Archive for January, 2011
30 January, 2011
I have to confess, until recently, I didn’t quite understand what all this fuss about Twitter was. I felt I had to tell authors to do it because I knew that publishers consider it to be a critical part of their platform and a key to marketing their books when the time comes. So I told my authors: you have to tweet.
In the meantime, my colleague Jacquie Flynn, best known as @BookJacquie, kept bugging me. So about six months ago, I bit the dust and decided to join the fun. Periodically, I’d get emails from Jacquie gently but firmly coaching me. For example, one thread of my tweets has been “insider” publishing tips, about what agents look for, how to prepare your proposed project for submission, how to approach and interact with an agent, platform-building, etc. Jacquie suggested I add a hashtag, #pubtip, to these particular tweets. I knew she wasn’t referring to something I could smoke, but good girl that I am, I added the hashtag to my pubtips.
Twitter is great for sending out quick bulletins of agency news. I started tweeting about great reviews our books got, author events, fun facts about our books, and retweeting some of the tweets from our authors.
Soon, I found a wonderful community of like-minded people—writers, editors, agents, book enthusiasts—and with the passage of time, I began to feel as if I knew some of them and even liked them a lot. Bethane Patrick, @thebookmaven, is awesome, a savvy and hilarious writer who is such fun to follow, and I so look forward now to her #fridayreads, in which readers and writers share what they are reading each Friday. @history-geek is right up my alley, as well.
Now I follow many publishing houses, learning about their latest releases, triumphs and challenges, and the news media, which appeals to my news junkie side. I watch over my authors, such as the brilliant Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting expert for Today, whose constant wisdom helps us to raise more empathic and healthier children, Dr. Thomas Armstrong, who put the term “neurodiversity” on the map, pointing to the hidden gifts of autism, ADHD and other so-called mental “disorder,.” and Margaret Heffernan, former CEO and BBC producer, whose WILLFUL BLINDNESS, which deals with why we sometimes refuse to see what is right in front of us, and what it means, releases on March 15 from Bloomsbury.
We’re adding a “live’ twitter feed to our website, and folks, I’m on a roll. So join in the party, and follow me @jldelbourgo. Let me know how I’m doing and what you’d like to know.
24 January, 2011
I’m thrilled to announce that Ben H. Winter’s THE SECRET LIFE OF MS. FINKLEMAN has been nominated for an Edgar Award for Juvenile Fiction!
The award, sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America, honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television and is named for Edgar Allan Poe. This year marks the 202nd anniversary of his birth.
THE SECRET LIFE OF MS. FINKLEMAN starts with a Special Project in Mr. Melville’s Social Studies class: Solve a mystery in your own life. For seventh grader Bethesda Fielding, one mystery is too tempting to ignore: Ms. Finkleman. She appears to be just the boring old mousy music teacher, but Bethesda is convinced there’s more to her story and she is determined to get to the bottom of it…
The LA Times says Winters “applies a light touch that fuses youthful, scholarly exuberance with the inspirational power of rock ‘n roll. Together, they’re a potent force for bringing together kids of disparate skills and temperaments in a fast paced and unjaded book that is sure to delight.”
Best yet, the next Ms. Finklman book, THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING EVERYTHING, is coming out next fall!
18 January, 2011
“Here’s the good news: Being frugal is not synonymous with being cheap. Buy the good bike, the low-energy-use appliance; they’re better made and will last longer. Just don’t be reckless, with your life or your habitat. The New Frugality includes tips on college savings plans, shared home equity, home insurance, investing, borrowing and retirement.”—LA Times
18 January, 2011
What a start to the New Year! I have to confess, I’m in love with my books. By “my,” of course, I’m referring to the agency’s latest and greatest. But for today, I will focus on one very special book and author.
