Monday, February 27, 2012

Don't Cry Wolf With "An Offer Of Representation" In Subject Line

STATUS: A have slight cold so not feeling 100 percent today.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? MOONDANCE by Liz Longely

When a writer emails us to say they have an offer on the table, for the most part, we do read the pages right away. After reading some of these submissions, and I feel awful admitting this, but I think the offer is a little suspect. Sometimes the pages just aren't strong enough for me to believe that an agent has offered. That it was simply a ploy for a fast response.

Luckily, for the most part, I do believe the writer as I can see it. The work might still not be right for me but it's strong enough that the offer is probably real.

Today takes the cake though. We received an email with "offer of representation" in the subject line. Upon reading the email, the writer revealed that he had had this offer in a biblical vision.

Yep. This one would definitely get the WTF stamp.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 5: Are There Off-Limit Topics for YA & MG Novels?

STATUS: It's Friday. Over and out!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? YOU MAKE LOVING FUN by Jewel

In Episode 5, I tackle the #1 question when it comes to young adult and middle grade!

I'd say "enjoy" but technical difficulties are making it impossible to upload!

I'll try again tomorrow. We might have Fridays With Kristin on Monday. LOL.

It's really Saturdays with Kristin.... I think I finally got it to work.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

UK--How Stubborn You Are

STATUS: Have to run out the door in 15 minutes.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? HARD TIMES by David Newman

Not to put too fine a point on it. The book selling market in the UK is between a rock and a hard place. Booksellers in trouble. Publishers selling half the books sold at high discount levels, etc. Consequently, UK publishers aren't buying that much. As of late, it's one of the hardest territories to sell into unless a title sold for a lot of moolah in the US.

We are struggling to land a licenses there.

In fact, it's probably why a lot of UK booksellers are buying US stock wholesale and offering it for sale there (and this would maybe show on a royalty statement as an export sale). It would be hard to track down.

So when we sell North American rights only and then request that the US publisher pull down their edition from the UK market, we aren't looking to screw UK readers. It's simply that the author might not get legitimately paid for those copies. If it's not in the grant of rights and not showing up on any royalty statement...

But authors who haven't sold into the UK are getting creative. In fact, some authors are taking matters into their own hands and are making their titles available electronically through the different ebook venues in the UK.

So even though the physical version might be a hard to find, titles can still reach UK readers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Selling Territories Publisher Doesn't Have The Rights To

STATUS: Have morning chai, will work.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? LET LOVE RULE by Lenny Kravitz

Late last week, I got an email from a client asking why her latest release wasn't available as an eBook in the UK. Bemused, I emailed her to say that we had only sold North American rights to her US publisher and hadn't done a subrights deal for that territory as of yet. The US publisher didn't have the right to make its edition available in Great Britain. In fact, there shouldn't be any edition of her book being sold in that territory.

She then sent me a link to where her US book was clearly for sale.

Well, that made her question make a whole lot more sense. No wonder she was confused.

The point of my post? As authors, you should randomly check bookseller sites abroad and if something pops up, then you need to inform your agent and he/she needs to track it down. Because the US publisher didn't have UK in the grant of rights, this would never show up as an itemized list on the royalty statement.

But if the book is for sale there and we discovered that, then the Publisher needs to do a couple of things. 1) Take the edition down and 2) let us know how many copies were sold and how they plan to account for them.

Another favorite story, which didn't happen all that long ago either, is when an author received several emails from Italian fans who loved her work but were complaining about the poor translation.

Uh, Italian license had never been done for the book. There should be no Italian edition--badly translated or otherwise. I reached out to the Italian publisher and they were mortified. They thought they had an agreement in place but the contract was never done and the author was never informed.

I give Italy kudos though. When the problem was discovered, they stepped up immediately to make it right and paid for the edition they had published. As it was also out of print, they officially reverted the rights they actually never had. *grin*

All's well that ends well…

Just another day at the office.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 4 -Talking Middle Grade

STATUS: Looking forward to Monday. Sounds odd, I know, but it's a holiday in Publishing so it will be nice and quiet. No emails.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? IN THE MOOD by Glenn Miller Orchestra

In Episode 4, I identify what I see as the three different age levels within middle grade and how those levels dictate the appropriate word count and page length for a middle grade work.

This is the first video I filmed in the evening. Boy does that make a difference in lighting! I also need to work on the appropriate length of time for transition stills. *grin*

It's all a work in process.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The True Recipients Of 'The Stamp'

STATUS: A night off can do wonders. I'm actually excited to dive into a client manuscript tonight.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? IS THIS LOVE by Whitesnake

Before blog readers get up in arms over how "cruel" agents can be, you have to remember we work in a creative business. This means there are always a certain number of crazies.

