What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Comments

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 30 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
<<August 2015>>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
      01
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     
new posts in all blogs
Viewing Blog: Jennifer Represents..., Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 274
Visit This Blog | Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Blog Banner
where book news, agentish advice, party planning, cute animal pictures and general shenanigans collide.
Statistics for Jennifer Represents...

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 7
1. DARK METROPOLIS and GLITTERING SHADOWS by Jaclyn Dolamore


I can't tell you how proud I am of these chilling, beautifully written and thoroughly wonderful fantasies from Jaclyn Dolamore, DARK METROPOLIS and GLITTERING SHADOWS.

The books are set in a Cabaret-esque world that is lush and corrupt and darkly shimmering, and feature things like Dangerous Magic! Awesome Lesbians! Political Intrigue! Creepy Necromancers! And basically every other fun thing to read about. If you haven't read book one, it is now available in paperback... and today, the sequel arrives in stores. WOOHOO!

BOOK ONE: THE DARK METROPOLIS (now available in paperback - check out the new cover!):

People are disappearing.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder hears the rumors, but she can barely make ends meet, let alone worry about strangers who've gone missing. Her mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. Thea must make a living for both of them in this sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.

Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club, attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets -- even as he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they discover a new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. Soon, Thea and Freddy begin to realize nightmarish truths about the city's dark underbelly, and that time is running out for Nan. And if they're not careful, the masterminds behind the disappearances will be after them, too.

BOOK TWO: GLITTERING SHADOWS  (out today!):

The revolution is here.

Bodies line the streets of Urobrun; a great pyre burns in Republic Square. The rebels grow anxious behind closed doors while Marlis watches as the politicians search for answers-and excuses-inside the Chancellery.

Thea, Freddy, Nan, and Sigi are caught in the crossfire, taking refuge with a vibrant, young revolutionary and a mysterious healer. As the battle lines are drawn, a greater threat casts a dark shadow over the land. Magic might be lost . . . forever.

This action-packed sequel to DARK METROPOLIS weaves political intrigue, haunting magic, and heartbreaking romance into an unforgettable narrative. Dolamore's lyrical writing and masterfully crafted plot deliver a powerful conclusion.

BUY THE BOOKS: Powells, IndieBound, Oblong, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold.

0 Comments on DARK METROPOLIS and GLITTERING SHADOWS by Jaclyn Dolamore as of 6/16/2015 2:45:00 PM
Add a Comment
2. Happy Minnow Bly Day!


Happy book birthday to Stephanie Oakes and her debut novel THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY. . . basically, I am obsessed with it and I hope you will be, too.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.
And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of if she's willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

Gorgeously written, breathlessly page-turning and sprinkled with moments of unexpected humor, this harrowing debut is perfect for readers of Emily Murdoch's "If You Find Me" and Nova Ren Suma's "The Walls Around Us," as well as for fans of Orange is the New Black."

From the STARRED Publishers Weekly review: "[S]uspense, dread, and hope intermingle in Oakes’s charged, page-turning debut." 

From the STARRED Booklist review: "[H]er story unfolds in a disaffected, yet bone-chillingly beautiful, first-person narrative."

Ask for THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY from your library, or buy a copy at your local indie bookstore. You can also find it at Oblong, Powells, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold.

0 Comments on Happy Minnow Bly Day! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
3. SIX BY SONDHEIM for writers


The other day I watched the terrific documentary SIX BY SONDHEIM. (available streaming on HBO-Go, or on Amazon or iTunes.) It's part biography, part show-biz history, following Sondheim's career guided by six important songs in his life. It's excellent, and I was particularly struck by how many nuggets of wisdom I found, profound insights into not just Sondheim's creative process, but a creative life in general. Though he is writing musicals, obviously, I think that much of this is applicable to novelists as well. Just replace "put on a show" with "publish." You should watch the doccy yourself because I can't do it justice... but I can provide six things that I found worth remembering:


1) On "writing what you know":  "Part of the author is always in what he writes, and partly [it's] a work of imagination. It's like what Faulkner said about Observation, Imagination and Experience - you can do without one of them, but you can't do without two."

Sondheim was paraphrasing Faulkner, but yeah. This is good advice. You may not have lived something yourself, but if you have good observation and imagination skills, you can still bring it alive on the page.

2) On harsh reality: At 15, he showed Oscar Hammerstein something he'd written.... Oscar was nice about it, but Stephen said he wanted to get REAL feedback, just like he would rate it against something professional. (Young Stephen thought his own work was terrific, and was pretty sure he was about to be the first 15 year old with a Broadway show.)

Oscar said,"Oh well in that case, this is the worst thing I've ever read." Sounds pretty harsh, but Oscar then went on to show young Stephen point-by-point how his work was failing, and Stephen had to agree. Awkward! But a learning moment. You may not want to hear that your work isn't good enough - but if you are submitting to agents and editors for publication, they will expect your work to be on par with that of a professional.

And even excellent professionals get a LOT of stinging rejections!

3) On imitation: "One of the things he [Oscar] told me to do was not to imitate him. 'If you write what you feel it will come out true. If you write what I feel, it will come out false. Write for yourself and you'll be 90% ahead of everyone else.'"

4) On learning to write: "You can't learn in a classroom and you can't learn on paper. You can only learn by writing and doing. Writing and doing. A friend says 'write something, put it on. Write something, put it on.' -- well, you can't always put it on, but that's the only way to do it. That's how everyone who's ever been good got good.

5) On failure: "I experienced real failure when I did I Hear a Waltz... we thought, well, this'll be an easy job and we'll make a quick buck. Those are reasons never to write a musical.

It was a respectable show. It was not lambasted by the critics. It was politely received by critics, and politely received by audiences, and had no passion, and no blood, and no reason to be. And I learned from that, the only reason to write is from love. You must not write because you think it's going to be a hit or because it's expedient, or anything like that. It's so difficult to write, it's so difficult to put on a show, that if you have the privilege of being able to write it, write it out of passion

That's what failure taught me." 

