives you a great perspective on why certain things “just happen”. He calls them social epidemics. It’s a great book and if you haven’t read it you should definitely check it out.

  2. Hmm, Pet Rocks?
    I think it was a deep need to anthropomorphize something uncuddly-- a political metaphor. Or possibly we knew having rocks for pets would make our husbands seem chatty by contrast. Cheaper than therapy?
    :-) Thanks for the Plot Whisperer rec!

  3. I'm almost through my first read of Plot Whisperer - and it's unbelievable! So helpful and clear for those of us who don't come by plotting naturally!

  4. LOL to what Cecily said about Pet Rocks!

    Thanks for this book suggestion. Still deciding if I'm going to gear up for NaNo this year. :)

  5. Hi Jill! I've been reading Martha's blog off and on for over a year now, and am so glad that many of her teachings have finally been gathered into one book! I definitely look forward to reading it!

  6. Hi Jill. Nice bumping into you at Editors Day! Great post. What makes a book sell or not? I don't know either, but I remember getting phone calls from friends telling me I HAD to read this new book called Twilight. And I've made calls telling everyone they HAD to read 13 Reasons Why. It is word of mouth. When someone goes nuts over something, her enthusiasm infects everyone around her. That's what we all want for our books. Right?

  7. Jill, thanks for the advice - I'm an unpublished writer who is looking to sell my YA manuscript. One question, what exactly does "high concept" YA include?

    I'm struggling to place my work...


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