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Understanding Your Contract

Dear Querytracker Blog,

I recently accepted an offer from my dream agent, but I’m curious about something in my contract. What does “and any subsequent work in a series or derivation therefrom” mean?

Sincerely,

Totally Clueless

Dear Clueless,

First, congratulations on this new step in your writing career. I wish you all the best.

Not every agent includes this clause (or a similar clause) in their agency contract. What it means is that if a publisher offers you a contract for two books (for example) in a series, and you later write one or more additional books for the series, your agent also represents those books. Now, this might sound like a given if you and your agent live happily-ever-after, together, but what happens if you and your agent “divorce”? If your contract has this clause in it, it doesn’t matter if you’re still together or not, it doesn’t matter if he had nothing to do with the sale (because you and your editor agreed to the book after you separated from your agent), he is involved in the series and therefore will get the agreed upon royalty (usually 15%).

Unfortunately, when we sign with an agent, we’re so excited to finally get to this point, we don’t realize the ramifications of what we’re signing. We assume we’re going to be together forever and ever. Or, we don’t necessarily understand the legal jargon. This is the same issue that often arises with publisher contracts. Before you sign a contract, make sure you know what you’re signing and the ramifications it might have on your career. You don’t want to find out too late that the small press (for example) you signed with now has rights to all your books (or at least first right to refusal). There are often ways around these clauses, but it’s tricky, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.


If you don’t understand something, contact a lawyer (an entertainment or literacy lawyer) or asked one of your author friends who does understand what it means. It will save you grief down the road. And when in doubt, don’t sign the contract. Remember, this is YOUR career we’re talking about.


Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website.  She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance TELL ME WHEN (Carina Press, HQN) is now available. LET ME KNOW (Carina Press) will be available Sept 1st, 2014.
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Publishing Pulse: July 25, 2014

This Week at Query Tracker
The profiles of several agents were updated this week. Please make sure you double-check every agent's website or Publisher's Marketplace page before querying.

We also have TWO success stories this week! Congrats and best wishes go out to
Toby Tate and Shawn McDonald. Read their interviews and be inspired to write your own success story.

Remember--you'll reach success when you find the agent who is perfect for your work. Be sure to read each agent's profile carefully and visit other links such as company websites and blogs. Follow them on social media sites and get a feeling for what they really want. The better you know the agent, the better you will know if they are the right representative for your work. Blindly querying agents without regard for their guidelines or repped genres only delay the process--not only for you but for other writers.

Using QueryTracker.net will help you become a well-informed querying writer. Use the resources to your advantage and seek the fastest, straightest path to finding your ideal agent today.

This Week in Publishing
Wondering what formats you should be using for your ebooks? This article discusses the evidence of trends between genre and types of reading device.

Novice writers enjoy the bliss of crafting their art and following their dreams. Once the business side manifests, however, the prospect of all we have to do to become and remain published authors is often enough to scare us back into the writer’s closet. Here are some tips to avoid becoming crushed by the big world of making it.

Speaking of dreams...have you ever woken up with a great story idea and wished you made more of it? Here’s a great piece on how to train yourself to make the most of those story-fertile dreams.
 
Thomas Snow ‏@snowglobeman Tweeted...In dreams the words come back to us. In dreams we remember our souls. It was real. It was timeless. May we dream on pic.twitter.com/o0FFLmkYqK

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction writer who, despite having a Time Turner under her couch and three different sonic screwdrivers in her purse, still encounters difficulty with time management. Visit Ash at www.ashkrafton.com for news on her urban fantasy series The Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press) or stop by the Demimonde Blog at www.ash-krafton.blogspot.com . The final story of the trilogy, WOLF’S BANE (Demimonde #3), is now available.
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Category Romance Manuscript Contest: First 100 Words



It's time for a QT contest! Woo hoo!  This one is for category romance only, both adult and YA. 

