Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Hidden Benefits of Having an Agent

In the world of children's publishing, it isn't necessary to have a literary agent in order to get a book published.  Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different sold without the assistance of an agent.  Not to say I didn't *want* one - it just, well, happened that way.  And I've loved every interaction I've had with Delacorte.

But now I have an agent.  And not just any agent - SuperAgent.  But I digress.  My reason for this post is to point out that there are many reasons why having an agent is a good idea, beyond the "hey, maybe they can get me more money" and "they have some pretty great contacts" and "agents know contracts." All good reasons, yes, but there are others:

-Agents make the wheels turn FAST.  Before I joined forces with SuperAgent, I was accustomed to waiting anywhere from 3 to 9 months for a response.  Through an agent, the response time has narrowed to - 3 weeks?  Sometimes not even that.  
-Agents can submit electronically to their contacts.  When submitting to houses prior to having an agent, I was spending hundreds of dollars a year in postage and printing costs.  Now I email manuscripts to SuperAgent, who forwards them accordingly.  Verr niiice.
-Agents are great at helping you figure out your career priorities.  I love all kinds of writing.  All kinds.  It's nice to have someone who can help me focus my energies onto the projects that sound most promising.
-Agents can go to bat for you when you're freaking out.  Most writers know this is a good reason to have representation, but imagine if you were the writer described here.  Danke, agent!  
-Agents don't just "know people" - they are match-makers.  They want to pair writers with publishing houses in a way that creates careers.  They, like you, want the publishing house to want your next book.  And the next.  And the next.  

I know there are reasons I've missed, but these are the reasons why I'm thankful for SuperAgent *this* week.  :-)  Please, list any reasons I've overlooked!  

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Hi, all!  I just recently found out that Selling Hope: Or, Gaining Glorious Asylum from Mr. Halley's Fiery Beast has been bumped UP to be a Fall 2010 release!  Woot!  And Hopeful Editor even mentioned starting on the cover art! Cover art! *swoons* I love this crazy publishing biz!  

Friday, July 17, 2009

Marketing eBooks: Or, Will Booksignings Go Bye-Bye?

There's been a rumbling about ebooks on a couple of my favorite blogs this week:  check out Nathan Bransford's post about releasing a text in electronic format only *after* it's been in hard back for a few weeks.  Also, check out a great (new!) blog called Pimp My Novel, which discusses the $9.99 price point for ebooks.

All interesting.  But all this echatter started my wheels turning in *this* direction:  if ebooks truly are our future, how does an author best promote his/her titles?  As (correctly) pointed out to me by "AM" in Mr. Bransford's comment section, an author can cost-effectively reach thousands of potential readers through blog tours and websites.  And there are many wonderful ones out there, but the King is, of course, the distributor:  Amazon.  And if all authors are competing for space on the Almighty Amazon, who do you think will win?  Prolly not debut authors, when Stephen King has a new kid on the block.  Prolly not a midlister, when Stephanie Meyer waxes poetic.  

I don't mean to sound bitter, I'm truly wondering how it might work.  Limited distribution channels mean limited opportunities for author promotion.  

And, too, taking this to an extreme:  will booksignings fall by the wayside?  I insist on stubbornly clinging to the idea that readers *like* meeting an author in person.  And getting something signed.  

Because as much as I love my Kindle, I love my signed books even more.  

Please, weigh in!  :-)  

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Taking a Vacay from Writing Rules

It’s peak vacay season, and in the spirit of all things sunscreeny and coconutty, I thought it’d be fun to compile a list of all those pesky writing rules we writers would like to break away from every once in awhile (grammatical structure of previous sentence included in said vacation – ahem!).  So, here are some rules to think about breaking on a “writing rule vacay:”

-Mixing Metaphors.  As welcome as a soft chair at the end of a touchdown.

-Clich├ęs.  Why think outside the box when cookie-cutter solutions are staring you in the face?

-Subject/Verb Disagreement.  Because sometimes the expressions that we pour our heart into just needs freedom. 

-Exclamation Points!  In excess!!!  Because you CAN!!!!!!


-Sentence Fragments.  Yeah.  Went there.  Did that. 

-Adverbs.  Who among us doesn’t truly, wholly, and thoroughly miss them? 

-Overwrought Phrases.  Just the thought of them makes my pulse quicken, my heart race, and tears of joy leap into my once-dead but now – maybe, now? – glistening, glimmering eyes.

-Passive Verbs.  Because those sentences were constructed by us to be that way, that’s why. 

-POV Hopping.  You shouldn’t have to stay in one person’s head the entire time.  I rather enjoy knowing what other people think.

-Plotlessness.  Because following a story that never goes anywhere can be

-Two-Dimensional Characters.  For real – don’t we all know someone we suspect is really 2D in the privacy of his/her own home? 

And finally:

-Rhetorical Questions.  Why not?

Do you have a few you’d like to add?  Please, comment away!  J