Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Trick or Read" - This man is my hero!!!

Retired MU professor offers books instead of candy on Halloween

SourceMISSOURIAN, 10/30/13,  updated Thursday, October 31, 2013

COLUMBIA, Missouri

Children's books swamped Gary Fox's kitchen countertops Wednesday. Gary Fox, 83, collects books for months to hand out to kids on Halloween. This year, he has "Mother Hubbard," "Robinson Crusoe" and many more.

On Halloween night, they will all disappear — more than 100 of them — handed out to costumed children as part of Fox's "Trick or Read" tradition.

When neighborhood children dressed as witches or superheroes come to the retired MU professor's door in Fairview, they open their bags and he slips in a copy of "The Cat in the Hat" or "Cinderella" or "Aladdin."

"Candy is gone in 30 minutes," Fox, 83, said. "Books will be passed on and shared."

He started the tradition about three years ago and estimates he has given away dozens of books over the years. He acquires them from secondhand bookstores and assorted donations.

Read the rest of this GREAT story HERE.

Monday, October 28, 2013

4 Literary Agents Looking for New Clients

These four agents are actively seeking clients, so if your manuscript is ready, and if it fits their interests (read what they do and do not represent very carefully), "lob it over the fence" as one of my professors used to say. (Sports metaphors abound in communications schools.)

Beth Phelan has recently joined the Bent Agency in Brooklyn, NY.  As a new agent she is actively building her client list. This is how she describes herself:

“After graduating from New York University, I found my footing as an intern with the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. Since then, I’ve held positions at Waxman Leavell Literary and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. As a literary agent with the Bent Agency, I am looking for complex fiction that pulls you in immediately, characters that you wish were your real friends and plot lines that drag you away from reality to a world you never want to leave. My favorite stories are told with humor and sprinkled with surprises. When I was a kid, my father told me: ‘You’re not going to have any friends left if you keep reading instead of returning their phone calls.’ That’s when I knew I wanted to work with books (although I like to think that I’ve managed to strike a better balance in my life now). I live in Brooklyn with a neurotic chihuahua, goofy beagle and always some form of cheese in the fridge.”

What she is looking for:

Beth Phelan represents fiction for young adults and middle-grade readers, select commercial and literary adult fiction, and nonfiction by way of lifestyle, cooking/food writing, humor, pop culture, LGBT and pets/animals. For adult fiction, she leans toward new adult, suspense, thriller, and mystery

She is not considering sports, history, poetry, screenplays, reference, science, academic, short stories, erotica, art, self-help, spirituality.

How to contact her:

To query Beth, please read the agency submissions guidelines, then email phelanqueries [at]

Molly Glick

Molly Glick is an established literary agent who is looking for new clients. She is currently working with Foundry Media, a literary/talent agency based in New York. Like many agents, Molly worked as an editor (Crown), before switching to representing authors. She has served on the Contracts Committee of the AAR and teaches classes at Media Bistro and the Grotto. Her instructional articles on nonfiction proposal and query letter writing have been featured in Writer’s Digest.

What she is looking for:

"Mollie represents literary fiction, young adult fiction, narrative nonfiction, and a bit of practical nonfiction. She’s particularly interested in novels that bridge the literary-commercial divide, combining a great, high concept plot with beautiful writing, and nonfiction dealing with popular science, medicine, psychology, cultural history, memoir and current events. She’s very hands-on, working collaboratively with her authors to refine their projects, then focusing on identifying just the right editors for her submissions. Some of Mollie’s recent projects include New York Times Bestseller Jonathan Evison’s West of Here and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (Algonquin); Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell The Wolves I’m Home (Random House); Rhonda Riley’s The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope (Ecco); Elizabeth Black’s The Drowning House (Nan A. Talese); Dr. Tracy Alloway’s The New IQ (Free Press); Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids (Jossey-Bass); Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed (Harper Teen) and Gennifer Albin’s Crewel (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux)."

How to contact her:

Mollie Glick only accepts submissions by email. Please send all queries for Mollie to Read the agency's submissions page first.

Monica Odom

Monica Odom joined Liza Dawson Associates in 2010. She is also the agency’s manager of finance and social media. Monica graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English from Montclair State University, and is now a candidate for her Masters in Publishing from New York University. Prior to joining LDA, Monica interned at Joelle Delbourgo Associates, New Jersey Business Magazine, and MTV Networks’ Public Affairs department. Find her on Twitter. In her free time, Monica can most often be found with her nose in a book (or handheld screen), unless she is catering to the various and extensive needs of her spoiled-rotten cats, Sam and Luna.

