Monday, December 16, 2013

The Maze

So I had to learn a pretty tough lesson last week.  It’s not just about working with an author to make a manuscript better; it’s not just about finding an editor who believes in the story as much as you do; it’s the will of the gods.

After MONTHS of working on revisions and waiting on acquisitions, Gabrielle’s book got a pass from Bloomsbury.  Laura Whitaker, the fabulous editor who had been working with Gabby so closely on this project and who definitely gave everything she had trying to get it through, was devastated to tell me that the acquisitions board felt that although the manuscript had a lot of merit, they didn't feel that they could take on the book in its current form.  As a pretty awesome aside, however: Laura told me that the editor for CODE NAME VERITY read the manuscript and thought that Gabby's writing was beautiful and that the story had tremendous potential!

My other author Brianna also had to deal with the heartache of acquisitions meetings for her proposal, but this experience was a little different because Laura was just so invested in Gabby’s project.  She 100% loved it and wanted to be its editor, so it was a little daunting to realize that finding an editor like that isn't always enough to turn a manuscript into a printed (or digital) reality. 

It was also very hard to have to break the news to Gabby, but we ended up having a very positive, proactive discussion about our next steps.  

The most important thing is to never let go of the fact that you may just be one move away from the prize.  I've come to think of the process of getting a book published as being like navigating a maze.  You go forward, make wrong turns, and automatically backtrack and try something new until you come out on the other side.  We've hit a wall right now, but now we know to go in another direction.

I may not post again until the New Year, since Christmas and my birthday (New Year’s Eve) are going to feel like they’re happening right after each other, which they kind of are, so I want to end this post on an inspiring note.  At least I hope it’s inspiring.  In the words of Galaxy Quest, “Never give up!  Never surrender!”  You may end up hitting a lot of walls, but the important thing to remember is to keep playing the game.

More news (and more sales) in the New Year!  I’m making 2014 my best yet!  Fingers crossed for Beth Ellyn and Sara Joiner, two of my authors who are hopefully going to be taken to acquisition meetings in January!

Monday, December 9, 2013

December = Stress

It is officially holiday time!  This year is very different from last year, because I finished all my Christmas shopping in November (go me!), so now all I have to focus on before going home for Christmas and my birthday is following up with/hounding editors and reading manuscripts.

Which is actually kind of a big deal.  I still have people from the summer that I haven't heard back from about various projects; Gabby's book has been with acquisitions for I think around three months at this point; I'm trying to keep track of all the payments that I am waiting for publishers to send for Dan, Susan, Dean, and Brianna; and I have a lot of different things out on submission and I'm dying to sell all of them.  Slightly stressful.  

While most of the projects I have out right now are on their first round of submissions, meaning that there are plenty more rounds in their future, for some reason I am really panicked about trying to land them all with an editor RIGHT NOW.  Maybe because it's the end of the year and for some reason my subconscious doesn't think we're going to make it to 2014?  I have no idea.    

I had a long phone chat with my twin (who isn't really my twin, just one of my best friends who looks a lot like me) and she made my day by sending me chocolates, candy, and makeup in the mail.  I love her.  I should really be the one sending her stuff because she is in med school in Wisconsin, and I have to imagine that is much more stressful than what I'm doing.

She helped me come up with a plan for attacking all the follow ups I have to do.  The goal is to tackle one project at a time and email/call the editors I haven't gotten responses from until I have all my outstanding answers for that submission, and then move on to the next.  Kind of simple as far as plans go, but it makes my brain feel better.  

Hopefully I will be able to get all my answers before Christmas fever sets in.  Wish me luck!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Ones That Got Away

Back from my four-day Thanksgiving vacation and diving into work.  I have a lot of manuscripts I need to work on, and a few editors to follow up with before we get into the holiday no fly zone.  I've been going a little crazy catching up with emails in my inbox, and I'm hoping to start attacking follow up calls with editors.

I can't remember what made me think of this on the train ride back to the city--it was probably because of turkey coma--but somehow I was daydreaming a little bit about how agents don't always have their offers accepted.  The general impression people have is that agents are fairy godmothers and once you land one - poof! - you're done.  All you have to do now is give us wishes to grant.  I kind of thought this too when I first started working in the publishing industry.  Usually all authors are so enthusiastic when they receive offers of representation, that the first person I came across who politely said no thank you kind of blew my mind.

