Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Scoop on a New Site!

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 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
 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!

HANK: Thanks so much--sounds terrific!Readers and writers--where do you get your recommendations for new books?  Questions for Kristen?  And one lucky commenter will get the Jungle Red book of their choice!


  1. You had me at “you can never have too many books to read . . .” a truism that is near and dear to my heart.

    Shelf Pleasures sounds so exciting . . . and from the description, it seems destined to be a hit with readers everywhere. Best of luck with the site.

  2. I tried the FB link and it said it wasn't available! When it is up and working, please Jungle Reds post it again. Thanks, Dee

  3. Gram:
    If you go to Facebook and type "Shelf Pleasure" into the search bar at the top of the page, it will take you to the page where you can "Like" the site [which I did]. But I couldn't get the link to work, either . . . .

  4. Fixing! Grrr.. And while we're at it--do you think the font size of the blog is too small?

    Welcome, Kristen!

    HOw about you, readers--where do you go for info about new books?

  5. Fixed the font size! Looked great in preview... Hope you fixed the link, Hank...

    WELCOME, Kristen! I (and every other author and reader I know) wish you a huge success with this new venture. Shelf Pleasure! Such a wonderful idea, and the perfect time for it, that's for sure.

  6. Dear Ms. Weber,
    I'm sorry, but though interesting and worthwhile, your idea does not meet my current needs. Best Wishes.

    Only kidding. I don't think I've actually received a rejection from you personally, but I couldn't resist. Good luck and actually it does sound like a great place for people who love books.

  7. Great idea. And I've liked your FB page!

    There are ALWAYS too many books to read and too little time. This looks like a good way to get new ideas. (Although just reading JRW books is enjoyable and time-consuming. Not complaining, mind you. And I just saw the new Lady Georgie books are available for pre-order!)

    As long as Shelf Pleasures doesn't turn into a jump-on-the-fifty-shades-bandwagon site I'll follow it and look forward to the suggestions.

    Thanks for the introduction to this site.

  8. What a wonderful concept! I'm looking forward to your launch. :)

  9. Thanks so much for the warm wishes everyone! I look forward to interacting with you all once the site goes live in October, and don't worry - we'll be talking about so much more than just 50 Shades of Gray!

  10. Thanks so much for the great interview. I know a lot of writers so I tend to read their books first. However, word of mouth really does sell me on reading one book over another. I think this site is a great idea and something readers will be hungry for. All the best!!

  11. I love this concept, and I'm hoping the recommendations cover a broad spectrum. One I finish Hank and Lucy's newest, I'm between books--and all caught up on my fave authors, so I am in need of new material.

  12. Well done! Liked the page on Facebook, and eagerly awaiting the launch of the site.

    As if I needed any more books, or recommendations of books to read. If I never bought another one I'd be set for at least a year, between the unread piles of actual books, and the unread books on my Nook.

  13. Welcome, Kristen! I've followed shelf Pleasure on Twitter and liked it on Facebook.

    Readers are always looking for new ways to find out about good new books. Like Marianne, I don't want to hear more about 50 Shades or its equivalent bandwagon book. What we need is a resource that finds and tells us about the good books that are going unnoticed while all the outlets are enthusing over the same highly promoted book. That would be a godsend.

    We'll see if I can get Captcha on the 4th try! On the 5th try, it told me that some Blogger mistake was made and took my whole reply away. Trying again.

  14. rWelcome, Kristen - this was a fun read and Shelf Pleasure sounds grand! Readers are always looking for another terrific spot to read and learn about books. I'm on my way to Facebook to "Like" it. Thank you!

    Hank asked where we get our recommendations for new books. I have a pretty long list of authors who are on my "Auto-Buy" radar. That keeps me pretty busy. I stayed tuned in to when they have a new novel coming out through and StopYou' . For new books and authors I still tend to count on friends who I trust and who tend to enjoy similar tastes. And I find a lot of good recommendations at Book Page. And I keep a "Wish List" at which also feeds me a steady stream of recommendations.

  15. Hi Kristen,

    I'm wondering what you think about the recent revelations of authors writing their own reviews, dissing others (on Amazon, I think) , and the revelation of paid-for reviews.

