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Phenomenon Books Agency blog. Client list, helpful links and tips on getting an agent or editor. We are a literary agency representing: Young adult (picture books-teen), literary, thrillers and suspense, women's, and non-fiction. We do not accept short stories or novellas and are currently closed to fiction submissions (please check back in October).
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1. Don't don't you... Forget about me

Breakfast club.. great movie.. have that song stuck in my head today.

So, yep, we're back, but getting ready to go again soon to meet with editors and such. In the meantime, we've been catching up on editor phone calls that were missed last week, read through the last of the manuscript subs we were holding, and are currently trying to play catch up with client e-mails and new submissions (yeah, I know, we're not open to 'em, but that doesn't stop writers from sending them).

Rejected around 50 subs today alone and the pile is 4 times that (of which only 2 were subs we okayed reading lol).

Patience, my little beasties, as we will get back to all of our clients by the end of the week. For now, the rest of the day falls to updating our databases and confirming appointments for our trip.

Hope you had a fantastic Fourth and stay literate;)

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2. I'm back.. from outerspace

Actually, we haven't even gone anywhere, just busy, busy, busy, and the blog always seems to get pushed aside. We will be out of office for most of next week, so if you don't hear from us during that time don't get too worried.

What have we been doing lately? Much of the same to be honest. Subbing, talking to editors, editing and editing and editing.

Sorry to be short, but gotta get back to it. Have a wonderful week and hopefully it won't take me so long to get back to you.

Stay literate;)

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3. Next time around

Well, my e-mail still has a case of the hiccups. I'm slightly annoyed at having to retype every e-mail because they aren't getting sent, but I think I'll live.

Our list of chapter and manuscript submissions is shrinking ever so slowly, as well as our list of client projects to edit (yippee skippee). Will actually have our editor database updated by the end of today (a first for us in quite awhile). How do I get updates on who's where? Some comes from Publishers Lunch, but most of our updates come from the editors themselves, letting us know they're moving somewhere else or who's getting promotions.

I won't say we're sooo close to being caught up because then something will come up and we'll end up behind again lol. But things are going spiffy, I tell you.

And we already have a good idea what types of books we'll be looking for next submission period, at least in the adult market-- literary, memoir, political non-fiction, and women's. Of course, feel free to send us a sample if it's going to be a bestseller:)

Saw the new Indiana Jones movie. Lots of action and definitely different, but I'm pretty dern sure I liked it.

Stay literate;)

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4. Jon Decoteau's book trailer

Our very own Jon Decoteau's novella is scheduled for release in September. A war photographer investigates a bizarre double murder in Naked Earth, winner of a National Indie Excellence Award.

You can check out the trailer here--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_I2EV3-mlc



Stay literate;)

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5. Houston, we have a problem

Well, mail's been down all day for us, which just happened to be what we needed most today. Hopefully things will get situated by tomorrow so new subs can go out and I can e-mail some finished edits to clients and respond to your e-mails and editor e-mails (and all that jazz).

In the meantime, the Rockies won 2 in a row, Tulo, Hawpe, and Holliday are rehabbing their way back into the game, and maybe we can climb our way out of the cellar.

Have a wacky Wednesday, be cool, and stay literate;)

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6. Non-fiction almost here

Alan Moss' latest non-fiction release is almost here!

A perfect companion for anyone interested in the ongoing elections or the workings of politics.

Selling Out America's Democracy How Lobbyists, Special Interests, and Campaign Financing Undermine the Will of the PeopleDescription:America's historic greatness is in decline, subverted by moneyed special interests and their lobbyists who take advantage of our system of campaign financing to thwart the will of the people.

Monuments to the impact of factions include inadequate efforts to curb global warming, infrequent increases in the minimum wage, no universal health care, unchecked inner-city crime, and limited stem cell research. Ineffective political leadership, corroded by special interest manipulation, has landed the nation in foreign intervention that takes American lives and spends obscene amounts of U.S. resources.

Moss portrays the motivations and methods of those who corrupt our political system and betray the legitimate interests of the American people. He quantifies the gains reaped by beneficiaries of lobbyist successes. Selling Out America's Democracy focuses on Washington insiders who serve the interests of narrow factions that seek to control the national agenda.

