Pan Macmillan has teamed up with Curtis Brown to release hundreds of out-of-print titles from the agency's list as digital editions.
Macmillan Bello will launch 120 titles next month, with a further 400 in 2012. The launch list includes novels from conservationist author Gerald Durrell, writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West, crime novelist Francis Durbridge and novelist and critic D J Taylor. Other authors whose work features on the new list include Gillian Tindall and a novel for adults by the children's author Eva Ibbotson.
Earlier this week, the Ed Victor Literary Agency announced that it would setup an eBook and print-on-demand venture called Bedford Square Books.
The Bookseller also reported that two agencies have decided to follow in Ed Victor‘s footsteps: Curtis Brown, Ltd. and Blake Friedmann Literary, TV, and Film Agency. Curtis Brown CEO Jonathan Lloyd explained in the article: “Where Ed Victor leads, others follow—and we are right behind him, but with a rather larger list.”
According to The Bookseller.com, Bedford Square Books will publish its inaugural list in September. The list features six titles by authors that they currently represent. In January 2012, another six titles are scheduled for release.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Ian Fleming Publications has appointed Jonny Geller and Curtis Brown as the literary agents worldwide for the Ian Fleming James Bond novels as well as future Bond literary works, taking over from Simon Trewin at United Agents.
HarperCollins Children's Books has bought a new collection of previously unpublished work and out of print folk tales by Alan Garner for publication this autumn.
Editorial director Nick Lake bought world rights to Complete Folk Tales from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown. Published in November 2011, the book comprises stories from Garner's out of print Book of British Folk Tales and The Hamish Hamilton Book of Goblins, as well as never before published stories from Garner's archive.
Hodder has bought a book by the comedian Miranda Hart, looking at "the unexpected pitfalls and horrors of growing up".
Publisher Hannah Black bought world rights in a deal with Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown. Is it Just Me? will be published in October 2012.
Hi Tracy! Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I am a Literary Assistant at Curtis Brown Ltd., a full service literary agency that has had the pleasure of representing adult and children's literature for nearly 100 years. We have a foreign rights and film department, and have just launched our new website. I also have my own personal blog.
Before joining Curtis Brown, I worked as a newspaper correspondent and a freelance children's book reviewer. I graduated Binghamton University with a BA in English, concentration in Rhetoric.
In your opinion , what are the top 3 things every author should and must do to promote their book?
The top 3 things every author should do to promote their book:
1.) Start early.
Buy your name as your domain now. Maybe you don't need to set up your website yet, but squat on your space and pay attention to renewals. Once you've sold the book, you'll most likely have a year or two before your book hits the shelves. Start social networking now so that you have friends in the kidlit social community that will be happy to hear and blog about your book release. (Likewise, this is a friendship like any other, so respect your fellow bloggers by blogging about their book releases and linking to posts that you think other writers would find informative.)
2.) Encourage creativity.
Experiment with ways to create a movement around your book by offering your readers not only information about you and/or your book, but also different ways of interacting with you than they might interact with another writer. Try different platforms to see which are the most appropriate ways for you and your readers to talk. Try videos, contests, "open mic" Q&A's -- anything that might give the reader more information about your book without just giving them a sales pitch. Experiment without worrying about how many people might catch on, and remember that there will always be more people reading than participating (partially, I think, b/c of the ease of Google Reader.)
So, forgiving the fact that marketing isn't a large part of my role at the agency, and speaking more on a "what I'd love to see authors do" level, let's imagine that I wrote a funny memoir about needle pointing while traveling the world on the circus train. (On the off-chance anyone really did, I would love to read a copy!)
First and foremost, I would ask myself if this project would translate better online as a blog or as my own social network. In this case, I would consider A.) if there are any major needle pointing social networks already in existence, B.) if I felt that my audience would be interested in posting videos and pictures of their own needlepoint projects or if they would prefer just to comment on what I blogged about, and C.) if my target demographic was likely to be comfortable with one platform over the other. Because crafters would probably enjoy the ability to learn new techniques from others in a niche community, I would personally choose to create a social network over a straight blog.
Once I set up the network and traffic started to grow, I would invite my readers to tell their funniest circus stories, post a series of how-to needlepoint videos, keep my readers up-to-date on my latest needle pointing projects by posting pictures, encourage people to post pictures of their needlepoint projects by commenting on those that do, give away needle pointed bookmarks that I'd made as prizes, post sample chapters of the memoir, invite readers to write a circus story with me by writing a line, or perhaps invite them to create illustrations to a circus story I'd posted, etc. In addition to reaching out to my readers, I would reach out to other blogging needle pointers and invite them to guest blog. Perhaps I'd set up a needlepoint rivalry, challenging a fellow needle pointer to a cross stitching duel. (Post videos of your fastest 100 stitches? Or challenge each other to create the best original image without using a grid to pre-plan the design?) [If you're not a needle pointer, I'm sure the idea of watching people stitch 100 x's as fast as possible sounds about as much fun as giving yourself a frontal lobotomy with a spoon. It's tempting to be as general as possible in hopes to attract the biggest audience. But remember, the goal is not to have every person on the planet on your network. Instead, we're trying to create a tight-knit community of needle pointers, because they are the ones that would (possibly) be interested in a needlepoint circus memoir.]