Heather Howland, associate publisher and editorial director at Entangled Publishing LLC, has agreed to take a look at the first 100 words of manuscripts and brief (no more than a three-sentence long) pitches for category romance novels. Completed manuscripts are preferred, but partial works will be considered. Please read the descriptions of the imprints below and indicate under which imprint you believe your book falls when you fill out the form on contest day. 

Entries will not be posted and made public. The form will be sent directly to the judge. 

The number of winners whose material is requested for consideration will be determined by the number and quality of submissions. 

This is a great opportunity to land that deal, so polish up those first 100 words and brief book blurb. 

More information regarding contest specifics will be posted next Wednesday. It will open for entries Wednesday, August 13 at 8:00 am Eastern time, and end at 8:00 am Eastern time the next morning, Thursday, August 14.

Please review the following descriptions to see if your manuscript fits. Remember, this contest is for category romance only. The descriptions below are directly from the Entangled Publishing website:




The devilishly handsome guy next door. The rugged fireman who shops at the corner store. The bartender with the amazing dimples… Ahh. Romance is in the air at Bliss with fun, fresh, flirty stories of modern women and every-day men finding their happily ever after in sweetest of places.
Specifically, we want:
  • Proven category tropes such as mistaken identity, revenge, fake relationship, older brother’s best friend, enemies-to-lovers, best friends-to-lovers, bait and switch, marriage of convenience, opposites attract, etc.
  • Sexy, every-day heroes like firemen, cowboys, bartenders, military men, cops, etc. The kind of men from small towns you wish you could find closer to home. Beta heroes are just as welcome as Alpha heroes.
  • Romance as the primary plot— secondary characters such as parents, friends, siblings, or children can, and should, reinforce the hero and heroine’s journey, but shouldn’t overshadow their story. Bliss stories should include side characters such as family members, if the story calls for it. And a vibrant cast of townspeople is always appreciated as well!
  • POV should be split 50/50 between the hero and heroine. 3rd person POV is preferred, but we will consider 1st person POV.
  • Small-town setting—whether it’s a vineyard in California, a ranch in Montana, or a pub in England, the setting should be somewhere outside of a city. The community/setting should be a part of the story. Think the town of Bluebell in Hart of Dixie or Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls.
  • Clean to Medium heat level. Bliss books have lots of sexual tension, but closed-door (or no) sex scenes. Red-Hot Bliss books have 1-2 sex scenes.
  • Unique voices in the vein of Catherine Bybee, Susan Mallery, Suzanne Elizabeth Phillips, Robyn Carr, Jill Shalvis.
  • Movies that inspire us: Sweet Home Alabama, The Holiday, While You Were Sleeping, The Proposal   
Having trouble deciding which imprint to submit your story?
The differences between Lovestruck and Bliss are: tone and setting. Bliss romances take place in small towns, include family and friends, and a flirty tone. Lovestruck stories are focused on finding love in more urban settings, the tone is edgier, and the heat level is higher.
The difference between Indulgence and Bliss is the hero. Indulgence heroes are fantasy men who have wealth and power and know how to wield it. Bliss heroes are the guys you meet in real life. Indulgence heroes are always alpha—Bliss heroes can be alpha, but beta is great, too!
The difference between Brazen and Bliss is heat! In Brazen, the sexual interaction is the gravitational force that brings the characters to true love. In a Bliss, the sexual attraction is not the focus, but rather a result. Bliss has closed-door sex scenes and Red-Hot Bliss has 1-2 sex scenes.
The fine print:
•   Manuscripts should be between 50k-65K words in length. Unless you are an established category romance author querying on proposal, manuscripts must be complete prior to submission. Proposals should include at least the first two chapters.
•   Novellas 15-45k are accepted.


