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January 2017
A Message from Kristin Nelson

2016 End of Year Stats!

Kristin Nelson

Wowza, did last year fly by! I was just getting used to writing 2016 on documents, and now I have to switch to 2017. In any case, it’s time for our end-of-year stats:

39 New York Times bestsellers (up from 37 in 2015. So close to being able to say “more than 40.”)

59 books released in 2016 (25 print releases, 9 reprints, and 21 digital releases)

new clients (lots of exciting news to share soon)

30,000+ queries read and responded to (estimated)

92 full manuscripts requested and read (up from 87 last year)

project currently on submission (just happened!)

86 foreign-rights deals done (down from 99 last year, mainly because I only took on one client in 2014): 17 in Asia, 3 in Brazil, 10 in Mexico/Latin America, and 56 in Europe

TV and major motion picture deals (one not announced and yet and the other, sadly, was cancelled half way through the negotiation, much to our dismay)

50 print runs for my longest-selling title, Jamie Ford’s HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET—which originally published in 2009. Up from 46 just last year. The Energizer Bunny of novels with millions sold!

conferences attended (which includes Y’ALL West, RWA, Frankfurt Book Fair, and Honolulu Writers Conference)

Millions of units sold of bestselling series, which had a 10th-anniversary edition in 2016—yay Gallagher Girls!

Millions of units sold of bestselling individual title. WOOL just keeps finding new readers.

Millions of units sold of two bestselling series—yay Marie Lu!

140 physical holiday cards sent

713 electronic holiday cards sent (up from 539 in 2015)

Not telling it’s so embarrassing eggnog chai lattes consumed during November and December (I actually tracked them this year, and that just made me less likely to share the actual number.)

Lots of late nights reading on my living-room chaise with Chutney (that old dame just keeps getting more snuggly with every year)

All great days loving my job!

Welcome to the new New Year!

Pub Rants University

Opening Pages that Lead to Yes! 2017-02-23

A Three-Session Workshop with Angie Hodapp

Thursday, February 23 at 6:00-8:00 PM MT

This Webinar intensive is brought to you by NLA Digital.

Previous attendees of this Webinar have this to say about its impact:

“I found the opportunity to get fresh eyes on my work and have a professional opinion invaluable. Angie did a great job leading the Webinar and set the tone for the class being fun and useful. Having Kristin come in at the end made us work harder.” —S. S.

“This was an incredibly useful seminar for any querying writer. For me, figuring out what to focus on in the opening of a novel is very difficult. This Webinar helped my really focus on my opening and provided isolated feedback on what worked and what didn’t.” —M. C.

Sessions: 3 consecutive Thursdays (February 23, March 2, and March 9, 2017)

Duration of each session: 2 hours

Total contact time: 6 hours plus homework

Requirement: Attendees must use a phone for audio to call in and actively participate.

Class Limit: 12

Please note:

  1. This Webinar is a workshop and does not constitute a submission to NLA.
  2. Only fiction submissions are eligible for this Webinar. No memoirs or non-fiction works, please.
  3. Register early, as all attendees will have an assignment to do in preparation for the first session. Registered attendees will receive the assignment Thursday, January 26, 2017. Those who register after that date will receive the assignment as soon as they register. Registration will close (and a waitlist will open) as soon as all 12 spots are filled.

Workshop Description:

If your query letter or in-person pitch got you a request for sample pages, but your sample pages didn’t get you a request for a full manuscript, what went wrong? In this hands-on workshop led by Angie Hodapp, you’ll explore what agents are looking for in opening pages and learn ways to craft evocative beginnings that get your full manuscript read.

Each attendee must submit the first five pages of his or her novel and will be expected to actively workshop other attendees’ opening pages within the provided workshopping guidelines. We’ll discuss our works-in-progress and help each other brainstorm various possible entry points in relation to each work’s overall story structure. During the last session, March 9, Agent Kristin will join us to do a live, blind read on several revised opening pages. Join us and learn how to turn those sample requests into requests for full manuscripts!

What You’ll Learn:

  • The importance of establishing character, setting, and voice on page one.
  • How the opening image or scene should relate to a story’s overall structure.
  • How to introduce story questions that entice rather than confuse the reader.
  • How to avoid cliched openings.
  • What starting in medias res really means—and, more importantly, what it doesn’t.

Extras:

  • Angie will be on video as well as audio.
  • Attendees are welcome to ask questions throughout the Webinar.
  • Attendees will have access to the video recording of the Webinar for six months.

Angie Hodapp holds a BA in English education and an MA in English and communication development. A graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute, she has worked in professional writing and editing for sixteen years, the last six of which have been spent at Nelson Literary Agency. She teaches workshops at writing conferences and loves working with writers who are looking to hone their craft and get their work ready for publication.