6) PROTIP: "I work entirely with Blackwing pencils for a number of reasons. One is, it's very soft lead, and therefore wears down very quickly, so you can spend lots of time resharpening. Which is a lot easier and more fun than writing." ;-)




0 Comments on SIX BY SONDHEIM for writers as of 5/25/2015 7:07:00 PM
Add a Comment
4. New Writers Digest Class: Writing and Selling Children's Books 5/21

I'm teaching a new Writers Digest Webinar this Thursday with critique incuded, and if you are interested in writing for kids, you should be in on it! The class on Middle Grade Fiction has been by far the most well-attended and often-asked-about - I think I've repeated it three times. But I kept getting requests for Picture Books, too! So this is a new class: WRITING AND SELLING CHILDREN'S BOOKS.

The live webinar is Thursday, 5/21 at 1pm eastern. Critique of your work OR query is included, and all questions will be answered.

If you cannot attend live DON'T WORRY! Everyone who signs up for the live webinar WILL get a critique and ALL questions will be answered, even if you can't be "in the room" on the day you'll have the opportunity to send questions in. And you'll have access to the program materials for a year.

The class will cover a brief overview of the children's market from baby books to middle grade fiction (some of this will be info that has been covered in prior MG only webinars). The ALL NEW sections are all about picture books, chapter books and early readers, including common Picture Book pitfalls, self-editing picture books, agent-snagging tips and more.

Some success stories:

I found my client Jennifer Torres from a WD Webinar when she submitted an early version of her awesome middle grade book STEF SOTO, TACO QUEEN to be critiqued. Not too long after that, she revised, queried me, I signed her, and we sold her book in a two-book deal to Little Brown.

I also saw this on twitter - Julie Falatko not only got an agent after the critique, but that agent went on to sell THREE books to Viking/Penguin. Awesome!




There's more info on the Writers Digest Website - hope to "see" you there! 

0 Comments on New Writers Digest Class: Writing and Selling Children's Books 5/21 as of 5/19/2015 12:19:00 PM
Add a Comment
5. Happy Book Birthday to MRS NOODLEKUGEL AND DROOLY THE BEAR!

In the hilarious third book in the MRS NOODLEKUGEL series, Nick and Maxine encounter meet, and lose, and have to find, a large and rather... well, DROOLY new friend.

From the publisher: "When their father decides to compete to be speed-knitting champion of the world, Nick and Maxine are happy to stay with their babysitter, Mrs. Noodlekugel, along with her talking cats and four mice who wear glasses. What they don't expect is a dripping-wet, whiskered man in the kitchen the next morning. Captain Noodlekugel has left his seafaring life to train animals for the circus, and he's even brought with him a hefty bear named Drooly for practice. But whenever he tries to teach Drooly to dance, the bear wobbles and falls asleep on the tulips. When Drooly goes missing, the siblings must try to figure out where a big clumsy bear might go!"

Perfect for little kids with big imaginations (or actually any aged people who love a huge dose of funny in their chapter books!) Pinkwater is at the top of his game, and illustrator Adam Stower has outdone himself with his goofy and adorable drawings.

Also, the first two installments of the series are now available in paperback, and each book does stand alone.

Buy the book from your local independent bookstore, Oblong, Powells, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or wherever find books are sold.

0 Comments on Happy Book Birthday to MRS NOODLEKUGEL AND DROOLY THE BEAR! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
6. Happy Book Birthday to HOW TO READ A STORY by Kate Messner


Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.


Storytellers Kate Messner and Mark Siegel chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and--finally--coming to The End. This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning.

 Ask for HOW TO READ A STORY from your library, or get your own copy at your local independent bookstore, or Oblong, or Bookstore Plus, or anywhere fine books are sold! 

0 Comments on Happy Book Birthday to HOW TO READ A STORY by Kate Messner as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7. Happy Book Birthday to Lois Lane: FALLOUT!

A YA novel about Lois Lane as a modern teen reporter? By the amazing Gwenda Bond? Um... YES PLEASE!

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over--and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won't be that easy. Agroup known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They're messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it's all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy . . .

KIRKUS *starred review*: "A nifty investigative mystery akin to Veronica Mars or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Readers are in for a treat. A spectacular prose start for DC Comics' spectacular lady.

"Lois Lane has always been one of my favorite characters in American literature. Who is this human, un-powered woman who so easily stands up beside the most iconic superhero of all time? Gwenda Bond's book asks, who was Lois as a teenager? The answer is a spirited, engrossing story that kept me flipping pages and rooting for stubborn, clever, fearless Lois Lane."  -- Shannon Hale, NYT bestselling author of Dangerous and Princess Academy

BUY THE BOOK: At your local independent bookstore, Powells, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold. 

And check out this lovely letter from Editor Beth, who helped Gwenda bring her version of Lois to the world.

0 Comments on Happy Book Birthday to Lois Lane: FALLOUT! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
8. BACKLASH by Sarah Darer Littman

BACKLASH is not "officially" out until next week, but I've started seeing it in stores already sooo... I don't mind bragging about it! 
 
This is a contemporary YA about cyber-bullying from multiple points of view - it's timely and so important.

BACKLASH by Sarah Darer Littman
Scholastic Press


He says: You’re an awful person.

He says: What makes you think I’d ever ask you out?

He says: The world would be a better place without you in it.

Lara just got told off on Facebook.

She thought that Christian liked her, that he was finally going to ask her to his school’s homecoming dance. They’ve been talking online for weeks, so what’s with the sudden change? And where does he get off saying horrible things on her wall? Even worse — are they true?

It’s been a long time since Lara’s felt this bad, this depressed, this ugly. She’s worked really hard to become pretty and happy — and make new friends after what happened in middle school.

Bree used to be best friends with overweight, depressed Lara, but constantly listening to Lara’s issues got to be too much. Secretly, Bree’s glad that Christian called Lara out. Lara’s not nearly as amazing as people think.

But no one realized just how far Christian’s harsh comments would push Lara. Not even Bree.

As online life collides with real life, things spiral out of control, and not just for Lara. Because when the truth starts to come together, the backlash is even more devastating than anyone could have ever imagined.

What happens online doesn't always stay online .
. .

Buy BACKLASH from Your Local Independent Bookstore, Oblong, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble or Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold. (Or, request it from your library!)

0 Comments on BACKLASH by Sarah Darer Littman as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
9. The Bologna Children's Book Fair

Entrance. This year's theme is Alice.
I'm in Bologna, Italy at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. Many folks on twitter have asked about the fair, especially as so many agents attend and tweet about it! -- so I thought I'd do a little post about what the heck goes on here.