Of course, the fight to get a fairy grandmother is not an easy one, but people forget that agents fight to land authors, too.  In fact, I have three authors (and a fake fourth) who are my writers who got away.

The first two are Chuck McCutcheon and Dave Mark, who I met at an ASJA conference a couple years ago.  They were pitching their non-fiction proposal about how to decipher what Washington politicians say and even though I offered, like, a day after reading it, they ultimately went with a different agent.  I recently read on Publishers Marketplace that the agent sold it to Stephen Hull at University of New England Press, who I know, and my inner voice said, "ARGH!!!  We have that connection.  WE could have made that sale!!!" 

My other author who got away is Heather Webb, who is awesome.  I met her at a conference (I think it was Backspace) where she was part of a group first-pages critique session.  Her first pages were so good that I wanted to make an offer to her then and there, but I held off and asked her to send me the full manuscript.  I ended up wanting her to make some changes that she wasn't really into and she decided to sign with Michelle Brower over at Folio.  I just met Michelle recently at the Egmont holiday party who told me that Heather's book,BECOMING JOSEPHINE, is publishing this December with Penguin, so I can't wait to buy a copy and see how the book looks.  I'm sure it will be amazing!

I read a blog post once about how agents have arch-nemeses and in the most non-serious of ways, I think that Michelle might be mine.  I've had a few authors mention that she was also considering their projects when I emailed them with requests for fulls, and after reading her bio and briefly meeting her, I have a feeling that we have very similar tastes.  

Finally, my fake fourth author who got away is Jackson Pearce.  She is the author of a YA series of fairy tale retelling published by HarperCollins and has another book called TSARINA (which sounds great!) in the works.  I stumbled upon her blog when I was an intern at Writers House.  She didn't have an agent back then, and would write about her struggle to get one and about the book she was writing.  She was a fantastic, hilarious writer and I would think to myself as I read her posts, "Wait for me, Jackson!  I'm coming!"  But of course, she found an agent and a publisher long before I ever could have made her an offer.  That doesn't mean I don't still wish she were mine, haha.

But (here's a lovely realization), for every author I didn't get, I have ten WONDERFUL authors whom I love working with!  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all of them and in the spirit of New York, it's time for me to get back to work!  More next week.  :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Writer's Block

I was sitting at my computer for a good long while trying to figure out what I wanted to write about this week.  And I came up with nothing.  

All the editors that I'm waiting to hear back from are still in the "waiting" box (which is a box that lives in my mind and also in a Word document), I'm still super psyched for Thanksgiving, I'm still working away trying to read lots of editor revisions.  

But then I came up with a brilliant way to keep myself from thinking too hard and hopefully provide some great insights for you.  Tom!  You may or may not remember, but Tom is one of my new roommates and he works in the marketing department of NYU Press.  Given that Dan was talking about the some of the social media and self-promotion he's involved in when I interviewed him on his pub day, and that this is something that is becoming more and more relevant for authors today, I figured what could be better than banging on the next bedroom door and getting some insider information?

Have you met Tom?

First off, can you tell me a little bit about what you do at NYU Press?

I'm the Marketing Associate/Exhibits Coordinator/Awards Coordinator. I have a few different hats. I manage all of our awards submissions for each season, as well as booking conferences, designing promotional materials, organizing receptions, and other related conference-related details. On the marketing side of things, I help develop marketing plans for each of our books, create promotional materials for authors, and act as a liaison between authors and the various members of the press. 

Do you think its important for authors to take marketing and publicity into their own hands in addition to what is done for them by their publisher?  Why?

Yes, definitely. While we're absolutely here to help, if you're a ruthless self promoter in every regard your book will only become more widely recognized. One of our authors, for example, hand mailed over 1,200 postcards for her book. The more ways you can get your work out there, the better! 

What are some essential things that you think authors should do in terms of marketing themselves/their works?

Kind of related to the postcard story above is the idea of promoting yourself wherever you go. Authors regularly ask for materials for various conferences and other events that they're going to, which is really key. Having your book on display (if possible) is one thing, but having something to show people that you're talking to is awesome too. We develop postcards and flyers (with discount codes and order info), so potential customers can easily get back to our website and order from there if they'd like to.

What is the best way to spread the word about yourself and your book online?