    And if this is increasing your mission - to provide a place on the Internet where you can truly vet the books and provide a trusted resource?

    Best of luck with your new enterprise,


  16. What a cool idea! Liked, Followed, Twittered, etc. Time to boogie on over to Indiegogo, too. Good luck with the site, Kristen. Thanks for stopping by Reds and letting us know.

  17. Jack, you are a SCAMP!!

    And thank you, Lexie's Mom!

    As an author, word of mouth is the MOST important..if you like someone's book, it is SUCH a valuable thing to do to tell someone. Seems like a small, ordinary thing..but it can make a career.

  18. Hi Kristin! What a great idea. I've liked on FB, looked at the website, and am now going to follow you on Twitter.

    I love the whole community feel of Shelf Pleasure--it's just like when I get together with my book-loving friends and we all say, "Ooh, what have you read that's good lately?"

    I would love a trusted, sock puppet-free, resource.

  19. Hank and Deb, I think that's the sad thing about the whole sock-puppet thing is that a whole type of word of mouth has been violated.

    Foolish me, trying to post again today when I know Captcha is in a real bear of a mood. wish me luck.

  20. Thanks again so much everyone for your enthusiasm and support!

    And as for Jan's comment about all the negative revelations in publishing lately -
    Honestly, that's a big reason we decided to start Shelf Pleasure. We were so tired of all the doom and gloom publishing news and wanted to get back to the pleasure of just reading. Stacy and I met working in publishing, we were in a book club together, and we are always talking about the books we love and what to read next. We wanted to create a fun and trustworthy site by and for bookworms like us. No sock-puppets allowed, but we are very open to content from real writers and readers with something compelling to say on anything related to books. You can email us at for contributor guidelines.

  21. Yes! Word of mouth is huge for me in finding books. I rarely read anything that hasn't been recommended by a friend. So I will definitely be following you and looking forward to some great new recommendations!

  22. I get lots of ideas here and the blog 'Lesa's book critiques'. The wonderful reference librarians in my town know my tastes pretty well and have let me know about some great YA choices, which my usual blogs don't cover as much.

    This looks like fun!

  23. Kristen, I love this idea! I can't wait for the launch. And yes, you can never have too many books!

    Congratulations on a great new venture! I'm so happy for you!!

  24. Looking forward to your website! I get most of my book recommendations from blogs like this one and other mystery author blogs. (I mostly read mystery/suspense/thriller for fiction.) Most of my non-fiction book recommendations come from the Story Circle Book Reviews site. I used to rely on book and magazine book reviews but have found that websites and blogs run by the authors I like are a better source of reading material. Almost NONE of my relatives and friends are mystery lovers (they do not know what they are missing!) so I rarely get my recommendations from the people in my non Internet life! In recent months so many of the Amazon reviews have been so mean-spirited that I am MORE likely to read somethig panned by Amazon reviewers-I suspect that many of the negative reviewers are not capable of being objective and therefore I do not trust their judgment.

  25. Like Jennifer and Kaye, there are always new books from my favorites writers and those they recommand.
    Blogs like JRW, Meanderings and muses, Thoughts in progress and others help too.
    I surely will look for your new site Kristen.

  26. I am a fan on just about every author's Facebook page, am on Goodreads which has a wealth of info, and subscribe to like Penguin Books, etc. I love books and always wanted my own library. Oh and I use our local elibrary. Anyways I have my own little Kindle Library of almost 9000 books!!!! I also still loves the real thing. I have about 5 bookshelves of books and many totes. It's an obsession!!!!! I can't wait to start seeing recommends on this site also!

  27. Oh, Vicki. Tote bags! That's a whole other blog, right?
    I'm so addicted..and it's so silly!

    Kristen, we loved having you here..keep us posted, okay? And here's a whole group of your core readers! Let us know at every step...xo

  28. I will read a particular author and then based on suggestions from the library and other books I may see in bookstores, I will try other authors. For example, I recently read a book by Ben Coes and then found the author Harlen Coben. Of course, I have read Patterson, Jance and Hank as well.