Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kindle Opens Fan Fiction Store With Self-Service Submissions

Note: Kindle Worlds was shut down in 2018. I'm leaving this post up for posterity.

Inspired no doubt by the fabulous success of Fifty Shades of Grey, Amazon has started its own fan fiction store, Kindle Worlds. Anybody can write new stories inspired by a selection of movies, games, TV shows, comics, and of course, books. Like other Amazon platforms, authors can earn 35% royalties. (The 70% book option is not available.) Amazon has obtained licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries; Valiant Entertainment for Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar; Hugh Howey's Silo Saga; Barry Eisler's John Rain novels; Blake Crouch's Wayward Pines series; and The Foreworld Saga by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, and Cooper Moo. More licenses are on the way. 

Is this a good idea?

If you write fan fiction, this is a great idea. Personally, I am not a fan of anything Amazon can obtain a license for, and, even if they did, I'd have a really hard time writing fan fiction for The Complete Works of Shakespeare. The only drawback I can see to Amazon's latest bid to take over the world (mwahahahaha) is that getting a license for, let's say, Star Trek, will be nigh on impossible. In other words, die-hard fans of really popular shows still won't have an outlet for their frustrated desire to improve upon, continue, elaborate on and otherwise embellish the plots/characters of anything that could be truly lucrative. (Trust me, if they did, Spike would still be alive.)

So, if you inhabit any of the "Worlds" Amazon is currently allowing you to live on, go for it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Epublishing - The Secret to Success

If you are weighing the economic pros and cons of epublishing, it always helps to have a report from the trenches, so to speak. Lindsay Buroker has done us all a huge favor by not only telling us how much her books are earning, but how she managed to support herself on ebook sales. The secret to success? Keep writing!

Are More Authors Than You Think Making a Living Self-Publishing?

By Lindsay Buroker

About this time last year, I wrote up a blog post detailing how I was doing, financially speaking, on my new e-publishing endeavor (I got my start in December of 2010). When it came to ebook earnings, my grand total for March of 2011 was $724. At the time, I had two novels out, a couple of 99-cent short story collections, and the first Flash Gold novella (it, and my first Emperor’s Edge novel, are free in case you haven’t checked out my work yet and are dying to do so).

I didn’t think that $700 was too shabby considering I hadn’t been at the e-publishing thing for long. But when you look at how much time I was spending on promotion and writing, it wasn’t exactly a huge income either.

A year later, though, things have continued to pick up steam. I have two more novels out, two more novellas, and a new stand-alone short story. In March of 2012, I sold more than 4,000 ebooks, not including downloads of the freebies, and will earn over $5,000 (my ebooks range from 99 cents to $4.95).

Read the full story with all its illuminating details HERE.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Epublishing Conundrums - Hang on to those digital rights!

"Now you see it, now you don't." 
The world of epublishing is in nearly constant flux.
With big publishers jumping into the fray, it has become increasingly difficult for new authors to make the choice between self-publishing their book as an ebook or signing on with a publisher and letting them handle all the things, including electronic rights.

There are numerous reasons for an author to hang on to as many rights as possible, but nowhere is this more important than digital rights. Why? Because ebooks are selling like hotcakes, and even though publishers charge less money per ebook, authors end up with a significantly smaller piece of the pie.

How does this work?

Publishers spend very little on ebooks. There are no printing costs, no warehouse fees, and no returns. As a result, ebooks cost less. But the reduction in retail cost is not commensurate with the reduction in production costs, which means profits are higher for ebooks.

Because ebooks retail for less, the result is lower royalties for authors. Traditionally, authors make 25% on ebooks, which seems like a lot compared to 10% on hard covers, but the disparity in production costs more than evens the playing field.

According to Brian DeFiore - who serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Authors Representatives as Chair of the AAR Digital Rights Committee - this is how the deck is stacked in favor of the publisher.
"Every time a hardcover sale is replaced by an e-book sale, the publisher makes $2.20 more per copy and the author makes $1.58 less. If the author made the same $4.20 royalty on the e-book sale as he/she would have on a hardcover, the publisher would STILL be making an improved profit of $6.28."
In short, publishers are increasing profits on the backs of authors.

Are we angry? No, we are just disappointed.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

3 Literary Agents Seeking Nonfiction, Sci-fi, Mystery, Romance and more

Updated 6/12/24

Here are three agents who are actively seeking clients. Make sure you read their full bios and check out their agency's submission guidelines before sending a query. Roz Foster is actively seeking serious nonfiction as well as sci-fi, mysteries, thrillers, and multi-cultural fiction. Sarah Younger is specifically interested in representing all varieties of Romance, Women's Fiction, Mysteries, Thrillers, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and select Non-Fiction. Bridget Smith is interested in middle grade and young adult novels in a range of genres, including fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, romance, and contemporary, plus anything that bends the rules of genre. She is actively seeking books by underrepresented voices. She is also seeking fiction for adults, especially fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, and literary/upmarket women’s fiction.

