Monday, March 25, 2013

Bologna, London, Frankfurt, Oh My!

It is always around this time of the year that I start to get super jealous of foreign rights agents, like our wonderful agent, Whitney Lee of the Fielding Agency.

She is off to Bologna this week for the rights fair and then to London for theirs, and I wish I could finagle a way to go myself!  There are three major rights fairs that occur every year in Bologna, London, and Frankfurt.  These book fairs are basically where A LOT of foreign rights licensing gets started.  There is a great article on about last year's Bologna book fair that I really enjoyed reading.

This year, Whitney will be including two of my clients' books (THE LOOKING GLASS by Jessica Arnold and THE CLEARING by Dan Newman) in her catalog of available titles .  Apparently a scout contacted her in regards to Dan's book, and I know that Jessica had French interest after her deal was announced, so I have high hopes that some foreign contracts will be coming my way!!

P.S. Just signed a new client with an AWESOME YA trilogy!  I'm really excited to start working with Lauren on her books about a re-imagined world where the South wins the Civil War and creates an isolated society filled with even worse prejudices and an underground world of voodoo.

Oh and if you're interested in learning a fun nerd fact about me, check about my +1 More Thing post!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Who Doesn't Love a Good Memoir?

The editors at Sourcebooks (especially Stephanie Bowen) definitely do! 

I am more than excited about the deal my author Susan Blumberg-Kason has with them for her memoir, GOOD CHINESE WIFE.  It tells the story of her five-year marriage to Li, a man from central China, in the '90s, when China was still very much closed off from the rest of the world. Anxious to "adapt" to Chinese culture, Susan gets into the habit of deferring important decisions to Li and putting up with his abusive behavior in order to be a good Chinese wife. That is, until their son, Jake, is born. That is when she gathers the courage to plan a secret escape with Jake to the safety of her parents’ house in Chicago.

Susan - Wedding
Susan at her wedding.

I was captivated by the story from the start, and I've been working with Susan for about a year on revising the manuscript.  She is such an amazing person to work with because she has been undauntingly (is that a word?) cheerful about making changes to her work and about the whole submission process in general.

I'm also pretty psyched because this deal was my first pre-empt!  I saw a description of a pre-empt (on which is pretty accurate.  A pre-empt is kind of like the "Buy It Now" button on eBay auctions.  Yay for "Buy It Now"!!  See the deal on Publishers Marketplace and check out my +1 More Thing post on Google+ today.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Life Cycle of the North American Submission

I know that the submission process must seem very different from this side of the laptop, but it really isn't. I thought it might be interesting to talk about the submission process as an agent sending to editors.  I was thinking about this as I was having a marathon Life (the BBC TV series) watching day, hence the title.

Phase one:  I have worked with my author to polish and perfect every last bit of the manuscript and it is finally ready to send out into the world.  I compile a list of appropriate editors to send to, based on people I know through networking or by researching deal reports on Publishers Marketplace for editors who have recently bought similar titles.

Phase two: Submission!  I write a submission letter and send it to each editor.  They either: write back immediately requesting it and I joyfully send it to them; they don't write back for a few days and I gently nudge them, then once they respond, send it to them; or they say no and I cry.

This is the most euphoric phase, since once all these great editors start reading, it feels like anything can happen and that they will all make offers on the book for millions of dollars!!

Phase three: I (and my author) wait. Usually for about month.  And it sucks.  Especially towards the end if not many people have responded, or if they have responded with a pass.

Phase four: I finally hear back from everyone.  Hopefully there is at least one offer in there.  If there is, then I put on my contract hat and start negotiating the major points of the contract to make a mini-contract known as a deal memo.  Once that is squared away, I can post a notice on Publishers Marketplace and also roll my sleeves up (I guess I should be putting on a contract shirt instead of a contract hat) and get ready to start working on the actual contract.

If not, I take my lemons and start making lemonade. 


When passing on the manuscript, most editors will offer helpful feedback about what did/did not work for them.  If I see a common thread amongst their responses, i.e. they all say that they didn't like the inclusion of an omniscient narrator or they all felt that the plot dragged in the middle, then I know that I should take these valuable insights and work with the author on incorporating the desired changes into the story, so that for the next round of submissions, the manuscript will be even better!

