Friday, August 29, 2014

Round 10 of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars: Amazon vs Japan

In this week's round of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars, Amazon is taking on Japan.

Amazon is exploiting its position as Japan's largest book retailer by ranking publishers according to how much they pay Amazon. The publishers with the highest ranking are given top billing on the Amazon Japan website.

Publishers are calling it "blackmail." 

Amazon is calling it "business as usual."

The manipulation of Amazon Japan is just one more in a long string of extortionist tactics that include removing pre-orders from books published by "uncooperative" publishing companies (Hachette and Macmillan), and removing new video titles from Disney and Time Warner. So far this year, Amazon has incurred the wrath of the FTC, the Author's Guild, Germany, and France as well as thousands of authors.

But in spite of being dissed by the German Minister of Culture, Amazon continues to expand. It has gobbled up Goodreads, where it immediately began deleting reviews it found unfavorable, and purchased Twitch, the video-game livestreaming site (where it will no doubt employ the same tactics). Meanwhile Amazon has cut royalty rates on audiobooks, leaving many self-publishers in the lurch.

And the year ain't over yet.


Book publishers shout foul over Amazon Japan's new ratings

Asahi Shimbun, August 28, 2014

By Mayumi Mori/ Staff Writer

Online retail giant Amazon Japan introduced a new system this summer to rank book publishers, a decision that has not gone down well with its business partners.

Amazon Japan is the nation's largest book retailer for paper and electronic media. Its new system gives higher rankings to publishers that pay higher fees to Amazon Japan and to publishers with larger eBook catalogs.

Additionally, eBooks from publishers ranked higher are given more prominence on the website.

Many publishers, including high-profile publishing houses, have protested the move, calling it a form of "blackmail" that exploits the company's considerable dominance in the book retailing industry.

"Wouldn't antitrust authorities start to wonder if Amazon Japan is taking advantage of its monopolistic position in the market?" said Bungeishunju Ltd. when it protested to Amazon Japan in June.

Japanese publishers are continuing to hold talks with Amazon Japan.

Disagreements between parent company, Inc., and publishers are intensifying worldwide.

In the United States, 900 renowned authors protested against Amazon for putting pressure on publishers that resisted the company's demands to lower eBook prices by delaying the shipping of their books.

Media analyst Satoshi Osawa said if publishers start to only focus on dealing with the retailing giant, "it could lead to lower quality of their products."

An official with Amazon Japan's public relations department said, "It's difficult to comment because the issue deals with individual contracts."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Research an Agent

The best way to find an agent is to either marry one, give birth to one, or go to conferences. There is no substitute for face-to-face communication.

Unfortunately, most writers can't make it to conferences. So, they are left with the task of writing query letters. (Even if you do find an agent at a conference, you are not off the hook. You still have to write a query.)

Whether you meet an agent in person, or look one up online, you have to do your research. Does the agent represent your genre? Is he/she willing to take on new clients? Does she/he have a good track record for sales? Which publishers has the agent worked with? How does he/she treat clients? 

All of these questions are important, and all can be answered by researching agents online. These are the steps to take for researching an agent.

1) Go to AgentQuery. Not all agents on agentquery are members of the AAR, but all are established. You can search on an agent's name, or you can search by genre. If you search by genre, make sure you do a full search and filter for agents who are actively seeking clients. As you find agents who are taking on clients in your genre, make a list. This site has lots of great resources, including a list of twitter handles for agents, how to write a query letter, and lists of publishers and literary magazines, to name a few.

2) Go to the agent's or agency's website. (You can do this directly from agentquery.) Is the agent still taking clients? Does the agent still represent your genre? How does the agent sound? Does he or she appear helpful. and supportive? Does the agent charge a "reading fee"? (If so, cross the agent off your list. No reputable agent will charge a fee for reading a manuscript. No reputable agent will use a submission as an excuse to offer "editing" services either.) Very few agents post their contract on their websites, but when they do, read those contracts carefully. Literary agents, unlike talent agents, do not represent you, they represent your book. (Only one.) Contracts that demand representation rights for all your work, or for prequels or sequels, should be avoided.

3) Google the agent. Look for "querytracker," and "absolute write" entries. Both of these will give you insights as to turnaround time, and whether authors have had positive (or negative) experiences. You can also go straight to querytracker and look the agent up directly. If there are interviews posted online, read them. Interviews are a great way to discover what the agent does and does not like in a query letter, which genres he or she is particularly interested in, and other useful details.

4) Join QueryTracker.  This is a great resource for finding agents. You can search for agents with the fastest response times and who reps whom (which agents represent specific authors). Unlike some other sites, Querytracker is up date to date. It will tell you which agents are closed to queries, and which agents are newly minted. (New agents are always actively seeking clients.)

