Pub Rants

Category: NLA Authors

Romance Anyone?

Status: Whose bright idea was it to schedule meetings from 9 in the morning until 9 in the evening? Oh wait, that was my fault.

What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? I DON’T WANNA FIGHT by Tina Turner.

First off, if you are a Denverite and you have not had a chance to vote for Jamie Ford’s HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET to be the One Book One Denver choice, please pop on today as June 15 is the last day to vote!!

Pretty please. *grin*

As all of you know, I’m here in New York for the whole month of June meeting with a variety of editors. This week, I’ve had a chance to talk with 4 editors who work in the romance and women’s fiction field.

For wm’s fic, it’s still the order of the day to find an upmarket literary voice with a story that has a great hook.

In other words, a good story well told…

In romance, there’s a bit more uncertainty. Editors really don’t have a clear picture on what might work for a debut. Will it be paranormal? Historical Romance? I was hoping Historical Westerns would make a come back (as I do have a soft spot in my heart for them) but editors weren’t showing a lot of enthusiasm.

Now contemporary Western (or set in Texas) seems to be working okay. And yet sales, in general, for contemporary romance is soft.

All I’m really getting is that whatever the novel is, the author needs a powerful and strong voice. If she has that, the rest will hopefully follow.

In other words, romance writers, I got nothin’ to share here. Should make for some interesting spotlights at RWA!

Do Cheap Backlist eBooks Poach Frontlist Sales?

Status: Best moment in NYC today? Walking over to Central Park and seeing a dude that looked remarkably like Will Smith asking folks if they wanted to do park bike rentals. And in this town, it really could have been him and people didn’t notice. It was a remarkable double…

What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? REAL LOVE by The Doobie Brothers

Today a fellow agent and I were having a discussion about eBook pricing. What should backlist romance titles be priced at and does that poach sales for the current release?

Obviously there are a variety of opinions on this subject but here is mine.

I don’t personally believe that a lower eBook price for a backlist title poaches from a current title. I think the romance reader is more likely to then buy both if the backlist title is reasonably priced.

In terms of pricing, most authors are seeing good movement when a backlist title is priced between the $2.99 and $3.99 price range. Higher than that and the sales are flat.

And speaking of reduced pricing for backlist titles, this is a perfect segue albeit for women’s fiction. Need a cheap summer read? HarperCollins is letting you get a taste of NLA client Kristina Riggle for $0.99

Yep, less than a buck. And it’s across all platforms. Here are links for just a few:




Sadly Google eBookstore (that does sales for independent bookstores) didn’t have their version up although they were included in the promotion.

Calling All Denverites

Status: It was already in the 90s by 9 a.m. this morning. Poor Chutney was not happy with her walk in Central Park.

What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? SHE BOP by Cyndi Lauper

Even though I have a healthy ego in regards to my agenting, I really do think that this a once-in-a-career opportunity.

I found out this week that Jamie Ford’s Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet is in the running for One Book One Denver!

Always the last to know….

But I’m so excited at the possibility I can barely sleep. I really don’t know if I’ll ever have another book in the running (although one never knows what the future will bring)!

As many of you know, Jamie is not a Coloradoan but his wife is and her family still lives here. They visit Colorado often so even though he’s not a local author per se, he’s an honorary or sometimes local. Either way, he is a writer of the West.

So what is this blog post about? I need your help! The title is in the running but I need Denverites to vote.

Here’s how it works. You go to the voting website here. Of course they are going to want you to register (sorry about that!) because they are collecting info for Denver Events eMailing list. You can always unsubscribe later

Then you’ll see the three titles and I won’t mince words. The competition is tough. I personally enjoyed The Art Of Racing In The Rain and my book club is scheduled to read The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks in just a few short months. I’m not disparaging these titles at all but I still want HOTEL to win!!

It’s a little confusing on the site but voters are suppose to vote on each title by ranking them with the number of stars that applies to your rating of the work.

So, it’s not a matter of the book with the most votes win but the book with the most votes and the highest ranking of stars wins. I hope that makes sense…

If HOTEL does win, trust me, Jamie will be coming to town for a variety of One Book One Denver events. NLA will hold a party and all Denverites are invited!

Going Public

Status: Most of today I felt like I still had BEA brain. And the Brenda Novak Auction is ending tonight!

What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? ROSEALIA by Better Than Ezra

Many weeks before several authors started making headlines about their choice to self-publish, my author Courtney Milan, with my blessing and support (not that she needed it!), had already made that decision. She walked away from an offer on the table from her publisher Harlequin. There were several reasons for this decision but it will come as no surprise that it mainly hinged on the electronic royalty rate that had been offered. It’s no industry secret that Harlequin is well below what has become the “industry standard.” And it’s also not a secret what I think about Publishers’ current industry standard of 25% of net.

What was secret is that Courtney didn’t announce it—until now. Today she launched this new publishing direction with a novella entitled UNLOCKED in her Turner Brothers series that began with Unveiled & Unclaimed which will release in September.

In four short days, I can already tell you two important things about this digital revolution.