Brazen, our bestselling sexy contemporary romance line, explores what happens when romance begins in the bedroom. These steamy category-style romances blend bright new voices with familiar tropes, allowing readers to enjoy the more seductive side of modern relationships. Whether they’re witty and playful, or lush and intense, our books are always fast-paced, dialogue-heavy, and above all, sexy. If you like your heroes hot, the sex hotter, and a swoon-worthy romance to swoop in and save your happily ever after, Brazen has the story for you.
Unleash your inner vixen. We know you want to.
Specifically, we want:
  • Proven category tropes such as mistaken identity, revenge, one-night-stand, older brother’s best friend, enemies-to-lovers, best friends-to-lovers, bait and switch, matchmaker, sexy protectors, opposites attract, boardroom romance, etc. Bonus points if you combine a few of them into one story!
  • Sexy, capable heroes paired with spunky and/or sweet heroines who come into their own by book’s end. Our heroes are a big part of the Brazen experience. Think military (current and former), bad-boys and anti-heroes, athletes, cowboys, private security teams, firefighters, cops, small town-boys-done-good, sexy nerds with a hidden dominant side, and self-made corporate geniuses. Our heroes are the primary difference between Brazen and Indulgence. Indulgence heroes are fantasy men who have wealth and power and know how to wield it. Think royalty, CEOs, and billionaires who enjoy whisking heroines off to private islands.
  • POV should be split 50/50 between the hero and heroine. 3rd person POV is preferred, but we will consider 1st person POV.
  • Stories that focus on the hero and heroine’s physical relationship. This is the most important difference between Brazen and Entangled’s other category imprints, specifically Lovestruck and Bliss. On Lovestruck, sex is the result of the emotional connection, not a driving force of the story. On Bliss, the focus is on family and community within the growing romance. Sex scenes are limited, and often closed door. Here at Brazen, the opposite is the case—the explosive physical connection between the hero and heroine is the story. It sets up the conflict, provides a vehicle for growth, and propels the characters toward love. Remove the sex and there’d be no romance.
  • High heat level. We do not publish erotica or straight erotic romance (see trope requirements above), but explicit sex scenes and erotic elements/kinks organic to the characters’ sexual tastes are musts. Brazen books are steamy and should contain 5+ sex or sexual scenes.
  • A note about suspense. We love sexy cops and private security heroes, but if your romance to suspense ratio is greater than 85/15, it’s likely better suited for Ignite. They love steamy books just as much as we do!
  • Authors with voices we love: Tessa Bailey, Gina L. Maxwell, Katee Robert, Laura Kaye, Cari Quinn, Christine Bell, and Samanthe Beck.
  • Current special calls for submission: Brazen is looking for dirty talking heroes!
  • Manuscripts should be between 20k-60K words in length.

Covet is seeking contemporary paranormal romances between 50k and 70K words in length. Our stories have a romantic trope and an alpha hero at their core, with the paranormal elements and worldbuilding taking a backseat to the growing relationship. Think older brother’s best friend…who just happens to be a vampire. Fresh voices are a must!
Covet will cater to everything from Greek gods, to witches, to vampires, open door and closed door sex scenes, funny and dark. Voices like Erin McCarthy, Shelly Laurenston, Gena Showalter, and Nalini Singh are good examples of the kind of exciting, fast-paced voices that will appeal most to Covet readers.
Specifically, we want:
  • Quality, fast-paced storytelling with engaging dialogue and fresh voices.
  • Active story lines. A minimum of narrative sequel.
  • Stories focused on the heroine and hero falling in love. Their trope is the main focus. The paranormal elements and worldbuilding should be secondary.
  • Bold authors who aren’t afraid to push creative boundaries.
  • Prolific authors who can write three to four books a year are a plus.
  • Stories can be closed door to very hot with explicit language, but we do not want erotica.
  • POV should be split 50/50 between the hero and heroine. 3rd person POV is preferred, but we will consider 1st person POV.
Ignite, Entangled’s romantic suspense, mystery, and thriller imprint, pairs sexy heroes and smart, confident heroines with the rush of adrenaline and sizzling attraction. Our books contain bold voices, fast-paced dialogue, and compelling stories that draw readers into a page-turning world of romance and intrigue. Whether you’re into snarky mysteries or edgy thrillers, Ignite has the story for you.