First of all, there is the show floor - if you've ever been to a trade show like ALA or BEA you'll be familiar with the sight of row after row of booths filled with books from every publisher in the US. The difference with Bologna is, there are not only booths for every publisher in America... there are booths for every publisher in the entire world. Publishers get a chance to look at the best of the best, so that they might "buy in" books from other countries to add to their own lists. It's truly amazing and inspiring to see what is being published elsewhere.
Costumed characters must've been boiling!

Also, as with any convention center, you get the assorted giant characters wandering around, weird giveaways and photo ops, lousy food, temperatures that range from oven-blasting heat to ice cold in the space of a few yards, etc.

The second piece of the fair is the Art. There are art galleries, art prizes, and perhaps most striking, the Walls of Art. These are white walls surrounding the main hall, that get papered over by hopeful illustrators displaying their wares. By the end of the fair, these walls are so crowded with artwork that it is dripping all over the floor.

Day 1 - the walls are just starting to fill.
Day 2 - More art to come!
Now, the part of the fair that AGENTS think is the most important: Rights selling at the Agent's Centre. You'll recall this blog post from a few years ago explaining subsidiary rights in a nutshell -- well, the rights that agents are mostly here to sell are foreign/translation rights.

One side of the agent's centre
Agents and foreign rights managers each have an assigned table in the Agent's Centre. From about 9am to about 6, agents will sit at one of these 100+ tables taking meetings. Every half hour, a new meeting. Some agents' schedules are so intense that they don't even build time in for breaks... this was a bit of a problem this year, as we didn't have an Agent Restroom! ARGH. #bathroomgate #glamorous.

The goals of most meetings include networking and putting faces to names; learning about the market in a given country; and pitching, pitching, pitching. Agents are meeting mostly with foreign publishers and foreign co-agents, and talking about their own list based on what those people say they are looking for.

Not gonna lie - it's truly exhausting. Which is why tonight I stayed in my rental apartment rather than going off to party-hop or have a dinner out. Because tomorrow... it all begins again!

0 Comments on The Bologna Children's Book Fair as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
10. March 2015 New Release: LIARS, INC. by Paula Stokes


--> Are you a fan of twisty mystery and endearingly flawed main characters and lying liars and psychological suspense? LIARS, INC. by Paula Stokes may be your new fave. Get on this!

It all starts with one little lie…

-->Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell lies to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts a business providing forged permission slips and cover stories for the students of Vista Palisades High. Liars, Inc. they call it. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

“Even the keenest mystery buffs will be hard-pressed to predict the book's finale, which packs quite the emotional and physical punch. Captivating to the very end.”
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

or Wherever Fine Books are Sold

0 Comments on March 2015 New Release: LIARS, INC. by Paula Stokes as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
11. March 2015 New Releases: HYPNOTIZE A TIGER

Today is the book-birthday of HYPNOTIZE A TIGER: Poems About Just About Everything.

This is a book of madcap poetry and art from the brain of NYT bestselling author-illustrator Calef Brown, just perfect for the wordplay-wise Silverstein fans in your life.

HYPNOTIZE A TIGER is Calef's first longer-form book, and the sophisticated and hilarious rhymes and rhythms beg to be read aloud.

Here, try it, and see what I mean:

But don't take MY word for it -- here's what other people have to say:

"Full of absurdity and off-kilter musings, Brown's collection offers a zingy introduction to the silly side of poetry." - Publishers Weekly

"Backyard Byzantines, Hipster Hirsutes, Arcane Arcadians, Rare Rondos ... Calef Brown's poems read like a guest list of Who's Who in Kalamazoo. I loved it. He writes poems we want to turn into desserts." --Jack Gantos, Newbery Award-winning author

"The best books can take you to places you never knew existed. "Hypnotize a Tiger" will blast you there on a Skyscraper Rocket with imaginary companions, herds of wordplay, and a giant smile. Calef Brown is the surreal deal." --Kenn Nesbit, U.S. Children's Poet Laureate


"There were certain books that fascinated and excited me as a child. I read them over and over, and they changed my perceptions forever. This is a book like that. It makes a delightful playground of language and concept. Calef Brown is a hero. He is a bulwark against mediocrity. He is my hero too." --Daniel Pinkwater, author, artist, and radio commentator

"With witty poems combined with his amazing paintings, Calef Brown has made his distinct mark in the history of American culture as a true literary treasure." --Dan Santat, Caldecott award-winning author and illustrator


"In your hands you hold a very special book. Get ready to meet a spectacular and hilarious cast of delightfully goofy and whimsical characters that live in each of these delicious poems. Calef Brown has made me feel like a mustached baby tasting sugar for the first time!" --Jorge R. Gutierrez, director of "The Book of Life" and creator (with wife Sandra Equihua) of "El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera"


To get your very own copy of HYPNOTIZE A TIGER, visit your local independent bookstore, Powells, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold.

0 Comments on March 2015 New Releases: HYPNOTIZE A TIGER as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. March New Releases: Fantasy, SF and Horror YA

I have lots of client books coming out in March. It's thrilling - but it also makes it somewhat difficult to blog about all of them without this blog becoming a wall-to-wall advertisement. So instead of doing a post every time one is released, I'm going to post about them in categories. Here I highlight Fantasy, Speculative Fiction and Horror novels for Young Adults, March 2015 edition:

THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace 
Simon/McElderry Books, March 3


In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer's life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo's case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father's death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don't get along. But while Johanna's father's death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren't so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess--the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren't the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up--girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

0 Comments on March New Releases: Fantasy, SF and Horror YA as of 3/9/2015 12:20:00 PM
Add a Comment
13. March New Releases: Picture Books


I have lots of client books coming out in March. It's thrilling - but it also makes it somewhat difficult to blog about all of them without this blog becoming a wall-to-wall advertisement. So instead of doing a post every time one is released, I'm going to post about them in categories. Here, then, are the Picture Books of March 2015. Enjoy!

0 Comments on March New Releases: Picture Books as of 3/2/2015 1:36:00 PM
Add a Comment
14. REAL TALK: $ix Figure Book Deal$

PS on top: I found some posts by other smart folk like agent Mandy Hubbard and author Jim Chines - if you want to like, double or triple-reinforce the point I'm making. But I'd already started typing by the time I saw those soooo... here you go.