Telling interviews represent the views of Congressional and think tank staff, lobbyists, media experts, foreign diplomats, and nonprofit citizen advocacy groups. Moss concludes by advancing a program of policy changes calculated to revive our democracy.

Here's the Amazon link--

http://www.amazon.com/Selling-Out-Americas-Democracy-Lobbyists/dp/0313345511/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202244515&sr=8-1

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7. P & E Anthology is out

Hope everyone's holiday was fantastic. My poor Rockies are suffering through so many injuries (and a huge hit to their pride with that last loss to the Phillies--ouch!).

P & E (Preditors and Editors) has released an anthology of short stories, and you'll find that one of our stellar clients, Alice Loweecey, has been included. Preditors and Editors has always been a wonderful resource for writers who don't feel like getting caught up in a publishing or agency scam (and, hey, isn't that every writer?).

HELP is an anthology of horror, SF and Fantasy from the best talents in the industry. All proceeds from this book will benefit Preditors and Editors defense fund. Some of the contributors are award winning authors such as, Gary Braunbeck, Mark Rainey, Douglas E. Wright and many more...

For more info, or to download or purchase a copy--

http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=2203343

Way to go Alice!

Tomorrow's post is about another stellar client, Alan Moss, and his new release that's hitting the shelves.

Have a wonderful Tuesday, and stay literate;)

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8. Freaky Friday

Ah, so it's been a long week of editing. Even though we're closed to new submissions, there's still a healthy stack left to go through. So what do most agents do over a holiday such as Memorial weekend?

Well, this agent has 5 client projects to get through, then maybe a look at queries if there's time. I will be going to the ball game tonight (hope they win, of course) and I just HAVE to see the new Indiana Jones movie. Seriously can't remember the last time I shelled out that kind of dough to see a movie in the theatre (Cars, me thinks).

Two things I really enjoy-- Guitar Hero and David Cook. Never been much for American Idol, but definitely got hooked this season. #1 he's a rocker. #2 he's from Missouri (a couple hours away from where I grew up). Here's something a little cool, but mostly silly--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h61egeG1-v4

Have a wonderful holiday and stay literate;)

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9. Catchy

As I just Could Not get to sleep last night because of that Flo Bots song, I thought it was perfect to discuss catchiness and how it relates.

Most of you probably haven't heard of them yet. They're on the rise from Denver (lots of bands coming out of Denver these days. Their song is on the radio, like, every five seconds (I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars) and even my kids are singing it constantly. Talk about catchy; can't seem to lose the tune.

Like music and movies, I've always been of the mind that it's those memorable and catchy lines that help make a work such a success. Here's what I'm talking about--


"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."-- A Tale of Two Cities

"Luke, I am your father."-- Star Wars

"Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries.
Is there anyone else up there we can talk to?
No, now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time."-- Python and the Holy Grail (okay, there's like a gazillion of Python lines I love)

"A body like yours ought to be in jail, it's on the verge of being obscene."-- Little Red Corvette (Prince is great for his one-liners)

"SSDD."--Dreamcatcher by Stephen King.

"Second star to the right and straight on til morning."-- Peter Pan by JM Barrie



Some great lines you may be unfamiliar with--

"I don't want to be the rebound guy--I want to be the guy."-- Last week's episode of Ugly Betty

"May the shwartz be with you."-- Space Balls

"Sir," replied the commander, "I am nothing to you but Captain Nemo; and you and your companions are nothing to me but the passengers of the Nautilus."--20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

"What about second breakfast?"--Lord of the Rings: Fellowship

"She stole my heart. I'll be taking hers with a lawn dart now. But look at the bright side, it's not like she had one there to start."--Zombies in the Neighborhood by Single File (another Denver band)

So, yeah, we don't always remember the lines, but we do notice them at the time. Like catchy lines, catchy characters are also the ones who stay with us (Shake the jakes, Benny.--okay, so you haven't read that one yet, but you will, my little beasties).

And I really can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars.

Stay literate;)

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10. No Work Weekend

First off, Happy Friday, my little beasties!!

I'm actually taking my first weekend off of the year. Not even sure I can make it through the next 2 1/2 days without checking my e-mail or editing SOMETHING.

