HANK: Pssst. Guess what I'm reading? Hey--what are you reading? Read any good books lately? Yes, we've all had that conversation. But a highly-respected and much-lauded editor and a publishing insider have now joined forces to bring readers the inside info on the newest books. They're not selling anything. They're sharing. Like any good reader-pals would. Except they have the scoop.
You know Kristen Weber, right? She was a editor at big name New York publisher before she headed for to California (I can show you the rejection letter she sent me many years ago!) She and her business partner Stacy--also an editor--bonded over their love of good books (and, they admit, good desserts). They came up with the idea of Shelf Pleasure during one of their marathon phone conversations now that they live on opposite coasts.
Shelf Pleasure? Yup. The newest books. The daily buzz. Want to hear more?
HANK: So, wait, Kristen. I think of you as an editor extraordinaire. What's going on?
KRISTEN WEBER: I will always be an editor, but I was a reader first. In fact, I landed my first job as an editorial assistant at Mysterious Press because I was always bugging Sara Ann Freed, the editor in chief, for her reading recommendations. When I left Penguin to move to Los Angeles a few years ago, I discovered that it was harder to keep track of books as they published and to discover new authors. I started talking to Stacy Michelle, one of my former publishing colleagues, about creating Shelf Pleasure, our own resource to help readers like us.
HANK: What do you mean, "readers like us"?
KRISTEN: Readers who love to read and talk about reading, but don't necessarily want to spend all their time trying to figure out what to read next. Women who check sites like People.com on a daily basis for their celebrity gossip or Daily Candy for the next big thing in their town, and want to feel as equally plugged in to what is going on in the book world.
HANK: What did you see was missing ? Or vanishing? Why?
KRISTEN: When I worked at Penguin, I literally had subscriptions to every publishing news source and I spoke to at least five agents, editors, or authors on a daily basis who were always happy to tell me about the next book I should read. Once I left, I found I really had to work a lot harder to stay on top of what books were being published. Plus, I was moving to LA, where saying you're an "editor"
usually results in someone asking you to edit their film reel. There is an awesome book community out here, but it took me awhile to find it - and by that time, I had already decided I wanted to create my own.
HANK: So readers and writers have the same frustration these days. "Discoverability." You hear that all the time, right? Used to be you would go to a bookstore and hang out, look at all the books, talk to the bookseller--and find out the latest. We still do that.
Libraries and librarians, too, fabulous resources. What kind of new community are you planning?
KRISTEN: Stacy and I are planning a community where you can interact with fellow readers but also with authors, editors, and agents. As two former book publishing professionals, we're going to bring our resources and contacts directly to readers. Bookstores and libraries are still a fabulous resource, and Shelf Pleasure will just be a bonus in addition to those. We're not going to sell books, but hopefully we'll aid in creating a must have list of books you might not be familiar with and provide all sorts of delicious behind the scenes scoop. I feel like you can never have too many books to read, and you can never have too many places telling you what to read.
HANK: How will it work?
KRISTEN: It will be packed daily with fresh content on all sorts of book and reading related topics. We're currently seeking contributors from all across the board - agents, authors, editors, readers - to write articles in their own voices. We'll also have a monthly book club, occasionally featuring participation from the author of the book that we're discussing, and forums where readers can interact with readers like themselves.
HANK: When will it start?
KRISTEN: We're aiming to officially launch in October, but you can already follow us on Twitter (@ShelfPleasure) and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shelf-Pleasure/267214940060331?ref=ts
for fun reading news and updates.
HANK: How do we get involved?
KRISTEN: Ah--there are many ways! Please check out our website--we're seeking contributors for the site--and a whole lot more! You an find out how to attend our official launch party, even get manuscript critiques and exclusive SP stuff.
We look forward to bringing a fun new resource into the reading community!