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February 2016
A Message from Kristin Nelson

Sending A Rejection Email Is Sometimes The Worst Thing Ever

Kristin Nelson

Last week, I just had to share on Facebook and Twitter an article I saw in Publishers Weekly called “Trying To Find A Literary Agent Is the Worst Thing Ever.”

I had a sneaking suspicion that it would ring true for a lot of aspiring writers. With over 7,000 people viewing the post on FB, I guess I was right!

But here is a little tidbit I bet most writers don’t know. Sometimes being a literary agent is the worst thing ever. Agents are in this biz because we love books, admire writers, and want to make dreams come true. Sending out a rejection is none of the above. I really don’t want to be in the business of crushing dreams.

Crushing dreams truly sounds like the worst job ever.

When I sell a debut author, a first-time writer finally realizing his or her dream, that is the biggest high. I’ll be giddy for weeks after because I just helped fulfill someone’s long-held dream. How awesome is that?

In 2015, I had the pleasure of selling two debut authors. Not only that, but each project sold at auction for an amount that could reasonably entice the debut author to quit his or her day job. Writing as your full time job—talk about ultimate wish fulfillment!

But trust me when I say that sometimes being a literary agent is the worst thing ever. The majority of us don’t sit in our office chuckling maniacally with glee at every rejection we send. The truth is that I hate sending rejection letters. And two of my former assistants ultimately moved on to different jobs because they, too, hated having to say no.

Some days it’s truly the worst thing ever. I see many a worthy project that I simply can’t take on. Every new client is a big-time investment because agenting—an agenting well—is a huge commitment.

I don’t expect a lot of sympathy from writers. But do know that I, for one, don’t take pleasure in hitting the send button for a rejection.

Pub Rants University

Recording only of Royalty Statements Auditing Workshop

Friday, December 01 at 12:00 pm

This is a recording of the Webinar held on July 30, 2015.

Chances are, your agent is not auditing your royalty statements. And chances are, accounting mistakes are being made. So if you’re not auditing your royalty statements, you could be missing out on significant income!

In this Webinar, Nelson Literary Agency’s contracts and royalties manager, Angie Hodapp, will walk you through the basics of royalties reporting and teach you how to read and audit your own royalty statements. Using statements from several big and mid-sized publishers as examples, Angie will explain how various publishers express returns, reserves, royalty-rate escalators, subrights income, bonus income, and more, and illustrate how everything adds up to affect your bottom line.

Finally, Angie will walk you through how to set up an Excel spreadsheet you can use each reporting period to track cumulative units sold and total earnings for each book you’ve had published. This valuable tool will also help you track your payments and find accounting errors!

You can buy access to this Webinar recording until December 1, 2017.





Register Now

eSpecial Price

99¢ Until February 22, 2016

           

NLA Digital Title Spotlight

Free  Until February 19, 2016

           
Recent News

SOLD!! Laurence MacNaughton's debut urban fantasy IT HAPPENED ONE DOOMSDAY, about an inexperienced crystal sorceress who scrambles to stop the end of the world without falling for a muscle-car driving mechanic who is fated to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, to Rene Sears at Pyr, in a nice two-book deal.

Lisa Shearin's A DRAGON CONSPIRACY is a 2015 RT Book Reviewer’s Choice Award Nominee for Urban Fantasy.

Susanne Lord's IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL is a 2015 RT Book Reviewer’s Choice Award Nominee for Best First Historical Romance.

SOLD!!! John Joseph Adams at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquires the print versions of Hugh Howey’s SHIFT, DUST, and BEACON 23. In February 2016 the three titles will be published simultaneously as hardcovers and trade paperbacks. Howey will continue to publish the ebook editions.

SOLD!!! Emily Easton at Crown Books for Young Readers has won, at auction for mid-six figure deal, Scott Reintgen’s debut science fiction young adult trilogy beginning with THE BLACK HOLE OF BROKEN THINGS. Publication in 2017.

Think Like an Agent

Your Writing Should Not Be Your Main Source of Validation For Who You Are as a Person

By

I think this can be the most debilitating mistakes an aspiring writer can make. There be dragons if you start down this mental path.

I recently gave a talk to Regis University’s MFA in Creative Writing students. In the fifteen-minute Q&A, one participant asked why it was so hard to get a literary agent to even look at her project. I could hear the frustration in her voice. I didn’t have a ready reply because the truth is that there is no good answer.

Writing is personal business. And any response and/or rejection can definitely feel like a commentary on your talent and who you are as a person.