Put a match to your emotions. Set fire to your senses. Ignite your passions.
Specifically, we want to see:
  • 25-80k word novels and novellas. All books, including series, must able to stand alone, and feature a HEA or happy-for-now ending.
  • The perfect blend of romance, danger, excitement, and flair.
    If the hero and heroine is on the page together for at least 75% of the story, you may have an Ignite on your hands!
  • Stories that focus on the romance. We prefer a 60:40 romance to suspense ratio.
  • Confident heroes and kickass heroines. Well-developed characters are a must. We’d like to see more characters who are just starting out and finding their way in life rather than fully established in their careers. Reader love suspense heroes. Current favorites include cowboys, spec-ops/military, and FBI/law enforcement.
  • POV should be split 50/50 between the hero and heroine. 3rd person POV is preferred, but we will consider 1st person POV.
  • Proven tropes such as tortured hero, bad boy/good girl, forbidden love, redemption, forced proximity, intimate strangers, enemies to lovers, and reluctant partners in justice—or crime!
  • Heat levels that range from smoldering to scintillating.
  • Tone can be anything from modern gothic to snarky fun to dark and edgy.
  • Things we love: the passion and suspense of the movie Body Heat (but with a HEA ending), fresh voices like Stacia Kane, Cherry Adair, Darynda Jones, Jodi Linton, Ashlee Mallory, Tonya Burrows, Avery Flynn, JL Hammer, and Michelle Sharp, and stories as compelling as Stephanie Freeman’s Necessary Evil series.


At the heart of every Indulgence is the ultimate fantasy hero that women dream about. The kind of man who knows how to wield the power and wealth he possesses. Our stories are active, fast-paced, and dialogue-heavy, using timeless, classic romance tropes to drive the story.
Powerful heroes. Passionate romance. That’s Indulgence.
Specifically, we want:
  • Proven category tropes such as matchmakers, ugly duckling, friends to lovers, revenge, blackmail, enemies to lovers, mistaken identity. We use three tropes per story.
  • Stories featuring alpha heroes and the confident women who love them.
  • Stories must focus on the hero and heroine alone; no secondary characters as main characters with their own POV.
  • Strong conflict. Cannot be stressed enough. What is keeping these two apart and how do they overcome the obstacles? Please have clear and convincing GMC for hero and heroine.
  • The sensuality level can be mild to scintillating.
  • POV should be split 50/50 between the hero and heroine. 3rd person POV is preferred.
  • Unsure whether you’ve written an Indulgence, a Lovestruck, or a Brazen? Indulgence heroes are fantasy men who know how to wield the power and wealth they possess. Lovestruck focuses on modern men and women finding love in unexpected places. Brazen stories are driven by the hero and heroine’s physical relationship.
  • Manuscripts must be 45-60K words in length.
Fall in love with the possibilities…
Find love where you least expect it with Lovestruck, Entangled’s smart new category romance imprint. Our focus is on original, often hilarious “meet-cutes,” a strong romantic connection, sizzling sexual tension, and satisfying endings that leave readers smitten.
We are looking for fresh voices, witty dialogue, and twists on classic tropes. Lovestruck romances are driven by the hero and heroine’s connection—their meeting may have been coincidental (or accidental!), but there’s no denying the sparks flying between them, or the way they connect on an romantic level. If you dream up stories that belong on the big screen starring Kate Hudson, Rachel McAdams, or Reese Witherspoon, Entangled’s Lovestruck imprint is for you.
Specifically, we would like to see:
  • Stories that are 45k-60k words in length. We will consider novellas on a case by case basis, especially when tied to existing Lovestruck series or part of a specific call for submissions.
  • As this is a category romance imprint, tropes should drive the story. Think mistaken identity, ugly duckling, older brother’s best friend, enemies-to-lovers, best friends-to-lovers, bait and switch, matchmaker, sexy protectors, opposites attract, boardroom romance, etc. Bonus points if you combine a few of them into one story!
  • Special emphasis is placed on the chemistry between the couple. Their interactions should jump off the page, starting with original “meet-cutes” and ending with a swoon-worthy close.
  • The heroes are realistic. They should be guys we meet every day who are self-assured and successful at what they do…the hot bartender, local doctor, attorney, minor league ball player, architects, construction workers, etc. Stories with larger-than-life fantasy heroes should be sent to the Indulgence imprint.
  • Our heroines are intelligent, modern women meeting the future love of their life in unusual, often hilariously unexpected ways, finding love with the adorable geek in the next cubicle, the hot attorney whose car she crunched that morning, or with her childhood nemesis turned irresistible next door neighbor.
  • POV should be split 50/50 between the hero and heroine. 3rd person POV is preferred, but we will consider 1st person POV.
  • Outside authors with the Entangled Lovestruck voice: Jill Shalvis, Shannon Stacey, Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie.
  • Current Lovestruck authors whose voices you might know: Marissa Clarke, Tawna Fenske, Nicolette Day, Audra North, Stefanie London, Katee Robert, and Gina L. Maxwell.
  • Movies that inspire us: The Proposal, Fools Rush In, Leap Year, Never Been Kissed
  • While Lovestruck stories do not have to be comedies, the tone should be lively, playful, and sensual.
  • Lovestruck maintains a moderately high heat level. The sex/sexual scenes should be fully realized and may be erotic in nature, but should not exceed four scenes.
  • We accept both agented and unagented submissions.
Having trouble deciding to which imprint you should submit your story?
  • The differences between Lovestruck and Bliss are the tone and setting. Bliss romances take place in small towns and are more focused on family. Lovestruck stories are focused on finding love in more urban settings, the tone is edgier, and the heat level is higher.
  • The difference between Indulgence and Lovestruck is the hero. Indulgence heroes are fantasy men who have wealth and power and know how to wield it. Lovestruck heroes are the guys you meet in real life. Indulgence heroes are always alpha—Lovestruck heroes can be alpha, but beta works here, too. (Think Big vs Aidan on Sex and the City)
  • The difference between Brazen and Lovestruck is heat! You’ll see less in a Lovestruck, and a Brazen love story “starts in the bedroom.” The sexual interaction is the gravitational force that brings the characters to true love. In a Lovestruck, the sexual attraction is not the focus, but rather a result.