Register Now
Recent News
Think Like an Agent

Getting On Board Early with a Top Notch Agent

By

I launched Nelson Literary Agency in August 2002. I lost out on a lot of representation bids. Of course I did. Nobody knew me. I was based in Denver (which many aspiring writers considered the hinterlands), and with a small track record, it was hard to woo the big projects.

I sold my first book in a pre-empt in spring 2003. It was Jennifer O’Connell’s chick-lit novel BACHELORETTE #1. To this day I think about how fortunate I was that Jennifer took a chance on an unknown agent who had panache and grit but no track record. I got lucky with that first sale, and then with some terrific clients who also came on board early, such as Ally Carter, Jana DeLeon, and Shanna Swendson. I can’t help but smile and raise a toast to these lovely ladies who helped establish me as a top-notch agent.

Why do I bring this up? Because, writers, you have an incredibly unique opportunity here. This may be your chance to land a top-notch agent who is currently aggressively building a client list (unlike me, who might take on two new clients a year).

I hired Danielle Burby and Joanna MacKenzie because I saw myself, and my high standards, in them. These are smart agents with grit. They are kind and intelligent, and they’re tough negotiators who will fight tooth and nail for their clients. They are agents who advocate first and foremost for their clients, all the while maintaining a lovely demeanor and excellent professional relationships with editors and publishers.

And you have the chance to get in on the ground floor before their client lists are full. Rare opportunity indeed, so let me introduce them…

Kristin's Book Club

The World As We Do Not Know It

Sunday, Feb. 5, we’ll discuss Ta-Nehisi Coates’s BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME: #1 New York Times Bestseller, National Book Award Winner, NAACP Image Award Winner, Pulitzer Prize Finalist, and National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. This is a powerful, jaw-dropping education on a world perspective that will inspire readers to rethink the America we live in. What is it like to inhabit a black body? How can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? This is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.

Guest Article

Welcome to NLA, Joanna!


As announced on Publishers Weekly, NLA is pleased to welcome Joanna MacKenzie.

I owe my love of books to the librarian of my childhood bookmobile, who, after I had worked my way through The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, lifted the velvet rope and let me in to the grown-up section, where I discovered V.C. Andrews. And to my father, who gifted me Cat’s Cradle, Wuthering Heights, and One Hundred Years of Solitude for my 15th birthday.  In 2002, I got my start in publishing at a Chicago-based literary agency. While there, I successfully placed numerous manuscripts that have gone on to become critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling novels. I love working with authors who embrace the full publishing process (read: love revisions) and am committed to the stories my clients want to tell both with the words they put on paper, as well as with the careers the build.

I am excited to join the Nelson Literary Agency team, and to expand my list in both adult and YA. I’m looking for the epic read that, at it’s center, beats with a universal heart. In particular, I’m drawn to smart and timely women’s fiction, as well as absorbing, character-driven mysteries and thrillers—both, ideally, with a little edge. I have a weird obsession with, what I call, “child-in-jeopardy lit” and can’t get enough kick-ass mom heroines. On the YA side, I’m interested in coming-of-age stories that possess a confident voice and characters I can’t stop thinking about. Originally from Poland, and by way of Canada, I’m all about narratives that deal with the themes of identity and the immigrant experience as well as those that delve into all aspects of the relationships that make us who we are—parents, siblings, best friends, and first love.

Click here to check out my Manuscript Wish List.

Insider Tips from NLA

Welcome to NLA, Danielle!


As announced on Publishers Weekly, NLA is pleased to welcome Danielle Burby.

I was always the class bookworm, but, for some reason, I spent most of high school convinced that my future was in Broadway. In fact, I felt really bad for the English teacher who told me she thought I was destined for a career in books because she was so very wrong. Turns out she knew me better than I thought! Of course, looking back, the fact that I never left the house without a minimum of two books (the book in progress and at least one backup) should probably have tipped me off.

I double majored in creative writing and women’s studies at Hamilton College (both “impractical majors” that have been incredibly practical for me) and figured out that creative writing classes do a really great job of honing your editing and critiquing skills. After internships at several top literary agencies and publishers, I spent four years at New York based literary agency and began building a client list before moving to NLA in January 2017.

I primarily represent YA and MG along with very select mystery and women’s fiction. I look for a strong narrative voice and a cast of characters I want to spend time with (which doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be likeable!). Something all of my clients have in common is the ability to sweep me up in their writing and make me grateful for a chance to spend time in their worlds. When I finish a novel and immediately want to thank the person who wrote it, I know I will have the enthusiasm to fight tooth and nail for that author.

Click here to check out my Manuscript Wish List.

New Releases

Long May She Reign

by Rhiannon Thomas

Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of the court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

She may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, she knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom—and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisers. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

Buy It Here:

       

Manners and Mutiny

by Gail Carriger

Reprint in paperback

If one must flirt…flirt with danger.

Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she’s not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the ever-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster–in decidedly dramatic fashion, of course.

What will become of our proper young heroine when she puts her years of training to the test? Find out in this highly anticipated and thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Finishing School series!

Buy It Here:

       
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