Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Peers are Starting to Die

This has been a weird 15 months.

I started a publishing company in December of 2012, and have been working 16 hour days (because I am still running the literary agency, which is why I don't write here as often as I used to).  I collapse every night instead of falling asleep, but make sure I get enough sleep, that I eat well, exercise a little and get all my physical check ups. For someone who is burning the candle at both ends, I am pretty healthy.

But I am never unaware of how careful I have to be to make sure that I don't overdo it, or push myself too hard.

In those 15 months, I've lost three people who came up through the horror/sf ranks with me.  They were all exactly my age.  They were brilliant, and some difficult, but they're gone, and I am regularly shocked by my mortality.

First to go was Robert Morales, a brilliant comic book writer and popculture maven.  He was one of the few nerds I knew who could understand how and why I was working to bring porn to the American mainstream.  He used to send me the funniest oddball emails, and I had hoped to one day have him work with me in my new company.  And suddenly he had died.  He had cancer that he didn't even know about and it just took him. Poof!

Then I heard that Philip Nutman, another brilliant but extremely difficult writer, was so sick as a result of years of drinking that he wasn't going to make it.  I couldn't believe that in this day and age someone I knew was actually going to die from drink.  But he did.  He was one of my first horror clients and I sold his only published horror novel, Wet Work.

Last night I learned that Alan Rodgers had passed away.  Another brief, shining light full of fire that often burned anyone in his path.  But Alan was an amazing editor, and horror writer, and I am sad to think he's not in this world anymore. He died as the results of health problems after some strokes.

And, of course, if you know me and my publishing history, you know I also lost Bob Booth, the genius behind Camp Necon, our horror-oasis in Rhode Island. He passed away as a result of lung cancer this fall.

I miss them all.

I can't believe I am at this point in my life where my friends are dying.

Appreciate those you love and tell them so, and get to work on your writing, because the candle doesn't burn forever.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

How to Say Thank You in Publishing

Any of you who have read my now out-of-print agenting book, THE INSIDER'S GUIDE TO GETTING AN AGENT (yes, I am rewriting it, because publishing has changed so much in so short a time, so keep your eyes open for that news) will know that agenting can be a lonely, thankless job.  We get your rejection every day.  We represent many clients, so multiply the downer you feel when a publisher says "no" by 10 or 20 or even 50.

In my book I advise that authors take the time to send their agents an email or a thank you note when a deal has closed, or they've helped you out with some part of your career that isn't a direct duty related to the job (advice on taxes or senior health care for your mom or ways to save on travel or any of the myriad of things we always get asked).  It brightens our day, which is often quite dark because of the constant cloud of rejection we labor under (seriously).

So, imagine how absolutely fabulous and wonderful and exhilarating it was to see Hope Tarr, one of the L. Perkins' Ageny's clients that Louise Fury brought in (but with whom I've worked with closely on the Jenna Jameson book and have grown to know and love) give a thank you speech to and at the Golden Apple Awards Ceremony of the New York chapter of the Romance Writers of America for her Author of the Year Award in which she graciously thanked so many of the people who have helped her along the way from her agents (all three) to her editors, her writing BFF and her man.

I asked Hope if I could reprint it here because I feel that it is the epitome of a writer's thank you/acceptance speech.  I wanted to share it with you so that when (not if) you are wearing those high heeled shoes of glory, you will know what to do and how to do it.

And, thank you, too Hope for letting me share it and being such a hard-working and thoughtful client.

Last Night’s GAAs & Author of the Year!