Scandalous is a historical category romance imprint of Entangled Publishing priced at $2.99 and sold digitally. Historical doesn’t mean antiquated! Passion and romance are exciting in any era. And torrid love affairs are even more illicit when social mores forbid the entanglement. These stories are bold, sexy, and heartfelt, and can be funny, action-packed, mysterious, dramatic, but above all…scandalous.
Specifically, we want:
  • Quality, well-researched story-telling and authors who aren’t afraid to push creative boundaries
  • Emotional depth depicted through strong conflict, theme, symbolism, and sub-text
  • Stories focused on the heroine and hero falling in love. The pair should be together on page for the majority of the story.
  • Strong conflict. What is keeping these two apart and how do they overcome the obstacles?
  • Sensual stories—closed door scenes are acceptable, but sexual tension must be tight throughout.
  • Time periods: Through WWII
  • Heroines who are age 17+, confident, and can be unconventional (a scientist, for example).
  • Stories that feature an alpha male, whether he be the captain of a ship, royalty, a military hero, pirate, Viking, sheriff, explorer, club owner…you name it—readers of historical romance know that contemporary alpha heroes like billionaires, sport stars, and Navy SEALs used to be called Dukes, Laird, Vikings, and Byronic. These are the original alpha men.
  • Proven category tropes—tropes aren’t stifling; they are auto-buy triggers for lots of readers. Best friend’s little sister, tortured hero, spinster/wallflower, enemies to lovers, fake engagement, forced marriage are just a few
  • POV should be split 50/50 between the hero and heroine. 3rd person POV is preferred, but we will consider 1st person POV.
  • Time travel welcome but alternate/manipulation of history cannot be the focal point
  • Sensual stories, but the heat level should grow organically from the characters, their situations and emotions. We are not looking for erotica, and closed door is also fine on occasion. Though the heat level may be sweet, the sexual tension must be strong
  • Manuscripts must be 45-65K words in length. Novellas will be considered from 15-30k.
  • Revised backlist titles will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • We accept agented and un-agented submissions.
Of Particular interest at this time:
  • Stories set during the Prohibition—urban (Chicago, New York, Harlem, etc.) and rural (western, prairie, farm) are both welcomed.
  • Stories set in WWI and WWII
  • Gothic romance—brooding heroes, virginal ingĂ©nues, and shadowed estates full of secrets please!
  • Multi-cultural and racially diverse protagonists—we currently have a shortage of these heroes and heroines!
  • Love is love—Scandalous does not discriminate against our characters based on their sexuality—gay protagonists are welcome. The heat level qualifications are the same as for heterosexual romance and the story must focus on the characters falling in love, not the erotic content of their sex scenes