5) Google "agent [agent's name]". When authors publish a book, they almost always thank their agent in the "acknowledgements" section. Often you will find something like this: "I want to thank my agent, [name of agent] for her tireless support and encouragement." If the book has been listed on google books, this search will find all such acknowledgements. This is a good way to see how many books the agent has represented, which is particularly useful if the agent does not include a list on his or her website.

Once you have assembled a list of agents who meet all your requirements, it's time to send queries.


Also see:

What Agents Want: Making Sense of Submissions - Definitions of terms agents use

Agents Seeking Clients - An extensive list of agents with their preferred genres

Getting an Agent: Schmooze or You Lose - A guide to writers' conferences

Finding an Agent: Look Before You Leap - The best print guides for finding a literary agent

Monday, August 25, 2014

Agents Seeking Paranormal Romance Writers

Updated 9/12/22

Paranormal romance is a genre that blends romance with fantastic elements - vampires, fairies, psychics, ghosts, anything in that category. (Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) It never really goes out of style.

That means your touching love story between a time-traveling intergalactic pirate and a kleptomaniac housewife can find representation.

There are a number of good solid agents looking to represent paranormal romance. Make sure you read the agency website and the agent's bio before submitting. Submission requirements frequently change, and agents may close their lists or switch agencies.

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

Name of agency Name of agent(s) Submissions Notes
3 Seas Literary Agency Michelle Grajkowski

Cori Deyoe This agency takes a very long time to respond to queries, if at all
The Axelrod Agency Steven Axelrod The agency's website is minimal. No submission instructions. But the agent has represented a number of well-known authors.
Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency Meredith Bernstein
Agent has a good track record.
Rees Literary Agency Rebecca Podos 

Taj McCoy
See individual agents for submission guidelines Romance across categories, paranormal romance
Seymour Agency Lesley Sabga

Elisa Houot
See individual agents for submission guidelines Romance across categories, paranormal romance
BookEnds Jessica Alvarez

Jenissa Graham Paranormal, and YA paranormal romance
Browne & Miller Literary Associates Danielle Egan-Miller Adult fiction only
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management Jim McCarthy Represents YA
Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency Ethan Ellenberg This agent is listed as the #1 most non-responsive agent on query tracker
The Janczuk Literary Agency Weronika Janczuk Romance/fantasy
Handspun Courtney Miller-Callihan "warm and supportive"
Bradford Literary Agency Laura Bradford Romance/speculative
The Knight Agency Deidre Knight

Elaine Spencer

Lucienne Diver

Nephele Tempest

Kristy Hunter Over 2000 sales in major publishing houses
Marsal Lyon Literary Agency Kevan Lyon

Jill Marsal

Patricia Nelson
Agency represents many romance writers, all of whom are women
Nelson Literary Agency, LLC Joanna MacKenzie genres
Spencerhill Associates Nalini Akolekar

Ali Herring Romance/fantasy
Donald Maass Literary Agency Jennie Goloboy

This agency is highly respected
Root Literary Taylor Haggerty Accepts both YA and adult
Park & Fine Literary And MediaPeter Knapp

Go to Contact page and click on "submissions"
Their website is difficult to navigate
New Leaf LiterarySuzie Townsend"loves YA and strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres"
D4EOPam Victorio

Mariah Nichols"looking for HOT paranormal YA"
HollowayNikki Terpilowski"I would love a mg or ya fantasy or scifi set in Ethiopia. Or an adult royal romance. Or a historical fantasy romance. Or a biopic related to the royal family."
KT Literary Sara Megibow friendly
Darley AndersonTanera Simons UK and US authors
The Booker Albert Literary Agency (UK)Helen Lane
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Ginger Clark LiteraryGinger Clark, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
MacGregor & LuedekeColleen Oefelein
Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, YA, NA
SerendipityAmeerah Holliday Romance, YA, NA
cell cell cell cell

Friday, August 22, 2014

Round 9 of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars: Amazon vs Authors

In the latest round of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars, 900 American authors posted a letter in the NYT asking people to write to Jeff Bezos about his hardball tactics. More than 1000 German, Austrian and Swiss authors have done the same, accusing Amazon of manipulating its recommended reading lists and lying to customers about the availability of books as retaliation in its dispute with the Bonnier Group. To add clout to the protest, the German Minister of Culture, Monika Gruetters, has openly endorsed the letter.

So where does this dispute leave authors who are just trying to get their novels onto a platform where it might have a chance of getting noticed?

The hard truth is that big publishers have let down authors. As an unpublished author, you have to jump through hoops to get an agent, and, when you do, the agent sometimes spends years attempting to sell your book. When your book finally does sell, the contract leaves you with next to nothing in royalties. The publisher does very little to market your book, so sales are poor. Then, you can't get your second book published because the first one was not successful.