In general, we get 100 to 150 email queries a day. (And after the holidays, we were averaging more like 300 queries a day).

A certain percentage we rule out right away as the writers didn't research us and are sending stuff we don't rep (like queries for nonfiction or picture books). We wouldn't bother with 'The Stamp.'

A certain percentage are queries that are obviously just thrown together, lack professionalism, and sent out to any number of agents. For these, we wouldn't bother with 'The Stamp.'

A certain percentage are well researched, diligently written, and are professional but the project simply isn't right for us. We take those queries seriously and read every single one of them. Those would definitely not get 'The Stamp.'

A certain percentage are decently written but just kind of verging on the strange or weird. We wouldn't use 'The Stamp' even for these.

And then there are those remaining few--at least a couple a week. The queries that spotlight, in all its glory, a 200,000 word epic novel about a detachable penis.

Those queries, folks, deserve the WTF Stamp!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Only Drawback to Electronic Queries

STATUS: Time to head home for an evening with my honey.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? I WANT TO KISS YOU ALL OVER by No Mercy

A teacher girlfriend sent me this picture and I have to say, the only drawback to digital queries is that we can't use this stamp.


And trust me, there are many times when it pretty much sums it up for us.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 3 - Why Page Length for YA or MG Novel Is The Wrong Question

STATUS: I had 180 emails in my inbox when I started the day. I have 189 emails in my inbox when I ended it. Hum… this is not progress.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? Nothing at the moment

Whenever I'm at a writer's conference, a participant always asks, "how long should my middle grade or young adult novel be?" Well, that's the wrong question. And my video entry today is to explain why and what is a better question writers should be asking.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

An Abundance of Mikes!

STATUS: If John Greene doesn't mind our borrowing his "title" for a bit.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? BIG LOG by Robert Plant

Sara is just back from the SCBWI National conference in New York and today we finally got to connect and catch up. And the timing of this is hilarious. Speaking of testosterone….

So unbeknownst to me, Sara has offered rep to two Mikes this week.

That on top of Mike she already reps and a Micheal on my client list, well, we suddenly have an abundance of Mikes! Statistically speaking, if your name is Mike, I guess your odds of getting offered rep have just gone up significantly.


In the last month, I've signed two new clients as well. Both of them guys but alas, not named Mike.

That ought to balance the percentages a bit. We're just rolling in the T.

Now back to editing! The client fulls have piled up. Must get a move on here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A Few Good Men And Then Some

STATUS: I wasn't in the office yesterday so today is catch-up.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? STRONG ENOUGH by Sheryl Crow

Our eNewsletter goes out on the 1st of every month (unless the 1st is over the weekend, then we wait for the first Monday after the month begins) but you get the picture.

And I guess I need to assume that some newsletter readers are not also blog readers because every month, I get an email asking me why we don't rep male writers.

I imagine Stefan Bachmann, Jamie Ford, Jason Hough, and Micheal Planck would be slightly offended by this question.

What do they need to do? Don wife beaters and have a Harley in their author photos to stand out?

And that doesn't count all the new guys we've just signed on but haven't sold yet.

Enough already. We've got plenty of testosterone on the client roster.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 2 - The Difference Between Young Adult And Middle Grade

STATUS: We folks here in Denver like to take the Groundhog seriously. If he says 6 more weeks of winter, we say let's kick it off with 2 feet of snow. Bring on the winter. I'm the only who made it in today. Of course I have an advantage. I walk to work.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? WE ARE YOUNG by Fun.

Invariably when I'm at a writing conference, I always get asked this question. So last weekend, I sat down and organized my thoughts on what I believe to be the core difference between the two.

And today's entry is simply the first in a couple of videos I've recorded on this topic. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

For The Book That Almost Didn't Sell--Happy Release Day FIRELIGHT!

STATUS: Another phone conference in 20 minutes! Must blog quickly.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? LOWDOWN by Boz Scaggs

Blog readers, have I got special treat for you today. If you ever wondered what the editor rejections looked like for a book that has shown every sign of coming out of the gate wildly popular, well today is your lucky day.

Today is the official release day for Kristen Callihan's FIRELIGHT.

I've blogged before about the fact that I almost could not sell this book. And today, Kristen has given me special permission to share her rejections.

But let me preface this.

This debut novel has received two starred reviews (Publishers Weekly and Library Journal) and top pick at any number of romance sites, too many to list here.