If these agents don't suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of new and established agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Bridget Smith of JABberwocky

Open the first 10 days of the month

Bridget graduated from Brown University in 2010. While there, she studied anthropology and archaeology, worked as a radio DJ, fenced on the varsity team, and helped design an experiment that she later performed in microgravity at NASA.

What she is seeking: Young adult fiction: I am open to all genres of YA. I have a soft spot for layered, emotional contemporary, preferably with more than an ounce of humor; sophisticated and unusual SFF; and vivid, immersive historical fiction about lesser-known stories. I love books about teenagers having complicated feelings, girls who try hard but mess up, clever concepts handled in an unusual way, and a voice that makes me feel like I know the character personally.

Science fiction and fantasy: I tend to prefer the more literary side of the genre: the first things that grab me are character and voice. Fantasy was one of my first loves, and I’m interested in a wide variety of novels; I particularly like stories where the characters drive the plot and the worldbuilding shapes the characters. In science fiction, I’m looking for books that are intimately human on a galactic scope. 

I’d particularly love to see romantic SFF (like A MARVELLOUS LIGHT or WINTER’S ORBIT), big fascinating stories with a moment that grabs you by the throat (THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT or GIDEON THE NINTH), and historical fantasy, but the whole genre is fair game.

Literary fiction: I tend to prefer literary fiction that includes elements of other genres or an interesting structure. I’m particularly interested in historical fiction about women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. Some non-client favorites include THE ESSEX SERPENT by Sarah Perry, POSSESSION by A.S. Byatt, FINGERSMITH by Sarah Waters, and THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker. I’m also interested in contemporary fiction with a speculative element and/or a strong plot (a la Alice Hoffman or Tana French).

Rom-coms: I’m newly open to adult rom-coms! Like in YA, I want them warm, funny, voicey, and layered; a high-concept premise that leaves space for big feelings and will appeal to a mainstream/crossover audience. I’m still not the best fit for genre romance.

How to submit: Use her query manager HERE.


Roz Foster
of Frances Goldin Literary Agency

With a BA in English literature from UC San Diego, Roz studied philosophy for a year at the University of Sheffield, U.K., and earned her MA in English, with an emphasis in composition & rhetoric and creative writing, from Portland State University. At PSU, she taught writing in exchange for tuition. She works from the Catskills of New York. Roz spent over five years as a qualitative researcher in high-tech consumer products marketing. In 2008, she co-founded a web design company for which she provided non-profit organizations with audience-focused market research, project planning, and digital design. She joined SDLA in 2013. 
What she is seeking: Roz is seeking mostly literary fiction. She’s especially drawn to contemporary literary fiction and literary speculative or grounded sci-fi—i.e. rather than hard sci-fi or high fantasy. She’s also looking for literary supernatural, magical realism, fabulism, mystery, crime, and thriller. She enjoys dark stories with big questions at their core.
How to submit: Use her querymanager HERE.

Sarah E. Younger of Nancy Yost Literary


What she is seeking: She is specifically interested in representing all varieties of adult commercial fiction, from book club titles to romantic comedies, genre romance, adult science fiction, fantasy, and romantasy, mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and very select non-fiction.

How to submit: At this time the Nancy Yost Literary Agency only accepts queries through the Query Manager system.  For fiction and narrative nonfiction, please include a query letter, which should include a brief overview of your project, previous publications, if any, and any relevant information about you, along with sample material. For prescriptive nonfiction, please send a query letter, and sample material which should include an overview, table of contents, information regarding your platform, and sample chapter. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Quirk Books has announced its “Looking for Love” Fiction Contest. First prize is $10,000 and publication by Quirk Books. They are looking for love stories that are fresh, fun, and strikingly unconventional. Boy Meets Girl. Girl Meets Girl. Girl Meets Shark. Shark Meets Pirate. Anything goes! (Except vampires.)

Best of all, this contest does not require an entry fee. It's FREE.

The contest deadline is October 1st, 2013. For official rules and entry form, go HERE. Good luck!

Here are the rules. 

1. There is no entry fee.

2. The contest is open to any professional or nonprofessional writer, regardless of nationality. Writers may only enter one manuscript into the contest—so take your best shot. If you are under the age of 18, you must have the permission of your parent or legal guardian to enter the contest.

3. All manuscripts submitted: a) must be original works of book length (at least 50,000 words) written in the English language by the contestants; b) must not violate the rights of any third party; and c) must feature a love story. The editors of Quirk Books will have sole and absolute discretion and authority to decide if a manuscript meets these criteria. All decisions will be final.

