STATUS: Love reliable internet access! It’s been a little spotty from the floor.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? VERTIGO by U2
Finally getting a chance to upload some pics!
Shot of show floor from above and the Walking Dead booth!
It had to happen eventually. Today Jamie Ford is not on the New York Times bestseller list–ending our phenomenal run of 130 consecutive weeks on the list. That is two and half years without dropping off.
Wow. Just wow.
Maybe I shouldn’t be having a blog entry announcing this fact but you know what, Jamie? It’s an incredible achievement no matter how I talk about it.
So I raise a glass of champagne to you and your wonderful debut novel: Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter & Sweet.
For us, there has been no bitter.
And I have a feeling that this week isn’t the end and that we will be popping back on in the not-so-distant future.
STATUS: Still time to sign up to learn how to craft the perfect pitch paragraph for your query letter. The video webinar is tomorrow, Thursday, March 28 at 6 pm MST. It should be a blast to give.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? ONLY A MEMORY by Smithereens
In general, the whole purpose of Bologna Children’s Book Fair is to pitch your rights list to scouts and foreign publishers in order to generate interest in upcoming titles so as to promote foreign sales. And I certainly did a lot of that while there but for the most part, I have a foreign co-agent who handles that on our agency’s behalf.
So what’s Frankfurt or Bologna all about when I visit a Fair with a client in tow? It’s about face-time. It’s about making the foreign publisher feel like an important part of an author’s career. It’s about marketing dollars and inspiring the foreign editor to choose our clients’ books if it’s a choice between two.
1) Foreign editors rarely get to meet the authors for whom they are translating. It may or may not translate into more sales but I know from experience that a foreign publisher who has met an author in person is more likely to do a promotional push for that title in translation.
2) Those meetings give us valuable information that we might not hear otherwise (or not hear in a timely fashion). Marie Lu’s German publisher is making LEGEND their big lead title for fall and sponsoring a German tour! Would this have happened without a Bologna visit? Certainly (as we would have been looped in eventually) but now we are in the know months earlier and can actively help them. Also, they are 10 times more excited to have this big push after we had a lovely sit-down dinner with them and relayed all the latest promo news while in Bologna. We’ve confirmed they are making the right decision.
3) Targeting a Fair allows an author client to make stops in other nearby countries. When Simone decided to come to Bologna with me this year, she was invited by her French publisher to stop in Paris to participate in a book festival there. Her publisher warned her that maybe 25 or 35 people might show for the signing. Imagine everyone’s surprise when more than 200 people came and Simone had a signing line more than 2 hours long! You think her French publisher is going to be paying closer attention to her next release? You betcha. Nothing inspires publishers more than seeing first hand fan enthusiasm for an author.
4) Finding out early that an author is selling like mad in a territory. (ie. The Perfect Chemistry Series is going gangbusters in Germany).
Other benefits of Fair participation include getting the latest gossip about what has sold recently. About what might be hot next. And simply connecting with the UK editors whom I don’t see as often. It gives an agent a global perspective of what works–not only in the US but around the world. Or maybe even more importantly, what doesn’t work in other territories.
Does that shade what I might take on next in the US? To some extent but it’s certainly not the end all be all in making a decision to offer representation but it is part of the big picture.
More pics from 2012 Bologna!
Marie Lu and me in Agent Centre
Simone with her editor Katrin (on left) and her Publisher Suzanne (Random House Germany)
Marie’s Bologna dinner with her US, German, and UK publishers!
Simone & Kristin in Venice! Rumor has it that if you kiss under a bridge while riding in a gondola, you’ll have good luck all year. I told Simone that even though I was a full service agent, that’s where I draw the line. *grin*
STATUS: Meetings every half hour and running on 6 hours of sleep a night on average. Yep, that’s Bologna!
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? I PUT A SPELL ON YOU by Bryan Ferry
Three days at Bologna and here’s what I can tell you.
On the plane over, people were talking about the next hot trend being about geeks in young adult fiction. Geeks transforming. Geeks not transforming but still winning the girl or the day. Geeks in love.
Do I think it’s the next hot trend? I haven’t got the faintest idea.
It’s definitely clear that foreign editors are feeling the drain of paranormal romance in YA being hot for so long but even with that, they say it’s still selling well in Germany, UK, and France. Editors don’t seem to be buying a lot of it at the moment though.
Since I’m here with Marie Lu to meet with her very excited foreign publishers (the trilogy has been sold in to 22 territories and counting), we are, of course, asking if dystopian is hot abroad.
