Dear Book Nerd Episode #55: Play To Your Strengths

Welcome to the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly show that answers YOUR questions about life, love, and literature! My special guest co-host this week is the delightful Kate McKean. We discuss topics such as ways to break into the book business, how to enjoy book browsing when you’re feeling overstimulated, and how to figure out the best place for you to buy books. Don’t miss it!


Kate is a literary agent at Morhaim Literary. You can find her on Twitter @kate_mckean. Thank you for joining me, Kate!

This week’s episode is sponsored by the Steamy Reading Box available now in the Book Riot Store. Get 4 of Book Riot’s favorite sexy books (both fiction and nonfiction) and 4 awesome bookish items in this surprise box. The total value of the box’s contents exceed $100, and none are repeated from previous specialty themed boxes or Quarterly shipments. The books are eclectic, selected to help you heat up your reading life and expand your horizons. We have a limited quantity, so don’t wait!




Dear Book Nerd,

I love to read and I love to write. It makes sense that I would love to write about books – I’d love even more to do it as a career (or at least as a job on the side). I’m in the young professional/ still figuring it out category jobwise right now and would like to transition into a book writing profession as soon as possible (if it is, indeed, possible). But how do I get started? Do I just start my own blog (I’m not the type with a big social media following)? Are there blogs I should try to submit individual pieces of writing to? How did you get to where you are? Thanks in advance for any advice/insights!


Dear Book Nerd,

I have recently begun working in the publishing industry (on the magazine side). While attempting to break into the industry in the past year or so, I started to consume as much “industry news” as I could: email newsletters, online newspapers, podcasts, etc. While job hunting I also was working at Barnes & Noble, which I felt more than anything else, gave me a sense of which books were buzzing.

In the last few weeks, now that I am no longer spending most of my time in a bookstore, I have had the opportunity to go to events at my local independent bookstore. But I found that I no longer had the same interest in browsing that I used to. I was either aware of so many of the titles (my “to read” list grows without setting foot in a bookstore), or my expanded interest in all genres made me overwhelmed to explore all of the titles I wasn’t aware of.

Also the usual things that make browsing interesting, covers, and more particularly, the sales copy, have started to feel redundant (or perhaps that’s because I’m simply more tired). Literary fiction sounds like literary fiction, historical fiction like historical fiction, etc. What matters to me more is who the publisher is, what awards it’s won, etc.

The other big factor, which I think is just a part of adulthood, is the issue of time and money. Every title I look at raises multiple questions. How badly to I want to own this book? How does it compares to those on my ongoing list? How long will the wait be at the library? Will the library book only be a hardcover, which I’ll never take on my commute, compared to this $10 mass market, which is just the perfect size? And of course, the ultimate question, should I be spending this time browsing, when I should be at home doing chores? 😉

I really want to enjoy browsing the way I used to when I was a student. How do I get the passion back? Help!


Too Much Information

Dear Book Nerd,

I’ve gotten into reading again in the past year or so and it feels like every other week there is some drama with Amazon fighting with authors and publishers. I want to be a good book lover and support the authors and the art in the best way possible, but I also don’t want to pay much more money than I have to. So what’s the deal with amazon? Is amazon bad for books and authors? Should I be buying from bookstores instead like Barnes and Noble or an independent bookstore?




“Follow the Influencers: Social Media Stars 2016” (Publisher’s Weekly)

“Amazon Alternatives” (Book Riot)


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