The Readiness is All: Layoffs

“Be looking for your next opportunity all the time,” says RecruiterGuy Bill Humbert in his new book, Employee 5.0, “because layoffs are the new normal. Employee 5.0 keeps the the job search on a simmer so that you can drive your career through whatever is going on.”

Retailers amazon and  B&N announced layoffs this week, sending hundreds of families into crisis management. But, does it have to be this way? If we know that corporations have adopted layoffs as an annual strategy to their stockholders, why not be ready?

Here are a few tips to keep your job search going even while you’re on the job:

  1. Keep a running list of your “impacts” at your current positition — the strengths you bring to the effort and the results of those strengths — as you do the job.  When you work hard, it’s easy to forget all the things you do that make you valuable to an organization. If the organization didn’t notice, that’s on them.
  2. Take calls from recruiters, hiring managers and job candidates. Offer assistance even if the call doesn’t immediately impact you. If you are helpful to someone, odds are, they’ll help you should you call.
  3. Network. In the new normal, we are all looking for a job all the time. This doesn’t mean you hit the cocktail party circuit, but you should show up every so often at industry events. Stay current and stay in touch with colleagues.

Employee 5.0 offers a new way in the new world, a 12-step program that results in job offers in 90 days, and puts the talent back in the driver’s seat.

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/Beth Wareham

I am not some bold reader of experimental fiction. For years I studied the classics and still am not 1/4 of the way through reading what I believe makes me a well-read adult. I am also a middle-aged white female perfectionist.

I have spent time inside 2666 though. I found out about it online. It was only after the invention of the Kindle that I could take on Anna Karenina (I needed the French translated and the book light enough to carry). In the case of Infinite Jest, I just needed the joie de vie of the light reader to cram in my purse to put this notch on my reading belt.

Regardless of whether you are afraid of new fiction or slavishly follow reviews in the New Yorker and The New York Times, books have never been cheaper, more available and easier to read.

Spend a little time on or Book Riot or Good Reads and see if you like the feel of the place: That’s your new bookstore. See what readers are talking about, explore your favorite subjects, get lost in what interests you.

For if there is anything the digital revolution gave us, it’s “make up your own mind.” That, of course, and the ebook for under $9.99.

We love that price and we love that availability. Put on your helmet and spelunk through the internet until you, the reader, find your reading cave (which, by the by, smells so much better than the average “Man Cave.”) Then, from there, don’t be afraid of “reading mistakes.” At these prices and ease of purchase, you can’t make a bad buy.

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Book Riot or Good Reads


Prior to the invention of the reader, one had to walk up to War and Peace and read it.

/Beth Wareham

I rarely quote my husband, but heck, I rarely admit I have one.

As a chief music critic of The New York Times, he wrote this: “Acoustics are to music what bookbinding and typeface are to Faulkner. A beautiful cover is a delight to hold in the hand. The right page design is easy on the eyes. But if our minds are doing their work, Faulkner’s voice will sound the same in the roughest, smallest and most unwelcoming old paperback as it does in the most luxurious special edition.

It depends on how well we read.”

Yup, my husband Bernard Holland expressed my sentiments about books in 2003, unbeknownst to me, and here I am, some ten years plus later, using machines to prove him true: It’s not your delivery device, it’s your mind. It just never occurred to me to roll over twelve years ago and say “Where do you think this book thing is going?”

The war of off-set versus digital seems to be abating, (publishing was heartbroken when their cover model, Woody Allen, signed with amazon Studios) There is an “Indie” versus “big house” mentality rocking along. I have my eyes (and money) on the Indies as publishing will follow along the same trajectory as music, television and film. Why wouldn’t they?

But at the bottom of all of this is the endless debate over who says what is “worth” reading, who is the gatekeeper, Tom Wolfe’s beloved cultural elite. Now diffuse, it’s getting a little less smoky in the room. Interesting voices are blowing in from all kinds of cracks and crannies. That can only mean greater creativity, more ideas, courage, change.

And no cracked screen or muddy wrinkled page can every change what this sentence does to me: “That was how Arcadio and Amaranta came to speak the Guajiro language before Spanish, and they learned to drink lizard broth and eat spider eggs without Urula’s knowing it, for she was too busy with a promising business in candy animals.”

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hunderd Years of Solitude – click to buy

and do not forget Memories of His Meloncholy Whores or Love in the Time of Cholera

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It’s Not ISIS: It’s the Golden Age of Books

Uber-Agent Andrew Wylie sees amazon employees going to work.

by Beth Wareham

When Andrew Wylie, literary agent to the stars, declared amazon an “ISIS-LIKE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM” at the Toronto Book Fair, it was the metaphorical gunshot that alerted the world that publishing had indeed gone around the bend, was no longer the sharpest knife in the drawer, or even had all its lightbulbs in the chandelier. And just months before, Mr. Wylie wanted amazon to be his buddy, selling all the ebooks that unfortunately, Random House owned. A judge – more and more an important person in publishing – said The Jackal couldn’t do that. He’s called “The Jackal” in the industry for just such moves. After the ISIS-LIKE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM comment, though, I call him The Loon.

