Friday Forecast: Before You Go All Debbie Downer…

My responses to the Tuesday’s Publishing Election Day Questions…

What is your favorite agent blog? Probably Kristin Nelson’s. I read hers every day. But, I do like the Bookends Blog an awful lot. I just forget to check.

What is your favorite editor blog? Evil Editor, but I’m going to check out Editorial Anonymous now because I’ve never seen it before.

Which agent offered you the kindest rejection letter? Hmmm…Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident.

Who do you think the most popular agent is? Blog-wise…I think the commenters are right…It’s got to be Nathan Bransford. The second he posts he has one million–not exaggerating–comments. I dream of such a day. I’m not sure who the most popular agent would be to query. Maybe Donald Maas?

 

Back to the Friday Forecast:

Some of you might be down on the publishing industry…what with Creative losing $6.5 million and profits at Harper plunging from $36 to $3 million—yeah, you probably don’t want to think on that one too long–but, I’m hear to point out that a lot of good is still goin’ on in the world of debut authors today.

 

I want to take a second to congratulate Kasey Mackenzie on her THREE BOOK DEAL WITH PENGUIN/BERKELEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

 

“Kasey Mackenzie’s RED HOT FURY, to Jessica Wade at Berkley, in a good deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown (NA).”

So Awesome! Kasey was incredibly helpful to me while deciding which agent offer to accept. She took the time to write incredibly detailed responses and has still been kind enough to respond to each of my submission process questions. I couldn’t be happier for her and I think I’m seeing a 2010 debut author interview series coming on

Im more good news:

Morrigan on AW (aka Nicole Peeler) has just sold her urban fantasy series to Orbit in pre-empt for a three-book deal. TEMPEST RISING, the first book in the series will debut in Fall/Winter 2009!

 

Moral of the story: While, yes, like the rest of the economy, publishing has taken a hit. But great things are still happening to great people. The fact of the matter is that houses still have to buy books in order to make money. So, before we get all doom and gloom. Let’s try to appreciate the good news happening. (Do I sound like Hugh Grant in Love Actually or what?)

 

Finally, I wanted to respond to a few questions I’ve gotten from commenters lately:

1. Where will the Qanta Ahmed author chat be? The author chat will be over at the LibraryThing Website on November 10. Post questions for her over there. Membership to the site is free.

2. Where do you find out the categories for deal? I suggest everyone invest in a free subscription of Publisher Lunch. Yes, I know the opportunity cost there is high, but go ahead, take the plunge. Publishers Lunch is a newsletter that arrives in your inbox daily to tell you what’s going on in the world of books.

3. How do you audition for Working Partners? Go here: http://www.workingpartnersltd.co.uk/pages/writers.html# and fill out a form.

 

 

Coming up…

 

Tomorrow I’m going to discuss Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. If you haven’t read it, you could pick it up tonight and finish it by tomorrow and comment. Seriously.

Also, I’m giving you fair warning because Cindy Pon (aka Xiaotien) will be interviewed on Monday…and everyone loves her, so definitely check her interview out.

 

Status: I have an article due to Sprouts tomorrow on submitting graphic novels. So, yeah…I probably oughta write that.

Friday Forecast: Stop The Presses OR The Show Must Go On?

I’ve seen the subject of this post around quite a bit lately. Yahoo Publishing News, Pub Rants, and most recently on Nathan Bransford’s This Week in Publishing. And I thought that since I’m about over my Olympic-themed kick, I could move onto another hot topic: terrorism.

And as an added bonus, not only will this be a “Friday Forecast” post, but it will also be a “Here’s a Question For Ya.” I know, TGIF, right?

Ok, so here’s the story:

Random House decided to cancel the publication of The Jewel of Medina after an Islamic scholar speculated that it would draw strong reactions and potentially spark acts of violence. Renowned novelist, Salman Rushdie, condemned the cancellation saying that the publishing giant gave into “censorship by fear.”

Now, Mr. Rushdie is probably a guy who knows what with his attempted assassinations by Hezbollah and death threats from the Ayatollah. I mean, we don’t negotiate with terrorists, right? But should we censor our books to keep them “happy?”

On the other hand, is it really worth publishing a book if the cost of publication could be human life? And we can’t exactly say that Random House’s choice was selfish. The publishing house could have certainly made money off the book. I must assume that Random House was doing what they thought was right.

 

A sticky situation for sure.

 

So my question for y’all is: Should Random House have published The Jewel of Medina?

And further, what does the cancellation of this publication mean for future controversial books? If books are the main medium of presenting detailed information, will stopping publication of tough-topic books be akin to forbidding the dissemination of Galileo’s theories for fear of the Inquisition?

 

 

Status: Finished Breaking Dawn. Thank goodness because I really, really need to start reading for school. But I can’t because I’m waiting for another page from Scott and then I’m going to double check my submission package and then send a few off to agents who have requested.

Also! Did you notice? Over 10,000 hits! Having had this blog since the last day of May I feel pretty good about that number. Page views are gradually growing. I have a Google Page Rank of 5, so hey! not too shabby.

