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

3 Established Literary Agents Looking for Clients

Updated 12/5/21

These three agents are actively seeking clients. Monica Odom represents fiction in the areas of: literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, compelling speculative fiction and magic realism, historical fiction, alternative histories, dark and edgy fiction, literary psychological thrillers, and illustrated/picture books (picture books by author/illustrators only). She is looking for nonfiction by authors with demonstrable platforms in the areas of: pop culture, illustrated/graphic design, food and cooking, humor, history and social issues. She is also looking for narrative nonfiction in these areas, and some memoir. Beth is open to MG and YA fiction and nonfiction, all genres. Connor Goldsmith is seeking nonfiction and fiction (by referral only). 

IMPORTANT: Always read the agency website and agent bio before submitting!

You can find a full list of agents actively seeking new clients here: Agents Seeking Clients


Beth Phelan of Gallt & Zacker Literary

“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 is open to MG and YA fiction and nonfiction, all genres.

How to submit: Query Beth at  on the subject line, please write your last name and the title of your manuscript (if you illustrate but don’t write, write your last name and the word ILLUSTRATOR).


Monica Odom of Odom Media Management

Monica Odom founded her own agency in 2019, after working in publishing for nearly a decade, including roles as agent at Liza Dawson Associates and Bradford Literary Agency. She earned her M.S. in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University, and has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University. She was also schooled in bookselling and event coordinating at her local indie, Watchung Booksellers.

What she is looking for:

Advice/Relationships    |    Self-help/Self-Reflection    |    How-To    |    Crafting/Creativity    |    Food and Cooking    |    Humor    |    Pop Culture    |    Lifestyle    |    Fashion & Beauty    |    Biography    |    Memoir    |    Narrative    |    Business    |    Politics    |    Current Affairs    |    History    |    Science    |    Social Studies, including topics of: identity, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, civil rights and social justice

Literary fiction, Illustrators with demonstrable platforms, preferably author/illustrators, working on nonfiction, graphic memoirs or graphic novels.

How to submit:  Please address all queries to with the query letter included in the body of the email. 


Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary


Connor Goldsmith is an Agent at Fuse Literary. He began his career in publishing in 2012 at Lowenstein Associates, where he was promoted to Associate Agent in March 2013. He joined Fuse in early 2014 and was promoted to Agent in November 2015. Prior to transitioning into the world of books, he spent a year as a full-time intern and relief assistant in the commercial film and television department at Abrams Artists Agency.

Born and raised in New York, Connor lived for a brief stint in the Midwest studying English and the Classics at Oberlin College in Ohio. He is passionate about narrative fiction across all media as a vehicle for social progress, and received a Master’s Degree in Media Studies from The New School for Public Engagement.

What he is looking for: Pop Culture (Celebrity, Humor, Television, Film, Music, Comics, Gaming), Social Politics (Race and Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality, Disability, Sex Work), Biography (especially of unsung women and/or other marginalized people), Narrative History (especially of the Ancient World), Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror.

Connor is only accepting fiction queries on referral or by solicitation.

He is especially interested in books by and about people from marginalized perspectives, such as LGBT+ people and racial minorities.

How to submit: To query Connor, please visit his page at QueryManager and fill out the submission form. You will need a query letter, a 1-2 page full plot synopsis (or chapter outline, for nonfiction), and the first ten pages of your manuscript.

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

2 Established Literary Agents Seeking New Clients

Updated 6/4/24

Here are two established agents actively seeking clients. Anna Olswanger is interested in representing picture books (author-illustrators only), middle grade fiction and adult nonfiction. Adam Muhlig is looking for fresh voices, both in fiction and narrative nonfiction.

Always check the agency website before submitting. Agents may switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements can change.

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.


Anna Olswanger of Olswanger Literary

Anna Olswanger has been a literary agent since 2005. She started her career at Liza Dawson Associates in Manhattan, and in 2014 launched her own literary agency, Olswanger Literary LLC, She is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR). Anna has sold to major publishers, including Bloomsbury, Chronicle, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.

What she is looking for: Anna is actively looking for picture books (author-illustrators only), middle grade fiction and adult nonfiction. 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 submit: Send an email to anna@olswangerliterarycom with a few details about your book and the opening pages in the body of an email (not in an attachment). If Anna likes what she reads in your query, she'll ask to see the full manuscript.


Adam Muhlig of McIntosh & Otis

Adam Muhlig was hired by McIntosh & Otis, a respected literary agency located in New York, in 2013. 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:  As an agent, Adam’s current interests include popular culture, natural history, travel and adventure, and sports. Adam is pursuing books that offer fresh a perspective or new analysis by or about mavericks in these fields. 

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 (he has represented Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis, among others), and ruffled many feathers, 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 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

3 Publishing Houses That Accept Unagented Submissions - Poetry, Fiction, Cookbooks, Nature Writing

Updated 12/2/22

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

Fortunately, smaller houses still accept unagented submissions. Be sure to follow directions to the letter when submitting. (These publishers get a lot of submissions. Don't give them an excuse to throw yours out.)

For a list of over 150 publishers accepting unagented submissions - broken down by genre -  see: Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts


Willow Creek Press

Willow Creek Press publishes 25 titles per year. This press specializes in gift books, cookbooks, and nature books.

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."

Submissions: Read full submission guidelines HERE. (Note: Does not accept electronic submissions.)

CQ Press

CQ Press is an imprint of Sage, an academic publisher. It focuses exclusively on political science, journalism, and reference. 

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."

Submissions: 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 proposal.) Go HERE for general guidelines.


BlazeVOX [Books] publishes poetry, fiction, and literary criticism, with an emphasis on poetry.

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."

Submissions: Prospective authors can submit via e-mail or an online contact form. Submission guidelines are HERE.
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