But here is the reason you need to start thinking like an agent and less like a writer when it comes to submitting your material. If someone passes on your work, that rejection is not a commentary on your qualities as a human being. In a lot of instances, it’s not even a commentary on your ability or talent as a writer!

Let me repeat that: A rejection is often not a commentary on your writing talent.

I can cite a bundle of different reasons why an agent or publisher may pass on your work, reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with your writing ability. Don’t believe me? Here are a few (and in no particular order):

  • The agent/publisher has seen two-dozen concepts just like that one in the last four weeks.
  • That concept trend was hot, so now the Publisher has bought too many similar projects for their list and will not be acquiring any more.
  • The agent has an aversion to that type of story. I know a well-respected literary agent who personally cannot handle any story in which a child is in danger, and so will pass on any submission containing such scenes.
  • The editor could not get support in-house from the sales/marketing team to acquire the novel.
  • An agent read the story and thought the writer was talented, but for whatever reason, just didn’t connect with it enough to offer representation.
  • Bad timing. The agent was on vacation or at a conference, or just back to the office, and is simply swamped. It’s hard to be excited about taking on someone new if you are buried in work that can’t be accomplished in a 40-hour work week. And, LOL, no good agent works only 40 hours. It’s more like 60+ a week.
  • There’s talent on the page, but the editor or agent might think a significant revision is necessary, and taking the hour to write up an editorial letter isn’t going to happen.
  • The novel just has an element the agent is never enthusiastic about. For example, some agents are never going to take on a fairy-tale retelling or superhero story. It’s just not his or her thing.

I could go on. There are so many reasons that when I spoke at Regis, the best advice I could offer is this: Do not use writing as a means of validating who you are as a person.

No matter what an industry person’s response is to your written work, your writing is only one facet of who you are as a human being. Don’t make it everything, or you may lose your joy of writing and find the whole business very depressing indeed.

Kristin's Book Club

29 Hours of Audio - I Should Win A Medal

864 page = 29 hours and 14 minutes of audio narration for Eleanor Catton’s THE LUMINARIES.

I feel like I should win some big achievement award for most committed audiobook listener in 2016. I listened to that bad boy all the way to the grand finale. Mainly because the narrator, Mark Meadows, was so good, I listened just to hear him switch accents—up to four times in some scenes! Dang, that is talent.

At long last, our book club is finally meeting to discuss this book next Sunday.

In the meantime, get a jump start on our next book, which is thankfully a nonfiction title by Glenn Greenwald called NO PLACE TO HIDE: Edward Snowden, NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.

In May 2013, Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the twenty-nine-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history. Now Greenwald fits all the pieces together on the NSA’s unprecedented abuse of power with documents from the Snowden archive. 

New Releases

Kingdom of Ashes

by Rhiannon Thomas

The kiss was just the beginning . . . The second book in Rhiannon Thomas’s epic retelling of Sleeping Beauty combines adventure, magic, and romance for a sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny.

Aurora was supposed to be her kingdom’s savior. But when she was forced to decide between being loyal to the crown and loyal to her country, she set events in motion that branded her a traitor.

Now, hunted by the king’s soldiers, Aurora’s only chance of freeing her kingdom from the king’s tyrannical rule is by learning to control her magic. But Aurora’s powers come at a price—one that forces her to leave the only home she’s ever known, one that demands she choose between the man she loves and the people she seeks to protect, and one that will cause her to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before . . . and uncover the truth about her destiny.

Buy It Here:

       

Soulless (limited special edition)

by Gail Carriger

Limited: 750 signed numbered copies
Lettered: 26 signed leatherbound copies, housed in a custom traycase

Alexia Tarabotti is a proper English miss—so long as you don’t count her spinsterhood, half-Italian heritage, or weaponized parasol against her. Oh, and there’s that little matter of her lacking a soul. But, honestly, isn’t being soulless and thus able to nullify the powers of vampires and werewolves and other supernatural beings a good thing in a London chockful of them?

Her soulless state seems particularly handy when Alexia is accosted alone in a library by a vampire intent on her neck. She dispatches him with the help of her preternatural powers…and handy parasol. But not only has the fanged ruffian ruined her treacle tart, his untimely demise brings to the scene Lord Conall Maccon, werewolf Alpha and investigator for the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (and as handsome as he is vexing). The incident is followed by a veritable plague of unexplained new vampires and old ones suddenly disappearing across London society. And, unfortunately, Alexia herself becomes the chief suspect.

Out February 29, 2016, order here.

Buy It Here:

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