Saturday, December 6, 2014

L. Perkins Agency’s Suggestion on What to Buy Readers and Writers for Christmas


Every year I am faced with the same dilemma – what do I buy my writing friends? I usually opt for a gift certificate to Amazon or The Strand (if they’re in NYC), but I know deep down I can do much better than that.

So this year I asked my agency colleagues for a list of gift suggestions and I am thrilled to share it with you.

Louise Fury suggests the following:
Aqua Notes: 
waterproof notepads for the shower -- you never know when inspirations can strike. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003W09LTQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003W09LTQ&linkCode=as2&tag=thwrli02-20

Typewriter charm: http://www.amazon.com/Sterling-Silver-Antiqued-Typewriter-Charm/dp/B00Q1DPIUM/ref=sr_1_60?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1417713852&sr=1-60&keywords=typewriter+ring


Senior Agent Sandy Lu has recently discovered the joy of audio books and took the time to list the favorite audio books she’s listened to this year, as well as an old book scented candle (clever gift, indeed!)

Old Books Scented Soy Candle https://www.etsy.com/listing/159184877/old-books-book-lovers-scented-soy-candle?ref=shop_home_feat

Non-Fiction:

The Black Count: The Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Fiction:

Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman

A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon by Anthony Marra

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Distance by Helen Giltrow

F by Daniel Kehlmann

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

I Love You More by Jennifer Murphy

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Quick by Lauren Owen

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

YA:

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman



Tish Beaty, our resident romance expert, suggests you curl up with the following titles:

Erotic Romance:

Rosalie Stanton - Sinners and Saints Series - https://www.totallybound.com/series/sinners-and-saints

Candice Gilmer - Various Works - http://candicegilmer.com/

Chloe Stowe - M/M Various Works - http://www.chloestowe.com/published-works.html

Louisa Bacio - Various Works - http://louisabacio.com/books

Rachell Nichole - Various Works - http://www.rachellnichole.com/Holiday-Books.html



Leon Husock, our resident man, gave us the following gift suggesitons:


Well, there’s Tequila Mockingbird, that book of literary-inspired cocktails.

There are also these: http://www.litographs.com which are shirts and tote bags with the text of classic books on them in small type arranged to make pictures, which I think are super cool.


Rachel Brooks, our romance and YA/New Adult agent, also shared a thoughtful list:

1) Book themed jewelry, handmade on Etsy, is a great gift idea for bibliophiles. Whether it's a quote from a classic, book-shaped earrings, or a necklace featuring weathered pages, Etsy has tons of jewelry items for book lovers and writers. Plus, you're supporting an indie artist by purchasing their items!

Buy link:

https://www.etsy.com/market/book_jewelry


2) What reader or writer doesn't need an artsy mug for their tea, coffee, or cocoa? The quirky store The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild has a great selection of unique mugs. One features first lines from literary classics, while another is decorated with titles of banned books. They also sell a Shakespearean insult mug if some snark is needed for your holiday season!

Buy Link:

http://www.philosophersguild.com/Mugs-and-Glass/


3) A book idea for readers who love contemporary or women's fiction novels, especially ones with a charming heroine:

Independently Wealthy by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, St. Martin's 2014
-Chosen as one of "The Best New Books" in People Magazine's Dec 8th print issue
-“Soapy, fast-paced fun with a murder thrown in for good measure.” —Kirkus Reviews

The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton
 -Starred review, Publishers Weekly

Buy Links:

And me? 

I think Strunck and White’s Elements of Style and the Chicago Manuel of Style always make great gifts for writers, as well as the parodies (Alice Threw the Looking Glass, The Elements of F*cking Style, Spunk & Bite). As well as all those grammar humor books (Woe is I, Eats, Shites & Leaves)

Also get a kick our of Bookopoly,

And think every romance writer on the planet should have a copy of Slash, Romance without Boundaries, a sort of Cards against Humanity game for readers and writers.


Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

When to Send an Agent Your NaNoWriMo Novel by Rachel Brooks



With November and NaNoWriMo coming to a close, first drafts of new novels are being finished worldwide. This is exciting! The community and support system of participating in NaNoWriMo is fantastic, and if it’s a system that works for you, then great.

But some writers forget the FIRST DRAFT aspect and query too soon.

This first draft version of your novel is NOT what agents want to see in their inbox. Some important steps that still need to be accomplished include:

-Letting your manuscript rest before you come back to it with fresh eyes

-Revisions

-Feedback from critique partners and/or beta readers

-More revisions

-Potential repeat rounds of resting, feedback, etc.

-Final read-through, polishing up

While every writer’s process is different, and every story’s journey unique, it is universally true that these steps above take time. This means even if you and your CPs work quickly, by nature of letting something rest, getting feedback, making changes, and incorporating them so they feel organic, it cannot be done in a few weeks.

I hesitate to give a blanket statement of “Agents don’t want to see your NaNoWriMo until X months later." I do think it can be rather safely assumed that most would say not in the same year you wrote it. This is because that would mean you accomplished all of the next steps above in one month—December—then researched agents and began querying all within thirty days. And this probably means you didn’t let the manuscript “rest” either.

