Thank you for the great advice . . . and free advice at that!
However, it seems you are always focusing on fiction, romance, and erotica.
Yet, I see you also represent series books, like the Dummies Guides and Idiot's Guides.
Why are there no interviews from those people? And, why little information about that genre?
I have submitted some cook books and so forth, and nothing. But I am OK with that. And, I understand you have to have a platform to write these books, but Geez... It would be interesting to see something from Bookends that isn't about romance novels. Where are the interviews from Dummie and Idiot writers? You have tons of other genres, so why are all the blogs about one genre?
I think this is my first truly critical blog question. Ouch!
BookEnds does represent a wide array of genres. Of course we represent romance and erotic romance, but we also represent mysteries, thrillers, suspense, women’s fiction, and a lot of nonfiction, both in series format (Idiot’s Guides and Dummies Guides) and single-title. So why are there no interviews from those authors? Because they have chosen not to submit them. While the BookEnds blog is primarily written by the agents of BookEnds, we do view it as a community effort and offer up to all of our clients the opportunity to post an interview or blog post at any time. We don’t, however, force our clients to post. The first year of the blog we did very specific Q&A interviews, but after some time both the readers and we got bored with them. It seemed most of our clients answered the same questions. So earlier this year we did away with the interview format and instead offered all of our clients the opportunity to blog on virtually anything at any time. However, while a lot of authors who have participated have been romance and erotic romance authors, we have also seen a number of blog posts from mystery authors, nonfiction authors, and our women’s fiction authors.
If I tend to use examples or answer questions relating more to romance or erotic romance, I apologize. I assume that would be primarily because those are the questions I get. I do, however, have a few questions in the pipeline pertaining to platform, and of course that will be more appealing to nonfiction authors.
When writing the blog I try to appeal to as many readers as possible, but as you as writers know, pleasing everyone is just not possible. So this is a good time to send a reminder to all. If you have a specific question for BookEnds (relating to anything writing, publishing, etc., in any genre) please send us an email using the link to the right and ask us. We’re more than happy to get your emails and reply as soon as we have a chance. In the same vein, if you have seen some hot publishing news or talk on other blogs, please let us know. I would never have been able to write the Jennifer Crusie piece of a few months back if it weren’t for the heads-up from a wonderful client.
And for those hoping to hear from more BookEnds clients, let us know what you’d like to hear about. Post in the comments section what you would like the BookEnds clients to reveal in a blog post. If you have questions for a specific author, post a comment. We’ll pass it along, although I know many are already readers.
Being a romance writer, I can't say I mind a fiction influence. ;)
I'd love to hear, from agent and writer both, about the "life" of a book. While I certainly know the basic steps to publication, I'd love an insider's unique view on the process from start to published book on the shelves.
I am curious about how one goes about writing a "Dummies" or "Everything" book. Are the publishers of these books looking for authors to write on topics they'd like to offer, or is it up to the author to propose a topic?
As someone who is just at the querying stage (finished MS, but not published), I'm curious about what happens to the MS between when my agent finds an editor who is interested and when the book gets published.
Jeannie Ruesch covered my question about getting it to the shelves. :)
I looooove the Idiots' Guide and For Dummies books! Keep 'em coming! I have a bunch of 'em.
I am one of Jessica's clients and I'm a mystery writer. I lurk on this blog almost daily, but rarely post. One of the reasons is I'm already writing every day and also because I post on my own blog and a blog of Midnight Ink writers.
I think blogs are similiar to cocktail parties. There are a lot of personalities in one room, but some folks just lift their voices louder than others. I believe all of the BookEnds clients feel representated by this blog, however.
Jeannie, I would love to answer any questions you have about the life of a book (at least, from my p.o.v.). It takes me about six months to write and revise each of my mysteries. I then email it to whichever editor is awaiting the manuscript and within a month, they usually provide feedback on the book. Sometimes I do some quick revisions following that editorial letter, but mostly, the book gets circulated among the copy editing team. A few months later, the first round of editing begins. This process lasts for two-three months and the book is edited by many eyes three times. About 10-12 months after I originally turned the book in is when it hits the shelves.
Afterwards: The life of one's published book is amazingly varied. My first mystery, A Killer Collection, debuted Jan. 6,2006. It is already out of print. In other words, the print run sold out and it didn't do well enough to merit another printing. So far, my supper club series, which debuted with Carbs & Cadavers, is still alive, but only the sales numbers can determine how long each book will stay in print.
Does that help with your "life of a book" question? If there's anything else I can answer for you, or for the poster, I will lurk again here later on today.
JB Stanley's post reminds me of how little I knew about the "post sale" period of a book's life. The author's job doesn't end when the manuscript is accepted by an editor--in fact, a lot of the work is just starting. There can be requests for revision and there will definitely be copy edits to review and page proofs to read--I've discovered those surprise packages generally arrive on a Friday afternoon with instructions to return them "ASAP." I actually had to go over page proofs on the way to my mother in law's funeral, and then find a place where I could FedEx them after we arrived. Jessica has already covered the author's responsibility for post-publication publicity, though the amount of advertising an author does is up to them. I did a lot for my debut book with Kensington, but have backed off on the later releases and concentrated on things that take less time. One thing I can assure you is that life WILL change after your book comes out, especially if you intend to make a career out of your writing. I do four titles a year (two novels and two novellas) and writing is very much a full time occupation. I can honestly say I wouldn't change this life for anything--if you love to write, there is no finer occupation than that of an author.