Teen Crave (Category YA)


Crave, one of Entangled’s first teen category romance imprints, is all about engaging, irresistible first-love stories set during the characters’ teen years—with an out-of-this-world, trope-driven bend. Did you love Twilight but wish it were focused solely on Bella and Edward’s romance? Crave is for you.
We are looking for teen romances that follow the traditional category romance format. From funny to emotional, flirty to dark, here at Crave, we know that the teen years are rife with heart-stopping feelings and never-ending drama. And whether set in outer space, a dystopian future, or a world where paranormal creatures are real, our teen category romances will leave you grinning…and craving more.
Specifically, we are looking for: 
  • Sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, dystopian, steampunk, biopunk, and cyberpunk romances featuring characters that are 16-18 years old.
  • Stories that are 45-60k words in length. We will consider novellas if they are tied to an existing Crave series or are a prequel to another Entangled series.
  • Trope-driven stories with at least one strong primary trope and two more secondary tropes. Think boy/girl next door, ugly duckling, opposites attract, wrong side of the tracks, best friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, mistaken identity, etc.
  • Stories must follow the traditional category story arc focused on the romance. High conflict and high tension are a must!
  • Dual point of view. Third-person point of view is preferred, but we will consider first-person POV on a case-by-case basis.
  • M/F, M/M, and F/F are all welcome, and we’d love to see diverse characters.
  • Sex is allowed in the stories, but nothing graphic. Heat level can range from sweet to suggestive.
  • Tone can be anything from light and funny to heavy and dark, though we particularly love stories that can be both.
  • Crave-esque authors we love: Jennifer L. Armentrout, Stephenie Meyer, Maggie Stiefvater, Melissa Landers, Tahereh Mafi, Gail Carriger, Marissa Meyer
  • Pop culture teen romances we love: Buffy/Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Damon/Elena (The Vampire Diaries), Scott/Allison (Teen Wolf), Clark/Lana (Smallville), Liz/Max (Roswell)

Teen Crush (Contemporary Category YA)

Crush, one of Entangled’s first teen category romance imprints, is all about engaging, irresistible first-love stories set during the characters’ teen years. We specialize in heart-stopping feelings and never-ending drama, ranging from funny to emotional, flirty to dark.
Whether set in the halls of a high school, beach resort, or studying abroad, and whether it features a girl falling for her brother’s best friend next door, a forbidden summer camp romance, or a nerd pretending to date the star quarterback, our teen category romances will leave you grinning…and in love with your next book crush!
 Specifically, we are looking for:
  • Contemporary, modern romances featuring characters that are 16-18 years old.
  • Stories that are 45-60k words in length. We will consider novellas if they are tied to an existing Crave series or are a prequel to another Entangled series.
  • Trope-driven stories with at least one strong primary trope and two more secondary tropes. Think boy/girl next door, ugly duckling, opposites attract, wrong side of the tracks, best friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, mistaken identity, etc.
  • Stories must follow the traditional category story arc focused on the romance. High conflict and high tension are a must!
  • Dual point of view. Third-person point of view is preferred, but we will consider first-person POV on a case-by-case basis.
  • M/F, M/M, and F/F are all welcome, and we’d love to see diverse characters.
  • Sex is allowed in the stories, but nothing graphic. Heat level can range from sweet to suggestive.
  • Tone can be anything from light and funny to heavy and dark, though we particularly love stories that can be both.
  • Crush-esque authors we love: Jennifer Echols, Simone Elkeles, Mandy Hubbard, Katie McGarry, Miranda Kenneally, Elizabeth Scott, Susane Colasanti
  • Pop culture teen romances we love: Pacey/Joey (Dawson’s Creek), Kat/Patrick (10 Things I Hate About You), Kurt/Blaine (Glee),Hannah/Caleb (Pretty Little Liars), Baby/Johnny (Dirty Dancing), Lloyd/Diane (Say Anything), Laney/Zack (She’s All That), Logan/Veronica (Veronica Mars)