4. All entries must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2013 and must include:
a) A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript (photocopies are acceptable), with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end. The author’s name should appear only on the title page and otherwise not appear anywhere on the manuscript pages.
b) A synopsis of no more than 250 words.
c) This application form, signed and completed.
d) a self-addressed stamped envelope if you would like us to acknowledge
receipt of your manuscript.
5. All entries must be mailed to: “LOOKING FOR LOVE” FICTION CONTEST, Quirk Books, 215 Church Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

6. You should keep a copy of the manuscript for your own protection. Quirk Books will not be responsible for lost, stolen, mistransmitted, or mislaid manuscripts. Because of the great volume of submissions (and because, hey, there’s no entry fee) we anticipate manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send return postage or envelopes.

7. Manuscripts submitted to the contest cannot be shopped by literary agents or other third parties during the submission period, which runs from June 1, 2013, through October 1, 2013. However, you may be represented by a literary agent provided that you—and not your agent— agree to abide by these official rules.

8. The winner will be selected by the editors of Quirk Books. Quirk reserves the right not to select any winner if, in the sole opinion of the editors, none of the manuscripts submitted are of publishable quality. An attempt will be made to notify the contest winner, if any, no later than January 15, 2014.

9. If a winner is selected, Quirk Books will be prepared to publish the winning manuscript pursuant to Quirk’s standard form author’s agreement with the contestant. The winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000 after that standard form author’s agreement has been executed by both parties. Additional terms will be determined by Quirk Books at its sole discretion. The contestant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but Quirk Books shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. Quirk Books may, but will not be required to consider for publication manuscripts submitted by other contestants.

10. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the editorial staff of Quirk Books unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff, evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case of a manuscript being considered for publication.

11. This competition is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

12. Good luck!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Top 6 Online Resources for Short Story Markets

"The Writer" by Michael Lynn Adams
Updated 4/6/24

It is received wisdom that in order to get a book published you should start by placing short stories in literary magazines. Hogwash! The two have nothing to do with one another. What's more, it is easier to get a book published than it is to get a short story placed in a reputable literary magazine. (That being said, there are all too many magazines of ill repute lurking in the shadowy corners of the literary scene, and your stories may wind up sliding down the slippery slope into a few of them.) 

Not only is it hard to break into the literary magazine scene, it takes a donkey's age. Literary magazines are often run by underpaid, overworked staff who will take a minimum of three months to respond to your submission – if at all. Moreover, their readerships are generally small (1000 subscribers is a lot), their editorial staff quirky, and their submission requirements frequently absurd. (No simultaneous submissions? Perpetual rights? Seriously!)

So, why bother? For one thing, some people are really good at writing short stories – much better than they are at writing novels. Short stories are not easy to write. Unlike novels, which allow for a fair amount of meandering, short stories are an art form that requires fast efficient character development, a plot that moves at the speed of light, and an ending that sticks in your mind like a song you can’t get out of your head. If you can write a good short story, I envy you. Get it published!

Below are the most useful resources for finding the perfect home for your short story.
Poets & Writers is always my first stop when I am looking for a short story market. Their list is not comprehensive, but P&W includes a great deal of useful information, such as circulation, length of time for a response, genres, representative authors, reading period, whether they accept electronic submissions, or charge a reading fee. (Don’t submit to magazines that charge a fee. They will take your money and run.) Listings are alphabetical, but you can also do a search by genre and subgenre.

These people were not overstating their mission when they called their site Every Writer’s Resource. Not only do they feature articles, blogs, publishers, but oh! The lists! The big list has 2000 literary magazines on it, which is enough to make anyone’s hair fall out. To keep you from going bald, they also narrow the field down to a list of the top 50 literary magazines, university magazines, print magazines that take online submissions (bravo!), and genre-specific magazines (horror, fantasy and sci-fi).

New Pages keeps a well-organized list with new and featured magazines at the top. Best of all they include icons of the magazine covers. Magazine covers are just as important as book covers (by which we make ill-informed, yet somehow completely accurate judgments). You don’t want your short story appearing in a magazine that has cover art drawn by the editor’s six-year-old grandson. The short summaries alongside the cover icons provide the essentials that will enable you to make a fast choice.

4) Duotrope (payment required)

When Duotrope was free I used the site daily. Not only does Duotrope include every literary magazine, you can search magazines by genre, whether they take electronic submissions, response time, and acceptance rate. These last two details are extremely important, and because Duotrope’s figures are based on what writers report, they are fairly accurate. The subscription is $5 a month (7-day free trial). (You can access Duotrope’s basic stats for individual magazines by doing a Google search on “duotrope” and the name of the magazine.) You can follow Duotrope on Twitter for daily updates. 