The final sub reports will be out Monday and Tuesday, and don't worry if you haven't heard back. I will respond to client e-mails first thing Monday morning.

So, what am I going to do with my first bit of down time? Well, we're going to the Rockies/Mets game tonight. Saturday's full with my son's pictures at 7 am (ugh!), game at 8 am, 2 birthday parties (the joy of having 2 kids comes back to haunt me), then off to the races (or maybe not, I'm more of an artsy fartsy type rather than vroom vroom). Sunday kicks off bright and early with an all-day fishing derby.

My son actually gets to meet the Rockies player's tonight (along with the rest of his baseball team), take a tour of the dugout, and go onto the field to partake of the opening ceremonies. Don't know who's more excited, him or me.

So, have a grand and spiffy weekend, and stay literate;)

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11. Auctions

First off, let me say it. Yep, it's SNOWING! Welcome to Colorado lol.

Auctions can come about in a few different ways--

1. If you're an agent with nerves of steel, a project could come right out of the gate to a few editors in an auction. Basically, you'd be setting up an auction before the editors have even had the chance to read the work.

Now, I could see this working okay with certain non-fiction projects, especially if it was a timely work by a very prominent figure and only if I knew the editors well enough.

2. Your project has been submitted out. Let's say one house comes back with a small offer. My first step would be to call any other editors looking at it and fish for more offers. If we end up with 2 or more offers, then we would consider taking it to auction.

3. Your project has been submitted out (deja vu). We receive 2 offers from 2 different houses at the same time.


So, we've received a couple offers on your work and have decided to take it to auction, then what? Well, first we have to set up the terms of the auction. Not having good, specific terms to an auction can be the ruin of what might have been a great deal.

1- The floor. Every auction needs a number to start. This could be the lowest (or the highest) offer we've received so far, or an even higher number that's been decided upon.

2- How long? You can set up an auction with only 1 round. You give the houses a date to have an offer in, then take the one with the best offer.

Or, you can set up an auction in a few rounds, taking the highest offer from Round 1 and using it as the floor for Round 2, and so on.

Or, you could do a round robin, with rounds going on and on until only one house is left.

One thing to keep in mind is an auction doesn't always go the highest bidder. Sometimes other aspects of the deal (royalty percentages is a good example) more than make up for taking a smaller advance.

Also, many auctions are pre-empted. This is when one house gives a limited-time offer (usually expires in 24-48 hours). This amount generally works in favor of both writer and publisher--more than your agent expected at auction and less than the publisher might have been willing to pay.


Stay literate;)

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12. 3 days left

Thats right, folks, only 3 days left to submit your work. We will remain open throughout summer for non-fiction queries, but any fiction queries will be turned away until October.

How goes it thus far? Well, I am behind on my reading, but did manage to make it through a couple more fulls we had requested. Thus far, we've read over 1,000 queries/chapter subs and have signed 2 clients. We're down to 5 manuscript subs left to read and around 80 queries.

Client editing is still a full load. Submission reports started going out and should be done by the end of the weekend (which will be full of work yet again).

So, things will wind down soon, as they always do once we get caught up, and we'll be spending all our time getting any new projects ready and any older projects out to more editors.

Auctions, yes, my little beasties, I will be blogging about those tomorrow (two posts in a row, wowee!).

Stay literate;)

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13. Blogging on the Fly

I'm blogging in a rush, but blogging nonetheless.

80 rejected chapter subs went out over the past 4 days. All of our adult follow ups are done, and adult new subs will be done tomorrow. Half through the children's follow ups, but have to go out of office for a bit today to take care of all the fun stuff (like buying paper and ink and making a postal run, etc.).

Do have a project that may be going to auction soon, but more on that and the auction process later this week (I pinky swear!).

Happy Cinco de Mayo, my little beasties, and stay literate;)

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14. Oh where for art thou blogger?

Wow, it has been awhile since I posted anything new. Same ole same ole happening here, my little beasties. Still just the 2 new clients signed, and both are working through revisions before we go to market. Plenty of rejections sent and still oodles more to read. Lots more follow ups and new subs going out this week and next. And the waiting, always the waiting.