Then I would experiment with how my Twitter feed and Myspace and/or Facebook page could integrate what was happening on the needlepoint social network without turning into a list of links. Maybe invite your Facebook followers to be the judge of the best needlepoint project that was posted on the social networking site by creating a Facebook page or group for it. Schedule a time to have a question and answer session with your most advanced needle pointer on your network via Twitter, and invite your readers (who have, at this point, essentially become co-creators on your site) to listen to the conversation and then ask questions.
If I had a major prize to give away (b/c needle pointing is so time intensive), I would ask my readers to needlepoint a favorite scene from the needlepoint/circus memoir. The scene where you discover the bearded lady isn't a lady, or perhaps the story about the tightrope walker who fell during a practice session into an elephant pile because they accidentally used your embroidery floss instead of the tightrope.
Likewise, I would experiment offline. Perhaps at book readings I would ask people to come prepared with their own needle and floss. I'd pass out 1 by 3 inch pieces of canvas and at the end of the reading, we'd race to see who can embroider their piece the fastest. Winner gets a prize and everybody else goes home with a physical reminder of the event, even if they chose not to buy a book. Or maybe I'd try to find an artist that makes beautiful needlepoint art, and see if we could have a collaborative reading and gallery exhibition.
The most important thing to remember, I think, is that if people love your content and if you are genuine in your interactions, then they're going to want to participate in the making of similar content. So experiment yourself, and encourage other people to experiment with you.
3.) Be gracious.
Networking online is the same as networking in person, so whether you're online or offline, it's important to be a gracious host and an appreciative guest. Thank people for re-tweeting, or for posting a link to your blog. It's important to remember that people online are still peope, so take care when you comment and post.
In your opinion, how important is social networking? Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, GoodReads etc.
My main area of interest is children's literature, and so I can not stress enough how important it is as a children's writer to talk to your audience on the platforms that they are most comfortable with. I think this helps not only on a marketing standpoint, but also I think it improves your writing and keeps it more real. As we get older, our perspective on middle school, high school and college changes, so why not talk to the very same people you're writing for and ask them -- what are you worried about today? What is the best thing that's happened to you today? I think the answers will be inspiring, and will help keep authors in touch with how they were felt at that point in their lives.
How important is technology to an author's marketing plan?
Technology is important because it enables its users to access the type of information they want at an ever-increasing pace. What that means for an author is that their fan-base can decide how much or how little they want to know about an author and their books.
Sometimes I think authors are resistant to blog or tweet, or chat on Facebook because they worry that people don't really care what they're working on or what their flight to Denver was like on the way to their book signing.
But that's not something an author should worry about, because the people that follow them are doing so by choice. Your readers want to hear from you!
When evaluating whether to take on an author or book, do you ever Google them to see if they already have a web presence or platform?
We often Google perspective clients. We're always pleased to see a professional looking website, but we are also looking to make sure the author isn't a fugitive!
Can you give us an idea of what things Publishers may offer in contracts in terms of Marketing? What does the average author receive or is it different, depending on the book?
Contracts vary depending on the author and publisher. It's been my experience that debut and mid-list authors will rarely see any sort of marketing commitment in terms of dollars spent in their contracts. (One exception to this is Vanguard Publishing, whose business model is to offer a certain amount to be spent in marketing dollars instead of an advance.)
Unfortunately, most publishers have one small marketing and publicity team that handles all of the imprint's and/or publisher's books. It's impossible to buy a full page ad in the School Library Journal for every book, or to send every book to the New York Times Book Review.
So be nice to your publisher's publicist! You want them to want to help you.
Thank you Tracy for your time and advice!
Thank you Shelli.
Day four in my reports from the Austin SCBWI conference, and today I’m featuring Curtis Brown literary agent Nathan Bransford. But first a recap of days one through three in case you missed them: agent Mark McVeigh on publishing, agent Andrea Cascardi on getting and working with an agent, editor Cheryl Klein on writing a great book.
And now onto Nathan Bransford. You’ve probably already heard of Nathan, one of the best known literary agents around because of his much read blog. If you haven’t read it, go there — after you’ve read this, of course — and bookmark it, add it to your Google Reader or whatever.