One of the questions I dread most at conferences is, "how much money do books make?" I have a sort of pat answer I usually give, whilst eye-rolling. Something along the lines of "somewhere between $1 and $1,000,000." or "I dunno, how long is a piece of string?"

But let's get real. Many new authors will probably be offered $4-8,000. on a debut picture book text-only to a normal mid-sized traditional publisher. $5-12,000 on a chapter book. $8-20,000 on a middle grade novel. $12-30,000 on a YA.  I'm talking average - yes, some will be higher, some whill be lower.

These numbers will be much lower for small presses (and probably much MUCH lower for digital publishers or startups). The numbers will be higher for extremely commercial books with great crossover potential, or for an author who is well-known, or if there is lots of competition for a title or it is "hot" in some way. (The numbers may also be different depending on what rights you sell.) Still, these would be what I'd consider to be unexceptional starting offers. Nothing to get mad about, just, you know. Normal.

Yet we all know of people who got paid a lot more than that.... so what about THEM? Well, first of all, I'd say they are outliers. Yes, I have certainly had awesome six-figure debut sales. But they consist of maybe -- 10% of deals. Most are Normal. On the high side of what I quoted above, perhaps, when all the negotiating is done, but still, not megabucks.

SHUT UP JENNIFER! SHUT UP! THIS IS DAYDREAM TIME!

 OK fine. Cue the mystical bossa nova music and IMAGINE IF YOU WILL:

You're a new author - maybe you don't even have an agent yet, but you are actively querying, reading all kinds of Publishers Weekly deal announcements, and dreaming of the day your very own manuscript will go on submission and sell, too.

These magic words echo in your daydreams.... six-figure deal. SIX-FIGURE DEAL! With that kind of money, you could quit your day job, pay for your kid's college tuition in cash AND afford to supersize them fries, possibly from the comfort of your Mercedes-Benz. CHA-CHING, AM I RIGHT? Soon you'll be in a beach house, smiling gently whilst typing away on your latest brilliant novel. Everything is clean and inexplicably made of white linen or similar and somebody has brought you a cup of tea and there's a cool ocean breeze that also somehow smells of chocolate chip cookies and all the cares of your old life behind you--

Not so fast, Hoss.  Here comes the dream-shatterer. *music screeches off*

COMMISSION: If you got a six-figure deal, you probably have an agent, too. Your agent will take 15% of your income (possibly 20-25% in the case of foreign income or film deals). This is money worth spending, because without your agent, you would have probably had a lot less dough in the first place, or nothing at all. And your agent is protecting your interests and guiding you in the long-term. OK, fine. But don't forget about --

TAXES:  Even if you have a day-job, when you get paid for writing, you are also self-employed. A freelancer. As a writer, you have to pay both Income Tax AND Self-Employment Tax on everything you make writing. Does that suck? Hell yes it does. Sorry. You can expect to pay about 30% of your writing income in taxes.

Also: I might sound like a broken record on this one, but seriously, if you are going to be a career writer, TREAT YO' SELF to a good accountant who knows a lot about artists and freelancers. They will save you much money and angst in the long run, and, your accountant's fee is tax-deductible.

EXPENSES: As I said, you're self-employed. All the fun stuff like office supplies, a new laptop, travel to some conference or bookstore, HEALTH INSURANCE, etc? Probably coming straight out of your pocket. The good news is, anything related to your writing job, including said office supplies, your office space, travel for research or promo, and other self-promotional stuff, is tax deductible, at least in part, so keep good records. The bad news is, well, you have to pay for it in the first place, "tax deductible" doesn't mean free. (As far as insurance, unless you're lucky enough to have a great day job or a spouse who can provide, well... thanks, Obama. Seriously... thanks, and God bless you, Sir.)

PAYOUTS:  Most book deals in the kids book world are structured so the payments are split into 2 or 3 parts. (Many huge deals and books in the grownup world are divided even more than that!) So you get one part on signing, one part on delivery and acceptance (D+A) of the final manuscript, and sometimes one (often smaller) part on publication.

SO LET'S CRUNCH THE NUMBERS. If you luck out and get a "six figure deal" today, assuming all works according to schedule in a perfect world, and your agent doesn't have to chase down any money for you, and your publisher doesn't go under, and your editor gets notes to you in time, and you have no crises ... your deal might look something like this:

March 2015: Make the deal! Yay!  It's a nice one. 2 books for $100,000 total! Welcome to the six-figure club! :D

April/May 2015: Your agent gets contracts and negotiates!

June 2015: PAYMENT - on-signing, 20k each book, 40k total - minus 15% for agent, and let's be generous and say 25% for taxes because of that great accountant: $24,000 total

November/December 2015: Book 1 Due (for publication Winter 2017)

January 2016: PAYMENT - D+A book 1, 20k - minus 15% for agent, 25% for taxes: $12,000 total

November/December 2016: Book 2 Due (for publication Winter 2018)

January 2017: PAYMENT -  - D+A book 2, 20k - minus 15% for agent, 25% for taxes: $12,000 total

February 2017: Book 1 Publication

March 2017: PAYMENT - On-Pub Book 1, 10k - minus 15% and 25%, $6,000 total

February 2018: Book 2 Publication

March 2018: PAYMENT - On-Pub Book 2, 10k - minus 15% and 25%, $6,000 total

So you didn't make 100k, actually, you made 60k (or less), spread out over the course of four years, and probably at least one of those years you get... not much. In this example, $24k in 2015, $12k in 2016, $18k in 2017, $6k in 2018.

I mean, you know, that's not NOTHING, it's a great deal for most kids books... but it's not exactly "bathe in champagne" time. You'd make as much or more working minimum wage at the Gap for four years.

SO, what to do?

The single best thing you can do for your career is KEEP WRITING GREAT BOOKS.  Seriously. Keep writing. Success builds. Books in print, books that continue selling, may make you money for years to come. A nice fat ADVANCE is great, but ideally you'll earn out your advance and collect royalty checks for the rest of your life.

But earning out and seeing more $ probably won't happen until after the book has been released, and sometimes it doesn't happen till LONG after... and can never be counted on to happen at all. So that means that you probably won't see a non-Advance check on these particular books until late 2017 at the very earliest - probably, in reality, not until sometime in 2018. Meantime, you'll be dead of starvation. So yes. Don't quit your dayjob. Or do, and WRITE MORE BOOKS!