That is why so many of us have turned to Amazon. At least we can publish on a platform that is well-trafficked. And we truly appreciate the opportunity. But, Amazon's battles with the large publishing houses have nothing to do with giving opportunities to writers, or with defending our interests.

Amazon's claim that it is forcing publishers to lower prices to make books more accessible is disingenuous at best. Amazon, unlike publishing houses, does not have to pay editors and proofreaders. It does not have to pay taxes on its stock. Nor does it have to shell out advances to authors, or pay for brick-and-mortar shelf space. And it gets the same deal on wholesale orders from publishing houses as every other retailer, but without the overhead, so its profits are higher. Still, Amazon isn't satisfied.

Amazon won't be content until it holds all the cards in the deck. That is why it is attempting to drive down prices. Book stores are already dropping like flies, unable to compete with Amazon's prices. And once Amazon has finished off the publishers, we're done.

Amazon vs Hachette: It’s Getting Nasty

By Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, Aug 15, 2014

The two-page ad that ran in the Aug. 10 issue of the New York Times, which more than 900 authors signed calling for readers to email Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to air their displeasure at the company’s tactics in its terms dispute with Hachette Book Group, unleashed some of the harshest language yet in the months-long standoff.

Any pretense that this was a typical publisher-bookseller negotiation, as the parties said when news of the dispute first broke, has given way to statements by the Amazon Books Team in a blog post on Aug. 8 on the site that pointed to HBG’s role in colluding with other publishers to raise e-book prices. (The publishers’ switch to the agency model had the effect of setting prices for Amazon and all other retailers on many new titles at $14.99, well above Amazon’s preferred price of $9.99.) The Amazon post urged readers to email HBG CEO Michael Pietsch and ask him why the publisher was against lower e-book prices. Pietsch responded to the email campaign by noting that HBG sets its own prices, and saved his sharpest criticism for Amazon’s stance in the negotiations, writing that Amazon initiated the fight because it “is seeking a lot more profit and even more market share, at the expense of authors, bricks and mortar bookstores, and ourselves.”

“Once again,” Pietsch continued, “we call on Amazon to withdraw the sanctions against Hachette’s authors that they have unilaterally imposed, and restore their books to normal levels of availability. We are negotiating in good faith. These punitive actions are not necessary, nor what we would expect from a trusted business partner.”

For its part, the Amazon Books Team said it “will never give up its fight for reasonable e-book prices,” and said that it is HBG that has prevented a deal from getting done. According to Amazon, “Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store.” The company added that it is HBG that has rebuffed three attempts by Amazon to remove authors from getting caught in the crossfire.

The public fight over terms has caused a deep division between authors: those who believe the Amazon argument that lower e-book prices result in higher unit sales and thus more money for everyone, and others who support the HBG position that its ultimate goal in its discussions with Amazon is to preserve a bookselling environment that includes not just Amazon but a range of outlets including bricks-and-mortar bookstores.

Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the book research firm Codex Group, said that, given current market trends, the importance of the dispute between Amazon and HBG “goes well beyond a simple negotiation over selling terms.”

Based on Codex survey data, Amazon has more than tripled its book unit share, from 13% in 2008 to 40% in 2014, which has contributed to an estimated 30% loss of physical bookstore selling space over the same period. With that loss of bookselling space has come a 4% decline in U.S. households reading fiction from 2008 to 2012, according to research by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In Hildick-Smith’s view, just as Hollywood movie studios would be reduced to mere video producers without movie theaters to launch their latest blockbusters, trade publishers without physical bookstores to accelerate new book discovery would be robbed of their unique ability to make break-out bestsellers and author brands, and ultimately be reduced to the role of Amazon associates, reliant on daily deals to promote new titles.

Whether openly acknowledged or not, the book market is “now in a battle for both the survival of physical-world book selling and the trade publishing business model that depends on it,” Hildick-Smith said. “The choice is either to emulate the film industry, with its theaters and strong multiple channels of distribution, or else by default, go the way of the music industry, which has endured a massive revenue decline since it became dominated by digital distribution.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Agents Looking for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

Updated 9/11/22

Science fiction and fantasy never go out of style, so if you write in either of these genres, you are in luck.

Here is a list of reputable agents who represent fantasy and/or science fiction novels. All of them are accepting queries as of this writing. (I update this list continually.)

Please note: When there are several agents in one agency accepting SF/F, only query ONE of them. Read the agents' bios to determine which agent will be the best fit for your work, and tailor your query to that agent's interests. Make sure to use the agent's name in your salutation. (Not "Dear Agent.") 