What she is looking for:

Monica is looking for literary fiction, women’s fiction and voice-driven memoir, as well as nonfiction in the areas of pop culture, food and cooking, history, politics, and current affairs. Monica is especially interested in writers with strong social media platforms.

How to contact her:

Contact Monica at querymonica [at] Along with your query letter, please include the first ten pages of your manuscript as an email attachment.

Connor Goldsmith is an Associate Agent and Digital Strategist at Lowenstein Associates, a New York based agency founded in 1976 by Barbara Lowenstein.

What he is looking for:

Connor specializes in adult science fiction and fantasy, but is also looking for psychological thrillers and literary fiction with a unique hook. He is particularly looking for fiction from authors from marginalized perspectives, especially LGBT and/or racial minority authors. He is also very interested in manuscripts with LGBT and/or racial minority protagonists. Connor does not represent Young Adult or Middle Grade books.As a nonfiction literary agent, Connor seeks books by recognized experts with broad, established platforms. Subjects of interest include cinema, television, theater, mass media, historical biography, and progressive politics.

How to contact him

“For fiction, please send us a one-page query letter, along with the first ten pages pasted in the body of the message by email to If nonfiction, please send a one-page query letter, a table of contents, and, if available, a proposal pasted into the body of the e-mail to assistant [at] Please put the word QUERY and the title of your project in the subject field of your email and address it to the agent of your choice (Connor). Please do not send an attachment as the message will be deleted without being read and no reply will be sent. We reply to all queries and generally send a response within 4-6 weeks.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

40% of Adults Own an Ereader ... What Are They Reading?

In spite of protests from the inhabitants of Jurassic Park, it looks like ereaders are here to stay. A recent poll conducted for USA Today and Bookish, a website designed to help people find and buy books, found that 40% of adults — including 46% of those ages 18 to 39 — own an e-reader or a tablet. That's more than double the numbers of less than two years ago. (You can read the full article HERE.)

In a nutshell, twice as many people own an ereader, and three times as many own a tablet, as compared to two years ago.

The biggest demographic for ownership is, not surprisingly, between the ages of 18 and 49, almost half of whom own an ereader.

For this group, the number of books read on an ereader outstrips print books.

Also, not only are they reading more, they are talking about it on Facebook.

The poll asked a number of other interesting questions, including: What keeps you from reading more books? (Lack of time), and (big question!) For those using ereaders, what books are you reading more of? (In order of popularity: Sci-fi, mystery, romance, and nonfiction.)

Find out what factors play a role in their book selections HERE.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Literary Agents Seeking New Clients

Here are two more agents actively seeking clients. Make sure to read about them on their agency websites, as well as any personal websites they maintain. If they write a blog (Anna Olswanger does), read that as well. Knowing what an agent likes and doesn't like - not just in terms of the writers they represent, but how they view the world - is essential for a good fit.

Anna Olswanger has been an agent with the
prestigious Liza Dawson agency since 2005. Her experience shows in her recent sales, which have been to the larger publishing houses: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Random House, and Bloomsbury.

What she is looking for:

Anna is actively looking for picture books, adult nonfiction, and historical mysteries (adult). In a recent interview with Chuck Sambuchino she says, "I like working with author-illustrators of picture books for children, and I like art that is sophisticated and that leans towards fine art. I am hoping to work with more authors of serious nonfiction (politics, science, finance). Kindness to animals is a big interest of mine, as are Judaica and Israel. Two books I wish I could have agented are Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I have some interest in middle grade fiction, none in YA. In the case of middle grade fiction, the writing has to really sparkle. I would love to represent an author of adult or middle grade historical mysteries whose research is impeccable, and whose writing is sharp and reflects the research, but without the research showing. I wish there were an ancient Israel equivalent of Steven Saylor's ancient Rome mysteries."

How to contact her:

Before you contact Anna, be sure to read her bio on her website: Anna Olswanger. This will give you a very good idea of her interests. Contact her at (no phone calls or snail mail submissions, please).

Adam Muhlig was recently hired by McIntosh & Otis an established literary agency located in New York. He was the former Director of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. In addition to authors (including several United States Poets Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winners), his clients include composers, performers, libraries, archives, and various private and public educational institutions throughout the United States.

What he is looking for

Adam is looking for fresh voices, both in fiction and narrative nonfiction. He is interested in new analyses and fresh perspectives by or about mavericks in the field of music - from jazz to classical to punk/pop - as well as texts focusing on natural history, travel, adventure and sports.

How to contact him:

Before contacting Adam, read McIntosh & Otis' submission guidelines HERE. Follow them to the letter. To query Adam Muhlig, please send the proper materials to

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Harper Collins Signs Up Self-Published Author Tina Seskis in $500,000 Deal

This brief article appeared today in Publishers Weekly. Obviously, a lot was left out of this success story. For example, self-published authors usually don't get into the world's largest book fair.