Philip Freeman, respected historian and raconteur extraordinaire, has outdone himself with his glorious and accessible popular biography of ALEXANDER THE GREAT (Simon & Schuster). The Wall Street Journal review proclaims Freeman’s lively portrait of one of the world’s greatest military leaders “as racey and pacey as any novel.” The WSJ continues: “Here, in vivid and exciting detail, are all the familiar highlights of Alexander’s career: the battles, the tempestuous relationships, the dazzling ambitions, the mysterious death in Babylon. Mr. Freeman’s ambition, he tells us in his introduction, was ‘to write a biography of Alexander that is first and foremost a story.’ It is one he splendidly fulfills.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg, with glowing reviews in Booklist, the Book of the Month Club and many more. Just in from the Boston Globe, another rave:http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2011/01/18/alexander_the_great_bio_gives_a_human_look_to_a_classic_conqueror/
Freeman is the Orlando W. Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College. An internationally recognized specialist in Greek, Roman, medieval culture and Celtic studies, he is the author of “Julius Caesar” (Simon & Schuster, 2008); “The Philosopher and the Druids” (Simon & Schuster, 2006); “St. Patrick of Ireland” (Simon & Schuster, 2004); “War, Women, and Druids” (University of Texas Press, 2002); “The Galatian Language” (Mellen Press, 2001); and “Ireland and the Classical World” (University of Texas Press, 2001). His LECTURE NOTES (Ten Speed Press) offers a unique twist on the college guide, providing a professor’s “insider” view of what every student should know.
Before joining the classics department at Luther, Freeman taught at Boston University and Washington University. He has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, the American Academy in Rome, and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C.
On a personal note, Philip is one of this agent’s favorite authors ever. A consummate gentleman in the true sense of the word, Philip is delightful, emanating a positive energy. His editor at S&S, Bob Bender, is the perfect match, every inch the mensch himself. Working with these two professionals is sheer joy.
Thanks to Bob, ALEXANDER THE GREAT is gorgeous, from its handsome cover, the rough cut edges (something the I-Pad, Kindle and Nook have yet to simulate)! and stunning color photographs.
For more about Philip Freeman and his books, go to Philip Freeman Books on Facebook, and choose “Like” and also visit www.philipfreemanbooks.com.
Oh, and the best news is that Philip just delivered his next book to S&S! Thank you, Philip, for making my job so rewarding and so much fun!
7 January, 2011
“Fast-paced and dramatic, much like Alexander himself…a splendid introduction to one of the most dramatic…stories in history.” –Adrian Goldworthy, Author of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
7 January, 2011
2 January, 2011
It’s pretty much commonly accepted now that 2010 was, as Sourcebooks Founder and digital media maven Dominique Raccah has stated, the year when publishers finally really woke up to the extraordinary potential of digital media. Sales of e-books soared in the second half of the year, and with a record number of e-readers sold this past Christmas, we can only expect this explosive trend to continue exponentially. What also became clear in 2010 was that authors (and therefore, their agents), were in general making less than before; earnings on e-books are generally a fraction of what they are for print books, especially given price-resistance from consumers who view much of digital content as “free.” Bricks-and-mortar bookstores continue to struggle, with chains like Border’s lagging in payments to publishers and closing a record number of stores, and B&N seeming to stock more toys and merch than books. 2010 was also the year when publishers (and authors) fell in love with “apps.” Suddenly, it seemed that everyone was asking or stating that any and every book could also be an app. Of course, that brought up many questions such as: Is a book really an app? What needs to be added to book content? Who produces the app and who pays for its production? App developers come from a different world in which the word “advance” is not always part of the vocabulary. And my question, too, is how will we market all of these apps successfully? If we can’t get readers to physically visit stores, how in the increasingly complex online and app world, do we draw attention to any given app/book?
So as we prepare to return to work in 2011, how shall authors and their agents spend their time? At the end of the day, most industry professionals seem to agree that it all rests with the quality of the content. Finding, curating and packaging outstanding content, whether or not it will be presented as a beautifully bound book, parsed into bits in online content or downloaded onto a Nook, Kindle or other device, is going to continue to be the key.
So as I return to my submissions and works-in-progress, I will try to remain in touch with my inner critic, to continue to seek interesting new ideas, great plots, brilliantly drawn characters–in short, the things that make us want to read whatever the form that experience will take. Bring it on!