Hope Accepting Award_9-12-13Last night was the Golden Apple Awards, the annual industry awards event sponsored by the New York City chapter of The Romance Writers of America. I was–and am–thrilled and honored to have been chosen by the membership as its 2013 Author of the Year. Below are the notes for my acceptance speech, which I managed to complete dry-eyed albeit verklempt.
A career of twenty years, thirteen as a published author, means there are many people to be thanked, so I may not be exactly brief  but I will be as succinct as these two pages permit.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my trio of fabulous agents:
To Louise Fury with whom I’ve been blessed to work since 2010. As some of you know, I first met Louise when she started coming to Lady Jane’s Salon® in our early days and at the time I had no idea she was even agenting. It took me a while but I finally cottoned on. Elizabeth Mahon and I took her out for “a” drink to celebrate a significant deal she’d made, one drink turned into many drinks, and then next thing I knew she was asking me about my books. I’ll never forget her saying, “I don’t know if I can sell it—but I’ll try.” By 1:00 AM I was back home emailing her the files.
Louise has done considerably better than “try.” She has since sold THREE series for me, including my hard cover debut, SUGAR, co-written with Jenna Jameson, which releases from Skyhorse Publishing this October 21st. And that’s not even counting the foreign and audio deals she’s made—all while fielding my many, MANY daily emails, on which I usually forget to change the subject header. Honestly, Louise, I can’t imagine being in this business without you.
To Lori Perkins who wears many hats—make that tiaras—not only as the founder and owner of the enduringly successful L. Perkins Agency but also as a writer and publisher. As you know, Lori launched Riverdale Avenue Books last December and she hasn’t stilled since. I don’t use the word “maverick” often or lightly but Lori is truly that. Lori doesn’t follow publishing trends, she forecasts them. She has brought so many publishing opportunities my way these past years, including but in no way limited to a place in her 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey anthology and for those and her friendship, I thank her.
To Jenny Bent, our Agent of the Year, who launched my career back in ’99 by selling my Regency-set historical to Berkley. A Rogue’s Pleasure was a first romance sale for both of us—and as they say you never forget you first. I was with Jenny through three agencies, and was so proud of her when she went out on her own and founded The Bent Agency, which has added a London office to its home base of Brooklyn.   
To the talented editors with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working over the past 13 years and counting: Cindy Hwang at Berkley, Brenda Chin at Harlequin, Helen Rosburg at Medallion Media Group, Angela James at Carina Press, Stacy Cantor Abrams at Entangled, and now Jenn McCartney at Skyhorse Publishing. I’ve done 25 books and each has been made inestimably better for your talented input.
Hope_Acceptance Speech_9-12-13To the uber talented former O Magazine senior editor, memoirist and now romance author, Suzan Colon for being my friend, supporter, and creative sounding board. Our lunches are not only a treat to which I look forward but a grounding point for me personally and professionally. I am so looking forward to you reading BEACH GLASS at the February Lady Jane’s Salon.
To RWA NYC for your enduring support, friendship, and encouragement. When I moved to New York in the winter of 2008, I knew ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. Attending that first Saturday chapter meeting was akin to grabbing hold of a lifeline. I met both my Lady Jane’s co-founder, Leanna Renee Hieber and past president, Elizabeth Mahon at a chapter outing to Coney Island. Others of you I’ve gotten to know through additional chapter events such as the winter holiday and spring brunches, the online loop, and of course your glorious and enduring support of Lady Jane’s Salon. To Maria Ferrer and Lise Horton and Sarah Tormey and Kwana Jackson…well, I don’t have time or breath to name each one of you but please know that your support, of me, my books, and m/our Lady Jane’s Salon these past five years means more than I can say.
Last but in no way least, to my wonderful and always supportive partner, Raj Moorjani, who daily affirms that Happily Ever After isn’t only the stuff of romance novels—we can have it in Real Life, too.
GAA Trophy & PlaqueThis is an enormous honor. Thank you!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why Writers' Conferences are Important Guest Post by Alice Orr

I've never had a guest post, so you know I feel strongly about this subject if I am sharing my pulpit (my mom's a retired minister).

I attend about 20 writer's workshops and conventions a year, every year, and many of my agent and editors friends ask me why.  I'm an established agent with a track record and more clients than I can handle, but I go to give back, to make connections and to be part of the transformation process of making published writers.  I just returned from my 28th NeCon convention (which is my favorite convention), and I have seen writers go from horror fan to the best seller list and creators of TV shows.

Below is my colleague Alice Orr's take on the writer's conference/retreat we both will be attending on August 10th.

There are writers’ conferences and there are writers’ retreats and barely the twain shall meet. Writers’ conferences are about craft and career – the business of being a writer. Writers’ retreats are about craft and contemplation – the soul of being a writer.

Both happen all seasons of the year but I love best the retreats of summer. When the dog days crawl in it’s a blessing and a relief to have a place to be apart with members of one’s tribe.

I found that place in the late seventies when I was done with feminist journalism or it was done with me and my writer self was adrift in a sea of uncertainty.

I wanted to write fiction but was convinced I had no imagination – not enough anyway to be a true storyteller like Mary Higgins Clark or my grandmother Alice Jane Rowland Boudiette. All of those names were a lot to live up to and I deeply doubted I had the stuff to meet that mark.

Then I heard about a writers’ conference retreat being held at a college about a half hour’s drive from where I lived. I signed up on impulse but only for the weekend.

I was wild in those days. Definitely not known for caution but I was cautious about this. Because it involved coming out in front of God and everybody and admitting I wanted to be a writer.
I could hear the sniggers of the naysayers back in my hometown. “Who does she think she is? She thinks she can be a writer. She was always too big for her britches.”