So, how did Seskis get to Frankfurt?

Interestingly enough, Seskis' book, One Step Too Far, was published, not by Amazon or Smashwords - like most self-published ebooks - but by Kirk Parolles, an imprint that proclaims: "Gone are the days when agents, publishers and bookstores decide which books reach the reader. As publishers we may not always like it, but the truth is the books that sell may not be the ones we would have chosen – they’re the ones that people connect with, will talk about, will stay up until 3 in the morning to find out what happened.Those are the books we seek out at Kirk Parolles, and those are the ones we’re committed to publish."

What is interesting about this publisher is that it has only two books on its roster, One Step Too Far, and Seskis' next novel, A Serpentine Affair. What's more, KP is "closed to submissions." Obviously, Kirk Parolles' publishing commitment has exceptionally narrow limits.

Did Seskis set up a publishing house in order to get her book to Frankfurt?

You betcha. Authors who set up "publishing houses" to legitimize their work are rife in the industry. In fact, if you want to waste a few hours tracking down the owners of small publishing houses, you'll find their names often appear on the titles in their inventory.

Very clever, Tina.

(I am thinking of naming my new publishing house Random Penguin. What do you think?)

Frankfurt Book Fair 2013: HC Wins Self-Published Novel In Major Buy

Source: Publishers Weekly, By Rachel Deahl Oct 10, 2013

Self-publishing was one of the big topics at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, and at least one self-published book caught the eye, and wallet, of a major publisher. In what is rumored to be a deal worth $500,000, Jennifer Brehl at HarperCollins’s William Morrow imprint bought North American rights to Tina Seskis’s novel, One Step Too Far.

The debut, which was originally published in April as a Kindle e-book, went on to hit #1 on Amazon. Seskis, who grew up in New Hampshire and now lives in London, followed the e-book publication with a paperback release, and that print edition went on to hit the bestseller list of the British bookstore chain, W.H. Smith.

One Step Too Far follows a lawyer named Emily Coleman who inexplicably abandons her life. Despite what appears to be an idyllic existence—a beautiful two-year-old son, a lovely home, an adoring husband—Emily wakes up one summer morning, grabs her passport, and hops on a train bound from London to Manchester. Determined to leave her old life behind, Emily meets a croupier named Angel who becomes her only new friend, and who also leads her into a dangerous new existence.

Brehl told PW that Seskis likes to refer to the book as a “whydunit,” because it leaves a host of questions about its heroine’s actions unanswered. The novel, which works up to a final secret-reveal, was something Brehl said she picked up one night and “didn’t put down until I finished it the next morning.”

John Elek, with the British firm United Agents, represents Seskis.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Self-Publishing Output Jumped 59% in 2012

This little tidbit appeared in Publishers Weekly today. (If you haven't signed up for their free newsletters, do it now.) In all likelihood, Bowker's number of self-published books is low. Amazon does not require ISBN numbers, so people selling their ebooks through the Amazon KDP platform - of which there are thousands - won't have been counted by Bowker.

What does this mean for self-publishers? 1) You have lot of competition, and 2) You have a market.

Source: Publishers Weekly, 10/9/13

A new analysis of ISBN data by Bowker found that the number of self-published books in 2012 rose 59% over 2011, growing to over 391,000 titles. The gain has been led by the increase in the output of e-books, although Bowker reported, print books still accounted for about 60% of self-published titles that carried an ISBN. In 2007, print books accounted for 89% of self-published titles.

The analysis also found that more than 80% of self-published titles "came to market with the support from just eight companies, including Smashwords and CreateSpace." Fiction is the most popular self-published genre followed by inspirational/spiritual works, books for children, and biographies.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What Would It Take for 'The Jackal' to Sell a Book on Amazon? (Hint: It involves kidnapping)

Andrew Wylie, alias "The Jackal" 
Recently, Laura Bennett interviewed the legendary Andrew Wylie (aka "The Jackal') for the New Republic. Wylie is an anomaly among literary agents. He despises commercial fiction, dislikes e-readers (he tossed his Kindle after one day), and is a vociferous proponent of traditional print publishing.

As someone who has been around the block (a few times), and ruffled many feathers (more than a few times), Wylie's take on what is going on in the publishing industry is well worth reading. Here is a snippet of what he thinks about publishing on Amazon.
LB: What would it take to get you to sell a book to Amazon? 
AW: If one of my children were kidnapped and they were threatening to throw a child off a bridge and I believed them, I might.
LB: That sounds reasonable.
For an insider's view of the publishing industry, nothing beats a well-seasoned agent. I encourage you to read this interview - several times.