Phase five: Lather, rinse, repeat.  I keep on submitting until I find the editor that believes as much in my author and his or her vision/work as I do!  It may take a while and I may get grumpy, but once I do, it is WELL worth it!

Even if I don't, the author and I can put aside the project and try something else.  With my one of my clients, Dan Newman, I actually did just that.  I submitted a project of his called THE JOURNALIST without getting a bite.  We put submitting THE JOURNALIST on hold in order to send out his next manuscript, THE CLEARING, which found a home with Emlyn Rees at Exhibit A! 
Sounds pretty similar to sending queries out to agents doesn't it?  It's funny because I know a lot of people don't see agents as being that similar to authors, but when it comes to submitting projects to editors, it's kind of like Querying 2.0.

Even though I hate the waiting part involved, I love everything else about it, even working on revising with editor comments in mind several times.

I have some exciting news involving the submission process (I'm sure you can guess what it is)!  I was hoping to be able to write about it this week, but things haven't been legally squared away just yet.

Also, don't forget to check out my +1 More Thing Post on Google+.

Monday, March 4, 2013

So I'm Kind Of a Psychopath

I saw on Twitter that my client, Dean Haycock, completed a psychopathic trait test online and got a low score.  I decided to go the website and check it out.  I answered all the questions and I got a 130 out of 224!!!  That is "somewhat high."

That's creepy.

I don't know if I agree with all of my category scores.  For instance, I don't think I have high emotional detachment (you guys know I talk about John, my friends, and my parents all the time) and I don't feel that alienated from people.  I think I got a high score on emotional detachment because there was a question that asked if I would feel bad if I saw a homeless person wandering around at night and I said no.  But to be fair, if we went by that question alone, I think that would make everyone in New York an emotionally detached psychopath.

My saving grace is that I made my friend Mari, a pastry sous chef at the restaurant, take the test too -  she also got a somewhat high score and she is one of the least psychopathic people I know.  She always gives me chocolate and cupcakes, which doesn't seem like something that Christian Bale would do in American Psycho.

Anyways, I am going to over-share and show you what my breakdown is:

Practical and Self-Protective Attitudes: High (17/28)

High scorers tend to be on the self-centered side, and adopt a practical attitude toward other people. For example, they may think it's acceptable to take advantage of others or cut corners if it's in their best interests. Low scorers don't share these views, and are reluctant to look out for themselves when doing so might hurt other people.

Social Persuasiveness: Somewhat High (21/28)

High scorers tend to like being in the spotlight. They enjoy persuading others and are good at it; they often make effective leaders. Low scorers don't display many of these behaviors, and are rarely the "life of the party."

Physical Fearlessness: Average (15/28)

High scorers tend to be daring and adventurous. They aren't afraid of physical danger and might even take needless risks as a consequence. Low scorers tend to avoid risks and are frightened of most physically dangerous activities.

Emotional Detachment: High (18/28)

High scorers say that they don't have powerful emotional needs. Although they may enjoy the company of others, they rarely feel close to them. They are the kinds of people who do not fall deeply in love. Low scorers tend to form close and lasting emotional attachments to friends and romantic partners.

Rebelliousness: Somewhat High (12/28)

High scores are nontraditional and question authority frequently. They may be defiant and oppositional to people who give them orders. Low scorers tend to respect and obey authority figures, including parents, teachers, and bosses.

Feelings of Alienation: High (17/28)

High scorers often feel that others don't understand them; they also tend to believe that most of their life's problems are other people's fault. They may feel as though life has handed them an unfair deal. Low scorers tend to blame themselves for most of their difficulties.

Carefree Spontaneity: Average (11/28)

High scorers often act on impulse, sometimes to the point of getting themselves in trouble. They describe themselves as carefree and fun-loving, and as not thinking much about the long-term future. Low scorers are reluctant to act on impulse, and usually think long and hard before making big decisions.

Calmness Under Pressure: Somewhat High (19/28)

High scorers don't get stressed out easily. Even under intense pressure, they can usually remain cool, calm, and collected. Low scorers worry a lot and may become upset and frustrated under pressure.

So I guess don't get me angry?  Or maybe do and I will get Mari to stab you with a chocolate knife. 

PS Hey, future, thanks for coming through!  I can't say anything just yet, but more details to come!  

Also, new thing that I'm doing: click on my Google + profile (the About Me link) to the right to read my +1 post!