***

Mary Lindsey is one of the founding members of the QT Blog. 

She writes young adult novels for Penguin USA and is the author of Shattered Souls, Fragile Spirits, and Ashes on the Waves. She also writes adult romance for Entangled Publishing as Marissa Clarke. Love Me To Death is scheduled for publication October, 2014. 

Mary is represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and can be found the following places: Twitter, Facebook, MaryLindsey.com and MarissaClarke.com
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Advice from Carolyn Kaufman, Part 4: Get Started on Another Book

I've been posting a short series based advice for aspiring authors from my friend, fellow founding QT blogger, and critique partner, Carolyn Kaufman. Previous posts can be found here: Part 1: Professionalism,  Part 2: Accepting Criticism and Part 3: Controlling your Online Image.

Carolyn passed away well before her time, but she left a rich legacy of advice for writers in her book and on her blogs, including Psychology Today and this one.

This is the third part of an interview she did for me back when her book, The Writer's Guide to Psychology, was about to come out.

What I’ve Learned: Advice for Writers Who Aspire to Publish  
Dr. Carolyn Kaufman 1973-2013 
4. Get started on another book. 
If your first idea doesn’t sell, move on to another one. The Writer’s Guide to Psychology wasn’t the first book idea I had – it was just the first one strong enough to grow into a true book. I’m extremely methodical about preparing a proposal – I spend months researching and writing, and I want to know exactly what’s going into each and every chapter – so I’m pretty committed to finding the book a home once I reach that stage. Other writers find it fairly easy to write up their ideas and send them out without doing that kind of preliminary work. When you’re working so hard on one book – writing it, editing it, promoting it – it feels like your entire world. The truth is, though, that if you want to be more than a one-hit wonder, you will eventually need to write another book. Try to get that next proposal ready before everyone forgets who you are!

Carolyn was so right. At this point in my career, the thought of only working on one thing at a time is laughable. I have two publishers and four books under contract. Three books will release int 2014 and probably four in 2015.

The good thing about being this busy is I don't really have time to fret over one single book. At one point this year, I was drafting a proposal, writing two novels (different genres) and editing another, while yet another had just been published and I was dealing with interviews and pimping the new baby to readers and reviewers.

*hands in the air while screaming on the way down the roller coaster drop*

I've been lucky in that I've always had another project in the works while I was querying, on submission, or waiting for publication. Otherwise, I'd probably be friendless and my family would hate me, too. It's hard not to fret and get paralyzed by the odds or the changing world of publishing. I've found I work best under pressure with lots of balls in the air. No time to brood.

Carolyn was an amazing time manager. She blogged all over the place, taught college classes, was a fabulous photographer, and still, she found time for friends and reached out to aspiring writers who sought guidance. She was a fabulous resource with regard to psychological issues addressed in books and for professional advice. Sadly, her website no longer exists, but you can check out some of her articles the links found at the bottom of Part 1 in this series.


***

Mary Lindsey is one of the founding members of the QT Blog. 