1. Pricing is everything. Pricing a title appropriately will move a great number of books in a short period of time.

2. Publishers are under-reporting electronic book sales in any given period on the royalty statements we are seeing.

That’s a fact.

BEA Week

Status: It’s pouring rain in New York too. Is there anywhere where it’s not raining?

What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? WHATAYA WANT FROM ME by Adam Lambert

Dashing off in the next hour to head to Javits Center. It’s going to be a crazy week but I’ll try and report from the floor. I’m armed with my camera.

And some great news to kick it off. Kirkus lists the Top 26 Galleys to grab at the Fair and guess who is on it?

Heck yes!

In a totally unscientific sampling, I gave an ARC of this title to my 17 year old niece who loved it. She cajoled my 14 year old reluctant reader nephew to read it. He spent an entire day, while on spring break, away from playing his favorite video game because he couldn’t stop reading it.

There have only been two other books that did the same for him. ENDER’S GAME and the HUNGER GAMES trilogy.

This is how I know Marie and I might be on to something with this LEGEND trilogy so if you are at BEA, you might want to hit Marie’s signing on Wed. May 25 at 3 pm at Penguin’s booth #3252.

The last NLA book to be chosen as a top galley at BEA was SOULLESS by Gail Carriger.

This bodes well for us!

The Power Of Story

STATUS: Heading to Seattle today.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? PERRY’S PLACE by Richard Underhill

When I was in St. Louis two weeks ago visiting family, my mom asked me if I wanted to go and catch a matinee movie. If you know my mom, you’ll know that she loves shoot ‘em up action films, mysteries, and thrillers. The more blood and guts, the better.

In general, not my cup of tea. But the point was to hang with Mom so I said, sure, and let her pick the film. For a matinee price, I can live with just about anything.

So off we went but she had gotten the movie start time wrong so as we sat down, the movie had already begun by a few minutes.

About 10 minutes later, I had a rather puzzled expression on my face and Mom asked what was up. The theater was almost empty so I leaned over and whispered, “I recognize this. This movie is based off of a short story.”

She shrugged as she didn’t know.

But I was right. It WAS based off of a short story—and one I hadn’t read in probably over 20 years.

The movie was The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt–based on the short story by Philip K. Dick.

And that, folks, is the power of story. That after 20+ years, I still recognized it even though I hadn’t thought about it in years.

That’s what you want to achieve with your own writing. And speaking of Philip K. Dick, my author Sara Creasy has been nominated for the Philip K Dick Award for her debut SF novel SONG OF SCARABAEUS.

Why not check out the list and if you haven’t picked up one of these titles to read, why not? Editors are reluctant to acquire new SF authors because the sales numbers can’t compare to fantasy, so selling a debut SF writer is a tough biz (but I’m happy to report I just sold another debut SF author 3 months ago and gasp, a guy to boot!).

So if you love SF, do your part. Pick up one of these nominees.

Because It’s Cool!

STATUS: Enjoyed a quiet day because of the Passover holiday. I caught up on a lot of emails.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? CUTS LIKE A KNIFE by Bryan Adams

If you have read HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, you’ll know that in the front matter of the book, there is a picture of a Japanese girl circa 1942. She’s wearing a tag on her jacket and it’s implied that she is leaving for the internment camps.

It’s a powerful picture.

The week before last, Jamie was doing a reading/signing at Woodland Reads. He discovered that the young girl in the photo is still alive and lived nearby. So he invited Mae Yanagi to come and be his special secret guest.

And she did! Okay, I got a shiver just looking at the pics so here they are.

She stuck around and signed books with Jamie for the whole evening. How cool is that?

Ebooks Gone Wild

STATUS: I don’t know what to do with myself! I’m literally caught up on all queries, all sample pages, and I’ve responded to every full we’ve requested. Maybe I should just revel in the moment….

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SEX ON FIRE by Kings Of Leon

We are getting our latest round of royalty statements. Our biggest months are Feb/Aug and April/Oct.

All I can say is whoa. Who turned on the ebook sales? In five years, I’ve never seen numbers like I’m seeing from the past 3 or 4 months. Ereaders were THE gift this holiday season is what I’m thinking. About 6 months ago I said the tipping point was near. I think it’s here.

Almost Famous?

STATUS: TGIF! I have to say that today’s news is a totally new experience for me.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? FAITHFULLY by Journey

OMG! I’m speechless.

And to quote Marie, “Is that my head in Times Square?????”


January Happenings

STATUS: Okay, two days without sunshine is one day too many here in Colorado. *grin*

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? LET’S STAY TOGETHER by Nick Driver

I finally get to talk about the excitement unfolding here at NLA. What a way to kick off the year.

Huge Congrats, Marie, as the news hits Deadline Hollywood and Variety and of course, this blog! Since we don’t have cover art for the first book yet, you’ll just have to look at a picture of Marie Lu instead.

Notice the articles don’t mention the literary agent or film co-agent who actually brokered the deal. LOL. Hollywood. We are so unimportant.