I could go on and on but I think that's enough out of me - maybe "how to quit your day job" can be another blog post for another day. What about you, any thoughts on this or further questions?

0 Comments on REAL TALK: $ix Figure Book Deal$ as of 2/28/2015 3:32:00 PM
Add a Comment
15. Interview with a 7th Grader

A 7th-grader reached out because she wanted to interview me about being an agent for an expository writing assigment. Since some of these are questions that I get a lot, I figured I'd answer on the blog. Hopefully the answers are helpful to the student, and may be of some interest to other readers, as well! :-) 

1) What role do literary agents play in the writing community? 

A literary agent helps a writer navigate and manage their career. Much in the same way most actors have talent agents who help them get fancy movie roles and negotiate their contracts, or basketball players have sports agents who get them sneaker endorsement deals, authors have literary agents who help place their work with publishers. Agents also may help get those books translated into other languages and get made into movies, apps or toys. And an agent helps an author with all kinds of other business matters. Almost every book that you see in the bookstore is there because an agent helped the author place the book with a publisher.

2) Who or what inspired you to want to become a literary agent?

My friend Barry Goldblatt is an agent, and when I met him ten years ago, I thought his job looked super cool and interesting. (He represents Libba Bray, Holly Black, Shannon Hale, Jo Knowles, among many other amazing authors.) I decided I wanted to do that, too!  So I got an internship in 2006 or so, then joined my agency in 2007, and officially became an agent in 2008.


3) What did you have to go through to be a literary agent? 

Everyone has a different path to becoming an agent. Personally, before I ever started, I first worked for a decade in bookstores as a buyer and events person... So I knew a LOT about books and publishing, and a lot of authors, illustrators and people in publishing. That means when I decided I wanted to become an agent, it was probably easier for me than it would have been for somebody starting from scratch. I still started out essentially as an unpaid intern, but  I was able to move up a bit more quickly than usual.

Still, what might have looked like "overnight success" to an outsider was, in fact, the result of 15+ years of work.

4) Was it hard to get the job? 

Again, it's not really a job you apply for and interview and either get or don't get. You don't get a regular paycheck or have to wear a uniform or anything. Instead, it's a career that you build. So, yeah, it's hard to build a successful career - it takes years, and patience.


5) What was the biggest lesson you've learned so far in you career that you would like to share with fresh agents? And what is the hardest thing about being an agent?

Imagine if you turned in an assignment to your teacher on Friday... and instead of getting the grade back the following Monday, you got the grade six months later, out of nowhere, when it had been so long you'd already forgotten about it, gone on summer vacation, become an 8th grader. Now you have to go back and re-do part of that old assignment AND add an essay and make a poster for it, tonight. UGH! What the heck! You don't even TAKE that class anymore! But you have to do it, or you'll retroactively fail. Well.... that's kinda what publishing is like. ;-)

If you are expecting overnight riches and success, you will probably be disappointed. Everything in publishing is extremely slow, and patience is critical. (This is hard for me, as I am rather impatient by nature.)


As for the VERY hardest thing about being an agent -- well, agents get new clients when the authors write us what is called a "query letter." I get hundreds of query letters a week, but I can only take on maybe five new clients a year. It's definitely hard to say no to good projects... but I have to do it, every day. :-(

6) What kind of writers have you worked with? Are there certain writers you work with more than others? 

I only work with authors of books for children and young adults. Other agents have other specialties; my specialty is kids and teen fiction.

7) What are some things you need to stay organized? 

I use a paper calendar, a google calendar, and a bullet journal for day-to-day scheduling and assignments. To keep track of all my clients and their various projects, I have a lot of excel spreadsheets, plus color-coded labels in gmail, plus a paper notebook in which I have a page for each book we are working on with all the pertinent info on it. I do end up double-entering some of the information, but I have had my computer crash and lose tons of information and it was very horrible, so I always like to write things down on paper, too, rather than rely exclusively on the computer!

8) Did you have to take extra classes in high school and/or college to become a literary agent? 

Agenting is essentially an apprentice business - really the only way you can learn it is by doing it, while being mentored by a more successful agent. There are no "agent classes."

I know agents who have MFAs in writing, PhDs in Literature, Masters of Business Administration degrees, law degrees... or, like me, studied something totally random in school, like theatre or history! What you major in doesn't really matter. But what DOES matter, whatever your college major, is that you become quite good at writing clearly and reading critically.

In addition to English (writing and literature) classes, you might also find that classes in contract law, business, marketing, web development or book-keeping come in handy. But they aren't required by any means.


9) Would you do anything over the summer before or while you've been an agent to be a better agent? 

Well, sadly, I don't get summers off. :-) Probably you mean, would I suggest anything that YOU might do over the summer to potentially become an agent in the future. IF that's the case: I'd suggest you try to get a job in a bookstore or library.  

Read everything you possibly can. And don't just READ... read critically, and pay attention to which publishers make which books. If you do, you'll start to see that different publishers have different styles and specialties. Pay attention to who publishes what. This will come in handy if you become a professional book person later -- book people pretty much always talk about who the publisher is when they talk about a book.


10) What qualities do you need to be a successful agent? 

At the very least, a successful agent will probably be a great communicator, and know a LOT about books and publishing.

I hope that helps - let me know if the comments if you need clarification or have other questions.

0 Comments on Interview with a 7th Grader as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
16. Happy Valentines Day 2015

I don't do Christmas cards (too swamped in December) or Birthday cards (too forgetful) -- but a tradition I DO uphold is to send out a Valentine each year. Hey, we may not have construction-paper covered mailboxes on our desks anymore, but it's still fun to get pretty mail on a winter's day.

The Literatentines are always drawn by one of the terrific illustrators I represent. This year, Sergio Ruzzier brought the magic with some adorably bookish little cheepers.

Much love, friends. May you have heaps of joy and excellent reading in 2015!


0 Comments on Happy Valentines Day 2015 as of 2/13/2015 2:25:00 PM
Add a Comment
17. Two New Middle Grade Novels

I'm excited to tell you about two new middle grade novels from my authors!

Somewhere between the delicious charm of Wicked and the gothic romance of Jane Eyre, COTTAGE IN THE WOODS by Katherine Coville is a spellbinding fairy tale that will surprise and delight.