The verdict is undecided. HUNGER GAMES fever is definitely sweeping the world but whether that will translate into other dystopian novels also becoming hot has yet to be proven. Well, I’ve got my fingers crossed for June and Day…
Hands down, for middle grade DAIRY OF A WIMPY KID works amazingly in every country but Russia. Guess they like big burly guys instead of wimps?
Anita and I at entrance of the Fair.
Me with Sara’s amazing client Stefan Bachmann and the brand spanking new cover for his wonderful middle grade gothic steam punk: The Peculiar
Marie Lu and her Taiwan Publisher Sharp Point! Marie was a rock star. She did the whole meeting in Chinese. (Marie is second person from right.)
Marie and I in the Penguin Bologna Stand.
For some reason, Internet Explorer is not showing the blog so had to delete last post and redo. My apologies to anyone who commented.
Don’t worry, Fridays With Agent Kristin video rants will resume next Friday! This week seems to be all things Dorchester.
I still remember the day my dot.com company dragged us all into the conference room on Friday afternoon—pay day—and announced there would be no pay checks distributed at the end of the day. Not today—and not ever again. We were summarily dismissed and suddenly found ourselves unemployed–with no way to make up the money that was owed to us. It was devastating, to say the least. I felt powerless and weak and alone.
Fast forward 10 years and bring on the déjà vu when I opened my mailbox to find a royalty statement from my long time, traditional publisher, Dorchester. While the statement clearly stated I was owed money, there was no check inside. Dorchester was having financial difficulties, just like my dot.com and chose not to pay what it owed.
But this time, I wasn’t going to just lay down and die. Maybe I’d never see a dime from Dorchester, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t make a dollar on my own. And so, as Kristin worked tirelessly to get the rights back to my books (even the ones she didn’t represent the first time around!), I started researching how to publish these backlist titles on my own. For many reasons not detailed here, I decided to use Kristin’s digital liaison service to launch the books rather than self-publish them on my own. Together we began the process of working with cover artists, copyeditors, and converters to breathe new life into these old books. I even did some rewriting! One of the advantages to digital publishing—you can always update and tweak your product. (Though my husband likes to tease me and say I’m like George Lucas in that regard…)
Today we launched Tomorrow Land, a post-apocalyptic, dystopian YA romance previously published as Razor Girl in Dorchester’s crossover Shomi line. Best described as a post-apocalyptic pilgrimage to Disney World in a zombie infested wasteland, the story follows two teens who had fallen in love before the apocalypse and then separated, Casablanca style, only to be reunited four years later and forced to find a way to trust one another again. All the while trying to deal with those pesky, flesh eating zombies!
The artwork, by the way, was custom created for the book by artist/illustrator Tony Sahara. He’s amazing, isn’t he? He’s also did the artwork for Alterntiy, my next young adult dystopian release, coming May 1st.
I can’t tell you how awesome a feeling it was to wake up this morning and see Tomorrow Land up for sale on Amazon and know—without a shadow of a doubt—that I’ll get properly paid for each and every download. On a book that will never go out of print and costs half the cover price. So not only do I benefit—but readers do, too! Total bonus.
I know that I will never get that last check from my dot.com company. And there will never be a royalty check in the mail from Dorchester. But you know what? Their failure is not mine. I’m determined to make the best of this bad situation and come out on top in the end.
NOTE: My heart goes out to my fellow Dorchester authors who were not able to get their rights back. It sickens me that this company would not only steal earned money from its hardworking writers, but then steal their intellectual property as well. I hope you find a way to get your books back in the end.
Kristin’s NOTE : If you are a Dorchester author with rights in question and titles currently still available online for sale, you lose nothing by reaching out to the various electronic distribution venues and finding out exactly what you need to do to get those titles removed from sale. Will it be a lot of work? Probably but potentially worth it in the end. I, of course, also recommend you consult with an attorney. I would also reach out to other former Dorchester authors and see how you might be able to help each other.
About Tomorrow Land
Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice–between her family–and Chris Parker, the boy she’d given her heart. And now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he’s the only thing on her mind.
All Chris “Chase” Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed–breaking his heart without ever telling him why.
Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones of a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk…and feed. As they begin their pilgrimage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost–all the while attempting to save what’s left of the human race?
“A high-stakes, high-octane tour through a devastating and deftly imagined future. This is Mancusi at the top of her game.” –Diana Peterfreund, author of For Darkness Shows the Stars
STATUS: Having a great afternoon.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? YOU CAN CALL ME AL by Paul Simon
I rarely post twice in one day but I can’t resist.
