Friday, November 02, 2007

A Day in the Life/Market Updates

It’s been a busy crazy week at BookEnds, but since it’s Friday and things have quieted down just a little I thought I could touch base to tell you what’s been going on both at my desk and in publishing in general.

Since Labor Day I’ve been busy with submissions and client work. I think most of my clients spent the summer writing and were ready to send me new books and new ideas once the leaves started to fall. You know, it’s really, really cool when you can read a client’s book and actually get the same chills all over again that you got when you first discovered her in the slush pile. Of course it’s even cooler when you send those books out to editors and they get chills too.

I also had a fun situation where two nonfiction authors I worked with years ago both reentered the picture. Both authors had published books at least three years ago and while we maintained our official author/agent relationship, things have been pretty quiet since their books came out. Coincidentally this week I heard from two different editors seeking books that made these clients immediately come to mind. I got in touch and both are working on book proposals as we speak.

I’ve finalized a couple of contracts this week that I’m very excited about. The paperwork is with the authors now for signature and shortly I’ll get the deals posted on Publisher’s Marketplace. I think I had mentioned that BookEnds is doing an entire contract (re)evaluation lately. We are going through all contracts clause-by-clause and discussing how we can better strengthen our boilerplates with all publishers. It’s been a fun exercise for all three of us. Okay, maybe not fun, but really useful and what we’re doing has already come into play with my negotiations. A big part of my job is to work to continually build stronger contracts for my clients and keep updated on new and ever-changing language.

And of course, it was Halloween! I skipped out early to do some trick-or-treating. We had great weather here and I even got a Snickers bar or two.

With all all of the submitting I’m doing lately it’s given me a real opportunity to touch base with editors and see what everyone is up to.

Kim said that the one thing she’s hearing over and over is that romance editors are excited about the resurgence of interest in historicals. It seems everyone is hunting for new, fresh historical romance voices so you historical authors should get cracking. You’re in demand again!

In talking with an editor at Avon I learned that publishing their Avon Red titles in mass market didn’t go nearly as well as they had hoped and it seems, at least from their perspective, that erotic romance buyers are a trade paperback audience and not mass market. She also said that for them single theme (erotic romance) novella collections by the same author sell better than full-length novels (again for Avon Red).

I also talked to an editor who recently made a change to Hearst Books, a division of Sterling Publishing. I have never sold to Hearst or talked to an editor there so I was interested in hearing more. She explained to me that most of the Hearst Books titles stem from content already existing in the Hearst magazines (including Redbook, Country Living, and Cosmopolitan) but they are planning to expand that list in new ways, especially into health and parenting and a little bit into career books.  Any potential author would have to be comfortable writing with the magazine's voice and would, of course, need a strong platform.  

An editor at Bantam told me she is hungry to add more contemporary romances to her list right now while a former romance editor at Grand Central let me know that she’s looking for female driven suspense and pop culture/commercial nonfiction (she’s no longer handling romance).

An editor at Kensington told me that their mystery list is booked pretty solid for a while, but he would love to see thrillers along the lines of Vince Flynn. He did remind me though that everyone is looking for those (and of course they/we are).

And lastly, I met a new editor at St. Martin’s. Not new really, but new to me. He’s someone who has what he calls a “guy” list, with a lot of military, sports, outdoor adventure, pop culture, humor and the occasional thriller.

I’m actually running out the door right now. I’m finally, finally getting a new laptop. I’ve been waiting for months for Leopard to be released (the new Mac operating system for those who might live in a cave) so I’m off to the Apple store to discuss how big and fast I really need said laptop to be. Should I be embarrassed by how excited I am? Christmas can’t hold a candle to a trip the the Apple store.


Have a great weekend everyone!


Anonymous said...

So happy to hear historicals are back in (though they never went out for me). Mine is on the way!!!

Anonymous said...

I’m off to the Apple store to discuss how big and fast I really need said laptop to be. Should I be embarrassed by how excited I am? Christmas can’t hold a candle to a trip the the Apple store.

I'm tempted to make a snarky PC-centric comment, but I'll resist. :)

Since I get all giggly about getting a new video card, I can't blame you for your excitement. Have a great trip and enjoy your new computer!

Deborah K. White said...

I tried twice to send this question through the blog question e-mail, but it bounced (something about "greylisting active"). Since it's somewhat relevant to this post, I hope you don't mind me asking it here.

A good number of the science-fiction/fantasy imprints accept unsolicited manuscripts or unsolicited queries. While searching for an agent, I ran across one that stated authors should look for an agent who has sold to a publisher that doesn't accept unsolicited manuscripts. If they only submit your manuscript to publishers that do accept unsolicited manuscripts, then your manuscript isn't going to be treated with any more priority than if you submitted it yourself.