Facebook, Twitter, and blogging platforms! If you have a fairly large social media following, there's almost nothing more direct than reaching out to people via whatever platform is best for you. Blogging is great, too. We have a press blog on our website which our authors regularly contribute pieces to, many of which tie into their books or related subject matter. It's a really quick and easy way to get your name and your work out there, especially if something you write gets widely shared.

How useful is it to use programs like Google Analytics or to know about SEO when being involved in social media to promote your book?

I think that both of those are great assets to have regardless (I need to brush up on it myself...), but not entirely necessary. When it comes to social media, it's more a question of eye catching and concise as opposed to certain buzzwords. Getting your book to come up in search results, however, is an entirely different game which I am not very familiar with.

There you have it.  If you can think of any other questions you wish I had asked Tom, let me know in the comments section and I'll corner him in the kitchen and ask!

Also, Jane Friedman has a great post about marketing and publicity on her blog that you should check out, too.  And please, please, please check out my +1 More Thing post on Google+ this week.  It's worth it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

(Popular) Historical Fiction

Ever wondered why historical fiction authors only ever seem to write about Queen Elizabeth or Marie Antoinette?  Me too.  I have a fantastic historical fiction author (well, two really, but this post primarily applies to one of them) named Meghan who has written an amazing manuscript about Blackbeard and has another work-in-progress about famed dancer and courtesan Carolina Otero.  Editors have been incredibly enthusiastic about her writing style - in particular my good friend Laura Fazio over at NAL.

She shared some advice about writing historical fiction with Meghan and me that I found interesting.  Laura said that for books in that genre to do really well, they need to be about a popular person, either told from that person's perspective or through about that person through another character's story or set in a popular time period with recognizable characters.  If its in an era that reader don't know much about or about a person that isn't well known, it's a much harder sell.  Oh, and also the narrator should be female, ideally.

Because Meghan's book about Carolina Otero takes place during La Belle Epoque, she is working on it to make it more commercial, and we are currently giving her book about Blackbeard, RED SKY IN THE MORNING, a rest because it has a male narrator and yet is not a swashbuckling manly man story, which makes it difficult to categorize.

I've found myself reading a lot of historical fiction lately, and the titles I've been drawn to confirm all of Laura's statements.  I just finished CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER by Michelle Moran, which tells the story of Kleopatra Selene and her twin brother, who are raised in Rome by Octavian's family after their parents' suicide, and am getting ready to follow it up with another book of Moran's: THE SECOND EMPRESS, about Napoleon's second wife, Princess Marie-Louise.  Both books examine the lives of famous people through the lens of another character and both take place in well-known times.  I can think of plenty of other historical fiction books that also follow this recipe: MRS. LINCOLN'S DRESSMAKER for example.

Meghan is trying to rework her novel and ideas for subsequent ones to fit this mold and my other historical fiction author, Jane Ann, has a manuscript that she is getting ready for submission that takes place in medieval France that has already gotten some interest.  While a big part of me understand and agrees with these "requirements" for historical fiction, another part of me wonders why readers aren't interested in being taken to periods and introduced to people that they've never heard of.  Then I think to myself, "Well, would I, for instance, be interested in reading about a key figure from the history of Belarus?"  Probably not, but maybe if it was a great story!  What do you think?

Monday, November 11, 2013

What Do You Think About MFAs?

First off, I have to announce that I have two FANTASTIC new authors!  Congrats to Nicole Trilivas and Kara Tatelbaum!  Very excited about them and their books.  Nicole is my first New Adult author and Kara came to me through a mutual friend, editor Kendra Levin from Viking, and has a great dance memoir.

They are very talented and decided to write for the thrill of it, which brings me to my topic of the day: MFAs.  Some people have them; some people don't.  Some can't stop raving about them; some people think they are useless.  What do you think?

I'm really interested to hear peoples' opinions on this.  An advanced degree in creative writing doesn't necessarily mean that you can write well, but it is certainly helpful in learning to craft a story.  It's like having a big, professional critique group.  As it says on DIY MFA (for whom I did an interview a long time ago that I don't think was ever posted), all you need is to write, read, and have a community.  And if you're going to have these things, why not have them come with a Master's Degree?