As always, read the submissions policy carefully. Guidelines can change and agents may close their lists or switch agencies. 

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

Name of Agency  Name of Agent(s)  Submissions  Genre/subgenre
Andrea Brown Jennifer March Soloway

Saritza Hernandez YA novels in any genre

Sci-fi Fantasy
Barry Goldblatt Sci-fi and Fantasy for YA and Children
The Bent 
Cooper Science Fiction, Fantasy,
YA and
Bradford Literary Agency Laura Bradford Urban fantasy, Science Fiction,
The Cooke McDermid Agency

Ron Eckel

Rachel Letofsky YA and New Adult
Curtis Brown, Ltd. Jonathan Lyons

Anne Tibbets

Kat Kerr
Science Fiction,

YA and MG Fantasy
D4EO Literary Agency Mariah Nichols

Science Fiction,
YA, Epic Fantasy, Adult Fantasy
Donald Maass Literary Agency Cameron McClure

Michael Curry

Jennie Goloboy

Jolene Haley

(See individual agents)
Science Fiction,
Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, YA, Diversity
Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency Evan Gregory

Ethan Ellenberg Science Fiction, Fantasy
FinePrint Literary Management Peter Rubie

Laura Wood

(Also see individual agents' requirements)
Science Fiction,
The Greenhouse Literary Agency Chelsea Eberly
YA fantasy only
Harvey Klinger, Inc.
Andrea Somberg

David Dunton

Rachel Ridout

Cate Hart Science Fiction, Fantasy

SFF Romance
Irene Goodman Literary Agency Victoria Marini

Whitney Ross

Pam Gruber

Margaret Danko

Antoinette V. Sluytman Science Fiction, Fantasy

Urban Fantasy, "edgy sci-fi & fantasy"
JABberwocky Literary Agency Eddie Schneider

Joshua Bilmes

Brady McReynolds Science Fiction, Fantasy
Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency Tori Sharp

Zabé Ellor
See individual agents Science Fiction,
Fantasy, Steampunk
The Knight Agency
Lucienne Diver

Nephele Tempest

Kristy Hunter
Science Fiction, Fantasy

YA Fantasy
KT Literary Chelsea Hensley

Sara Megibow Adult, YA and Middle Grade
Liza Dawson Associates Caitlin Blasdell

Hannah Bowman

Caitie Flum

Click on individual agent's photo
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency Thao Le Science Fiction, Fantasy,
Nancy Yost Literary Agency  Sarah Younger

Nancy Yost

Science Fiction, Fantasy
Nelson Literary Agency Kristin Nelson

Referrals only
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Prospect Agency Rachel Orr
Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA, MG
Greenburger Associates Matt Bialer Science Fiction,
Scovil Galen Ghosh Russell Galen

Anna Ghosh Science Fiction,
Spencerhill Associates Nalini Akolekar

Ali Herring Urban fantasy
YA, Science Fiction,
Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency
Jack Byrne Science Fiction,
Stimola Literary Studio Peter Ryan Classic sci-fi
Stringer Literary Agency Marlene Stringer

Online form, scroll down
Waxman Leavell Literary Agency Ashley Lopez Speculative Fiction
Trident Media Group Scott Miller

Audrey Crooks Science Fiction,
MacKenzie Wolf Elizabeth Rudnick Science Fiction,
Writers House Jodi Reamer

Merrilee Heifetz

Robin Rue

Simon Lipskar

Beth Miller
Science Fiction,
Zeno Agency Ltd

Stevie Finegan Epic Fantasy and Crossover Science Fiction
Folio Literary Management Michael Harriot Fantasy

Literary fantasy

Science Fiction
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc Jennifer Weltz Fantasy
McIntosh & Otis, Inc. Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein

Christa Heschke YA and Middle Grade, Fantasy and Science Fiction
Thompson Literary Agency

Samantha Wekstein Science Fiction,
Corvisiero Literary Agency Marisa Corvisiero

Maggie Sadler Science Fiction,
New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc Suzie Townsend

Joanna Volpe

Patrice Caldwell

Sarah Gerton

Matt Belford Science Fiction,
The Gernert Company Seth Fishman

Science Fiction,
Victoria Sanders & Associates LLC Bernadette Baker-Baughman Fantasy
Spectrum Literary Agency Eleanor Wood

Justin Bell

*Snail mail only
Science Fiction,
Jill Grinberg Literary Management
Jill Grinberg

Katelyn Detweiler

Sam Farkas Science Fiction,
Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency Inc. Meredith Bernstein
Science Fiction,
John Hawkins & Associates, Inc. Moses Cardona Science Fiction,
Kimberley Cameron & Associates Kimberley Cameron

Lisa Abellera
(open to queries at intervals)