Ursula is a young bear of modest means who has come to work as governess at the Vaughn estate. She’s never been so far from home, and she is frightened. Inexplicable things happen in the huge house after dark. The attic is full of odd noises and items vanish in the night. Ursula is sure she has seen a ghostly child with golden hair lurking in the shadows. And as if all this isn't bad enough, certain servants seem to hate her for no reason at all, the mistress of the house is full of secrets, and there is an uprising of violent anti-animal activity in the enchanted forest surrounding the estate. As Ursula works to unravel the mysteries of Vaughn manor, she finds herself facing ever more challenging complications from both without and within. The forest is enchanted, yes, but also threatening, and Ursula will have to grow up fast if she is to navigate her new world. 


Buy COTTAGE IN THE WOODS from Book Depository or wherever fine books are sold.



COLONIAL MADNESS by Jo Whittemore
is straight-up hilarious -- a little bit Westing Game, a little bit Gilmore Girls -- about an over-the-top flighty mother and her sensible daughter, who have the opportunity to win a relative's fortune... but there are just a few strings attached. They'll have to win a contest first.

Whoever can survive two weeks in the Archibald Family's colonial manor will inherit the property. The catch? Contestants have to live as in colonial times: no modern conveniences, no outside help, and daily tests of their abilities to survive challenges of the time period. Tori thinks it's the perfect answer to their debt problems, but she and her mom aren't the only ones interested. The other family members seem to be much more prepared for the two weeks on the manor--and it doesn't help that Mom doesn't seem to be taking the contest seriously. Do they stand a chance?

Buy COLONIAL MADNESS from Book Depository or wherever fine books are sold.

0 Comments on Two New Middle Grade Novels as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
18. Scarlett and Sam: Escape from Egypt

I was snow-trapped in Chicago much of this past week, and then off at SCBWI-NY conference, so I clean forgot to blog about the new book by Eric Kimmel - but it is officially out in the world, so you should get a copy!

Scarlett and Sam are the twin stars of a new series aimed at the "Magic Tree House" aged audience. The pair are totally modern kids who, by way of magic, are thrown into the ancient stories of the Hebrew Bible. There's plenty of danger (of course!) -- but also lots of goofy fun. About book one:

"One minute, twins Scarlett and Sam are bickering about who's going to read the Four Questions at the Passover seder. The next minute, they've been swept up by Grandma Mina's time-traveling carpet and dumped in the ancient Egyptian desert. And as if being stranded 3,000 years in the past isn't bad enough, they also find their fellow Hebrews suffering in slavery. So they team up with Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to help free the slaves. The future's looking bright! But the story they know so well doesn't turn out the way they expected..."

Buy the book at: Your local indie bookstore. Powells. Book Depository. Barnes and Noble. Amazon. Or wherever fine books are sold.

0 Comments on Scarlett and Sam: Escape from Egypt as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
19. How Many is Too Many?

When I was a newbie, my boss told me that I should never answer the question "How many clients do you have." See, it's a question with no right answer, in which the asker can interpret the answer any way they want.

If I say a high number, does that make me sound Healthily Busy or Totally Overwhelmed? If I say a low number, am I Selective, or Lazy? And what would BE a "low" or "high" number, anyway?

Since I'm no longer a new agent, and I believe in transparency, and I love love LOVE talking about my authors - I have a list of my clients posted on my blog. You can count them if you are so inclined. (Spoiler: it's about 50). I still shy away from saying an exact number out loud, and I don't have a number that would be a "ceiling" in mind, but, you know, basically I am pretty full. I am busy enough. I don't need more clients. But I shall certainly leap to grab one if the perfect fit comes along!

I don't remember where I got this analogy but I think it's a good one: it's kinda like being an obstetrician. While I might have dozens of clients, most of them are busy gestating or taking care of books under contract that already exist - they aren't in my waiting room with their water breaking all at the same time. This metaphor has gotten a little gross now, but you see what I mean - there are only a few pressing matters "in play" on any given day/week.

So how many authors IS too many? I think of my list kinda like Mary Poppins's bag crossed with the TARDIS. Magical, flexible, sentient, bigger on the inside, and obviously able to navigate wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff. There's no answer, is what I'm saying -- how much work I can do adjusts according to how much work there is to do.

If there is ever a time I am feeling burnt out or overwhelmed - I take a break and/or ask for help. If I was feeling like that all the time, I'd cut back my list -- but so far, luckily, that has not had to happen. Other agents' answers may vary -- for some, 20 clients would be their limit. Some, I'm sure, juggle 100. But I think everyone would agree that there is no magic number, and no right answer to this question.

Make sense?


0 Comments on How Many is Too Many? as of 11/18/2014 5:07:00 PM
Add a Comment
20. CLOSED TO QUERIES 11-21 to 1-12

Hi gang,

I have a lot of travel + bookstore stuff + general busy-ness going on in the next six weeks, so as I do every holiday season, I am officially CLOSING TO QUERIES as of tonight (say, midnight eastern time) -- and I'll re-open January 12, 2015.

The exceptions being Referrals and Conference submissions.  If you are either of these, I urge you to SAY SO IN THE SUBJECT LINE. I will also, of course, look at material that I've explicitly asked to see.

This gives me the opportunity to catch up and clear out for the new year, and it is much needed. And you may well hear from me during this break, as I have a LOT to catch up on! ;-) Anything already IN the inbox before tonight will be responded to. All other new queries will be deleted.

So, what to do? Well, if you want to choose any of the other lovely agents at ABLA who are open, you may of course feel free to do so -- if you'd prefer to query me specifically, please do so today, or wait until January.

Let me know if anything is unclear! And have a great holiday season.

Jenn


0 Comments on CLOSED TO QUERIES 11-21 to 1-12 as of 11/21/2014 11:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
21. Hanukkah Reads 2014

Looking for charming Hanukkah stories to share with your family? Well some of my authors can help you with that...