I've been to a mixer hosted by Columbia's MFA program and met some interesting people there, and I can see the potential benefit of involving yourself in those kinds of programs, but as an agent, I don't automatically go "OOOOH, shiny!" when I receive a query from someone who has an MFA.  It's an indicator that the writing will probably be good, but I still want to judge that for myself.

I have, however, recently learned that having an MFA is a necessity if you want to do something like work as a professor of creative writing at a university.  Makes sense.  So then: is the purpose of an MFA in creative writing to give you the tools necessary to teach creative writing or is it to make you a writer?

Monday, November 4, 2013


Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is coming, which means one thing: PIES.

Sarah and I had an exploring-the-city day last week and discovered a cute pie shop in Brooklyn called Four & Twenty Blackbirds.  If you live in the city, you should definitely check it out. 

If you don't, they recently published a cookbook and also have some recipes online.  I found one for Salty Honey Pie on a DailyCandyemail and am thinking about amazing all my relatives this year and making it for the holiday.

In case you want to impress and dazzle anyone, too, here is the recipe!

Salty Honey Pie 
Serves eight to ten
For the 9-inch double crust
1¼ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
1½ tsp. granulated sugar
¼ lb. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ c. ice water
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
½ c. ice
1. Stir the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula.
2. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).
3. Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a bowl or large measuring cup.
4. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated.
5. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tbsp. at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.
6. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine. Shape dough into a flat disc.
7. Flour a flat surface, then roll out dough into a 12- to 13-inch circle. Carefully place dough in 9-inch pie pan, trim hanging edges, and crimp. Wrap pan in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give crust time to mellow. (Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)
For the filling
¼ lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
¾ c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. white cornmeal
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla paste (Nielsen-Massey makes a readily available one)
¾ c. honey
3 lg. eggs
½ c. heavy cream
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 to 2 tsp. flake sea salt, for finishing
1. Have ready the frozen or refrigerated pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan.
2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°.
3. In a medium bowl, stir the melted butter, sugar, cornmeal, salt, and vanilla paste.
4. Stir in the honey and the eggs one at a time, followed by the heavy cream and vinegar.
5. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator or freezer, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell (or strain it into a separate bowl and then pour it into the shell).
6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, 30-35 minutes through baking.
7. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed up high and the center is no longer liquid but looks set like gelatin and is golden brown on top.
8. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2-3 hours.
9. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
10. Reheat or serve at room temperature. (The pie will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 2 days.)
P.S.  Happy birthday to my wonderful mom on Thursday!!  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Publication Day!

Happy pub day to Dan!  In celebration of THE CLEARING's release, I invited Dan to be a guest blogger today and answer some questions about his experiences after his book contract was signed.  Like Disney princess movies, I feel like a lot of authors fantasize about seeing their work in print, but the dream ends right after they land an editor, so I thought it might be interesting to hear about the mysteries beyond the veil.  

They all landed their man, but now what?

Without further ado, here is Dan!

For everyone who doesn't know, tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to start writing.

First off, thanks so much for inviting me to do this; it’s a real treat – and a privilege.

I guess for me, writing is a retreat into something I could always do fairly easily – that’s not to say I did it well, but rather I found it less painful than many other things.  I moved around a lot as a kid, growing up all over the world following my father’s career in International Development, so I changed schools a lot.  I suspect writing was a constant that I could rely on from place to place.  I knew I wanted to make a career in writing somehow, but I only really began writing novels about sixteen years ago.  (Yeah – it’s taken that long to get here...)  It’s funny, before the first manuscript, I talked a lot about wanting to write a book, but did little about it.  Finally one day I was visiting my dad and having a beer with him, and I guess he’d heard it enough times.  He said, “If you want to write a book, write a bloody book.”  There’s more sage advice in that than immediately meets the eye.  Anyway, a week later book one, chapter one got rolling.   And a quick sixteen years later I’ve got a bloody book published.  (Thanks, Dad.)

What was your road to publication like?

If I look at it just in the context of this book - The Clearing - I have to say it’s been great fun.  I’m represented by the right person – and that’s important – because you will find that you feed (or starve) off the energy of the people working with you on something like this.  Carrie was (and is) so enthusiastic about the project that I couldn't help but be buoyed up by it – even when she was telling me to get rid of half the manuscript...  And I’m not kidding: The Clearing that you read now is literally half of the original story line.  So having an agent – and ultimately an editor – that makes you feel good about the hours and effort you’re pouring into it is really important.  And hopefully we all get to experience what I call “Woohoo day”: that’s the day Carrie called me to say she’d landed me a two book deal.  And yes, I actually woohoo’d – and right in the middle of a very straight laced corporate office.  You’ve never seen so many heads pop up above cubicle walls.