My son's team fared a bit better last Saturday, although they didn't even get through the first inning before the game was cancelled (Yep, gotta love Colorado. 80 degrees today, snow tomorrow, then warm again the rest of the week). They gave up 3 runs in the top of the first, then scored 3 runs in the bottom of the first. They still had 2 men (er, boys rather) on and only 1 out, so I have the feeling we might have won if not for the crazy weather.

A final reminder that our last day for new subs coming in is May 15th. As the submission period comes to a close, I'm starting to gain some ground on the client edits and this is the time when I drag out the fulls I haven't started reading yet. We have a great new piece we're subbing out today, literary, a little spooky, and (dare I say it) with an element of romance.

Looking forward to our next submission period, me thinks we'll be accepting all types of work, but will be focusing mostly on non-fiction projects.

And what's coming up this summer? A trip to the Big Apple and a night at the Stanley Hotel (I'm already scared). For those that might not know, the Stanley Hotel is where the inspiration for The Shining by Stephen King came from.

Stay literate;)

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15. Happy Earth Day!

I'm all about the earth, but must admit I'm not as green as I'd like to be (and green is my favorite color), so I've decided to go buy some energy efficient light bulbs today. Will also be helping my kids pick up trash after school today.

Today is business as usual. Doing follow-ups for clients yesterday and today so we can send some new submissions out tomorrow and Thursday. How long do we wait to follow-up? Well, our ideal time is 6 weeks for the first follow up, then 3 weeks from there on out. If I know the editor better or am in contact with them often, I might not do a follow up as often because I know they're working on it. And sometimes holidays and editors being out of office get in the way of sticking to the 3 weeks.

My son had his first coach pitch baseball game over the weekend. We lost 27-5, but considering they'd only had 4 practices (darn snow) and the other team was together last year, I think we did pretty spiffy. I almost feel guilty for having such a blast watching them play (when the Rockies miss a play it's just not that cute).

We usually close down the first of May to subs, but we're going to extend it to the 15th because we're still looking. Of course, our next client could be sitting in my pile of manuscript requests. So far we've requested 15 manuscripts and rejected 7.

Get out and enjoy the day if you can, my little beasties, and stay literate;)

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16. All Night Long

22 innings, and I stayed up to watch (Rockies vs. Padres). Now we're off to Houston after using every single player we had for last night's/this morning's game lol.

I did spend that six hours reading a couple of full manuscripts, which brought about a question--when does a good manuscript get turned down? The answer-- when I can't effectively market it.

This is probably the first time I'm going to have to turn down a piece I really enjoyed. Agents always talk about ones that got away. Well, this just might be one for me, but I just don't see enough editors latching onto the genre.

After spending so much time looking at works, I've realized there are a few ways to just about insure I'll never sign you, so here's a few of those--

#1 Don't tell me you're the next Rowling or Brown. It's okay if you say your work compares to a bestseller, but telling me you're better than them is a sure way to make me cringe.

#2 Don't tell me guidelines are for suckers, so I just HAVE TO read your full. Believe me, I CAN tell what kind of writer you are just by reading the first page of a work, let alone the first 3 chapters.

#3 Don't send hate mail when I reject your work. I sometimes get a wide range of these, from 'My head must be up my *(&' to 'I would have never signed with you anyway.' That one always makes me laugh. If a writer wasn't going to sign, why submit in the first place?

#4 Don't argue with a rejection. I'm not going to change my mind reading it again.

#5 Don't follow up once a day. It is okay to e-mail and make sure I received your submission. As my clients can attest to, I'm not always quick to get back saying I got it.

#6 And probably worst of all. Don't put me on your contact list and forward me e-mails. That's the easiest route to getting your e-mail address blocked. The one exception here would be my clients.

Have a groovy weekend, my little beasties, and stay literate;)

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17. Chapter Subs--Part Deux

Well, meant to blog yesterday (meant to get oodles of work done yesterday), but the water heater at home sprung a leak, and I ended up playing the role of Plumber's assistant the entire day.

Not only did I learn how to change out a water heater, but I explored the crawl space underneath our home. Oodles of spiders down there and one friendly snake. Needless to say, I'm glad yesterday is over and today is today.

Second part of Monday was spent focusing on chapter subs. We had more come in during Monday (more have come in since and I haven't taken a recent count), so some of those were looked at. We set aside 5 subs out of the initial 106 to look at later this week, and the remaining 101 were rejected.