The Andrew Wylie Rules: How the literary agent still makes millions off highbrow

Interview by Laura Bennett

Among literary agents, Andrew Wylie is as old school as they come. Dubbed “the Jackal” for his aggressive poaching of other people’s clients, his distaste for commercial fiction and his disinterest in social media is legendary. He is the reigning king of the backlist, profiting mainly off classic titles rather than taking risky bets on new ones. His only criterion is enduring quality, and his client list is eye-popping: Amis, Nabokov, Bellow, Rushdie, Roth.

It might seem that Wylie’s single-minded emphasis on highbrow literature would have made him an early casualty of the turmoil in book publishing. Instead, he has thrived—throughout the rise of the mega-bookstores, the emergence of Amazon, and the e-book turf war over digital rights and royalties. In 2010, Wylie launched his own publishing initiative, Odyssey Editions, collaborating with Amazon to release digital editions of major books such as Lolita and Midnight’s Children, bypassing publishers entirely. It was an attempt to pressure publishing houses to offer higher e-royalties to his authors, but after Random House refused to do business with the Wylie Agency, he backed down.

The publishing industry has now arrived at yet another crossroads. Last year, a Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit charged five major publishing houses and Apple with e-book price-fixing, a major victory for Amazon. In July, Random House and Penguin merged to form a corporate colossus that controls a quarter of world book publishing. That has left literary agents scrambling to define their role. Will consolidation mean fewer places to pitch projects or stronger publishers with more purchasing power? Could Amazon succeed in eliminating middlemen entirely?

Read the rest of this enlightening interview HERE.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Four Publishing Houses That Accept Submissions Directly From Writers

It is becoming increasingly rare to find publishing houses that will accept manuscripts directly from writers.

But for some genres, notably science fiction, you don't need an agent to get published. TOR is a major player in the sci-fi scene, with a large distribution network. (If you are a science fiction writer, don't be shy. Go ahead and submit your story.) If you love dogs and cats, or the great outdoors (and can take pictures), consider Willow Creek. Poets - check out Blaze.

Willow Creek Press publishes 25 titles per year. This press specializes in gift books, cookbooks, and nature books. Read full submission guidelines HERE. (Note: Does not accept electronic submissions.)

What they are looking for: "Willow Creek Press is a publisher whose primary commitment is to publish books specializing in nature, outdoor and sporting topics, gardening, wildlife and animal books, and cookbooks. We also publish nature, wildlife, fishing, and sporting calendars. Personal memoirs, children's books, and manuscripts dealing with limited regional subject matter may be considered, but generally stand little chance of acceptance."

CQ Press is an imprint of Sage, an academic publisher. It focuses exclusively on political science, journalism, and reference. Prospective authors should submit a complete proposal. (Even if you don't write political science texts, take a look at their proposal outline HERE. It's quite useful for any nonfiction manuscript.) Go HERE for general guidelines.

What they are looking for: "CQ Press is your first source for information on politics, policy, and people. We are the leading publisher of books, directories, subscriptions, and Web products on American politics, federal and state government, American institutions, campaigns and elections, current events, and world affairs. Our content is known for its objectivity, breadth and depth of coverage, and high standards of journalistic and editorial excellence."

Forge and TOR Books publish science fiction and fantasy novels. They're both imprints of Tom Doherty Associates, which is part of Macmillan-so it's a major player that accepts direct submissions. Submission guidelines are HERE.

What they are looking for: " welcomes original speculative fiction short stories and poetry. We define “speculative fiction” broadly, including SF, fantasy, horror, alternate history, and related genres. We want our stories to represent the full diversity of speculative fiction, and encourage submissions by writers from underrepresented populations. This includes but is not limited to writers of any race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and ability, as well as characters and settings that reflect these experiences. We’re particularly interested in stories under 12,000 words. We will consider stories that are slightly longer than 12k, but we really must put our foot down at the “novelette” mark—in other words, we will not read anything over 17,500 words."

BlazeVOX [Books] publishes poetry, fiction, and literary criticism. With an emphasis on poetry, prospective authors can submit via e-mail or an online contact form. Submission guidelines are HERE.

What they are looking for: "Our books push at the frontiers of what is possible with our innovative poetry, fiction and select non-fiction and literary criticism. Our fundamental mission is to disseminate poetry, through print and digital media, both within academic spheres and to society at large. We seek to publish the innovative works of the greatest minds writing poetry today, from the most respected senior poets to extraordinarily promising young writers. We select for publication only the highest quality of writing on all levels regardless of commercial viability. Our outlets of publication strive to enrich cultural and intellectual life, and foster regional pride and accomplishments."
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