BEAUTIFUL YETTA'S HANUKKAH KITTEN by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jill Pinkwater, is a cuddly and funny holiday story for all ages to appreciate. This is the follow-up to BEAUTIFUL YETTA, THE YIDDISH CHICKEN, in which the title bird escapes from certain doom to the enchanted world of Brooklyn, NY.
Now Beautiful Yetta the (Yiddish-speaking) Chicken has made her cozy home among the (Spanish-speaking) Parrots of Brooklyn. She is like their mother. This little family is doing pretty well, even on cold winter nights. But during a snowstorm, Yetta happens upon something very strange -- a tiny ginger kitten! OY! Cats are no good for birds! But this little kitty definitely needs some warmth and love. Maybe the neighborhood Grandmother can help... at least with feeding everyone yummy latkes. Yay! Autographed copies of BEAUTIFUL YETTA'S HANUKKAH KITTEN available now at Oblong Books.

SIMON AND THE BEAR: A HANUKKAH TALE by Eric A Kimmel, illustrated by Matthew Trueman: Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon's mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that this task will be more complicated than she could have imagined... This fanciful Hanukkah tale-like none you've ever read before-celebrates eight miracles: family, friendship, hope, selflessness, sharing, faith, courage, and love. A retelling of the ancient Hanukkah story is included on the last page.

Now in Paperback: HANUKKAH BEAR by Eric A Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka: This is the tale of Bubba Branya, a little old lady who can barely see but makes the very best latkes in town. Her rabbi comes to visit, and he brings his gigantic appetite. . . and mumbly voice. . . and growly tummy . . . and furry face. . . uh-oh!  Comedy ensues as the dynamic duo of granny and the bear play dreidel, light the menorah, and of course, enjoy plenty of yummy latkes. Kimmel's classic story is the perfect match for Mike Wohnoutka's warmly glowing new illustrations; this one is sure to delight not only little ones, but the whole family.

And a classic: HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS by Eric A Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman: The Caldecott Honor winning classic is celebrating it's 25th anniversary with a new edition! This is the somewhat scary and totally unforgettable tale of the ingenious Hershel, who rids a village synagogue of goblins by cleverly outwitting them.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS and HAPPY READING, EVERYBODY!

0 Comments on Hanukkah Reads 2014 as of 12/16/2014 3:50:00 PM
Add a Comment
22. Happy 2015

Yesterday was my 7th Agentversary.

Because I know you statistics nerds like this stuff (and so do I), I crunched the numbers:

I sold 46 books in 2014*: 21 Middle Grade, 10 Young Adult, 6 Picture Book, 4 Illustration Only, 3 Nonfiction, 2 Early Readers.

That means 45.5% MG - almost as much as all other categories combined!

Of these 46 books, 24 different authors/illustrators are represented (Many of them had multiple books sold). Three of these 24 authors/illustrators are fresh-faced debuts. This year I sold books I'd been working on for years... and one book sold the fastest of any in my career so far, I sent it at 6pm and had an offer by 9am the next morning. Miracles happen! (For the record: That was for a debut realistic middle grade novel.)

While you all know that I hate talking about trends, and a lot of what I sold is due to the makeup of my list, I still think it is safe to say that, for me at least, 2014 was the Year of the Middle Grade Novel. And considering that many I sold this year will be releasing in 2015 and 2016, I'd say the coming years are looking strong for that category as well. :-)

Happy reading and writing, everyone - I can't wait to see what 2015 brings!

*I'm not counting foreign sales, subrights sales or sales where I rep both the author and illustrator - that would get way too complicated. Each title only counts once.

0 Comments on Happy 2015 as of 1/6/2015 7:53:00 PM
Add a Comment
23. RANGER IN TIME book 1 by Kate Messner

What can I say about this new series from Kate Messner?

Wellllll.... Four words:
0 Comments on RANGER IN TIME book 1 by Kate Messner as of 1/9/2015 3:22:00 PM
Add a Comment
24. Logrolling in Our Time*, or, You Can't Take Blurbs With You

Blurbs. You know,  those little quotes about how awesome an author or their book is that are often on book jackets or in advertisements? Like: "Author is a certified genius and this book is a revelation!" Yeah. Those little tricky devils are the cause of no small amount of angst for all parties concerned. So here are some blurb facts and some blurb etiquette that might help. (Maybe).

FACT: * Pretty Much Everyone Hates Blurbs. * I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the majority of people in the publishing industry LOATHE blurbs. Agents and editors and publicists and their ilk know how hard they are to get, and more than that, how little most of them are worth. Authors generally dislike being in the position of begging for favors OR having favors begged of them. The process of blurbery can cause anything from mild stress to genuine anguish in its victims. :(

FACT: * Blurbs Are Mostly Worthless. *  Did I say "how little most of them are worth"?? Am I implying that Blurbs are mostly WORTHLESS? Well... no. I wasn't implying it, I was saying it. I mean look: If you are lucky enough to get a blurb from an extremely well-regarded author in your genre, you might get some of their fans to perk up when they see it. But those fans are PROBABLY fans of the genre in general, and they probably already knew about your book or would have come across it anyway, and nobody is going to read it JUST because of the blurb.

It's much more likely that a personal recommendation or review from an author - on their twitter, blog, vlog or whatever - will bring the book to fan attention. The blurb that is in the catalogue or on the back of the book is only good if somebody has already picked up the publishers catalogue or the book to look at it. So, you know, it's SUPER NICE,  but there isn't any proof that blurbs really help move the needle, sales-wise.

I've spoken to hundreds of readers, booksellers, librarians and others, and the fact is, the vast majority of the time, the blurb is not the deciding factor about whether or not they spend time and money on a given book. It's just not.
 

FACT: * Sometimes They're Not Worthless. * I can see the value of a blurb from a LEGIT FAMOUS PERSON that may help you get customers you wouldn't normally get. There are a few "legit famous person" authors: John Green, Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume, and maybe a handful of others. A blurb from one of these people may translate to a buy from some of their fans, and that is not anything to sniff at. Most famous people, of course, are NOT authors.

I am in the publishing industry, I already knew about the book X: A NOVEL, read it in galley form with no blurbs attached. But even I, hardened and cynical, raised an eyebrow in appreciation at the nice blurbs from Chris Rock and Muhammad Ali. These quotes, if printed in advertisements in mainstream publications (ie, NOT trade publications like PW that only industry people read) will likely catch the eyes of people who aren't "the usual suspects" -- customers that DON'T normally shop in the YA section or have a clue about kids books, but who will be attracted by these very high-profile endorsements.