Now, before you read Nathan’s blog and whip off an email to him with all the details of your book, note that he said he likes the title he gave his presentation — Finding the agent who’s right for you — because it suggests there should be an element of deliberation and patience in an agent search.
He said that while writers are writing their book, they should take some time for what he called “productive procrastination,” during which they find out everything they can about different agents.
When looking for agents, he offered up some red flags that should make writers run in the other direction:
- an agent who charges for representing you.
- an agent who offers you representation just off a query without looking at your full work or talking to you.
He also said not to dismiss young agents, because they’re motivated and might take on projects that need polishing when busier agents might not.
To find agents, he suggested the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) website and AgentQuery.com.
For the query, Nathan said he knows they’re hard to write. He wrote one when he was looking for an agent for his own book (yep, he wrote a middle-grade space adventure and it has sold to Dial Books for Young Readers). Even though he’s an agent, Nathan wanted someone else to handle his own work, and he ended up signing with an agent he didn’t know before, so the query letter helped.
His query tips were:
- The most important thing is conveying the story arc.
- Personalize the query. It’s not about sucking up, he said; it’s about showing the agent you’ve chosen them. And he said he thinks that someone who takes the time to personalize the query is someone who’ll work on their own book.
- The query should be one page, around 250 words.
- Use proper formating, which you can find on his blog and many other places online.
Signing with the right agent “is the most important decision you’re going to make as a writer,” he said, advising writers to take the time to get to know agents before they sign with one.
After an agent offers representation, talk to them about their agenting style, what expenses they’ll charge (no fee, just incidentals such as copying,
Jolie Stekly offers the latest SCBWI TEAM BLOG Annual Summer Conference
faculty interview on Cuppa Jolie--she interviewed Curtis Brown agent Ginger Clark, a first-time LA conference presenter.
Ginger will offer two sessions at the Summer Conference
: HOW TO APPROACH AGENTS WITHOUT SCARING THEM OFF and BRING YOUR QUESTIONS: AN AGENT ANSWERS THEM ALL. She'll also participate in a panel LITERARY AGENTS VIEW THE MARKETPLACE.
Here a bit form Jolie's post:
How can it be that the SCBWI summer conference is only a few short weeks away? Is it that the weather has been so cold it doesn’t seem possible that the end up July could be that close? Okay, I suppose that only goes for those of us in the Pacific Northwest. But still! How excited are you to be there? Or…OR are you still deciding?There’s still time. You don’t want to miss the many fab agents attending and critiquing, like Ginger Clark.
As Jolie said, there's still time to register for the event--don't you want an agent to answer all your questions? Click here for registration info.
We are excited to kick off our new contest with Sarah LaPolla from Curtis Brown, Ltd
and a panel of guest authors who will help you perfect your pitch, lick your logline into shape, and rock your query letter. Over the next few weeks, you'll be paired with a mentor from among our authors, and she, along with our other contestants and our amazing followers, will help you work through the short synopsis and logline elements of your query. Then you will put it all together, and Sarah LaPolla will choose the top three finalists!
The three top finalists will receive a submission request from Sarah LaPolla. In addition, they'll receive:
Detailed timetables are here located here
- 1st Place: Three-chapter manuscript critique from Sarah LaPolla
- 2nd Place: Two-chapter manuscript critique from P.J. Hoover
- 3rd Place: One-chapter manuscript critique from Michele Corriel
, but see below for how today's segment is going to work.
Contest opens today at noon eastern time to the first 50 entries.
To enter, post a comment including:
8/19 to 8/26:
- Your name or screenname
- The title of your project
- The genre of your project
- Your pitch, no more than 175 words and two paragraphs that briefly synopsize your story.
- If your online profile doesn't include an email address, either provide it or email us privately at kidlit (at) writeedge.com so we'll have a way to contact you. We will not accept anonymous entries or entries without contact info this time. (We spent WAY too much time herding contestants last month!)
8/26 to 9/1:
- Our panel of mentoring authors will be evaluating and formulating their ideas on your short synopsis (pitch) paragraphs.
9/02: You'll accept your one-sentence logline (elevator pitch) entries. Plan ahead!
- Our mentoring authors will post their comments and suggestions.
- Contestants, please plan to offer courteous, helpful comments on at least five other entries.
- Followers and readers, please help us out and offer your suggestions, too!
JUDGE's BIOSarah LaPolla
began at Curtis Brown in 2008, working with Dave Barbor and Peter Ginsberg. Sarah is interested in literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, literary horror, and young adult fiction. She loves complex characters, coming-of-age stories, and strong narrators. Sarah graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Writing and English, and went on to receive her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She is always on the lookout for debut authors and welcomes email submissions at sl [at] cbltd.com.