Now it's back to finishing up client edits on a middle grade work before we move onto other client edits. Am finally nearing the end of the race on client edits (about 3/4 done for now), will have my contact database completely updated by the end of this week, and will hopefully get a chance to start on our short pile of manuscript subs (we haven't requested a full for awhile) tonight.

So, things are looking pretty spiffy in the catching up arena. A good thing because it's about time to start nagging some editors (muwahaha).

Stay literate;)

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18. Chapter Subs Part 1

As of this morning, we had 106 chapter submissions on our list to read, and guess what, my little beasties? Our focus this morning and for the next 5 hours is to read as many as we can. Gonna be a lot of unhappy writers out there today, me thinks.

While I loathe sending general rejection letters, it has become an absolute necessity to getting other things (client edits, submissions to editors, follow ups, etc.) completed.

So, it's 11 am now, 3 hours into the reading, and we've e-mailed 37 rejections. Nope, none of these were read through all the way, which leads me to the first rule when subbing--

#1 Write something that grabs the reader's attention.

One could argue that literary works might not be as attention-getting. True, but, as with any genre, a writer can pen a start where the main character is picking his nose and still make it great enough to draw me into the story. Even literary carries tension, just with more of a focus on the characters and their surroundings. Which brings me to rule #2--

#2 You have approximately two minutes to convince me I want to spend any more time on your writing. Make good use of those 2 minutes.

We have a ton of great writers already, each with their own new projects for us to read (projects we know are going to be great), so it's up to you to show us why we should put down their latest in favor of reading yours. You don't necessarily need to start with a bang, but your style should grab my undivided attention (a tough thing to do), your writing should be pleasant and enjoyable to read, and--

#3 You should be subbing something I actually want to read.

Which can lead to another important rule--

#4 Do your research on us. Best place is to read the blog, pay attention to what we're looking for.


To be continued...

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19. Women's fiction

I know, I know, where have I been this week?

Well, spring break has sprung, and with it comes the never-ending blooms and blossoms of subs. More than 30 rejects on chapter subs out today, yet my updated list leaves me with 45 going into the weekend (not much of a dent there lol).

Too cold and chilly to be considered spring for me (snow today, 70 degrees yesterday, welcome to Colorado, my little beasties). Speaking of beasties, I've had one of mine with me all week and, although he makes for a good assistant, I have been growing further and further behind in my reading.

We don't advertise that we take on women's fiction, but we do currently represent a women's fiction mystery. I'm also reading a new project from another client, a literary piece that would be considered women's supernatural. Not romance, but a love story nonetheless. A nice and moody look into how both the living and the dead cope with losing their true love.

Thought I'd take a brief minute to discuss women's fiction, and why we spout NO ROMANCE, yet represent women's fiction. Well, the simplest answer is that there's a big difference between women's fiction and romance. Yeah, I'm a girl, but I just can't get into the sensual stuff, or the formulaic Harlequiny tough girl in distress fights off advances of hunky man, then he proposes at the end of the book. What I like is a story where the romance comes from a different angle, or something more realistic. I don't want to read how her body burns at his touch. Too predictable, I say.

I usually go for the darker stories that involve romance, although I readily admit to enjoying Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books.

So is there a difference? Yep, yep, and yep. Romance is, well, romance. Women's fiction doesn't necessarily have to deal with romance. It could tell a story of her relationship with friends, a journey to self discovery, anything a woman might deal with. New York Times Bestselling Author Nora Roberts says it best: "Women's Fiction is a story that centers on a woman or on primarily women's issues, not necessarily the romantic relationship based books I do, but the woman's story."

And women's fiction doesn't have to be written by a woman to sell well. Ever heard of a guy named Nicholas Sparks?

So, send in the women's fiction if you'd like, just don't get too sappy on me. Stay literate;)

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20. Take me Out

to the ball game.

Well, first game of the Rockie's season was rained out yesterday (a good thing for us the way the game was shaping up), so Game 1 against the Cardinals is tonight. I really enjoy listening to the game on the radio while I read or edit away. In fact, I used to do much of my writing the same way.

