Monday, November 4, 2013

Moving Foreword

As of today, November 4, I have joined Foreword Literary Agency as an agent!

Soon I'm going to start blogging over at the Official Foreword Blog. Not really sure what's going to happen to this blog, since I rarely post. I'll figure it out.

Until then, you can still follow me on twitter and tumblr!

Monday, September 23, 2013


I'm going to close to unsolicited queries as of today. I am behind and need to catch up. I will let you know if/when I open back up again.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Conference Additions

Hi, everyone!

I've been asked to be on a panel next weekend at the Ridgefield Writers Conference in Ridgefield, CT, September 28.

I am also beginning to accept conference invitations for 2014. I have accepted an invitation to the Liberty States Writers Conference in Iselin, NJ. That will take place March 15, 2014. More details to follow.

If you are on the planning committee for a writers conference and would like me to attend, please email me and tell me about it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Registering Copyright, a Guide by Me (Mostly Intended for Self-Published Authors)

One of the things I did at my old job was register copyright of all our titles. Since I became an agent, this has become mostly useless information in my head. But the other day I saw a website offering to register your copyright for $120 for application, plus filing fee.  (The filing fee is $35.) I was shocked.

So in the interest of saving you money, I am providing this basic tutorial on how to use the US Copyright website to register the copyright of your book. I'm a big fan of saving money, even if it's not mine.

Here's what it will cost: 1) Your Time (lots of clicking "continue"), 2) cost of deposit copies of work (see "Other Notes" below), and  3) the $35 filing fee.

Here's what it won't cost: $120. 

Please note: You do NOT need to do this if your book is unpublished or if it is being published by a large publisher (most publishing contracts make this the publisher's job).

Also know that US copyright law allows for some copyright protection the moment the work is set in a "fixed tangible form" that is, the moment you wrote or typed it up. Copyright registration is really just a nice thing to have most of the time. However, it is something you need to provide if there is any litigation based on your work, or (more happy circumstance) if a major motion picture studio wants to buy the rights to it.

Details one using the electronic copyright office (eCO) below the cut:

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Life as a Lumberjack

I've been crazy busy at Book Expo America this week. But I'm excited to tell you guys that Sara V. Olds' MY LIFE AS A LUMBERJACK was released on May 30. It's a really fun book, and the ebook is only $2.99 so buy it!

My Life As a Lumberjack or How I Fell For The Wrong Guy(s)

Mercedes “Benz” Bennion heads into the Utah mountains for a summer job with the US Forest Service. It'll be a bit like summer camp but with hard hats and water fights.

Benz is bit boy crazy, and has even been called a “flirt” (that’s fair, she concedes), so when she is surrounded by good-looking co-workers and handsome rangers she is at her happiest. How could she possibly pick who’s the best? There’s Norm (the Norse god)—the program director, Dan (Dan-Dan the Mountain Man) who practically stepped out of historical adventure novel, Sam, Benz’s youth team leader, and even teammate, Matt who keeps saving her life. But is the most attractive necessarily The One?

This summer promises to be one both Benz and her heart will never forget.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I thought I posted about this before, but I guess I'm dumb. I have a Tumblr now. Haven't really figured out what I'm going to post there versus what I post here versus what I post on Twitter. Maybe I'll just ignore all of them.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


The Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association conference, CAPA-U, is this Saturday in Hartford, CT. I'll be there.

The conference sent me submissions from pitch session attendees in the mail. It was fun to read them today and see the return addresses. Normally those are just words. But since I'm from CT originally I was like, "I actually know where these places are!"

It takes very little to excite me, I guess.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

New Adult: What Is It?

Today I got into an interesting conversation on Twitter about what the phrase "New Adult" means to people. It wasn't that long ago that agents and editors were saying it's not a thing. But recently, Publishers  Marketplace made a new category for New Adult in its deals listings. So I guess that means it is a thing now.

I personally don't know much about it. In my head, "new adult" means contemporary romance featuring college-aged or twenty-something protagonists. Much of what I know, I learned from the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast on the topic (You can go listen to that now, I'll wait). But on Twitter I was told it is so much more than that.

So I decided to do some research. I went to the New Adult category on PM and looked at the sales they list. There are only 24 sales there right now, and I am sure there are plenty of self-published or indie published NA books out in the world--these are just the ones that were fancy enough to rate a mention in PM.


The above graph shows how many of the deals where for original works vs how many were for books that had already been self-published. Honestly, I rather assumed that self-published would be the majority. (I should note, however, that some of the deals that were sequels, prequels or otherwise based on already self-published works are in the "original" category so long as that text wasn't actually already published.) But it's still pretty even. Readers are still finding these books, and publishers are getting in on it.