After the contract was signed, were there any unexpected aspects of the publishing process that surprised you?

The biggest surprise was the copy editing phase.  The copy editors really take a microscope to the manuscript.  They challenge everything – from technical aspects of language to plot to any factual claims you make.  It can be intimidating at first, but once you realize they’re trying to bullet-proof the manuscript, and ultimately make it better, you get onside.  By the end, you really appreciate their detail and respect their craft.  I think it’s important to trust the people involved.  Leverage their experience; heed their wisdom.

How do you think your manuscript has changed since you started working with your editor?

The story shifted a degree, not for better or worse, but it shifted.  They were small but important details, but probably only important to me.  Of course, as the author, you tend to perceive everything they do as heavy handed at first: they’re ripping the arms off your baby.  But a good editor (and I have a very good editor), gets you onside.  And let’s remember: by the time you have an editor, you’re not strictly the sole owner of the novel anymore...  so you need make room for their input.

Did you feel like you were involved in the various stages your book went through?  What kind of input did you have?

Big yes to this.  I felt very involved, from the copy editing review through to the cover design, I think I was really treated well.  The publisher is putting up the money and taking all the risk, so they quite rightly get to make many of the calls, but I feel like my experience was a real collaboration.  There’s probably a few things I’d argue back into the manuscript in a perfect world, but that’s the nature of collaboration... give a little, get a little.

What part of the publication process has been the most interesting/fun? What part has been the hardest?

Getting to see the cover concepts and watching that develop is all kinds of fun.  The whole project takes a giant leap forward the day you see those concepts for the first time; all of a sudden it starts to look like a real book.  That may have been “Woohoo Day, The Sequel.”  I’m pretty sure I did some on-the-spot hopping, too.  The hardest part (for me) is the promotional element.  I think that the part of me that makes me enjoy writing is the same part of me that least likes putting myself out there.  I think I sit alone under a single light typing deep into the night because I quite like that isolation.  I’m no hermit, but I’m very comfortable with myself for long stretches of uninterrupted time.  Suddenly having to hoist a brightly coloured flag and shout, “Look at me! Look at me,” doesn't feel like a natural part of the writing cycle...  but I’m quickly discovering it really is.

What have you had to do to promote your book?  How important do you think social media is in promoting THE CLEARING?

Well, this has been the steepest learning curve of the whole thing.  I've been engaging in a number of Social Media elements, and I've gotten more comfortable with it.  You can catch me on Twitter, but I still find myself conflicted in that I’m there almost solely to create a network of people who might like to read the book – and that feels a little disingenuous.  Having said that, I've also got to know a few folks and that is eminently more satisfying.   It’s not something I think I’ll ever be completely comfortable with as a tool for getting the novel out there, but I suspect I just need to look myself in the mirror more regularly and say, “Hey, Newman – get over it.”

Anything that new authors can learn from your experiences?

If I had any advice at all it would be these two things:  One: if you want to write, if you really want to do it, hunker down, commit to the long haul and persevere.  That’s certainly been my experience.  Two: find someone – or a couple of someones – who are unabashedly in support of you, and to whom you can say, “I suck, I hate writing and I quit.”  To which they say, “Okay, feel better?  Done with your pity party?  Now keep going.”  Those people are vital (and rare).  Thankfully, I’m married to one.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming book launch party!  What has organizing that been like? 

Ah, the launch party.  I’m stacking the deck in ridiculous proportions on that score, filling it with all kinds of folks I know.  And I’m not above mob-style leverage either: if I have dark secrets or compromising photos, I’ll use ‘em to get you to come.  That way I won’t be standing there speaking to three strangers and some poor sap who happened to be there to fix the lights.  That’s my nightmare: no one turns up and it’s just me standing there, book in hand, and four uncomfortable looking people who all wished they were closer to the door...  hang on, I need to go get a paper bag to breathe into.  But no – it should be fun.  I’m having it at a local independent bookstore – a beautiful place called A Different Drummer Books.  It’s one of those book stores that actually look the way you want a book store to be: a welcoming place to linger among the spines.  The launch will be a casual get together with some speaking, some coffee and sweet treats, a bit of reading, and hopefully a few books sold along the way.  If you’re in the neighborhood...