This one man has so bullied the publishing elite it is laughable. Whole careers have been built and destroyed based on whether or not Andrew Wylie will sell you a book. But “The Jackal,” as he was known to those shy folk in sensible shoes, was always wily in the right way: he hired the best editors on Earth to work his clients books BEFORE he let a publishing company touch them. Smart man. He knows quality and he knows it sells. Watching arrogant publishers bend to his will was fine sport.

So, as I work with amazon, I dress more and more like ISIS. It just seems to happen. A headscarf to keep out dust as I post a blog. An ammo belt to wear as I upload a book on Kindle Direct Publishing.  Dirty boots to run to the photocopy shop.

What a stupid metaphor, Andrew. As if your life and your problems and your slow down of massive income had a thing to do with a terrible war on the other side of the world.

Come on, fancy commercial publishing, get your metaphors right. The world of books has blown open. The 60 (80?) million bucks you spent on lawyers and price-fixing is gone, pissed away on anything but the art of writing.  Hundreds of books did not get published: You built an empty library and to your surprise big publishing, the world went right on writing and reading.

We found a way.

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Paper Books Must Die Because of This: E-readers Forever

That’s right. That’s a bookmark. I don’t know if it was handmade or you sent away for it like those blankets on QVC with pictures of your grandkids fused into the fabric. I have a fair picture in my head of the woman holding the book; the man we can plainly see.

The world of bookmarks was a dangerous one: mothers and distant female relatives got involved. Unicorns and sparkles, the kitten staring into the mirror and the lion staring back; I’ve been given them all.

I got bookmarks in my stocking each year, handmade, often with googly eyes because my Mom stuck them on every homemade project she ever touched. I hated them on pinecones.   images-3

Later, I just stuck anything between the pages of a book: dry cleaning stub, jury-duty notice, gum wrapper. I’d jam anything in there into anything I was reading at the time, and the books and bookmarks became a story: a note on a napkin in Buenas Aires telling me to meet my husband in the bar, complete with his special little “drawing of   images-4 love,” he always left me, the boarding pass from a flight to Havana, an envelope from a once-loved friend.

Ah, the bookmark. The life it holds.  And as it is with everything that moves forward and changes, something is lost and something is gained.

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Raising 21st Century Writers


When you first see your baby across the room, you’ll know instantly if he or she is a writer. This one is. Pick the right writer name for your baby: Thomas King, Bob Dickens, Jill Grisham, Margaret anything. Lofty, yet accessible. Short for tweets, yet holds some gravitas.

Next, your writer baby will need some deprivation, some hardship that makes good story. This kid won’t soon forget his empty shoe box of pacifiers, a recurring thread in his fiction 25 years later. img_0021-1

Let your baby begin programming their own publishing platform IMMEDIATELY upon birth. They will be born just knowing how to do this. Provide tools and support. Unknown-2

Get your baby used to the tools of a writer. Public readings,images-4 filming book trailers, the works.

Your baby should be encouraged to stay up writing all night until the book is done. images-6 They can grow and play on their own time.

A baby writer also needs a writer “look.” This one is taken.images-7

Now your baby has a book and is ready to cut a deal. Find the right agent for your baby, one that listens and believes in the art form. Make sure the chemistry is right.

Meet with as many publishing companies as you, your baby and your baby’s agent can stand. People will look at you blankly. But a baby is marketing gold and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise. Let them know you’ve been building your baby’s twitter followers since birth. Cite Facebook numbers. Say Reddit and StumbledUpon just to keep your hand in the big game. Unknown-3

The publishing companies turn your baby down.

Then, just when all believe that your baby’s career as a great writer is lost, here comes AT, AMAZON TERRESTRIAL, who, for a few Skittles, will publish your child’s book. images-9

Money is made. It’s dumped directly into the family account. The 21st Century famous writer buys his family a car and they drive off, a happy writing 21st Century family. images-10

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Lena Dunham versus Jane Austen in the “New Adult” Smackdown

Here goes the idiotic “publishing thing” again. A marketing demographic – in this case, young people from the ages of 18 – 22 – is being hijacked as a “genre” for fiction. They call it “new Adult.” If that doesn’t make you, presumably an adult, run and woof into a trash can, I don’t know what will.

Publisher’s Weekly even had a podcast, or something. Young editors, not conversant in how the internet works or in fact their own competition – crowed about this new genre that would step in where chick lit failed.

Here are the words I have for “new Adult” aficionados and the editors and writers who fall for this malarky. You have some shoes to fill:

1. Jane Austen
2. Mark Twain (remember Huck Finn? You read it? In school, maybe?)
3. F Scott Fitzgerald (lyrics by Jay-Z)
4. Charlotte Bronte
5. William Faulkner (Quentin wasn’t very old, kids)
6. Dostoyevsky (You best get off that toilet and write, Lena!)
7. Carson McCullers

“New adult” is a selling term that I should never have heard of. It’s a term that tells you what website to promote a book on.

Do NOT turn your talented authors into writers churning out text for a marketing term. You put them in a ghetto where those who define themselves as “adult” will never find them. For shame.

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