5) The Grinder (free version of Duotrope)

Like the fourth (and fifth) books of the Douglas Adams trilogy, I am adding a 6th source to my top five. (Many thanks to Wm. Luke Everest for suggesting this wonderful site.) Here you can find a virtual replica of the old Duotrope site - and it's FREE. We tempest-tossed writers yearning to publish free really do appreciate their generosity. So go to The Grinder, and check it out! I'm going there right now...

6) The Review Review

The RR offers an extensive review database, in which they provide in-depth reviews of almost all well-known 150 journals as well as interviews with their editors. If you're seeking publication in lit mags, this resource is indispensable.

More sites of interest

Winning Writers lists free writing contests, and many other writing resources. They have a free monthly email newsletter you can sign up for.

Reedsy has a list of over 100 literary magazines that you can search by category.

Last, but not least, sign up for the Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity newsletter for monthly lists of paying markets open to submissions and other goodies. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

What Book Made You?

Last month, the British bookseller, Waterstones, launched a conversation. Readers were invited to comment on "The Book That Made Me." The invitation drew enthusiastic replies, not just from Waterstones aficionados, but from celebrities like Terry Pratchett. What book made you? Join the conversation HERE.

"Waterstones invites readers to share books that changed their lives," by Catherine Scott.

Telegraph: May 29, 2013

"Waterstones is inviting readers to name a book that altered their lives, as part of a project launched today called ‘The Book That Made Me’. Readers are encouraged to share their stories (in less than 100 words) online and instore. The bookshop will then feature their favourite contributions on its website and in their shops around the country.

Waterstones has already received contributions from a number of celebrity readers, including former political aide Alastair Campbell, who selected Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary because "it gave me a love of the French language". Author Malorie Blackman hailed Alice Walker's The Color Purple for "showing me not only could we black women become writers, but that we could write stories in our own way, using our own voices".

Commenting on the rationale for the initiative, Jon Woolcott of Waterstones said: “Our bookshelves reflect us – we are all made up of books… And each one has an effect, a slight hand on the tiller sometimes, occasionally a wrench which changes our course completely.”


Friday, June 7, 2013

What Types of Books Are People Buying ... and Who Is Buying Them?

Bowker is the publishing  industry's leading source of statistics. Their 2013 Consumer Demographics report reveals some eye-opening trends. Although most buyers purchase books online, they are still buying more print books than ebooks. Who is buying? Women. What are they buying? Adult fiction. Click here for Random House's enlightening inforgraphics.

Source: Random House Notes

By Milena Schmidt and Mina Park

How do people learn about new books?  What types of books are they buying? What formats are they selecting?  Consumer insights play an important role in a publisher’s strategies, from acquisitions to pricing and marketing campaigns. During a recent industry event at Random House, Carl Kulo of Bowker Market Research shared highlights from their 2013 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics & Buying Behaviors Annual Review.

The report shares insight into buying trends from 2012, as well as the first quarter of 2013. A nationally representative sample of Americans aged 13+ is invited to take a survey on book buying each month. Responses from at least 6,000 panelists who purchased a book in the month prior to each survey are aggregated to gather insights on who the panelists are, their preferences and habits, and what’s important to them when they shop for books.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rejected by Publishers All Over NYC, Amanda Hocking is Now a Self-Published Millionaire

Amanda Hocking
This is one of those rags-to-riches stories that inspires self-published writers. Why? Because Amanda Hocking wasn't "discovered" by an agent or a publisher. She's still self-publishing, and selling 100,000 books a month.

From Jezebel

Amanda Hocking's story isn't just interesting because, at 26 years old, she's a millionaire from selling eBooks. Her tale is also fascinating because it remains a work in progress. Success brings new challenges, one of which is often defending that success. Something Hocking is having to do.

Hocking, a self-proclaimed unicorn enthusiast and Muppet activist, writes about vampires, zombies, and yes, romance. According to reports, just one year ago, the Minnesota-based writer was "impoverished," "living paycheck to paycheck," and the manuscripts she sent out were rejected by publishers all over New York. Like many authors, Hocking turned to self-publishing, creating a store on Amazon. She set the prices of her work relatively low — 99¢ to $2.99 — and for every $2.99 book she sells, she keeps 70%. Hocking tells USA Today: "To me, that was a price point that made sense for what I would be willing to spend on an e-book… I use iTunes a lot, and it's 99 cents and $1.29 a song."

Between her blog, Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth, Hocking's stories caught on; she sold 100,000 of her works in December, and over 10 months she's sold more than 900,000. She's about to buy a house, she's getting a lot of press, and Elle magazine is going to profile her. Cue the inevitable backlash.

Read more here...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...