Friday Forecast: The Michael Phelps of Writing

Last week we predicted the future of Harry Potter and this week I thought we’d tackle more of the same.

The reason: Michael Phelps.

Last night there was an interview in which Spitz was asked who was the best swimmer/Olympian of all time.

It got a bit awkward when Phelps thought the question was for him and started to answer, but that’s beside the point.

So here’s my question: Who is the best author of all time?

It’s not like we can measure it in seconds or even pages, but I figure if we can judge gymnastics, ice skating, and diving and award gold, silver, bronze accordingly, we can take a stab at figuring out who the best author is, right?

And since we had to suffer through the uncomfortable responses of both Phelps and Spitz as to who the best swimmer was, I have another question: Which author thinks they are the best writer of all time?

Ok, I have a couple responses in my head, but hopefully you guys will have some interesting ones first. Predict away and Happy Olympics!

 

Status: Still getting moved in, but I’m not going to lie I’m getting sucked in by Eclipse! I’ll review it as soon as I’m done!

Friday Forecast: Hedge Your Bets

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple weeks—or just don’t follow publishing news—J.K. Rowling is set to publish The Tales of the Beedle and the Bard for charity.

I am a huge Harry Potter fan, but I gotta tell ya, I’m not about to run out and buy this. Even if it is for charity. I’m just not that interested because it won’t follow Harry and Co.

But, it reminded me of an argument I had back when the final installement of HP was released. My
“opponent” insisted that Rowling would continue to write Harry Potter books either in the form of prequels or spinoffs. OR she would allow others to write under her name (a la James Patterson). My opponent claimed that the draw of money to be made would be far too tempting.

I disagree.

As it stands, Harry Potter will most likely go down as one of the most beloved children’s series of all time. Rowling already has a boatload of money and, while, of course, you can never be too rich or too thin, I think in this case, the notoriety and admiration that goes with the success of this series takes precedence over making more money.

I think she’ll choose to leave well enough alone and be smart enough not to tamper with the story. I don’t think she’ll let anyone else write under her name–at least not with anything that has to do with Harry Potter.

I think she’ll leave the series and her cast of characters with sadness, but will also welcome the change of scenery that comes with writing new characters and within a new world. And, frankly, I hope she keeps it that way. I love the 7 books and, as much as I’d love a Harry Potter fix, I really, really think she should leave it alone!

Nate, however, would love her to write prequels, spinoffs, etc. I can’t understand this. I mean, I think the Ender’s Shadow spinoff by Orson Scott Card has gone on a bit long. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that I’d rather a series leave me than me leave a series. Rowling would do well to learn a lesson there.

 

Ok, so what do y’all think? Will there be more Harry Potter in our future? Do you want there to be? Should Rowling let others write under her name?

 

And…last day for scavenger hunt is tomorrow. Win your advance copies of The Gargoyle!

 

Blog Scavenger Hunt 2k8

1. What is GypsyScarlett’s good luck writing charm?

2. Is Creative A a self-proclaimed perfectionist, or procrastinator?

3. Polenth is going to take over the world by becoming a farmer… what sort of farmer?

4. What is Jay’s highest reviewed movie?

5. Name the titles and publishers of Allie’s 3 novels.

6. Chandler never goes anywhere without __________________________.

 

For the rules, click here.

 

 

Status: In Dallas getting ready to move to my final destination–Austin! I’m going to meet my parents for drinks soon and then back home to watch the Opening ceremony.

In other news, SCOUT now has SIX REQUESTS!!! yay! Six for six. Hopefully that is a good omen, but yanno…will wait and see. Send your good vibes my way, please.

Friday Forecast: Say Hello to Friday Fiestas

It seems the phenomenon of Friday Fiestas is here to stay. What started with midnight bashes to herald the Saturday release of the Harry Potter books has become a publishing must.

So, tap a keg, whip out the jello shots, and pour a bowl of Frito-Lays because starting now the book industry wants you to Paaaaaaaaaartay!

First, RSVP to the Twilight Midnight Party being held across the country on Friday night, August 1st. Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Books-a-Million? You can’t go wrong. Dress like a vampire, a werewolf, or just plain Bella and head on over.

Next stop? The Midnight Release Party for Christopher Paolini’s Brisingr. And guess what day of the week that will be? You guessed it! Friday night. (For the Sept. 20, 2008 rel. date) This will be Random House Children’s Books first Saturday release date.

These two represent just a small sampling of the growing trend. With Harry Potter, the parties seemed justified. No question. But, keep in mind that “worldwide sales” for Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books “top 8 million.” That is less than the first weekend sales for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And Paolini’s Inheritance series? It’s sold about a million.

We’ve all heard that the publishing industry is pushing towards major blockbuster hits. Well, big parties seem to be a factor in the equation on which they’ve decided. Only time will determine its effectiveness.

As for me? I’m not one to miss a party.

 

Want to read other Friday Forecasts? Check out Honey, I Shrunk Our Audience and Let’s Talk Money.