Diana, I would be curious, too, about the Idiots books. I recently saw the movie "Evan Almighty" and had to laugh at the use of the Idiot's Guide to Building An Arc, by God. LOL Way too funny.
And J.B., thank you. You answered some of my basic questions. I know they would be completely varied by author, which is part of what fascinates me: that the experiences can be basically the same (getting published) and yet so unique to each person. I love seeing how it differs.
I have some other questions, if you don't mind my picking your brain.
How are your deadlines set? How do you propose new books?
And once the book is written and in the editing process, how are titles and book covers decided on? Do you, as the author (or your agent), have any say? Do you get to see the cover before it's finalized?
I was reading another agent's blog about title issues - the publisher came up with one that the writer absolutely hated, so the agent was desperately trying to come up with a new title to appease everyone. When people disagree, who gets the deciding vote?
And I probably should stop because I could keep you here all day. :)
Kate, I assume all of that proofing, editing and such happens alongside writing a new book? Or do you focus (if you have the luxury, I imagine, and time to do so) on getting that one out the door before moving forward?
I am trying to establish a work ethic now - timeframe to write, edit and move on, etc- that will work when (being positive!) I get published. So it helps to know what the other side of the business looks like. :)
And publicity is another beast, I imagine. I have a background in marketing and communications, so I know the sheer effort it can take to publicize anything or anyone. How much of your time, would you say, you devote to publicity?
And thank you as well, for indulging my questions!
I'm not Kate or JB, but I've stumbled over here today, so I'll give my two cents.
The thing to remember is often the process, while somewhat standard--at least at NY publishers--does vary from book to book and from house to house. I usually get only get copy edits and page proofs--and yes, they do come while you are working on the next book, and usually when you are just getting up steam and into that new project! I can't proof and write at the same time, so I have to put aside the new book to work on the book in production--and then get back into it once I send the production book back to my editor.
I actually came up with my book titles--well, I came up with The Naked Duke and everything has followed--Nakedly--from there. But I would say most times the house comes up with the title, though usually there is some back and forthing. I had no say on my covers--I think only the very big names do--but I was very happy, so no problems. I guess if there was something I really didn't like, I'd see what Jessica could do. But it is usually better to keep in mind that the house's sales/marketing team just might have a better idea of what will get people to pick up a book than the author--there are unfortunate mistakes, of course, but that is their area of expertise. They want the book to sell, too.
I pick my deadlines when I sign a new contract, but--and I'm in that position now--when the date approaches, if I'm running late, I contact my editor. If the book is on a tight production schedule, the author had better turn it in on time. But if the deadline really has no direct bearing on the production/scheduling of the book, then there's more wiggle room.
The house will schedule books way in advance--I think 2008 is probably already pretty full at my house, but 2009 isn't on the boards yet, though they have already got books coming in for that year--I'm contracted for a novel and novella for 2009. The actual scheduling--slots and what not--is another whole topic.
As to how I propose new books, I've been lucky--I just say, well, I'll do something Naked. (Though I'm running out of Naked guys and will have to come up with a new idea soon.) The contract is usually for a book or two with an option on the next work. So, for the option book, most folks do a synopsis and three chapters--but again, that can vary.
Hope that helps.
FWIW, I read this blog because I'm interested in learning about what BookEnds is looking for, how they select the writers they represent, and what they think about the industry.
I can read interviews with authors elsewhere.
I'm one of those who reads agent blogs primarily to learn more about the agent/agency/industry. I tend to skip over the author blogs posted to agency blogs UNLESS that author publishes in a sub-genre in which I write. Then I tend to get more interested, because learning about the author is another way to learn about the BookEnds agency.
If I want to read author's postings, I go to author blogs. Primarily.
I am also very curious about the Idiot's Guides. These are very well read, usually of very high quality, and quite useful.
I've long wanted to write the Idiot's Guide to Community Organizing and/or Nonprofit Management, but I have no idea how they select the titles and authors, either. I do not think either of these topics exists as in a concise, easily read guide yet.
I read this blog primarily for advice . . . no matter the genre being discussed, I've learned a lot.
Jeannie R: Sally gave you an excellent answer to your question and I agree with her--I can't work on more than one project at a time, so when copy edits or page proofs show up, I get them done and back to my publisher asap. As far as work ethic--panic is a great motivator. I work seven days a week, but because of that, if I have to take a day off for something else I can do it without guilt. The thing is, when you love what you do, it really isn't work.
My contracts have all been for three novels and three novellas each, so I know well in advance when the work will be due. I make a point of meeting my deadlines whenever I can, but if I know I will be late, I always let my editor know as soon as I recognize the problem, and then I try and get the work done ahead of the extended deadline. That's only happened a couple of times--it's an envelope I don't ever want to push.
