Friday, March 23, 2012

Publishing News

Either I've missed something, or these past two weeks haven't been particularly heavy in the breaking-news arena. It's mostly industry blogs this week. Please leave a note in the comments if you've encountered anything of note that needs to be added for these past two weeks!

Dorchester is trying to sell the company. Agent Kristan has details - as in, a copy of the letter.

At QueryTracker, we have the Publishing Pulse for 3/93/16, and 3/23.

QueryTracker also has a post on chain of custody for evidence for crime scenes, a post on creating a great book cover, recommends getting business cards (one suggestion they offer is VistaPrint, which sends 250 cards for the cost shipping & handling),

Nathan Bransford posts Last Week! In Books! for 3/19.

I should think most of know this by now, but when submitting a requested manuscript, make sure all the chapters are in a single document. For heaven's sake, don't submit 30 different attached files! And where do you put the page number when formatting your manuscript? In the right-hand side of the footer. Use an auto-number feature so the manuscript can be reformatted without messing up the numbers.

Ever queried an agency, been turned down, and wondered if it was okay to query a new agent to the agency? Jessica Faust over at BookEnds says sure, it's usually fine. Related thereto, is it okay to request switching agents within an agency? Also yes, if you think the new agent is a better fit and they're willing to make the switch. And no, just because a publisher isn't accepting unsolicited manuscripts, doesn't necessarily mean you have to have an agent. For some publishers, "not accepting unsolicited manuscripts" means they want to start with one-page query letter. They'll decide whether or not to ask for more from there. For others, it does in fact mean "no unsolicited materials."

She also answers some random questions: "Do you automatically reject a query if the author does not have a college degree?" (No.)  "Is 'mainstream literary fiction' an appropriate term/genre to describe a novel in a query letter?" (Yes.) "Do you work with authors from other countries?" (Yes.) "[I] am wondering if pursuing publication using a different last name will affect the career I hope I can have as a novelist." (One is fiction; the other nonfiction. No, it shouldn't cause a problem.) "When an agent requests pages, are they referring to the physical pages in a word document, or is the referring to 250-word pages?" (You're usually fine using the Word page count.) "What are your thoughts on teens drinking and swearing [in young adult novels]?" (The YA audience believes in keeping it real. Don't talk down to teens.)

Rachelle Gardner defines "publishing auctions" and how the work. A publishing auction is when several publishing companies like (or are expected to like) the same manuscript, and want to bid on the right to publish it. There are three main kinds of auction, but in every case, the best offer gets the deal (this does not always mean the largest advance). Or a publisher can "pre-empt": that is, offer a good deal before the auction happens, and the agent and writer decide they like the publisher enough to accept.

She also defines an "author-agent agreement." This is essentially the formal, written agreement between the author and the agent. Not all agents use them right away, especially with new clients. If you're not comfortable working without one, talk to your agent on why they're using a verbal agreement. Only go with them if you're comfortable with the situation.

And she talks about the 5 most common author website mistakes. Make sure the site is up-to-date and is focused on the reader, not the author. She also talks about "the typical advance" - which can vary widely, and may not be as large as you think. It varies based on genre, author experience, publisher, platform, and the number of books expected to sell.


  1. I used Vistaprint for all of my wedding stationary as well as for some SCA promotional materials, so I can vouch for how good their stuff is. What I love most about them is that it's much cheaper to upload your own design to them than it is to have a custom design printed anywhere else (I think it was 5 bucks each time). And once that design's uploaded, you don't have to pay another custom fee to order more things with it.

    1. I've always heard good things about them. I think it's about time I buckle down and try for myself! Thanks for the feedback. :)