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!