Another thing that interested me is where are these books going to be shelved. That was a problem I have discussed with numerous other agents and editors. Ultimately, a book can be shelved in one part of the store. So are they adult or children's? I looked at which imprints were buying the books and sorted them by adult imprints or children's imprints. And you can see that, NA books are not really going to children's houses as much as they are going adult places. This sort of confirms my impression that "NA" is for adult publishers who want to get in on the "YA" market & readership.


Should I ever acquire a NA novel, I'm going to want to know which houses to send it to. These are the places those 24 deals were with. You can see that William Morrow (at Harper Collins) and Atria (at Simon & Schuster) the top buyers of NA. These are both adult imprints, of course.

Surprisingly, St. Martin's--which kind of coined the term "new adult"--is not on the list. 


Finally I looked into what genre NA books are (besides being NA, duh). Like I said above, I associate NA with contemporary romance but I've been pitched Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Mystery NA which sometimes confuses me. (Why not just shelve it in those genre spaces instead of worrying about the fact that NA doesn't have shelf space at the moment?)

Anyway, I am not entirely right. There are NA sales that are not contemporary romance. These sales were fantasy and dystopian--kinda of younger paranormal romance. I've also heard from a couple NA authors on Twitter who wrote historical new adult novels that got picked up before this PM category was introduced.

So that's what NA means to Publishers Marketplace and to me. What do you think of when you think of "new adult"? And do you have any favorite new adult novels?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Savvy Authors

There are still a few hours left for you to pitch your book to me at Savvy Authors! The contest closes at 11:59 (Eastern) this evening!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

US Copyright

The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. -- United States Constitution
The US is one of a few countries in the world where a copyright (such as those of books) is a property right, not a moral right. Moral rights often last indefinitely. But in the US, copyright lasts for a limited term. Or it was supposed to. ... Or at least Thomas Jefferson wanted it to.

Originally, copyright was for 14 years and could be renewed for another 14. A total of 28 years. But since then there have been several laws passed extending the duration of copyright.

In 1831, the original term was extended to 28 years with a 14 year renewal (42 years total).
In 1909, the renewal term was extended to 28 years from 14 (56 years total).
In 1954, the copyright term was based on the life of the author and wasn't fixed.
In 1976, the term became the life of the author plus 50 years.
In 1998, the term was extended to the life of the author plus 70 years.

So you can see that we've come a long way from copyright lasting 28 years max. Now if you publish something and died the next day, the copyright would still last longer than that. (I should note, the above is greatly simplified. There are some types of copyright, such as work-for-hire projects, that are 95 years fixed. But this is confusing enough already!)

What does this matter? It probably doesn't effect you much, unless you're trying to figure out if a book is public domain--maybe you want to make it available as an ebook or something.

Simple Facts: Any work published before 1923, is now considered public domain.

But after that, things get trickier thanks to the law changing.

If a book was published between 1923 and 1963, and the copyright was renewed in the 28th year, then the book is still protected by copyright. (For example: the Fitzgerald Estate will still be making money off the Great Gatsby film coming soon to theaters. Gatsby was published in 1925.)

If a book was published between 1923 and 1963 but not renewed in the 28th year, then it is now public domain.

You need to check on this. The US Copyright ( website does allow you to search, but their records between this time are a bit spotty. It is best to hire someone in Washington to look at the copyright records in person, if you are curious about a book from this time period.

Anything published after 1963 doesn't have to be renewed at all. Renewals were made redundant. On the one hand, this was good for saving time on paperwork. But it was bad for so-called "orphan" works. Now we often don't know who owns the rights to things--just that someone does and it can't be licensed or re-purposed. I imagine poor abandoned works begging on the street for attention, but the law won't let us give it to them...

I got off track. In answer to the question, "Is this work public domain?":
  • If it was published before 1923, yes.
  • If it was published before 1963, maybe. 
  • If it was published after 1963, no. 
For more in-depth answers to these questions see: Copyright Term and the Public Domain (Cornell University). 

More ebook charts

In a previous post, I looked at the different genres that are succeeding in the ebook market and which are not. Now I read this interesting study by the PEW Research Center about ebooks. And look! They have graphs. I love graphs.

You can see that the category that still favors print books the most is the "reading with a child" category, which explains why picture books and possibly middle grade disappear from the ebook bestseller list.

This got me thinking about "enhanced" ebooks and apps and such. Maybe that 9% (where did the other 10% go?) really like using their tablets to read to kids.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I'd never seen someone really read an ebook to their kid. Sometimes on the bus I see parents hand a kid an iPhone, so he or she can read. But in that case, the enhanced ebook isn't really taking the place of the picture book, it is taking the place of the parent.