I kind of doubt this claim since at least an agented manuscript has successfully passed one professional's crap-o-meter, so it's bound to be looked at more quickly and closely. However, it did make me wonder about another statement that I've heard from several agents. They don't want authors to shop manuscripts around by themselves because, once a manuscript is rejected, they can't try a publisher again. They might have submitted the manuscript to a different editor at that publisher who would have liked the book, but that chance is lost now.

But isn't there one editor--the acquisitions editor--that the manuscript will have to get past whether the author submits it or the agent does?

Many thanks.

Karen Duvall said...

I totally get the Mac love, Jessica. I've used nothing else since 1990 and I'm on my 4th. These things wear like iron and are resistent to most viruses. Average lifespan of a Mac is six to seven years, and not because they break. I have a fully functioning one from 1997 sitting in my garage. What's not to love? Uh, besides the price tag. Heh.

Anonymous said...

I brought this up on Romancing the Blog, but I think I'll mention it here.

I don't write historicals, but I do like to read them from time to time. Purely as a reader, since it sounds like there is interest in historicals again, I'd like to see ones set in really far-flung exotic locations. Places that would catch my interest right now are: Anything set in Asia during the height of the East India Trading Company, Victorian Africa, the Yukon Gold Rush, Russia, or Australia.

If Historicals are coming back, I'd love (strictly as a reader) to see them venture out of the drawing rooms of English countryside estates.

I don't know what my opinion is worth, but I'm the consumer, and that is what I'm longing for. Anyone else? Or any good suggestions of historicals with really exotic settings?

Terry McLaughlin said...

A trip to the Apple store!?! Wish I could go along to peek over your shoulder and sigh with envy.

Enjoy your new baby!

Sarah said...

I'm thrilled historicals are back in! I sent mine in a few weeks ago!! *lol* I hope to get a bite or two myself soon!! Historicals are the best! Fun to write and read!

Jena said...

No matter whether you're getting a baby MacBook or a loaded-to-the-gills PowerBook, go for the fastest processor you can afford, and the most RAM. I found the Apple store's RAM really pricey, so I bought it later and installed it myself (dead simple).

I just went back to a Mac after years of PC use. I'm in heaven. :)

Anonymous said...

Time to confess: the next time I'm on your side of the pond, I want to go to NY and see the Apple store...

(Can't stick leopard on my Macbook because it's my main working computer and I have a course next week and I cannot afford *anything* to go wrong, so I'm not even going out to drool. Must. Stay. Strong.)

Julie Weathers said...

"Kim said that the one thing she’s hearing over and over is that romance editors are excited about the resurgence of interest in historicals. It seems everyone is hunting for new, fresh historical romance voices so you historical authors should get cracking. You’re in demand again!"

Sighs deeply and ponders putting the fantasy book, five actually since the characters took over the story, on the shelf and dusting off the historical.

Hopefully, cows and queens will still be in demand when I finish playing with wizards and warriors.

I do want to say how much I appreciate you sharing your time and thoughts with us.

Anonymous said...

I waited for the Leopard release to get my new MacBook. I love it (and I would never go back to a PC).

Anonymous said...

It seems the next computer I must buy is a Mac. I used one throughout college and loved it but all my jobs have been PCs, therefore that's what I bought for home. But I remember how reliable the Mac was and how it never crashed. Thanks for the reminder Jessica!

Kimber Li said...

Yeah for the Historicals! I agree with what Chessie said and want to add that they should be good, solid Historicals. Please, authors, do your homework.

Aimlesswriter said...

Thanks for this post. I may have to save it for future reference.
I've never had an Apple. I married an aerospace engineer so it has to be HP. I think HP sounds more techno-spacy then Apple so thats the way these guys have to go. (they are totally a different breed) However I always loved that Apples have the great colors. I want an orange one! Until then I'm stuck covering my laptop with stickers of hearts, penguins and puppies. >sigh< Have fun with your new Apple.

Amie Stuart said...

WOOT WOOT on the new Mac! I'm a PC girl but I've already decided that my next desktop is going to be a Mac *sigh*

Anonymous said...

"And lastly, I met a new editor at St. Martin’s."

I know this a blog, and everything is informal, but an English professor once flunked an entire exam I took because I began a sentence with the word "Lastly".

Anonymous said...

Hey Jessica

With Apple computers - you can NEVER be too big or too fast...

Are you trying to steal my Mac obsessed husband? ( he He insisted on repurchased Leopard and installed it on our computers on the day it arrived... 6hrs before it came out in the USA. Lucky Australia post!

You will love the new system - let us know what you buy - and we both agree with you about the apple store visit.

Bye 4 now
PS Thanks for sharing all the updates on the publishers 'wish list' .

Christie Craig said...


Thanks for the info and I wish you luck on getting a new laptop. I'm going to be shopping soon for one soon. So I understand how excited you are.