Mary C. Moore Science Fiction,
Trellis Literary Management 

Dana Murphy

Danya Kukafka Speculative novels
Linn Prentis Literary Leslie Varney

Trodayne Northern Science Fiction,
Steven Literary  Pam Pho Science Fiction,
Janklow & Nesbit Associates Luke Janklow
(no fantasy)

Lynn Nesbit

Anne Sibbald Science Fiction

L. Perkins Agency Sandy Lu
(Urban Fantasy)

Leon Husock
Science Fiction,
Urban fantasy
Talcott Notch Literary Gina Panettieri Science Fiction,
Urban fantasy
Arthouse Literary Agency Lane Clark

Esty Downes Science Fiction,
Darhansoff and Verrill Michele Mortimer

YA and children's (all genres?)
FinePrint Literary Management Laura Wood

Lauren Bieker Science Fiction,
Donaghy Literary Group

Valerie Noble
Science Fiction,
Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA
Arielle Datz

Stacia Decker Literary Science Fiction,
Fox Literary Agency Diana Fox YA, Science Fiction,
Context Literary Agency Tamar Rydzinski YA Fantasy
Full Circle Literary Nicole Geiger

Taylor Martindale Kean

YA Fantasy, Children's books
Friedrich Agency Marin Takikawa Speculative fiction
Penelope Burns

(Has open periods) YA, all genres
BookEnds Moe Ferrara

Naomi Davis
YA, Science Fiction,
All Closed Science Fiction,
Victoria Marini

Antoinette V. Sluytman

Speculative fiction
Jane Rotrosen Agency Jessica Errera

Annelise Robey
Fantasy, YA
Paul Lucas Science Fiction,
Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Roseanne Wells

Tori Sharp YA Fantasy, Science Fiction
Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency
Jessica Felleman

Jeff Ourvan
Pippin Properties Elena Giovinazzo YA Fiction
Jacqueline Flynn Fantasy
Stonesong Emmanuelle Morgen

Kim Lindman Science Fiction,
KT Literary Sara Megibow

Chelsea Hensley Science Fiction,
Laura Langlie Agency Laura Langlie Fantasy
Harry Illingworth Adult Science Fiction,
Williamson Literary Emily Williamson Science Fiction,
Fantasy, YA
Emily Forland YA
Tobias Agency Ann Rose Light Science Fiction,
DeFiore and Company Rebecca Strauss

Adam Schear

Tamara Kawar Science Fiction,

Graphic novels
Dystel & Goderich

Lauren Abramo

Jim McCarthy
Fuse Karly Dizon

Connor Goldsmith YA fantasy, science fiction, speculative
Faye Atchison YA fantasy, science fiction, speculative
Rebecca Friedman
Rebecca Friedman Fantasy
Rees Literary Agency Rebecca Podos

Taj McCoy

Kelly Peterson
See individual agents' bios for submissions YA Science Fiction,
Hannigan Salky Getzler Ellen Goff

Jon Cobb

Brianne Johnson YA and Adult Science Fiction,
P. S. Literary  Eric Smith YA and Adult Science Fiction,
Booker Albert Literary Agency Jordy Albert

Helen Lane
YA and Adult sci-fi and fantasy, they prefer a hint of romance
Deborah Harris Agency

Jerusalem, Israel
Rena Rossner Science Fiction,
Fantasy, prefers Mideast setting
Speilburg Literary Agency Eva Scalzo

Alice Speilburg Science Fiction,
Red Sofa Literary
All of Red Sofa's agents have quit following a racist tweet from the owner, Dawn Frederick Science Fiction,
Ginger Clark Literary Ginger Clark Science Fiction,
TriadaUS Laura Crocket

Uwe Stender

Amelia Appel

Lauren Spieller

Science Fiction,
Fantasy. MG SF/F
Veritas Michael Carr Science Fiction,
Dee Mura Kaylee Davis

Kimiko Nakamura Science Fiction,
Fantasy, YA
Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency Mitch Hoffman "Fiction across the spectrum"
WordWise Dave Fessenden Science Fiction,
LaunchBooks Literary Agency David Fugate Science Fiction,
Laura Gross Literary Agency Laura Gross "All genres"
MacGregor & Luedeke Elisa Saphier

Colleen Oefelein All genres

Low fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal
Marsal Lyon Agency Patricia Nelson
Science Fiction,
Ricia Mainhardt Science Fiction and Fantasy
The Evan Marshall Agency Evan Marshall

By referral only "All genres"

Also handles "Indie rights"
The Martell Agency Alice Martell

Closed to SFF Closed to SFF
The McCarthy Agency, LLC Sean McCarthy Kidlit
Eyebait Management Jane Putch
"All genres"
Dunham Literary Closed to SFF,4 Closed to SFF
InkWell Management David Hale Smith

