My friend Sarah had me on her blog talking about some of my favorite Printz HONOR books this morning. I talk about three of them (and am saving talking about three more for a post next week). If you haven’t read any of these, I highly suggest changing that!
Whitney Ross at Tor preempted North American rights, in a six-figure, four-book deal, to an epic YA fantasy series by Susan Dennard. The first book is called Truthwitch. Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media represented Dennard, and Tor said the agent pitched the series as “Garth Nix meets Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The series is set in a world where three empires rule and every member of the population is born with a magical skill set, known as a “witchery.” Tor elaborated: “Now, as the Twenty Year Truce in a centuries-long war is about to end, the balance of power will fall on the shoulders of two young women, who must accept their fate, and themselves, to survive.” The first book is set for fall 2015, with Tor U.K.—which acquired U.K. and Commonwealth rights—coordinating on an international launch.
“Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep… feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.”—Zooey Deschanel (via fourteendrawings)
“Putting pretty white girls on all your book covers is the book equivalent of what all our fashion magazines do. An idealization of beauty that is unrealistic and dangerous to our youth. And it isn’t the right thing to do. Seeing a minority grace the cover of a YA book is like spotting the Lochness monster, you wonder if you’ve truly seen it and if you’ll ever see it again. How sad is that? To say that only pretty white girls can sell YA books is not a business model that publishers should approve of. And it’s not true. We need look no further than the gender neutral and iconic covers for the Hunger Games and Twilight series to see the truth.”—Ellen Oh (via necesitamosunarevolucion)
Question for ya! When I'm all out of agents to query I want to look into ePublishing as my next step. If my sales go well, I'd like to re-query with my selling stats included. My question for you is, at what point do I do that? What sales figures are high enough to turn an agent's head?Thank you for your time!
Ughhh I wrote out this eloquent answer and then I ERASED it and probably I can’t recreate it so sorry in advance. Annnnd I don’t think you’re going to love my answer anyway, so double sorry in advance?
Basically, I don’t think the plan laid out in your ask is an awesome one.
Before anyone jumps down my throat, let me say, I have no problem with the world of self-publishing/indie-publishing/e-book-non-trad-publishing, or whatever you want to call it. It’s a totally valid path, and it’s great to live in a time when authors have more choices than ever.
For some, in fact, it’s not just “a valid path” — but the BEST path. Some books THRIVE as e-only books, and do much better that way than they would in the traditional bricks-and-mortar hardback-paperback world. Some authors have GREAT rapport with their audiences, and can do tremendous things without the help of a publisher, and really WANT to be in charge of everything. For these books, and for these authors, self-pubbing is probably always going to be better than trad-publishing, particularly now that it is so easy and relatively inexpensive to do well.
In my opinion, if you are going to choose self-pubbing, you need to go all in. That is to say, pay for editorial, get a great cover, spend time and energy on a marketing plan, devote yourself to doing it WELL. If you don’t, you are likely not going to be great at it. Sorry, real talk. There are probably a few people who threw up unedited p.o.s. first drafts and made a bajillion dollars out of nowhere, but they are few and far between. This shouldn’t be something you do as a fallback for if you fail to get an agent - it should be something you actively decide to do and to succeed at.
Particularly because your reasoning (that you’d get an agent interested after the fact) - is really flawed. To turn an agent from “no” to “yes” on a book they’ve already declined, you’d have to sell MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS of copies. In other words, your book would have to be a major hit. And if it were selling THAT well, you’d probably be making more money than you would have at traditional publishing anyway, soooo… why not just get an agent for the next thing, if you still really want one?
There’s … well. There’s something else, too. The elephant in the tumblr. And here’s the part you REALLY aren’t going to like:
Lots of people DON’T get their first book published, or even their first couple of books. Writing books is something you can only really learn by writing books, after all, and it takes time and practice to get super-great at it. Maybe if you’ve really queried all the agents there are to query, and nobody has taken the bait… maybe, just maybe, your book isn’t good enough yet.
If I were you, and I was set on the traditional publishing path, I’d consider getting a great crit group (preferably with some experienced, traditionally published authors in it) — and really working on craft. Query, but also write another book while you’re querying. Keep writing, keep going, keep improving.
If you get a bunch of rejections of your work, and a lot of them are saying the same sorts of things, REVISE and query more. If you aren’t getting bites on your query at all, your query itself might be the problem, so consider getting that critiqued (the forums at Absolute Write, for example will do a query crit for you that might be useful.)
If at some point you decide to self-publish, great, that’s fine, just make it a conscious choice you are doing for its own sake, not as a “sneaky” way to get agent or publisher attention.
Then if you DO happen to get that attention, great, bonus … but you won’t be disappointed if you don’t. And yay, you’ll have more, even better, projects in the pipeline!
“I was at the pharmacy and I was sick and trying to get medicine, and the pharmacist just looked at me and goes, ‘You don’t look like you feel very fetch today.’”—Catching up with Lacey Chabert, a.k.a. Gretchen Weiners. (via entertainmentweekly)
*I feel like there’s one day a month where everyone just decides to be super annoyed with books and publishing, and I have to remind all of my authors that publishing is not always fun and games, but be positive and not make them angry. IT. IS. EXHAUSTING.
"Growing up, one of my favorite classic children’s book was Frances Hodgson Burnett’s THE SECRET GARDEN. One of my favorites, I think, for two reasons. One, an ancient house on the moors and a secret walled garden? WANT. Two, a bed-ridden, disabled boy.
As a mostly bed-ridden, disabled girl, I—surprisingly—identified with Colin more than with most able-bodied characters in most books (which, up until that point, formed about 99,99% of what I read, because frankly, it was and is surprisingly hard to find disabled characters). Sure, he was angry and unlikeable and pitiable, but at the very least he wasn’t the villain. Progress, right? Besides, I loved the idea of him going out and making friends and creating his only little piece of world.
“I look a little tough in my author’s photo, and I’ve been amazed at how many people—universities, magazines—ask me to send them a different photo, because they say I look aloof, unapproachable, tough, scary, and/or sad. I started asking male authors with tough-looking photos if they had ever gotten any grief about this and they said no, never. When it comes to the author’s photo, women are more likely to hear things like: “You don’t look as pretty as you could in your photo!” or “Why aren’t you smiling?” I, for one, would like to know what it is about an un-smiling woman that makes some people so fucking uncomfortable. Or why anyone would assume a woman’s foremost concern is prettiness.”—Laura van den Berg (via elliottholt)