Today has been little beastie free (sure makes for a quiet time) and a good thing because there's plenty of catching up to do. If you're waiting to hear back from us on a query (my stack is over 50) or manuscript (holding at 13 for the moment) or editing project (at least a dozen of those going on), then we thank you for your patience and promise to get to you as soon as humanly possible.

March is done, and 350 rejections later we may have found a potential client or two. BUT we're still searching for the next great literary piece (young adult or adult) and are still looking at women's fiction, historical non-fiction, or political non-fiction.

As always, we're knee deep in follow ups, and the majority of my time today has been talking on the phone or e-mailing editors.

Have a foolish April Fools and stay literate;)

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21. Burning the Midnight Oil

Okay, so it's not exactly midnight (little after 9:30 here), but, yep, still at it for today.

Sent 32 rejections on chapter subs today. I apologize for the impersonal rejection, but I'm wiped out and have another 35 to go through. Down to 10 full subs and half a dozen client projects to do (talk about powering through).

We're back to the drawing board on a couple of projects. Not necessarily a bad thing. We've received some great feedback from editors on these two, so now we're armed with exactly what needs to be done and, in most cases with editors who like a project but had some issues, the editor's willing to take another pass at it once changes are made. Smart writers are constantly learning and improving (same could be said for smart agents too).

Heard through the grapevine that Preditors and Editors is being sued by Publish America. I know nothing about the case, but I do have to say that I think P & E is a great place for writers to learn who's on the up & up and who's just down low, so I wish them the best.

And one of our clients is going to be featured in P &E's anthology that they're doing to raise money. More info on that when the time draws closer.

Stay literate;)

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22. When is a small advance a good thing?

First off, thanks to David for sharing the story on this. I actually read it through Publishers Weekly, but didn't think much about it til today.

Well, the first, and very obvious, answer to when a small advance is a good thing-- If you get a small advance and sell tons of books, you no longer have to worry about being in the hole with your publisher.

But the story I'd like to discuss deals with a new imprint blooming at Harpercollins. Robert Miller, founding publisher of Hyperion, is moving to HC and starting a studio that will focus on internet sales, offering little to no advances for authors, and no returns for book stores.

Why is this a good thing?

To start, he also wants to focus on shorter works, which I think might benefit authors who have amazing novellas. They say the novella is a dying breed (right along short stories), so imprints like this might serve to breathe new life into a format I really love.

They want to offer little to no advance, but the author's profit is going to be comparably higher (the article I read mentioned a possible 50/50 split on net profits). So, just as an example, let's say 1 hardcover makes a net profit of $10.00 (I use this figure just cuz it's easy to deal with). Would you rather get $1.00 (10%) or $5.00 (50%)?

This may translate into smaller initial print runs on a book, but I think smaller print runs will bring with it more opportunity for the first-time writer. The publisher would be more willing to take that risk on your first novel if they carry less risk of not making profit this way.

Finally, the focus on internet sales is a massive opportunity. More and more people are downloading e-books, and buying devices like the Kindle (heck, I'm pretty sure the Kindle's on a big back order these days).

So, while big advances are a nice, superdeeduper thing to have, imprints like this also raise a great opportunity. Of course, that's just my take on it. Read the article and decide for yourself what you think--

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/business/04harper.html?_r=1&ref=media&oref=slogin

Stay literate;)

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23. Yesterday

Yesterday was definitely a Monday. Broke my stapler, spilled my coffee, and, yeah, yeah, yah, still plenty of waiting (huge sigh).

At least I don't have to wait for the Rockies to win again (FINALLY).

We signed a new client over the weekend. Remember the YA fantasy we requested the full for (even though we weren't looking at fantasy)? That's the one. Goes to show that a good piece of fiction will catch an agent's eye. Now we're working on making a great piece into a fantastic piece. Am excited with how it's shaping up thus far, excited to get it out there, not so excited about the months and months of waiting that will follow lol.

Thought I'd delve into show vs. tell a bit more (cuz, frankly, I feel like it, my little beasties).

Sensory imput is a great way to involve the reader in a story, infuse more life into your manuscript. A writer friend of mine once told me that he tries to engage at least 3 of the senses in the first 2 opening paragraphs of each chapter when he writes. Guess it works because he's on his sixth book to come out.