By the end of that first summer weekend those voices were fading and I was hooked. I wheedled my way into the week-long retreat that followed and by Friday the old voices had been supplanted by new ones and my future of ever-since had begun.

I count three events in my personal life as profound – my seven years with my grandmother – meeting my husband – the births of my grandchildren. Profound because they redirected my life. They lifted me from where I was and set me down in a very different place.

There have been profound events in my professional life also – the day I stood up in a classroom and found my teacher voice – the day I walked into a publishing house as a manuscript reader on my way to becoming an editor and then a literary agent – and that first summer writers’ retreat.

August is just around the corner. We’ve been crawling through the dog days for some time now. And that means summer retreat time is almost here. The same retreat I happened upon in the late seventies so that ever-since could happen in my writing life and my writer’s soul.

It’s interesting that this particular conference retreat always has something about magic in the title because magic is exactly what it has been for me. Magic and fabulous friendships and a few days away from my real life world. I’ve been told you can still sign up on impulse or otherwise at www.iwwg.org.

Keep On Writing Whatever May Occur -- Alice

Alice Orr is a former book editor and literary agent, published in fiction and nonfiction, including No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing A Manuscript That Sells. Alice lectures nationally on storytelling – how to write and market novels, memoir and narrative nonfiction. She lives in New York City. http://publishingsensefromaliceorr.blogspot.com
   

 



Friday, July 12, 2013

Call for Writers Who Love Romance

I am positing this because I would have loved the chance to do something like this when I was a young journalist/writer.  I wrote a humor column for my neighborhood newspaper for free for two years when I was in college, and was glad to get the clips.

Calling All Writers!

This could be your big break. Do you want to see your byline on a
national blog?  Do you love romance and want to share your passion
with the world?  Well, RomanceBeat.com is looking for a handful of
driven, brilliant, passionate writers to write columns that will be
seen by readers and editors who love celebrity romance, gossip and
quirky romance stories. Get in on the ground floor.  Stake your claim
to romance fame.

RomanceBeat.com is a new site which hopes to capture the hearts and
minds of romance readers throughout the world. RomanceBeat.com is
looking for freelance writers interested in developing their
portfolios with bylines for our fast-paced daily website covering news
and gossip about romance. The site is getting approximately 50,000
hits a month, and we’re growing in popularity week by week. Think TMZ
for romance. Think Buzzfeed in Love.  Now think of all these people
reading your byline.  This could be your lucky break. There's no pay
initially, but there are perks.

We are very interested in writers for new features and will consider
any feature idea or column concept proposed. Visit RomanceBeat.com for more information.

Please send a letter with your writing credentials, as well as sample
writing and all column ideas to info@RomanceBeat.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jenna Jameson to Write Erotic Romance Novel Sugar

As many of you know, I've been working with Jenna Jameson for about a decade.  Getting HOW TO MAKE LOVE LIKE A PORN STAR on the NY Times best-seller list in 2004 was one of the high points of my agent career, an I am hoping we are going to do it again with Jenna's first novel, SUGAR, an erotic romance she is co-authoring with romance maven Hope Tarr.

JENNA JAMESON’S FICTION DEBUT SUGAR SET FOR OCTOBER 2013
(Monday, April 15th 2013) Skyhorse Publishing is pleased to announce the New York Times bestselling author and legendary adult entertainment superstar Jenna Jameson’s fiction debut SUGAR for publication in October 2013. Written with Harlequin author Hope Tarr, this debut is a wild romp about an ex-porn star who escapes to New York City to reinvent herself.

Acquiring senior editor Jennifer McCartney says, “We’re thrilled that Jenna chose to bring her fiction debut to Skyhorse. She became a legend in the adult entertainment world and a household name, and her novel is quite unlike anything we’ve ever read before—as you might imagine! There’s no one else who can write about sex like Jenna, and the genre of erotic romance is a natural fit for her.”

Jenna’s fans and readers of erotica and romance looking for something different will find SUGAR a delicious treat. “I’m so excited to be publishing my first novel SUGAR with Skyhorse Publishing. SUGAR is something new and exciting for me—I’ve never written anything like this before, and it was a wild ride. My memoir was a very personal journey for me, but a lot has changed in my life since it was published. I’ve always been romantic and probably a little kinky. The time was right for me to express myself in SUGAR. I think it’s the hottest thing you’ll ever read,” says Jenna.
Jenna’s memoir How to Make Love Like a Porn Star sold a quarter of a million copies and hit the New York Times bestseller list.

The deal was a preempt and brokered by Louise Fury at L. Perkins Agency in association with Jackie Markham at Resource Media and includes North American print and ebook rights.