As far as publicity...that's a whole other blog! Feel free to write me off line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, JB, Kate and Sally. I fear I have hijacked this blog post with my questions, but I appreciate your time in answering them for me!
You ask all you want, darling. We writers have to help one another. In truth, the writing community is quite small and I have found that the majority of published writers are more than willing to speak openly and often about the process. I wish you great success in your endeavors and if you ever want to ask more questions, pop over to my site. My email is there and I'd be glad to be of service. Have a lovely week. :) JB
Okay, this really long...
I like reading the author blogs. I like to see what else BookEnds has out. As for blogs, I have one coming out next week, on Dec. 14. I'll talk a little about the story behind my Harlequin NASCAR release.
It's the first book Jessica sold for me. She fought to keep the title, Hart's Victory.
To me, the author blogs show the author and his/her personality. This is the person the agent said "yes" to working with. Hart's Victory is the total opposite of the erotic romance Jessica also handles. Yet the book is extremely emotional and every reviewer has said you need tissues while reading it.
The author blog tells you a little bit about what makes that person so special, and why that agent and author might have connected in the way that they did. I love reading posts by Kate Douglas and Christie Craig. I got to meet them March 06 and because we are all so different, there wasn't any "I feel less of a client." That's the thing about agencies--you can feel a little like the least favored wife in a polygamous marriage. I feel no such lack of love at BookEnds. In fact, I know a few big name authors who have left big name agencies because they got lost in the shuffle of too many big names.
For BookEnds to highlight an author and BookEnds client is good business for everyone. After all, BookEnds is also here to sell its clients books. Putting the books out shows the diversity the agency has, which helps attract other talent to query the agency. Read what BookEnds sold. It might not be in a genre you write, but that might be a good thing. When I write, I read mystery and suspense. Reading other romance works when I read mine makes me think mine sucks. I get lost in comparison.
The author blogs also allow the opportunity to ask questions. Your time is always better spent writing the best book possible, which is really what sells the next one, not my blog.
And as for publication time, I have a book due 1/5. I have one page of 320 written. The deadline cannot be extended. I work full time but can easily do 5-10 pages a day, up to 40 when I have 12 hours straight. I don't have a set writing time. I write in big spurts.
As for my book, it will be done for it must be done--the book is out in September with a title given to it by the publisher and a cover I won't see until the send it to me.
Hart's Victory, Harlequin NASCAR, 12/07
The Christmas Date, Harlequin American Romance, 12/07
The Marriage Recipe, Harlequin American Romance, 4/08
Out of Line, Harlequin NASCAR, 6/08
Tailspin, Harlequin NASCAR, 9/08
Thanks to the authors who wrote about what happens after your book is sold. I knew the basics, but didn't know how long the various stages might take.
Jessica, I keep trying to send this blog question to the e-mail address listed on the blog, but it keeps getting bounced. Do agents submit a manuscript to the acquisitions editor at each imprint (meaning, if the house excepts unagented manuscripts, it goes through the same editor whether you have an agent or not) or do agents somehow bypass the acquisitions editor and send their queries directly to any editor working at the imprint that might be interested in the manuscript? I've read one agent blog that seems to say the first option and another agent blog that implies the second option.
Re: "..I keep trying to send this blog question to the e-mail address listed on the blog, but it keeps getting bounced."
Just FYI, I did send an email to email@example.com 11/19/07 and it did go through (at least, it didn't bounce)...maybe you could try sending an email through a different email address, if you have another one? I find a yahoo email address seems to work, when my other, more "idiosyncratic" email addy's get bounced (not very often, but sometimes).
Michele: great post and you're right about feeling special with this agency. I don't think any of the BookEnds clients are anything like one another, but when we get together we all click. Must be the common denominator of the agency, or maybe our agents know what kinds of people will get along. (Yep, that's it. We're not accepted because of our skill in telling a story but how well we'll get along at the annual bash at RWA...) And thank you for posting your deadline...mine's not until January 15 and I've got a little over 100 pages done. I don't feel NEARLY as panicky now!
I check out Jessica's blogs all of the time. (Personally, I think she should mine this material and compile an ebook or three) Her advice is great. Coming from the film industry, it is shocking to me to see that agents can actually be generous to non-clients. In the film and TV arena, the agents are surrounded by gatekeepers and threshold guardians to make sure everyone on the inside feels "special" and to make sure everyone on the outside feels, ah, "outside". If my poker book, Screw Your Neighbor, gets picked up, I would be proud to blog here. But 'til then I guess the film industry has beat me down: I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy.
Being new to this process...one thing that I have learned is that the actual book proposal process is fun but more importantly educational. Feedback and advice that I got along the way from Jessica and an editor at National Lampoon helped me understand how audiences and publishers think. In creating a 10-30 page argument for your book (in a proposal), you can start seeing whether there is a unique book there worth writing.
Jim, good luck and hang on. I felt the same way about the print industry for many years. When I finally struck gold, it took me a full year to believe I really was published and fulfilling a dream I'd had for so long it had become an "impossible fantasy." Now it's possible and I'm loving it, but you have to stick it out until the fantasy becomes reality, and that requires not quitting. Best of luck to you.
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