Stephen Barbara 

Hannah Lehmkuhl

Maria Whelan Science Fiction,
Frances Goldin Literary Agency Sam Stoloff

Roz Foster Speculative fiction, social justice slant
Jason Yarn Literary Agency Jason Yarn
Science Fiction,
Virginia Kidd Literary Agency Christine Cohen

William Reeve

Vaughne Hansen

Has submission windows
Science Fiction,
The Lotts Agency Chris Lotts

Send a brief query via, including any information regarding previous publications; you may also include the first 5-10 pages of your manuscript in the body of the email (no attachments, please).
Science Fiction,
The Book Group Nicole Cunningham Novels with a magical or speculative bent
Emerald City Literary Mandy Hubbard Young adult
Empire Literary Andrea Barzvi Kidlit
Upstart Crow Susan Hawk Children's books only
Headwater Literary Management Laura Zats Science Fiction,
C&W (UK) Alexander Cochran Speculative fiction
Ampersand Agency (UK) Jamie Cowen Science Fiction,
Table Cell Table Cell Table Cell Table Cell
Table Cell Table Cell Table Cell Table Cell

Monday, August 18, 2014

What Writers Should Do During the Dead Month

August is affectionately known as the "dead month" in the publishing industry. During August all work comes to a virtual halt as editors, agents, proofreaders, typesetters, CEOs, dog walkers and everyone else on the planet takes a much-needed vacation.

So, all you aspiring authors, don't submit your manuscript to publishers, and don't send your queries to agents in the month of August. (To be fair, the two weeks up to and after the Frankfurt Book Fair in October are not so great either, and mid-November to mid-January is also a bad time, but for different reasons.)

If your manuscript is ready to go, you have several choices of what to do during the dead month. You can head to the beach, you can write your next novel ...

... or

You can do research!

August is the ideal time to gather publishing ammunition. This is how to do it:

1) Make a list of agents. To assemble your list of ideal agents, go to and do a search on your genre (i.e. the genre of the book you want to sell). Make a list of all agents who are accepting queries in that genre. Then, once your list is assembled, go to each and every agency's website to make sure the information you have garnered from agentquery is current. While you are there, read the website, and study the bios of the agents. Do you think the agent will be a good fit for you? If not, take the agent off your list. Next type the agent's name into a google search. Look for entries from "absolutewrite watercooler" and from "querytracker." Read what other writers say about these agents. If writers report bad treatment, then cross the agent off your list. (None of the agents on agentquery will charge a fee, but some who don't may recommend editing services for which they receive a kickback. Don't query an agent who also offers editing services.) Also check preditors&editors for complaints. It will take you at least a month to assemble your list, so have fun.

Sci-fi and fantasy writers, go here for a list of agents: Agents Looking for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

Paranormal romance writers, go here for a list of agents: Agents Seeking Paranormal Romance Writers

All other writers, go here for a long list of agents seeking all sorts of genres: Agents Seeking Clients

2) Make a list of reviewers. The time to contact reviewers is three to four months in advance of publication. So, if you have finished your manuscript and plan to self-publish as soon as the last word is written, STOP. Don't publish until you have reviewers lined up, and all your publicity in place. (Interviews, ads, etc.) Go to Top 12 Sites for Finding Reviewers for links to reviewers and review sites. Cull through these for reviewers who write reviews for your genre. Make a very long list. (You will need several hundred. Returns on review requests are modest.) Be sure to include their email address, or other contact information on your list.

3) If you have written short stories or poems, make a list of literary journals. Trust me, even those few journal editors who say they accept submissions all year round don't read in August. The best way to submit to literary journals is to have a list of 20 or 30 at the ready. If you are going for fame, then start your list with the journals that don't accept simultaneous submissions. If you simply want to get some writing credits under your belt, then make a list of those that do accept simultaneous submissions - and submit to all of them at once. In September. Go here to find short story markets: Top 5 Online Resources for Short Story Markets. Go here for poetry: Top 5 Resources for Publishing Poetry

4) Write templates of query letters and review requests. All letters, whether they are to an agent or a reviewer, need to be individualized. Always include the name of the agent or reviewer in your salutation, say how or where you found them, and tailor your initial pitch to that person's stated interests. That being said, there are some things that will not change from one submission to the next. Your blurb (for reviewers) or pitch (for agents) will be the same, as will your word count, genre, bio and other pertinent information. It is a lot easier to write a template query or review request and tweak it than to compose a new email for each submission. Once you are happy with your template, copy it and paste it into an email. Don't send. Just save it as a draft. Having a draft online will save a lot of time later.