- P. J. Hoover grew up visiting museums and dreaming of finding Atlantis. She eventually married and had two children, shifted her dreams to reality, and began a writing career. PJ enjoys writing fantasy for middle grade and teen readers, boys and girls alike. Her middle grade fantasy novels, T
NEWSFLASH: Sarah LaPolla is doing an Agent Pitch Contest starting tomorrow morning at 9amEST! It will be an paragraph pitch of no more than 4 sentences. Winner gets a special prize (revealed tomorrow :)
So get your pitches ready and come back tomorrow for more deets!
For now, here is a little about Sarah!
Hi Sarah, tell us about yourself and how you got into agenting?
I am an associate agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. and have been with them since 2008. I started as the foreign rights assistant and a few months ago I started building my own list. Before getting my job at Curtis Brown, I received my MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School. I still vaguely consider myself a writer, but I always knew I wanted to be the one to make things happen for other writers, as opposed to getting my own work published. (Maybe, possibly, someday though…) While I was in grad school, I interned with Loretta Barrett Books and the Renee Zuckerbrot Agency, and I knew I wanted to continue down that career path. So here I am!
What is your biggest pet peeve when receiving submissions? Query fails vs query successes?
It bothers me when it is very clear the writer has done no research whatsoever before querying me. Another pet peeve is when authors compare their books, whether for better or worse, to other popular novels. I’ve been getting a lot of Twilight-meets-blank lately and then realize that the only thing remotely close to Twilight in the book is that a vampire shows up. I want writers to be able to describe their work without relying on anything else other than their own story.
As an agent, how do you plan on helping your clients promote their books?
I have my own blog, which I will use as a marketing tool when the time comes (promote books and events, hold contests, etc.) I’m also pretty active on Twitter. I would encourage my authors to do the same. Ultimately, I think the bulk of publicity still ends up falling on the publisher and the author, but the role of the agent is changing in that way. The outlets for effective marketing also change fairly often, so I plan to keep up with those trends as best I can.
What are you looking for and how can authors submit to you?
I love literary fiction, urban fantasy, magical realism, narrative nonfiction, and young adult fiction. I’m also always looking for eng
It's time again for another agent pitch contest. I love doing these because not only do they get you in front of an agent but they also help the agents get some fresh queries :)
Today, the pitch is being judged by Sarah LaPolla from Curtis Brown LTD. You can read her interview with me here. And see her agent bio here.
Here are some other interviews to help you get to know her taste and style:
Mother, Write, Repeat
Guide to Literary Agents
Winner: Gets a 1st chapter/query critique from Sarah!
When: Begins today, Tuesday Sept 14th at Noon EST and ends Wed Sept. 15th at midnight EST (I will close comments when it officially ends so if you get a comment in, you are counted.)
What: Leave your paragraph pitch in the comments on this post. Your pitch can be NO MORE than 4 or 5 sentences and MUST be something Sarah is looking for.
- If your manuscript is still in WIP - you may enter since this is a query critique
- Your pitch must only be 4 to 5 sentences. Your entry must follow the rules to be counted.
- This is for unagented/unpublished book writers only. (if you've published articles or essays - you can enter!)
- You can only enter ONCE so choose wisely!
- You must be a follower of my blog and either twitter or my newsletter (whichever you would use more :). If I were you, I would also follow Sarah's blog and Twitter too!
In the comments you MUST leave the following information to be considered:
- title of book
- your paragraph pitch
- your email
has been a literary agent with Curtis Brown
since the fall of 2005. [Curtis Brown has been around since 1914, and has three agents that focus on children's books. Curtis Brown was founded by the legendary Marilyn Marlow.]
She has more than 30 clients. She's currently looking for MG sci-fi, fantasy and mystery, urban fantasy (no vampires), YA sci-fi, dystopia, space opera, YA cyperpunk and steampunk, YA contemporary and literary. She's taking on new clients and prefers email queries [address: gc(at)cbltd.com].
Publishers are finding MG tough right now, she says, because they haven't found a Facebook for MG readers. MG one of the areas of BFYR where you can have successful stand-alone books. You can continue to do that as an MG writer more so than in YA, she says.
Children's books are strong and aren't moving to e-books like the adult segment of publishing, and writers don't make as much off of e-books. Kids pass books around, treasure them as possessions. Teen are experiencing digital fatigue, and need books to decompress from technology.
YA in a nutshell over the past few years according to Ginger: Vampires led to faeries which led to werewolves which led to angels which led to dystopia. She predicts historical is next in line (the Tudors for teens).
Things that came up during Ginger's Q&A:
- She doesn't send a book out these days unless it's had at least one revision.
- Step one, right a