Here's a good example of show vs. tell and utilizing sensory input---

Tell--

Marie lifted the glass nervously, brought it to her lips, and took a drink. It tasted sweet.

Pretty straight forward, sure, but this gives the reader nada, zip, zilch, to work from.

Show--

Marie's fingers trembled and twitched as she lifted the vial of green liquid to her lips. (GIVES US SIGHT AND A TOUCH OF COLOR)
A sweet smell, not unlike the aroma of cotton candy at the county fair, filled her nose. (SMELL)
She took a tentative sip. Warmth brushed across her tongue, ignited into an inferno as it slid down her throat. (TOUCH)

Not only does the second paragraph paint a more vivid picture using sensory input, but it also sets the tone, lets the reader know she's nervous about drinking whatever's in that glass.

Stay literate;)

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24. Patience, grasshopper

Yep, even agents get bitten by the impatient bug (that nasty neon green insect that just won't stop buzzing).

I think the biggest difference for an agent (as opposed to a writer) is that we're so busy with a gazillion other things, although I'll freely admit the thoughts are in the back of my mind, in every follow up to the editor and e-mail from the client.

I'm also ready and willing to admit we're behind. Haven't touched a single chapter sub or manuscript (non-client) in almost a week. Today was set aside to play catch up, but things came up. Lots of mark ups and edits going on behind the scenes, and this will be yet another full working weekend in hopes of getting those done (then I'll worry about chapter subs).

On a patience note, as our clients know we made the switch from sending queries via post to 99 % e-mail/phone correspondence in mid-December (some editors still prefer the paper sub).

To give you an idea how slow doing it via post can go, we just received a reply to a query sent November 13 (that's almost 5 months) requesting the full. I am so happy we made the switch.

Stay literate;)

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25. Harper's New Imprint and Through the Eyes of an Editor

I know it's Saturday, but, hey, I'm working away at edits (and I didn't blog much this week), so I thought I'd pop a post up.

One of the many things I adore about my clients is that, even though they have an agent, they are always keeping an eye out for industry news. Thought I'd share a couple links with you.

First, here's a link to an editor's blog post talking about what happens to your manuscript once they've received it. --

http://editorialanonymous.blogspot.com/2008/03/heroic-journey-of-requested-manuscript.html


Second, here's a story on Harpercollin's newest imprint--

ALESSANDRA BALZER AND DONNA BRAY TO LAUNCH NEW IMPRINT AT HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN'S BOOKSNew York, NY (April 9, 2008) - HarperCollins Publishers announced today that it has appointed Alessandra Balzer and Donna Bray to the newly created position of Co-Publishers of the new imprint Balzer & Bray. They will join HarperCollins on May 5, 2008, reporting to Kate Morgan Jackson, Senior Vice President and Associate Publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books.

"We are so pleased and proud that Alessandra and Donna are coming to HarperCollins, " said Kate Jackson. "Between them there is nothing they can't do. They have published award-winning and bestselling books for children of all ages, from babies through young adults. They are a dynamic and savvy team who knows what their readers want, and we welcome them with great excitement."

"After working together for twelve years, Donna and I are thrilled to start this new venture," said Balzer. Bray said, "We are particularly excited to launch this imprint at HarperCollins, which has such a prestigious publishing history."

Alessandra Balzer began her career at HarperCollins Children's Books, and was most recently an Executive Editor at Hyperion Books for Children. Alessandra is the editor of bestselling author and artist Mo Willems, who has won three Caldecott Honors, for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity. Alessandra edited SOLD by Patricia McCormick, a National Book Award Finalist and John, Paul, George, & Ben by Lane Smith, a New York Times best seller. She also works with Eoin Colfer, author of the internationally best-selling Artemis Fowl series, and Jonathan Stroud, who wrote the New York Times bestselling Bartimaeus Trilogy. Donna Bray started her career at Henry Holt and Company, and was most recently the Editorial Director of Hyperion Books for Children.

Among the books that Donna has edited are the Newbery Medal title Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi; National Book Award Finalist The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich; the New York Times bestsellers Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee; I'd Tell You I Love You But I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter; We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson; and Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio and LeUyen Pham. Donna also launched the blockbuster Baby Einstein book publishing program at Hyperion.

Stay literate;)

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