Pub Rants

Category: Marketing & Promotion

Samurai Agent!

STATUS: Just chuckling. Smart Bitches asks if AN ACCIDENTAL GODDESS cover can be saved. Answer is NO but the general consensus is that the story inside is totally worth braving the ABBA dancing queen cover. If you read my blog regularly, y’all already know how Linnea and I feel about that cover.

But thank goodness Bantam came to their senses. Check out this treat (and nary a spandex covered Barbie doll proportioned chest in sight). GAMES OF COMMAND is releasing in one month, so put it on your wish list.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION by Elvis Presley

An agent friend of mind sent the link for the last-samurai-agent my way today and I just had to laugh.

I think I might try out this technique next time I’m in New York. Not.

But I feel like a slacker. I just knew I wasn’t going that extra distance to get those increases in advances for my authors.

Photoshop That Baby?

STATUS: Just got the new Korean copies for ENCHANTED, INC. Man, I’m just so tickled because I think the cover is darling.

Random House JoongAng/Korea

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WALKING IN MEMPHIS by Mark Cohn

I want to say first off that I can completely sympathize with authors concerning the trauma involved in having a headshot taken.

My current picture on my website (see it here) was taken during the Denver Magazine 5280 photo shoot for the profile they did on me. Great photographer. Good lighting. But I’m telling you, that young lad took over 200 pictures of me and when it was time to select a photo for the magazine spread, there were only two shots I remotely liked. I’m not that photogenic super close up.

So I feel your pain. Get out the photoshop, baby!

But I want to caution authors to resist that particular temptation. Why? Because I think you should look like your author shot. There is nothing more startling than meeting an author in person and he or she looks nothing like the photo and if the photo is better than the in-person moment, well, it’s downright awkward. I’m as politically correct as the next person but it sometimes hard to hide the shock.

And that’s certainly not the response you want your fans to have when meeting you.

Now I do think you should like your author shot and redo it until you get it right (however you define that.) You have to live with it after all.

If you detest the whole author photo thing, than you can get creative. I think it’s Kim Harrison whose author photo consists of a long shot of her from behind walking down a wooded road. I love that shot. Very dramatic and mood setting which kind of fits the books she writes.

No contract ever stipulates that it has to be a headshot of the author (at least none that I’ve seen.) I’ve also seen great author shots where the writer is anonymous because they are wearing a hat dipped low or something similar.

Photoshop is not the only option.

Perseverance Pays Off

STATUS: Triumph. Maybe. With technology I’m always a little skeptical but supposedly we have fixed all the errors with the e-Newsletter subscribe process. So, subscribe away.

And here’s another hint about our electronic submission database that we’ve recently discovered. Don’t try and upload your sample pages from your workplace (besides, wink, aren’t you suppose to be working?). Several writers have knocked their heads against the company’s stringent firewall that won’t allow uploads. Even if you’re on your coffee break, you should wait until you get home.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY by Bobby McFerrin

It’s no secret that many authors lament the stingy promotional budget/plan they receive from their publishers—if they even receive one at all.

But here’s a nice encouraging story. I have an author who sells well but certainly would be considered mid-list. For the last two years, she has plugged away mightily on her own promotional campaign—always keeping her editor in the loop. And her publisher has certainly done some terrific publicity stuff in conjunction with her efforts but nothing higher end.

But personal perseverance is finally paying off. Her publisher plans to cough up some dough for her next book release.

So even though you may feel like your wallowing all by your lonesome in the promotional dark, your unstinting and determined efforts can eventually translate into publisher dollars. Publishers like to see that can-do attitude and will often reward authors who soldiered on by themselves to start with.

Just a thought to keep in mind when embracing that daunting task called self-promotion.

A Cautionary Tale

STATUS: It’s a Monday and the first day back after a holiday. Enough said.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND by Sting

Caution: titillating blog ahead?

This weekend a librarian got a little eye-brow raising shock.

She clicked on one of my authors old, outdated website urls and got, yes, you guessed, a gay porn site advertising “super big you-know-whats.”

Okay, maybe you didn’t guess that. Luckily the librarian had a lively sense of humor and wrote a lovely email to my author informing her of the new home for her old website url and how and where she had found the old link (just in case we wanted to address the issue).