Announcement: Serious goodies to be given away next week on Fumbling with Fiction! Starting Monday, every comment you leave will enter you to win a shiny, new hardback copy of Heather Terrell’s The Map Thief. And guess what? The book’s not even out yet! On Saturday, August 2, I’ll be reviewing The Map Thief. Comments on that day will count as a double entry.  I’ve got 3 copies with y’alls’ names on them.

 

Status: Yesterday I made some serious progress on SCOUT. I’m learning a ton about what makes her tick and am loving every minute. I love this character and getting her story down is almost effortless. If only I had more time!

Right now, I’m in the middle of packing, which is no fun. My room is a disaster. I’m about ready to call in the National Guard. And I’m supposed to have everything done tomorrow. Wow! Ok, back to work…

Friday Forecast: Honey, I Shrunk Our Audience

Here’s something I’ve noticed since starting this blog: The more blog posts I write, the fewer blogs I read.

Before Fumbling with Fiction I could not wait to read Lisa Shearin’s blog first thing in the morning. I never ever forgot. Now, I’m no less interested in what Lisa Shearin has to say. I still read her blog daily, but it’s gotten to be later and sometimes I forget about it until midday. Same with my other regular blog reads.

I do read numerous blogs every single day because I want to be current and informed and I think it’s a whole heap of fun. But, time blogging takes away time from reading blogs.

I’ve heard many other writers complain of the same. And it doesn’t only apply to blogs. I’ve said many times that I have a hard time reading for pleasure when writing my own work. I think that is natural. Since I spend a lot of time writing, I’m reading less.

I’m trying to get myself to read while writing again. After all, it’s crucial to keep yourself up-to-date on the books coming out in your genre. Plus, I always want to support authors.

Anyway, statistics say that more people than ever are trying to pen novels. With the advent of self-publishing and POD presses, more people CAN be writers. Add that to the insistence on everyone in the publishing industry that authors must promote, promote, promote—which seems to include blog, blog, blogging–and I’ve got to think that our audiences are shrinking.

Anyone else get that feeling? Let me know what y’all think. Hopefully, you’ll have some better insight, but right now I want to make a cool announcement…

 

Someone from Ballantine Books (of Random House) contacted me today asking me to review Heather Terrell’s new novel, The Map Thief . . . on Fumbling with Fiction!!! The book isn’t out yet and I’m going to get review copies. How cool is that???

If it weren’t for you guys reading and commenting, this wouldn’t happen, so thank you!

I think I might get an interview, too, which is great, and if at all possible, I’m going to try to nab a free giveaway for a lucky reader.

 

 

Status: I’m at the Fox Family Reunion. So so so tired. I’ll be posting at random times, but will try to get posts in each day. I have a funny story, but I’ll tell it later. Maybe tomorrow. I’ve got to go read so I can report to you tomorrow.

Friday Forecast: Let’s Talk Money

For today’s Friday Forecast I want to talk about money. A lot of people are disillusioned about how much *the majority* of writers make. What’s a typical advance? Do novelists live off their writing? What the heck is a “nice” deal and why is it different than a “good” deal?

All good questions. And here are you your answers.

For whatever reason–I’m guessing it’s decorum–the publishing industry has broken advances into categories:

A “nice deal” is defined as any advance equaling $49,000 and under (ex. Joy Preble’s Spark)
A “very nice deal’”is between $50,000 and $99,000 (ex. StarLit Productions’ The Break Up Code)
A “good deal” is $100,000 to $250,000 (ex. Lindsey Leavitt’s Princess for Hire)
A “significant deal” is $251,000 to $499,000 (can’t think of one right now)
And…A ‘major deal’ is $500,000 and up (ex. Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe)

(For some humorous descriptions of how these advance categories should really be labeled check this out.)

Most books advances for first novels fall between $5,000-8,000. Nice deals make up almost 50% of advances. The median advance is about $5,000.  Now remember that an advance is not a lump sum. The publisher will break it up into parts usually. At least some of it is paid on publication. Your agent can try to weight the money as heavily toward the front end as possible, but the insistence of publishers on splitting up the advance has become increasingly heavy-handed.

Don’t quit your day job. Until you’ve written more than one book and have begun to earn royalties, do not depend on your writing. Think about this: Ally Carter, author of the Gallagher Girl series just quit her day job this winter and she has two bestsellers, a couple adult books out there, a movie deal with Disney, and another couple books already bought up unwritten.

I always find it funny when people ask, “So, if your book sells are you still going to law school?” Yes, Yes, Yes! I am still going to law school. I am still completely law school. No matter what. Make the time to write. Work it into your life, but if you force yourself to depend on it, your muse might be too stressed out to appear.

 

Status: Later today I will be posting the artwork that goes with SCOUT. I still have not seen it yet, but my fingers are crossed an my hopes are high. Earlier this morning I finished New Moon. I guess it’s time to get Eclipse. I ordered in Story of  Girl by Sara Zarr at the library, too. Now, I’m working on a synopsis for SCOUT, which will be part of a proposal package should we get a request for more materials.