But what’s really fun?
That’s a first for NLA!!
STATUS: If John Greene doesn’t mind our borrowing his “title” for a bit.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? BIG LOG by Robert Plant
Sara is just back from the SCBWI National conference in New York and today we finally got to connect and catch up. And the timing of this is hilarious. Speaking of testosterone….
So unbeknownst to me, Sara has offered rep to two Mikes this week.
That on top of Mike she already reps and a Micheal on my client list, well, we suddenly have an abundance of Mikes! Statistically speaking, if your name is Mike, I guess your odds of getting offered rep have just gone up significantly.
In the last month, I’ve signed two new clients as well. Both of them guys but alas, not named Mike.
That ought to balance the percentages a bit. We’re just rolling in the T.
Now back to editing! The client fulls have piled up. Must get a move on here.
STATUS: I wasn’t in the office yesterday so today is catch-up.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? STRONG ENOUGH by Sheryl Crow
Our eNewsletter goes out on the 1st of every month (unless the 1st is over the weekend, then we wait for the first Monday after the month begins) but you get the picture.
And I guess I need to assume that some newsletter readers are not also blog readers because every month, I get an email asking me why we don’t rep male writers.
I imagine Stefan Bachmann, Jamie Ford, Jason Hough, and Micheal Planck would be slightly offended by this question.
What do they need to do? Don wife beaters and have a Harley in their author photos to stand out?
And that doesn’t count all the new guys we’ve just signed on but haven’t sold yet.
Enough already. We’ve got plenty of testosterone on the client roster.
STATUS: Another phone conference in 20 minutes! Must blog quickly.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? LOWDOWN by Boz Scaggs
Blog readers, have I got special treat for you today. If you ever wondered what the editor rejections looked like for a book that has shown every sign of coming out of the gate wildly popular, well today is your lucky day.
Today is the official release day for Kristen Callihan’s FIRELIGHT.
I’ve blogged before about the fact that I almost could not sell this book. And today, Kristen has given me special permission to share her rejections.
But let me preface this.
This debut novel has received two starred reviews (Publishers Weekly and Library Journal) and top pick at any number of romance sites, too many to list here.
When we sent the novel out to already established and successful authors to read with an eye for a possible blurb, we had our fingers crossed that maybe we’d get one or two responses.
Every author on our list read and blurbed it:
“Callihan has a great talent for sexual tension and jaw-dropping plots that weave together brilliantly in the end.”
—Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of Outlander
“A sizzling paranormal with dark history and explosive magic! Callihan is an impressive new talent.” —Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author of Immortal Rider
“Evocative and deeply romantic, Firelight is a beautiful debut. I was fascinated from the first page.” —Nalini Singh, New York Times bestselling author of the Guild Hunter Series
“Passionate and sizzling, beautifully written and dark. This unique paranormal twist on the beauty and the beast tale rocks!”
—Elizabeth Amber, author of Bastian The Lords of Satyr
“Kristen Callihan delivers a dark, lush offering to fans of gothic and paranormal romance. With a deliciously tortured hero, an inventive supernatural mystery, and slow-building heat that simmers on each page, Firelight is a sexy, resplendent debut. I can’t wait to see what Kristen Callihan comes up with next!”
—Meljean Brook, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Duke
“This book has everything: sword fights, magic, despair, a heroine with secret strengths, a hero with hidden vulnerability, and best of all, a true love that’s hot enough to burn the pages. I couldn’t stop reading. This book is utterly phenomenal.”
—Courtney Milan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Unraveled
“Inventive and adventurous with complex, witty characters and snappy writing. Callihan will make you believe in the power of destiny and true love.”
—Shana Abé, New York Times bestselling author of The Time Weaver
“A dark, delicious tale of secrets, murder, and love, beautifully shrouded in the shadows of Victorian London.”
—Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author of If He’s Dangerous
“A dazzling debut, sexy and thrilling. Callihan now has a place on my to-buy list.”
—Anya Bast, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Enchantment
“A fantastic debut that has everything I’m looking for in a story: compelling conflict, beautiful writing, gripping sexual tension, and strong, intelligent characters.”
—Sherry Thomas, RITA-award winning author of Not Quite A Husband and His At Night
“A compelling and emotional pageturner that will have readers burning the midnight oil.” —Anna Campbell, award-winning author of Midnight’s Wild Passion
“Lush and imaginative, Firelight will sweep you away.”
—Zoë Archer, award-winning author of Devil’s Kiss
“Combines romance, wit, and suspense in a fabulous retelling of Beauty and the Beast…with a supernatural twist.”