Anyone else experienced this? Have you read an ebook to a child?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I'll be a Judge for the May Pitch+250 Contest

Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing announced the judges for it's May contest today (See: Announcing the Judges for the May Pitch+250 Contest)

Spoiler Alert: One of them is me!

I'll also be part of a contest at Savvy Authors in May. More on that to come! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Digital vs Print

Publishers Weekly had an interesting article today, comparing the top 20 bestselling print books of 2013 (so far) to the top 20 bestselling ebooks of 2013 (so far).

You'd think the lists would be very similar, but they were not. Only four books (Gone Girl, Safe Haven, Fifty Shades Freed, and Alex Cross, Run) appeared on both. PW pointed out that women's fiction and romance dominated the ebook list, while other types of books like picture books fell away.

Because I renewed my love of making pie charts over the weekend, I went ahead a made charts of the two lists.

This is the print list, broken down by genre*:

*Some people might select the genres differently. I simply searched on B&N for the books and found what genre was mentioned. It is not at all scientific.

And this is the ebook list, again by genre:


The blue slice is the women's fiction/romance group. It gets much bigger in the ebook list. Young Adult and New Adult (red and pink) appear on this list, when they don't at all on the print. 

But the ebook list loses religious, non-fiction, middle grade and picture books. I rather expected the loss of picture books, but am surprised by the loss of the non-fiction category--especially considering my previous post showed several self published NF books being bought up traditional houses.

PW notes that seven of the ebook bestsellers were self-published. (This number excludes the 50 Shades books, for some reason--I suspect because this is the Vintage edition they are measuring.) But that means that nearly half of the ebook bestsellers were self published. 

The other trend I see in ebook bestsellers is movies. Seven of the titles (Safe Haven, Beautiful Creatures, Alex Cross, Run, Beautiful Darkness, The Silver Linings Playbook, The Host, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower) were recently made into films, or had books in that series made into films. Only two of those--mentioned above--made it onto the print list.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Self Publishing Success

I'm always happy to hear when someone has success self-publishing their book. Too often there are tales of woe that involve class action lawsuits. I want writers to make money writing.

I'm doing some research on the topic currently. One thing I did today (for fun question mark) was look up all the deals on Publishers Marketplace that used the keywords "self published".

Between today and May 2012, there were 56 sales of self published authors' work to a larger house* listed on Publishers Marketplace.

The genres broke down as follows^:

You can see that, by far, the largest genre was "Women's Fiction/Romance." That is the category PM uses, I wish I knew which was more romance-y and which were more women's fiction-y. Would even like to know how often they could be described as "erotica."

And the "new adult" were sometimes listed in this category as well, but I plucked them out since my own interest is in young adult/new adult/middle grade. I was sad to see there weren't any middle grade sales on there.

Next I have a chart showing which houses were buying these books:


... and the winner is Amazon! I found this strange since, well, you can sell your books on Amazon yourself. The reason you sign a traditional deal--in my mind at least--is to get your books in bookstores, but Amazon doesn't have a great track record there.

Hachette and S&S are next (and, to be fair, S&S has had some problems getting books in bookstores lately too).

I am surprised Random House's slice of the pie is relatively small, since they are the biggest publisher in the US and they already know how self published titles can take off--they have 50 Shades of Grey. 

*I left out sales of foreign, audio or film rights because they didn't fit neatly into my pie chart. 

^Sometimes it was hard to tell if something was "women's fiction/romance" or "young adult" or "new adult" since the lines are blurry. If the phrase "new adult" or the fact that the main character was in college was listed in the deal announcement, I put it as new adult. 

& That publisher you can't read at all underneath "Harper Collins" at the bottom is "Macmillan" with 1. 

That's what I have. What am I missing? Please tell me there's more YA/MG sales success stories I don't know about!  

Friday, April 5, 2013


I will be at Writers' Digest Conference East tomorrow for the Pitch Slam. I meant to post earlier in the week, to encourage you all to register, if you were in the New York area. Whoops. Now you've already missed a day of the conference. Sorry. But it seems there is on-site pricing available. So maybe check it out.

The next time I will be taking pitch is May 11 at the Connecticut Author and Publishers Association Conference in beautiful downtown Hartford, CT*.  Click here to download the brochure and application

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Writers Conference Tips

Since I'm thinking about writers conferences, these are my top five tips for surviving a conference. Good for newbies and oldbies alike!

1.  Keep an Open Mind. You're paying to hear other people talk, so maybe you should hear them out. Also, things might not go exactly as planned but that doesn't mean it's bad.