FACT: *Blurbs Aren't Going Anywhere. * - For better or for worse, this practice of trying to get blurbs for nearly every dang novel that comes out seems to be a trend that is lasting. Part of it, I think, is that success is so ephemeral. Nobody knows what exact combination of factors causes a breakout book. Is it about Great reviews? Word of mouth? Right place right time?  Pure dumb LUCK? Or what? WHAT? Everybody wants to catch this lightning in a bottle. But there is very little that is actually within the publisher or authors' control.

You can write the best book possible. That's in your control. But virtually nothing else about the process really is. And ultimately, even the biggest, fanciest publisher can't make people write reviews or talk the book up or influence the Great Beyond to work on the books behalf. They can make a great looking package, but they can't force people to buy or read it. They can spend money on marketing but they can't guarantee that it will DO anything. So "getting blurbs" at least makes people FEEL like they are doing something to encourage the success of the book. And it probably doesn't hurt at least, so what the hey.

Here's how to live with it, with less stress:

ADVICE: * If you are a BLURBEE * - that is to say, a person whose work is in the publication pipeline, who is seeking blurbs: If the subject doesn't come up, you really don't have to bring it up. If your publisher isn't anxious about this, you shouldn't be either. (See "mostly worthless", above).

BUT, if/when the subject DOES arise, I suggest working with your agent and editor to brainstorm a list of possible authors to approach for endorsements. These should be authors that you think are actually appropriate for the material at hand -- so I would not suggest a picture book author to blurb an edgy YA. It just doesn't make sense.  It makes logical sense that your book should appeal to the same audience as the person who is potentially endorsing you.

So you have your list of awesome, appropriate names that you brainstormed. Now you and your agent and editor figure out who will approach whom. The person with the strongest connection to that author (or their agent or editor) should be the person to approach. You as the author should NEVER have to "cold-call" (cold email?) people you don't have any connection to. Nor should you ever be asked to make the request if it makes you feel uncomfortable. When in doubt, your editor should approach their editor or agent.

YOU MIGHT HAVE WEIRD FEELINGS. Like: a) They'll feel sorry for me, as they know what it's like to "need" a blurb;  b) They'll be put on the spot and feel like they "have" to blurb and then hate me; c) They'll have to say no and then feel guilty. DO NOT FEEL WEIRD. This is just part of the process. Nobody will hate you. Nobody will give a blurb unless they are genuinely able and willing to do so. And if they aren't, that's OK. Blurbs are nice, but a lack of a blurb has never killed anybody.

If you are approaching somebody - whether they are your BFF or just somebody who you know tangentially, or even a total stranger - take Curtis Sittenfeld's advice and be polite, succinct, and pre-emptively let them off the hook.  DO tell them what the book is about, and why you think it is a fit, but do so briefly. Don't say no FOR them obviously - but don't be offended or upset if the answer IS no. When you are more famous, people will be asking YOU for blurbs, and you'll remember this experience.


ADVICE: * If you are a BLURBER * - that is to say, a person who is being approached for a blurb: Value your own time and sanity. If you are on deadline or just busy with life stuff, or hell, if the book just doesn't sound interesting to you, nobody can be offended by your saying No. If they are offended, they are jerks.

YOU MIGHT HAVE WEIRD FEELINGS. Like, a) I feel sorry for the author, and I know what it's like to "need" a blurb;  b) I'm worried the author will find out I was asked and said no and then hate me; c) I'm worried if I say no this fancy classy editor will hate me. DO NOT FEEL WEIRD. This is just part of the process. Nobody will hate you. If you have time and ability and are moved to do so, by all means do it! But if not, that's OK. Blurbs are nice, but a lack of a blurb has never killed anybody.

My Personal Blurb Rules: 1) You should genuinely like the book and want other people to read it. 2) It should fit your "brand" or target audience. Would you recommend this to the same people who buy your book? 3) Don't be a "blurb whore" - if you blurb everything, your endorsement will stop being meaningful.

Your blurb rules may vary, but whatever they are, if you want to avoid burnout, I suggest you and your agent come up with a blurb plan. Perhaps it is that you NEVER blurb, or you will only blurb one book per season or year. You can always reserve the right to CHANGE that blurb plan, you aren't locked into it with manacles, but if you are approached unawares, it will give you a handy excuse to say no if the stars aren't aligning, and you can always make your agent into the bad guy. "Ah, my agent doesn't want me to blurb until my deadlines are passed" or "Oh, my agent says only one book per year, sorry!" (Agents are fine with being the bad guys). 

But if the book does sound great, and you do have the time, and you do read it and love it -- well, what the heck. If you CAN do it and WANT to do it, by all means do! Nothing will make an authors day/month/year more than kind words from an author they admire.

Did I miss anything? What are YOUR blurby feelings?



*PS: If you are too young to get the title reference: in the late 80's/early 90's there was a satirical magazine called SPY that had a feature called "Logrolling in Our Time" that showed blurbs that famous people gave each other. Quid pro quo, Clarice. (And if you're too young for THAT reference, don't tell me).

0 Comments on Logrolling in Our Time*, or, You Can't Take Blurbs With You as of 1/17/2015 5:51:00 PM

Add a Comment
25. Gingerbread Spies and Magic Pencils - Two Book Birthdays!

Mara Rockliff's latest picture book, GINGERBREAD FOR LIBERTY, is the delicious (and true!) story of the baker who helped save the American Revolution.

Christopher Lutwick was a German immigrant and, in the 1770's, a vocal advocate of revolution as well as possibly the most celebrated and popular baker in Philadelphia. When the war broke out, though he was too old for fighting, he was determined to help, and his friend George Washington made him the "baker general" of the army. He also had an even more significant, albeit more secretive role... to talk starving Hessian soldiers working for the British into abandoning the King. And he could do it because he was a former starving Hessian soldier himself.

This remarkable tale shines a light on a little known figure of the Revolution who worked alongside George Washington and the other heroes we all know about. And the scrumptious illustrations by Vincent X Kirsch are the icing on the gingerbread!

"This appealing concoction is a powerful reminder of the good one person can do." -- Kirkus

"A sweet addition to Revolutionary War units." --School Library Journal, starred review

0 Comments on Gingerbread Spies and Magic Pencils - Two Book Birthdays! as of 1/27/2015 2:49:00 PM

Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag

View Next 25 Posts