Your contract with Exhibit A is for two books.  Does it feel weird having a deadline to write another book?  Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect to read next?

Well, the truth is I do have a sequel to The Clearing almost complete.  That’s been fun – taking the characters on past the conclusion of the last book is quite a satisfying adventure.  I also already knew exactly where those story lines needed to go, which was kind of strange and unexpected – like a movie I’d already seen.   So writing it has been fairly satisfying.  I also have another project that I’m very keen to get into print, it’s one I really believe in.  I’m not sure which of these will be submitted as book two...  I’ll have to have a long conversation with my wily agent about that.  She has proven to have some pretty darn good instincts...

What's a fun fact about yourself?

Well, here’s one:  I’m deaf in one ear.  Now don’t go awww and look at me like I’m some wounded puppy.  It has some huge advantages.  For example, if I don’t like what I’m hearing, I don’t hear it.  “I’m sorry, what was that?”  And if it’s noisy at night when I’m trying to sleep, one roll and it’s all nice and quiet.  Of course, having one also ear means I can’t tell the direction that a sound comes from - you need two for that – so it frustrates the (insert expletive here) out of me when people call out to me at a mall or at a sports field...  I have no idea where they are and I end up looking all around like some damn lost tourist.  Hmm, does this count as a fun fact?  Not sure, but too late: there it is.

Thanks Carrie!

Make sure you buy a copy of Dan's book!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Exciting News...And Also Some Not Exciting News

So I got some great news last week, very unexpectedly.  Dean, whose book MURDEROUS MINDS pubs March 6, has been invited to launch his book at Brainwave series at the Rubin Museum.  Brainwave pairs scientists with other figures to talk about how our minds work.  Last year, Kevin Dutton, the author of THE WISDOM OF PSYCHOPATHS, was paired with Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame!

I am both incredibly excited for Dean and a little heartbroken that Michael C. Hall has already been part of Brainwave...John loves Dexter and he's gotten me hooked on the show.  Looking forward to seeing that happen and also hopefully lots of book sales for Dean.  This = exciting news.

Related to books publishing, but on the other end of the spectrum, Jessica's pub date for THE LOOKING GLASS, originally in January, has been pushed back to April.  This = not so exciting news.

I'm hoping that the extra time to publish will mean some extra attention for Jessica and for the opportunity for her to get involved in Month9 giveaways, blog interviews, and the like.  She is technically my "first" author, since I met her back during my Writers House days, and I'm going to be so happy when her book is in print and getting great reader feedback!

Also, countdown time for Dan, who will be my first published author!!  THE CLEARING pubs on October 29 (very soon!) and you can pre-order it on Amazon.  If you're in Canada on November 2, you should consider dropping by his launch party at A Different Drummer Books in Burlington, Ontario and picking up a copy in person :)  Obviously, this is very exciting news.

Literary agency writers - Dan Newman
This is who you should bug for an autographed copy.

Final news for now (which is not exciting): I have learned a valuable lesson about submitting in the summer. It sucks. Most of the projects I sent to editors from June-August are still be considered/read, and I know the extra-long wait time is making some of my authors antsy.  I don't blame the editors, because I know how overwhelming the summer months can be and how difficult it is to bring a project to the table during prime vacation-taking time, but my new rule of thumb is to hold off on sending anything out during summers and around the winter holidays.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mystery, Inc.

I posted a link on my Google+ page last week to Operation Awesome's blog, and if you saw, you probably were able to guess that I was their Mystery Agent for October!  I read through the first 250 words of 30 entries, and even though I was supposed to pick a winner, I ended up having two winners and two sub-winners ( I asked those authors to send me the first 100 pages of their work).  My two winners were New Adult entries and my sub-winners were MG/YA, so I wonder if my subconscious is on the lookout to board the NA train, especially since I am working with a fantastic New Adult author to polish her book a little and will hopefully sign her soon. 

In other equally fun news, Gabrielle was in the city this past Friday and I got to take her out to lunch and catch up.  Even more exciting was that her hopefully soon-to-be editor from Bloomsbury joined us so that the two of them could finally meet in person (aaaand I hope I just didn't jinx the book deal by writing that).