Well, my author had a non-suggestive and completely non-porn former url so of course I had to give it a look-see. Why on earth would someone use that address for a gay porn site? Didn’t make sense so I thought the librarian might be having a bit of fun.

I got an eyeful that’s for sure.

But this is an issue that I imagine few authors have ever imagined. Having an old url data out and about in the world that you release and then is later legitimately bought and used for porn site probably doesn’t happen often.

But I’m here to tell you it does happen.

By the way, my author is super savvy did everything right. She launched her new site and notified any website linkers of the change so other sites could update their content. She even held the website url for two years after the switch with a nifty message redirecting visitors to her new site.

She never imagined what the next url owner would have in mind.

So if there is even a chance of readers clicking on that old url information and you’d like to control what they see, maybe hold that site (and spend the money) for a little tad longer.

Nobody’s Saint in Three Languages!

STATUS: My auction is still unfolding. Given the time of day, looks like it won’t wrap up until tomorrow.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? THE WEAKNESS IN ME by Joan Armatrading

I just had to share. Just this week, I finally got the foreign editions for my romance author Paula Reed’s latest historical romance entitled NOBODY’S SAINT.

Of course I love ALL my author covers but I have to say there’s a little special place in my heart for this very sexy US version. When looking at it, it just makes me want to pop on a little Julio I. and maybe indulge in some vigorous fanning or a nice mild swoon.

My hubby just laughs.

But truly, I think Paula’s publisher Kensington just nailed this cover (except Paula would say they didn’t have stripped sheets back in the late 1700s). I know. It should bother me but I don’t mind a little historical leeway as long as it isn’t blatant like zippers on blue jeans for a historical Western. Now that would drive me crazy.

So I’m pretty enthralled with the US version but then I got a load of the Dutch edition.

That guy surely doesn’t look like anybody’s saint. You betcha. I think this cover could work in the US without blinking an eye.
So it was doubly interesting to me to see the semi-clinch cover from her Brazilian publisher (and it’s the first of my clients to sell in South America). And I find the “Don-Juan” in the title very fascinating.

Brazilian edition

But what is clear? It’s a fun, sexy read that you should get your hands on if you haven’t already. What other romance in the world has a Spanish Gent, an Irish lass, and Mary and Mary Magdalene as interfering saints? In some respects, I still can’t believe that Kensington let us get away with this book and for that reason alone, it’s worth picking up.

Break the Code!

STATUS: Don’t worry. I’ll probably get back to myth busting tomorrow. I was a little more interested in hitting the beach today than blog writing. What can I say? In fun news though, my software guru is creating a new Nelson Agency web database where writers can upload their sample pages to a safe and secure site starting in January 2007. No more snail mailing sample pages for us to review. Serious. We are going fully electronic baby. It’s coming so be on the look out for the blog announcement but our goal is to launch this new submission format starting on Jan. 3, 2007.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? No little iPod.

Okay, for those of you who are huge Ally Carter fans and have been dying for any sneak peek at the next book, here’s your chance.

The title for the sequel I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU has been top secret until now. If you can crack the code, you’ll have the skinny that no one in the world has besides Ally, her publisher, and me—not to mention there are some cool prizes.

So, visit Ally’s blog for contest rules/instructions/prizes and for more details but here’s the code.

Happy breaking all you spies.

From Ally:


By far one of the most frequent questions I’ve gotten lately is “what’s the title of the next Gallagher Girls book going to be?”

Well, here it is for the first time anywhere!

What? You can’t read it?

That’s probably because the good folks at the Gallagher Academy have encrypted it.

Yep. It’s a real code!

Actual spies have used this actual technique to convey actual secrets for years.

So if you’ve ever wanted to be a spy, or if you’re just a puzzle junkie… Or maybe if you are simply dying to know the title, here’s your chance to have some fun and challenge yourself and think like a Gallagher Girl (or guy) for a while.

And I’m throwing a contest (with some pretty cool prizes) for those of you who feel up to the challenge.