2. Make New Friends. Cons are a great chance to meet other writers and form support groups.

3.  Bring a Notebook. So you can take notes or jot down story ideas.

4. Wear the Right Shoes. The temptation to wear dressy shoes to "be professional" is high. Opt for something comfortable (or magical) instead.

5. Don't Give Me Things. Remember that literary agents are like Tony Stark, we don't like to be handed things. (If we took manuscripts, fliers, or doodads from everyone we'd need new luggage.) Take a card and email me later.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Write Stuff

Registration for the Write Stuff Conference has been extended until this Monday, March 18th.

I'll be there on Friday and Saturday. So if you live in the area and want to say hello, you should register. I'll also be taking pitches but I'm told those are filled up.

However there seem to be appointments with Julia Bannon, who is also at the L. Perkins Agency, still available. And Julia is lovely!

Come see us! The event takes place March 21 to 23 at the Days Hotel in Allentown, PA. No walk-ins are accepted so  register here now!

There is also a conference blog that will have an interview with me up some time in the near future. If you are interested seeing what a dork I am.


And speaking of conferences, if there are any conference organizers out there, I decided my new life's goal is to go to a writers' con in all 50 states but my map is currently sad looking (see it and weep), so email me if you need an agent to come to your con.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Since SFWA announced that it would not consider books published by Random House's Hydra imprint credentials for membership, there has been a lot of discussion of the terms offered by Random House's digital imprints.

I don't think these are great terms by any means. (Do they really expect the author to pay for set up fees? Ew.)

But I've been surprised to see many people condemning RH for having a "life of copyright" contract. I'm pretty sure 90% of the contracts Random House signs authors to are for life of copyright. (The exception being licenses from other publishers, or foreign translations.)

In print publishing, life of copyright is the norm. I know it's not in the digital world--which is why this seems strange.

This doesn't (usually) mean the publisher will have the right to publish the book for the authors lifetime plus 70 years*. A publisher should have a provision--usually called "out of print termination" or "reversion of rights" which states how the author can get the publishing rights BACK.

Now, I've never done a deal with Hydra. But my issue with a lot of these print-turned-digital publishers is that they have a print mentality in these reversion of rights clauses. It will say the author can have the rights back if the book is no longer "available for sale." That was fine 20 years ago, when you would just walk into a B. Dalton and ask if the book was available and if they said no, that meant the book was out of print.

Now days, a book can be up online but not sell any copies. Is that still "in print"? Is that still "available for sale"?

So if you are about to sign one of these Hydra deals, I would check on that Out of Print clause. If they don't specify how many copies need to be sold or how much an author needs to make per royalty period for a book to be considered "in print," then we have a very big problem.

*Current US copyright law

ETA: John Scalzi got a copy of one of the RH digital imprint contracts. It is as I feared. The out of print clause is for a print publisher from before computers were invented. IF YOU ARE AN AUTHOR WITHOUT AN AGENT, PLEASE KNOW THAT YOU CAN NEGOTIATE THIS. Don't just sign the first thing they put in front of you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Future Daze

I don't usually like book trailers, but I will share this one with you because it is kind of cool. 

One of my clients, Dale Lucas, has a story in Futuredaze called "Out of the Silent Sea", which TangentOnline called "a beautifully-written story about love and isolation – the prose is stunning and the world is rich and believable." Congrats, Dale. 

Find out more about FutureDaze here. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Part of being a young adult is wishing you didn't have to go to school. And part of being an adult is wishing you could go to school instead of work. So sometimes I listen to the iTunes U classes online. And today I found one about young adult literature, offered by La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

I haven't finished listening to it, but I thought it might be of interest to some of my readers.

Fiction for Young Adults, From Pride and Prejudice to Twilight, Looking for Alibrandi to The Hunger Games, students in this subject will analyse factors affecting the emergence and development of fiction for young adults as a distinctive literature category over the last twenty years. Students will also focus on recent trends in this field, including the development of a range of critical perspectives for interpreting themes, issues and responses to this literature by adults and adolescents.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I'm excited to announce that I will be attending two new (for me) conferences in upcoming months. If any of my blog readers are in the area, you should stop by!

The Write Stuff, Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group
Allentown, PA
Four Points Sheraton
March 22-23

Writers Digest East Conference, Writers Digest
New York, NY
Sheraton Hotel, NYC
April 6, 2013 

CAPA-U, Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association
Hartford, CT
Hartford Steam Boiler Convention Center
May 11, 2013

I hope to add more conferences to my schedule in coming weeks. Conferences are my only excuse to travel. :)