It’s hard not to rush, especially coming off the excitement high of NaNoWriMo. But in the long run, patience is such a huge part of the writing and publishing process anyway, taking your time will benefit both you and your project. Self-publishing, indie publishing, and traditional publishing will all still be there when your novel is truly ready.

Happy revising!

Friday, November 14, 2014

An Agent's Suggestion for Basic Promotion Every Author Should Have

When we sign a new author to the agency, they often write in and ask what they should do regarding promotion/PR/social media.

This was my response to such a question, and I thought I would share it with all of you.  Please feel free to add and suggest (and tell us what your agents have suggested).

Every author should have a twitter account, a Facebook account and a Goodreads account, as well as either a website or a blog (and write a blog post twice a week).  You can put your blog post up on your Goodreads page.

Take some time and fill out the Goodreads page, which means writing about the books you have read that you loved.  Look at my page.  Join any Goodreads group that you think will like your work and comment occasionally.  Same things goes for Facebook books/writing groups.

On Twitter, use hashtags.  #amwriting is an opportunity to find and follow other writers who usually pay it forward.  You are allowed 2000 Twitter followers, but I think only 100 a day, so every day find 100 writing-related people to follow from the famous, like Nora Roberts, Anne Rice, Laurel K. Hamilton and Stephen King, to unknown moms who write and and women who love romance. You get the idea. Retweet at least 5 times a day.

If you can find a writers’ community, that would be awesome.  Sometimes your local Romance Writers of America chapter is a good source.  Other times there’s a local writers group.  Or you can find one online.  Ask.  Tweet questions.  Find like minded-souls.

Reddit also has a very good writer community, if you can navigate those waters.

Wattpad is a good writer platform, but DO NOT join with your Facebook or Twitter account.  They are collecting addresses.  If you post writing, only put up a short amount and take it down and put something else up in 30 days. Never put the whole thing up.  One of our writers put up a fantasy novel and someone else published it on iUniverse.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Why it’s Okay to be Afraid of Failure or Success by Rachel Brooks



With Halloween this week, “being afraid” is a theme that’s at the front of my mind. While creepy movies, haunted houses, and more can certainly scare us, this feeling makes me think about writers’ fears. Two big ones are being afraid of failure, and on the flip side, success.

1) It’s okay to be afraid of failure, so long as you don’t let it prevent you from trying.

Every person (and not only writers) worries they won’t have what it takes. What if I’m not good enough? What if I haven’t prepared, researched, and practiced to be at the level I need to make it?

It’s normal to feel this way, but if you never try, then the fear has become more than a feeling—it takes control. YOU should hold the reins.

An important point to remember is that everyone’s definition of “good enough” is different. Your personal journey is unique, as is your success. Only you can determine if you have “failed,” and if you do, then next time you’ll be better equipped to succeed.

2) It’s okay to be afraid of success, so long as you don’t let it prevent you from trying.

This is certainly a valid fear as well. Writers can become overwhelmed by getting an agent, signing a book contract, suddenly feeling like they have readers and followers who are counting on them. What if my sequel disappoints fans? What if other writers turn to me for advice?

Nobody is perfect, and nobody expects you to be (or they shouldn’t!). Being afraid of success is understandable—it can be daunting to take big leaps, stepping out of comfort zones and familiar territory.

But others have juggled success in their careers, and so can you—whether introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between. You’ll find your own personal balance of how to handle the transition from unpublished to published, unagented to agented, few followers to many. Whatever you find “scary” or “successful,” there’s a way to manage it.

Thankfully the writing community is a supportive one, and there is someone that’s been in your shoes too. Whether worrying about failure, success, or both, they are somewhat arbitrary terms that should not define your life, or your writing.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Please, Do Not Sign That Contract….by Tish Beaty


Writing is hard work. You pour your heart and soul into a manuscript. You spend hours reading, editing, and rereading it. You debate the pros and cons of self-pubbing, finding an agent, or approaching editors on your own. You have beta readers go through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb before deciding to submit to a few select editors. Twelve weeks later, you have a contract in your hands…a real publishing contract! You read through said contract, and thinking everything is on the up and up, you sign and return it.

YOU DID IT! YOU ARE GETTING PUBLISHED!

A year later, you find yourself in a situation you never expected. Sales aren’t great, your relationship with your editor is strained, you aren’t getting emails returned, and you’ve signed a contract that requires you to submit future works to the publisher for first right of refusal. You want out, but now you’re stuck!

I have had many authors contact me recently, including authors I currently represent, regarding contracts they signed prior to representation. As an agent, I can help navigate the murky waters of rights reversal, however, there is no guarantee that an author will get their rights back once they’ve signed a legal and binding publishing contract. And it stinks when I have a talented author who is stuck in an unsavory publishing situation.

Self-pub, find an agent, or approach editors on your own? A debate for the ages. My recommendation? Should you decide to approach editors on your own or respond to an open manuscript call and get a contract offer…seek out a knowledgeable agent to help you negotiate the contract. You’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into your manuscript! Please, do not sign that contract before ensuring you’ve protected your rights and received the best publishing deal possible.