Pub Horror Stories—Just In Time For Halloween

STATUS: I was a submission demon today. Two projects went out to many an excited editor. And I’ll know tomorrow whether I’ll be setting up an auction for a project already out and about.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? MOONLIGHT LADY by Julio Iglesias (man, that is one sexy voice)

I have to send you over to Rachel’s blog today. She literally summed up my last couple of weeks on the job (except she doesn’t have the fabulous Sara to help her but sounds like she could use a Sara-clone.) Are we living parallel lives?

And you know what’s even stranger? I, too, wear a size 6 ½ in footwear so we can literally walk in each other’s shoes.

Watch your closet Rachel! The Midnight Shoe Snatcher might be on the loose.

And the savvy Bella Stander is blogging about publicity horror stories on her blog—just in time for Halloween.

How perfect is that?

I wish I had a horror story of my own to share but besides the person calling and leaving a query pitch on the voicemail today (despite the fact the recording clearly says no phone queries), there’s nothing very horrific going on. I have no horror clients. I’m not even sure I have an editor horror story to share.

Wait I have one.

I once had to hang up on an editor because she was screaming so loud during a phone negotiation that I had to hold the phone a foot away from my ear. I interrupted and asked her to call back when she felt more able to discuss the terms and I hung up.

Hasn’t ever happened since because now I won’t submit to her. Problem solved!

And check the blog early tomorrow. You are in a for a super Halloween treat.


Leap To Hardcover

STATUS: All this week I’ve been thinking I was being a weenie about my bad head cold. Finally went to the doc and I have a sinus infection and a double ear infection. I had a good reason to feel miserable!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? AFRICA by Toto

Earlier this year I sold an anthology conceived and edited by my fabulous author Jennifer O’Connell to be an original trade paperback and we got the fabulous news this week that Simon & Schuster is going to take it out in Hardcover.

And look as this marvelous cover. I love it so much I have a color copy taped to the wall right next to my computer screen so I can catch fun glimpses of it during the day.

I have to say Judy Blume was hugely instrumental in my own girlhood development. Goodness, I don’t think young girls were allowed entrance into womanhood without reading ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET. Not to mention the thousand giggling conversations in the bathroom around the “naughty” FOREVER. I even had to hold a copy for some girlfriends so their mothers wouldn’t discover them with it (For the record, my own Mother never censored my reading material but I had many an embarrassing conversation where she insisted on going through every detail. So embarrassing then but thanks Mom!)

What your Mom wouldn’t or couldn’t tell you, Judy Blume had no problem sharing.

And the authors included in this collection want to honor her. Judy herself enjoyed every one of the essays included (of course we sent her a copy very early on).

But the purpose of this blog isn’t necessarily to highlight how fabulous this book is (wink) but to talk about why a publisher decides to take a book that was originally slotted to be a trade paperback into hardcover.

The answer is very simple. Overwhelming enthusiasm. In-house, at sales conference from sales reps, from conversations reps had with booksellers, and from the accounts when it was time to schedule the buy-ins.

Overwhelming enthusiasm.

The move to hardcover to break it out bigger!


STATUS: Network is finally back up and running like a dream. Took all day though. On the upside, I got a lot of reading accomplished. It’s amazing how distracting answering email can be.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? HEART OF GLASS by Blondie

Since my network person had to commandeer the computer for a good portion of the day, I did a lot of partials reading etc. I took a break to read the latest issue of Publishers Weekly. They had the whole Frankfurt recap going on and that made me want to share some fun news for Cheryl Sawyer.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve sold the Spanish and Russian rights to CODE OF LOVE.

And since I was on that foreign cover kick for the longest time, I thought I’d show you this gorgeous Spanish cover. I think this one could work quite effectively in the United States without blinking an eye.

Of course once could argue the whole symbolism of the sword etc. but I won’t go there.




Big in Japan—We Hope!

STATUS: Travel day so I’m doing blog light.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Ah, the old iPod is not with me on the road.

Ally just emailed me this photo. It’s release date in Japan. of I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU.

Her translator took a candid shot in Japan’s biggest bookstore. Here’s the title on the front table—just where we like it.

Here’s to hoping Japanese teens love the Gallagher Girls as much as we do!