Note: Writer's Digest has a great series on successful queries, which is one of the best resources you will find on how to write a winning query letter.

5) Make a submission packet. If you are submitting directly to publishers, you will need a submission packet. A submission packet typically includes a synopsis of your book, a bio, and a pitch (one paragraph), as well as sample chapters, and log lines, depending on the publisher. It also may include a proposal and a marketing plan if you are publishing a nonfiction book. If you don't know how to write a pitch, or a proposal, or a log line, or a query - now is the time to do some studying. Believe me - and I say this from bitter experience - you don't want to find out what these things are after you have begun contacting agents, publishers, or editors. There is a lot of information online about how to write all of the components of a submission packet. In fact, some agents and publishers are even kind enough to spell out what is involved on their websites.

6) Last, but not least - don't read your manuscript. I am aware that everybody under the sun will tell you to read your manuscript once again to check for typos, logic errors, and awkward syntax that you swear you did not write. (The syntax gremlins did it.) But, if you read your manuscript too many times in succession you will develop manuscript blindness. 

Have you ever noticed that when you look at a word too many times, the spelling no longer makes sense? That is exactly what happens when you read your manuscript too often, especially if you read it from beginning to end. After several readings you can't see your mistakes. If you really must read your book -  yet again - make spot checks. Simply scroll down to a random spot on your manuscript and read whatever paragraph your cursor lands on. I will guarantee you that nine times out of ten you will find something that needs fixing.

So, while your future agent/publisher/editor/reviewers are on a beach enjoying themselves during the month of August, you will be hard at work, proving to them that you are worth their time and attention.

Friday, August 15, 2014

2 Agents From Established Literary Agencies Looking for Clients

Here are two agents looking for clients. Both of them work for large, well-respected literary agencies that have represented numerous best-selling authors. For information on how long it takes for these agents to respond to queries, as well as other important details, check Query Tracker. (You have to sign up, but it's free.)


Stacy Testa of Writer's House

About Stacy: Stacy joined Writers House in 2011 as an assistant to senior agent Susan Ginsburg and has been actively building her own client list since 2013. Previously, she interned at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Whimsy Literary. Stacy graduated cum laude with a BA in English from Princeton University. Follow her on Twitter:@stacy_testa.

What she is seeking: Stacy is looking for literary fiction and upmarket commercial women’s fiction, particularly character-driven stories with an international setting, historical bent, or focus on a unique subculture. She also represents realistic young adult (no dystopian or paranormal, please!). For nonfiction, she is particularly interested in young “millennial” voices with a great sense of humor and a strong platform, startling and unique memoirs, and voice-driven narratives about little-known historical moments.

How to submit: Please submit your query, including the first five pages of your manuscript pasted into the body of the email (no attachments), to stesta [at] Please do not query multiple Writers House agents simultaneously.

Catherine Luttinger of Darhansoff & Verrill


What she is seeking: Catherine is primarily interested in science fiction and fantasy. To her, that includes anything that could even remotely be labeled as such. Viable submission material includes everything from classic space operas to the apocalypse; alternative universes, dystopias, and eco-thrillers—as well as the paranormal, horror, zombies, plagues, and time travel. She is also willing to look at historical fiction, mythology re-told, YA, thrillers and mysteries. You may also pitch her pop-science nonfiction.

How to submit: Send queries to Put “Query for Catherine: [TITLE]” in your subject line.

Please note that Catherine is not yet listed on the agency's website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Amazon Kindle Best-Seller List Balloons with New Subscription Service

For those who do not know what a subscription book service is, now is the time to expand your knowledge.
Back in the old days, when there were still physical books- and dinosaurs read them - people joined the Book of the Month Club. For a set fee, you would be sent books on their list.

As you might guess, authors were very keen on getting their books chosen, because subscriptions meant guaranteed sales to thousands of people.
Book clubs have gone the way of literate dinosaurs, but the concept did not completely fade away. Instead it evolved into subscription services. Much like the Netflix model, you can read an unlimited number of ebooks for a monthly fee. The most popular of these services are Scribd ($8.99/mo) and Oyster ($9.99/mo).  
Now Amazon is throwing its hat into the ring with Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99 a month you can read as many of Amazon's 600,000 titles as you like. As with any newly announced Amazon program, there is already some speculation among the cynics in the industry as to whether Amazon is using its new service to manufacture best-sellers, thereby getting the edge on other publishers.

While subscription services are on the rise, there is one important consideration that may limit their benefit to authors. Unlike movies, which absorb 90 minutes of your time, books take a while to read. According to recent statistics the average American read 17 books a year in 2011. So, given a generous two books a month, it would cost $5 to read a book through a subscription service. For readers accustomed to obtaining ebooks for free through Amazon's KDP Select Program, a subscription may not be worth the price.
How Kindle Unlimited Is Changing the Amazon Kindle Best-Seller List

Digital Book World, July 23, 2014 | Jeremy Greenfield

Kindle Unlimited is minting best-sellers.