—Colleen Gleason, international bestselling author of The Gardella Vampire Chronicles
“I LOVED the book! Fabulous writing, great characters, innovative plot. It held me from the first page. I was so drawn in by the quality of the writing. She’s sure to become a fave of mine. I have already raved about the book to my readers group.”
—Gail Link, 2010 RWA Bookseller of the Year
And yet, the editors did not feel the same love.
–I’m afraid I didn’t love the voice, which felt a little bit overdone to me, and this kept me from getting immersed in the story. I’m therefore going to pass; I’m sorry. But thank you for giving me a shot at this, and I hope you will find the right home for it.
–I love your description of the story, but for me, the writing itself doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
–Thanks so much for sending this! I liked the reimagining of the beauty-and-the-beast story, but didn’t quite love the voice as much as I’d hoped
–I do love a great gothic, so I was really hoping to love this. Unfortunately, I just didn’t connect with the voice as much as I wanted to.
–Many thanks for thinking of us for this, but we’re going to pass. Gothics are very hard to sell right now
–I’ve been reading this, and I’ve enjoyed the appealing voice and the strong element of mystery. But while I liked this novel perfectly fine, I just didn’t feel the level of enthusiasm necessary to make this a success. Ultimately I just didn’t feel the strong emotional connection I’d hoped for.
–I really tried hard to get emotionally attached to FIRELIGHT because the atmosphere is so beautifully written. I just couldn’t connect, I’m sad to say,
–I did find plenty to like in the manuscript: Miranda makes a great heroine, and I absolutely loved our introduction to her in the opening chapters. (In particular, the scene where Miranda is having the ethical dilemma over whether to steal or not really hooked me.) The main problem I have, though, is that I never really connected with Archer as a hero. Miranda won me over, but she alone wasn’t enough to make me believe in the romance.
–Here’s the thing-I kept hoping I could make this work, but increasingly we’re having a hard time making new historical romance authors grow in the market.
In the end, it’s so so true that you have to find the right editor with the right vision who is the right fit. When you do, even for a book that almost didn’t sell, it can be magic.
And I think Kristen’s holiday gift to me is the perfect end note!
STATUS: I wish I was working late tonight but I can’t….
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? O HOLY NIGHT by Josh Groban
Marie Lu is not the only author having an exciting release week! Sara’s very first agented author book is hitting shelves today. Hard to believe but yes, it really does take that long from sale to publication for this to be the first.
What better way to celebrate than to guest blog? (Okay, I’m making her toast with champagne, too, but you get the picture.) Huge congrats Sara and Miranda!
What did debut author Miranda Kenneally do that’s making her book release so exciting? CATCHING JORDAN hits bookshelves today and the buzz surrounding this book is absolutely incredible (ESPN picked up a review of the book yesterday and the Seventeen Magazine online book club is running a feature on it tomorrow).
Here’s the secret – Miranda wrote the book of her heart. She did NOT write to some hot trend. What’s hot in young adult novels right now? Well, one might agree that fantasy and paranormal and dystopian are hot. Contemporary young adult, conversely, might be hot or might not be hot depending on who you ask (I personally am a huge fan, obviously). And, contemporary young adult sports novels? yikes.
CATCHING JORDAN didn’t sell right out of the gate. We DID find the perfect editor for it, but we also had a handfull of editors pass saying, “no one is interested in reading about sports.” Yes, the heroine of this book is captain and quarterback of her high school football team. Yes, there are some scenes on the playing field in which the teammates are talking football plays and field positions and stats. When I read this book in the slush pile I fell immediately in love with the characters, the voice, the dialogue and the personality. THAT’S what I saw in it which made me jump up and down with glee. And that’s what these tremendous reviews seem to be saying too.
If Miranda had ever asked an agent, “should I write about vampires or about football?” it’s likely her first book would have turned out differently. But, as a great credit to her and to our art, she didn’t ask that question. Instead she wrote a book that takes a chance on a concept that we haven’t seen before. And, it’s paying off!
So, if you are looking at publishing and are tempted to ask, “do you think XYZ is hot right now?” stop. Take a deep breath. Yes the market is important but so is writing a book you believe in wholeheartedly. Miranda did just that for CATCHING JORDAN. It wasn’t in the hot trend but in a sense, she did keep the market in mind because it has a luscious romantic element. Something we’ve seen in other successful contemporary YA novels recently. Cheers to an author who took a chance and to the readers (and editors) (and reviewers) (and ESPN) who are loving that gamble!