Gabby has been in a very unique and wonderful-yet-nerve-wracking situation.  The editor in question has loved her book from the start and been a fantastic champion for it.  She has had phone conversations and given in-depth revision notes to Gabby to perfect THE HOUSE BEHIND to give it a better chance of breezing through her acquisitions meeting.  Gabby and I have edited and added and tweaked to death, and now the book is up for consideration at Bloomsbury's acquisition meeting.  As I'm sure you can imagine, it is very rare for an editor to be this involved without having a signed contract filed away somewhere, and although it is absolutely amazing, it also can bring on the anxiety like nothing else.

I'm hoping to hear from the editor later this week, and in the spirit of Peter Pan, if you could all clap if you believe in book deals, that would be great.

Monday, September 30, 2013

New Adult

Back to my normal schedule this past week, which was a relief!  I got to send out Suzanne's manuscript and also Gabrielle's THE HOUSE BEHIND.  Gabby and I have been working on revisions for this book with an editor at Bloomsbury, so although we are sending it out into the wide world, I have my fingers crossed that it will find a home at Bloomsbury in the end.

Also, I think in response to something I posted on my Google+ page, I've been getting a lot of New Adult submissions lately.  Several of them have been very intriguing and almost right, and as I was looking through them, I realized that the reason that certain New Adult-y elements are probably missing from these stories is that the authors aren't 100% sure what New Adult is.

When it first became an actual genre, I was very confused by it.  You would think New Adult would just be an extension of YA for slightly older readers, and though it does take on very mid-twenties' topics like figuring out one's career and being in college, what New Adult really seems to be is romance for a younger audience.  


I initially was hoping that New Adult was going to be older YA, because I am not a big romance person, but now I am seeing a lot of great potential for books that are blends of these two things.  For instance, here are some recent Publishers Marketplace deal memos for New Adult books that I've found exciting:

Lorin Oberweger and Veronica Rossi writing as Noelle August's BOOMERANG, pitched as THE HANGOVER meets THE INTERNSHIP, set in an online dating service that aims to be for millennials on the rebound, to Tessa Woodward at William Morrow, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in 2014, by Tracey Adamsand Josh Adams at Adams Literary on behalf of Wildcard Storymakers (World English).

USA Today bestselling author Renee Carlino's self-published SWEET THING, in which a recent graduate moves to New York's Lower East Side to take over her late father's coffee shop and unexpectedly falls for a charming musician on the edge of stardom, to Jhanteigh Kupihea atAtria, in a good deal for three books, for digital publication August 20, 2013 followed by print in January 2014, by Christina Hogrebe at Jane Rotrosen Agency (World).

Brenda St. John Brown's SWIMMING TO TOKYO, a New Adult Contemporary set in the the tangled streets of Tokyo, in which a girl and a guy find each other and learn that love, letting go, and language lessons make for an unforgettable summer, to Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill Contemporary, in a nice deal, for publication in November 2014, byMarlene Stringer at Stringer Literary Agency (World).

USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author Ruthie Knox writing as Robin York's debut DEEPER, featuring a college sophomore whose world is torn apart when an ex-boyfriend posts embarrassing and intimate photos of her on-line; her developing relationship with the campus bad boy ends up being the only that will get her through and allow her to face an uncertain future, to Shauna Summers of Ballantine Bantam Dell, in a two-book deal, by Emily Sylvan Kim at the Prospect Agency (World).  **Yay for Prospect!!**

Author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy, a fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, starting with MORTAL, for publication in winter 2015, to Michelle Nagler atBloomsbury Children's, by Tamar Rydzinski at Laura Dail Literary Agency(world).

Marvel author and graphic artist Ange Guera's BLOOD CURSE, pitched as Marie-Antoinette meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to Maria Gomez at Amazon Crossing, for publication in 2014, by Christine Witthohn at Book Cents Literary Agency and Marlene Stringer atStringer Literary Agency on behalf of Bragelonne (World English).

C.L. Gaber and V.C. Stanley's JEX MALONE, Jex and three teenage friends snoop through her detective father's cold case files to investigate the disappearance of a young girl who vanished two decades prior, to Jacquelyn Mitchard at Merit Press, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2014, by Jill Kramer at Waterside Productions (NA)