According to Publishers Lunch, the number of ebooks on the Kindle best-seller list that are Kindle Unlimited titles has just about tripled since the launch of the all-you-can-read service from Amazon last week. Amazon is counting Kindle Unlimited reads as well as Kindle store sales in its best-seller rankings.
Last week at this time, there were 15 ebooks that would have been part of Kindle Unlimited that were top 100 best-sellers on Kindle; this week, that number has ballooned to 45.
kindle unlimited best-sellers
As the chart shows, Amazon Publishing titles (which are in Kindle Unlimited), titles by other publishers included in the service, and Kindle Direct Publishing Select titles (those by self-published authors who only sell on Amazon and not other platforms like Nook and iBooks, which are included on KU), seem to have all benefited greatly from being a part of Kindle Unlimited. Books by self-published authors who aren’t exclusive to Amazon and those from publishers not participating in Kindle Unlimited have suffered — at least when it comes to hitting top-100 Kindle best-sellers.

While Kindle Unlimited it still new, the reason for its big influence could be the clever way in which Amazon is marketing the service to readers.

Read the rest of this article here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Top 25 Ebooks - Does Price Really Matter?

Digital Book World's most recent ebook bestseller list is highly illuminating, especially in light of the Amazon vs Everybody wars. One of the contentions raised by Amazon is that in order to maximize book sales, prices of ebooks must be kept low. Their recommendation is $9.99. Publishing houses disagree.

There are a couple of questions raised by the claim that low prices means more sales, one of which is "whose books?" For unknown authors, a low price will stimulate sales. But for popular authors, buyers are willing to pay a higher price.

Another question is whether authors will get a bigger cut of the profits reaped by ebooks. So far, publishing houses are not willing to share, and while Amazon gives its authors up to 70% of retail, for most self-published authors, royalties are still negligible.

Note that on this top 25 list, all the ebooks represented have been published by major publishers. Also note that these publishers are either undercutting Amazon, or charging more than Amazon's recommended price.

Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 8/2/14
Rank*TitleAuthorPublisher Price** Change
(10)If I StayGayle FormanPenguin Random House $    4.99+9
(2)The Fault in Our StarsJohn GreenPenguin Random House $    4.99
(2)The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)Donna TarttHachette $    6.99-1
(6)Gone Girl: A NovelGillian FlynnPenguin Random House $    8.52+2
(n/a)Big Little LiesLiane MoriartyPenguin Random House $   10.99New
(n/a)Not a Drill: A Jack Reacher Short Story (Kindle Single)Lee ChildPenguin Random House $    1.99New
(8)Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and RedemptionLaura HillenbrandPenguin Random House $    4.99+1
(7)Act of War: A ThrillerBrad ThorSimon & Schuster $   12.74-1
(20)Outlander: A NovelDiana GabaldonPenguin Random House $    4.99+11
10 (3)InvisibleJames Patterson; David EllisHachette $    8.99-7
11 (n/a)Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three Of The Fifty Shades TrilogyE L JamesPenguin Random House $    7.99New
12 (9)Chill Factor: A NovelSandra BrownSimon & Schuster $    1.99-3
13 (11)Orphan Train: A NovelChristina Baker KlineHarperCollins $    6.99-2
14 (4)The Heist: A Novel (Gabriel Allon Book 14)Daniel SilvaHarperCollins $   13.99-10
15 (15)DivergentVeronica RothHarperCollins $    4.99
16 (13)Insurgent (Divergent Book 2)Veronica RothHarperCollins $    6.99-3
17 (5)The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)Deborah HarknessPenguin Random House $   11.99-12
18 (14)Allegiant (Divergent Series)Veronica RothHarperCollins $    6.99-4
19 (16)The Husband’s SecretLiane MoriartyPenguin Random House $    9.99-3
20 (12)Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum NovelJanet EvanovichPenguin Random House $   10.99-8
21(n/a)Where She Went (If I Stay Book 2)Gayle FormanPenguin Random House $    4.99New
22(n/a)Fifty Shades Of Grey: Book One Of The Fifty Shades TrilogyE L JamesPenguin Random House $    4.99New
23(n/a)All the Light We Cannot See: A NovelAnthony DoerrSimon & Schuster $   10.99New
24 (25)A Perfect Life: A NovelDanielle SteelPenguin Random House $   11.84+1
25(n/a)Death by Food PyramidDenise MingerPrimal Nutrition Inc. $    0.99New
* Previous week’s list rank in parentheses.
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