When we sent the novel out to already established and successful authors to read with an eye for a possible blurb, we had our fingers crossed that maybe we'd get one or two responses.

Every author on our list read and blurbed it:

"Callihan has a great talent for sexual tension and jaw-dropping plots that weave together brilliantly in the end.”
—Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of Outlander

"A sizzling paranormal with dark history and explosive magic! Callihan is an impressive new talent."
—Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author of Immortal Rider

"Evocative and deeply romantic, Firelight is a beautiful debut. I was fascinated from the first page."
—Nalini Singh, New York Times bestselling author of the Guild Hunter Series

“Passionate and sizzling, beautifully written and dark. This unique paranormal twist on the beauty and the beast tale rocks!”

—Elizabeth Amber, author of Bastian The Lords of Satyr

"Kristen Callihan delivers a dark, lush offering to fans of gothic and paranormal romance. With a deliciously tortured hero, an inventive supernatural mystery, and slow-building heat that simmers on each page, Firelight is a sexy, resplendent debut. I can't wait to see what Kristen Callihan comes up with next!"

—Meljean Brook, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Duke

"This book has everything: sword fights, magic, despair, a heroine with secret strengths, a hero with hidden vulnerability, and best of all, a true love that's hot enough to burn the pages. I couldn't stop reading. This book is utterly phenomenal."

—Courtney Milan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Unraveled

"Inventive and adventurous with complex, witty characters and snappy writing. Callihan will make you believe in the power of destiny and true love."
—Shana Abé, New York Times bestselling author of The Time Weaver

"A dark, delicious tale of secrets, murder, and love, beautifully shrouded in the shadows of Victorian London."

—Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author of If He's Dangerous

"A dazzling debut, sexy and thrilling. Callihan now has a place on my to-buy list."

—Anya Bast, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Enchantment

“A fantastic debut that has everything I'm looking for in a story: compelling conflict, beautiful writing, gripping sexual tension, and strong, intelligent characters.”
—Sherry Thomas, RITA-award winning author of Not Quite A Husband and His At Night

“A compelling and emotional pageturner that will have readers burning the midnight oil.”
—Anna Campbell, award-winning author of Midnight’s Wild Passion

“Lush and imaginative, Firelight will sweep you away.”
—Zoë Archer, award-winning author of Devil’s Kiss

"Combines romance, wit, and suspense in a fabulous retelling of Beauty and the Beast...with a supernatural twist."
—Colleen Gleason, international bestselling author of The Gardella Vampire Chronicles

“I LOVED the book! Fabulous writing, great characters, innovative plot. It held me from the first page. I was so drawn in by the quality of the writing. She's sure to become a fave of mine. I have already raved about the book to my readers group.”
—Gail Link, 2010 RWA Bookseller of the Year

And yet, the editors did not feel the same love.

--I'm afraid I didn't love the voice, which felt a little bit overdone to me, and this kept me from getting immersed in the story. I'm therefore going to pass; I'm sorry. But thank you for giving me a shot at this, and I hope you will find the right home for it.

--I love your description of the story, but for me, the writing itself doesn't stand out from the crowd.

--Thanks so much for sending this! I liked the reimagining of the beauty-and-the-beast story, but didn't quite love the voice as much as I'd hoped

--I do love a great gothic, so I was really hoping to love this. Unfortunately, I just didn't connect with the voice as much as I wanted to.

--Many thanks for thinking of us for this, but we're going to pass. Gothics are very hard to sell right now

--I've been reading this, and I've enjoyed the appealing voice and the strong element of mystery. But while I liked this novel perfectly fine, I just didn't feel the level of enthusiasm necessary to make this a success. Ultimately I just didn't feel the strong emotional connection I'd hoped for.

--I really tried hard to get emotionally attached to FIRELIGHT because the atmosphere is so beautifully written. I just couldn't connect, I'm sad to say,

--I did find plenty to like in the manuscript: Miranda makes a great heroine, and I absolutely loved our introduction to her in the opening chapters. (In particular, the scene where Miranda is having the ethical dilemma over whether to steal or not really hooked me.) The main problem I have, though, is that I never really connected with Archer as a hero. Miranda won me over, but she alone wasn't enough to make me believe in the romance.

--Here's the thing-I kept hoping I could make this work, but increasingly we're having a hard time making new historical romance authors grow in the market.

In the end, it's so so true that you have to find the right editor with the right vision who is the right fit. When you do, even for a book that almost didn't sell, it can be magic.

And I think Kristen's holiday gift to me is the perfect end note!

Happy release day Kristen!