I was never that into audio books (I find that my mind wanders and I miss half of the
scenes), but I am loving podcasts. From humor to advice to suspense to politics, it’s all there, but there are so many that it’s hard to choose. Here are some I’ve enjoyed in the last 6 months:
- My Dad Wrote a Porno: my current favorite. It is laugh-out-loud funny and so sharp.
- Homecoming: even though Julia Roberts is fabulous, the podcast is better than the TV show.
- This America Life: so many episodes really get to the heart of life and what’s important.
- In the Dark: in-depth crime reporting.
- Dirty John: true crime that really is stranger than fiction.
What are you listening to? Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!
I just found out that the Ides of March is not so special after all. Perhaps for Julius Caesar it was, but in Roman times, the ides was just another way of saying the 15th day of the month. So, it’s one in a dozen. Not a big deal. However, I always feel a sense of weight on the Ides of March, like something significant and mysterious should happen.
Nothing does happen, but it’s the portent of an event that makes it interesting. I give credit to my high school English teacher for making that day stand out a little bit from
all of the other 15th’s. And to William Shakespeare, of course.
What has literature added to your life? Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!
Is one of your goals for 2019 to write more? I know many authors who have the same goal. Writing more can be easier if you’re part of a community. Most of my authors are part of a writer’s group, whether it’s online or in-person. A group is great for advice-giving and for holding the writer accountable to his/her goals. Even Twitter, which is mostly the opposite of a supportive community, has groups of authors encouraging other authors!
If you aren’t part of a group and are pressed for time, here is a great piece of advice from one of my authors, Sue Fliess, for those who are attempting picture books. At the very least, sit down and write 10 words a day. That’s almost 2 lines in a picture book!
What are you working on? Send me a comment on Twitter at @jenniferunter!
This week I received an email from my Brazilian subagent which contained an
impassioned letter written by a publisher in Brazil imploring people to buy books for
holiday gifts. The Brazilian publishing market has been going through tough times for
the past few years and publishers are letting employees go and seeing their market
shrink. Here in the US, we are not at that point yet, but every year it seems the market share for books gets smaller and smaller compared with other entertainment. The remedy? Go out and buy books for your friends and family for the holidays! There are so many wonderful options out there. I got these books for my kids for Hannukah last night:
Boxers & Saints
When the Sea Turned to Silver
Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas
I will be buying more books for the adults in my life, too. More on that soon. What are
you buying for your friends and family? Send me a comment on twitter at
I am a member of Women’s Media Group and they had an event last week showcasing incredibly impressive female speakers, most of whom had written a book. The theme of the event was women helping women rise up in their professional life. I have never had a female mentor throughout my career (though I have had a couple of male mentors), and there is no doubt that women in higher positions should help other women thrive. Sadly, this is not always the case in the publishing industry, but given the tenor of the female power movement, I have high hopes that this will change.
To that end, I’m going to go out and do my part by hiring someone I can mentor. Have you ever had or been a mentor? Send me a comment on Twitter at @jenniferunter!
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Summertime! Time for the beach, pool, vacations, hammocks and …catching up on submissions. It’s very hard to get caught up on my reading when there’s so much else going on with my clients and my outside-of-work life, so I like to spend July and August reading what I couldn’t get to in June.
Additionally, though, it wouldn’t be summer without reading actual published books, crazy as that may seem! I just bought The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and am very excited to dig in. I’ve been anxious to read this one for a long time. Also on my list: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Who is Vera Kelly by Rosalie Knecht, and You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld.
What are you reading? Send me a comment on Twitter at @jenniferunter!
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
I recently attended BEA (Book Expo America) and it was somewhat disconcerting. While it was crowded with lots of people bustling about, the air of excitement was missing. At least was for me, and I talked to a number of other publishing colleagues who agreed.
I also attended some parties that were a bit lackluster. Parties? Lackluster? Those words shouldn’t be in the same sentence. But, here we were, at a blah BEA. Some people attribute it to the missing BIG book of the year. There is nothing that is grabbing everyone’s attention. Others attribute it to the rise of BookCon and the focus on fans, and notably those who have them.
I haven’t attended BookCon yet, maybe it’s time that I try that out. That may be where the action is. What do you think? Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!
One of my greatest parenting joys has been, and still is, reading to my children. I read picture books over and over (our copy of CHICKA CHIKA BOOM BOOM fell apart), most of the entire LITTLE HOUSE IN THE PRARIE series to my daughter, and many of the 39 CLUES books to my son. The last book I read with my son, PAX by Sara Pennypacker, was so beautiful we both cried at the end, and I felt a shared closeness over our love of this exquisite book.
Now we’re reading one of the Hardy Boys mysteries. I didn’t think he would like it, considering some of the language is decidedly hokey, but he’s loving the mystery of it and the fact that these boys are doing things on their own to solve the never-ending puzzles.
Before I was a parent, I worked in adult books and didn’t think children’s books were my thing. Now fully half (and maybe more) of the books I work on are children’s and I love the freedom and exploratory nature of the children’s book world.
What books do you love to read to your kids? Send me a comment on Twitter @jenniferunter!
Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash
So, now that I’m finally getting around to writing a blog, I hear that words are out and audio/video is in. I am decidedly out of fashion. But, if text puts me out of the moment, I’m happy to stay there. I, like many people who work in book publishing, would be nowhere without words. And, how could words actually be out of fashion? Words make fashion, and news, and culture and the laws and rules we live by, whatever they may be.
On the flip side, I do see how that is changing. I have two kids (ages 13 and 10) and photos and videos are king for them. They have so much media from which to choose whether it’s an iPhone, Xbox, computer, or whatever is coming next down the pike. However, often times they do still choose a book. When they want to be quiet, chill out, sit in their beds and cuddle with one of our cats, they will still choose a book.
It’s not old fashioned, it’s eye-opening. It’s not optional, it’s essential. So many worlds to enter! And, so necessary in the 24/7 news media world we all live in. That gives me hope that text is not dead, books are still relevant and our future will not just be televised.
Feel free to send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter and let me know what you think.