She writes young adult novels for Penguin USA and is the author of Shattered Souls, Fragile Spirits, and Ashes on the Waves. She also writes adult romance for Entangled Publishing as Marissa Clarke. Love Me To Death is scheduled for publication October, 2014. 

Mary is represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and can be found the following places: Twitter, Facebook, MaryLindsey.com and MarissaClarke.com
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When the Happily-Ever-After Ends…




Like many writers, you may dream of the day when you finally get that call or email from an agent, saying he loved your book and wants to represent you. Or maybe you’ve already signed with an agent. Things are going well. You’ve interviewed him to make sure it will be a good partnership, you’ve signed the contract, and you’ve posted, tweeted, yelled to everyone on your street that you are now agented.

But months later—or maybe even years later—things don’t feel like they did in the beginning. The honeymoon period is well past over. Maybe he’s not communicating as frequently as he once did. Maybe he tried to sell a few of your books, but you haven’t landed much of a nibble. Or maybe you sent him your last manuscript, and months later you’re still waiting to hear back from him. And this is after a few friendly reminders, checking on the status of your book—to be met with several “I’m reading this soon” and then silence for another few months.

The first bit of good news is that you’re not alone in this. It’s one of those dirty little secrets many writers don’t like to talk about. We’re quick to announce on our blogs, on Facebook, and on Twitter about signing with an agent. We’re not so quick when it comes to announcing we’ve split ways. Often you don’t even know a writer (quite possibly even your friend) has gone separate ways until she announces, more quietly this time, that she has just signed with someone new. In some cases, it takes a writer several agents before she finds one that is the right fit. This can even happened to bestselling authors, but you only realize it when you read their acknowledgments and notice that it isn’t the same agent as was listed in the author’s previous book.

So, what do you do when you’re just not feeling it anymore with the individual who you once declared was your dream agent? For starters, you’ll want to begin a dialogue with them to address your concerns. A few authors I spoke to said this did wonders for their client-agent relationship. Others were met with a simple “This is not working for me after all” response, and the agent terminated their contract, much to the writer’s surprise. Ideally, if this is the case, it’s better to find out the love isn’t there anymore sooner rather than later. No, it’s not easy, because now you’ll have to get back to querying again, if you want to go the agented path. And very few people enjoy that. Some people loathe it so much, they remain silent about their concerns and their writing career remains stalled.

It could also be that your career path goes beyond what your agent can do for you. You might be interested in having a hybrid career (your books are both self and traditionally published), but your agent is against self publishing. This is something you need to consider when it’s time to query again, should you decide to go that route.

If you do decide to look for a new agent, you need to terminate your contract before you contact other agents. Never query agents while you’re still a client. This is unprofessional. Agent Janet Reid recommends mentioning in your query that you’ve amicably departed ways with your previous agent. That’s all you have to say on the subject. Make sure you are querying a project that hasn’t been submitted elsewhere. If your agent did send it out to a few editors before you terminated your contract, you need to mention this in your query. Some agents don’t want to bother with manuscripts that have been previously shopped. Others don’t mind, within reason. If an agent does offer representation on a previously shopped manuscript, she’ll want a list of the editors who have already seen it. Ask for this list when you terminate your contract with your previous agent.

Whether you terminate your contract or your agent does, be prepared to go through the various stages of grieving (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). It’s only natural, just like when you break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse. In a lot of ways, breaking up with your agent is very much like getting a divorce, and it can do a number on your self-esteem. And depending on your reasons for ending the relationship, it can damage your ability to trust again. This is when it’s helpful to talk to other writers who’ve gone through the same journey. You won’t feel so alone, and you’ll see that great things can actually come from the break. I know authors who were “fired” by their agents, only to turn about, sign a new agent and finally land a publishing contract. All they needed was an agent who believed in them.

Have you or someone you know ever departed ways with an agent?


Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website. She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance TELL ME WHEN (Carina Press, HQN) is now available. LET ME KNOW (Carina Press) will be available Sept 1st, 2014.

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Publishing Pulse for July 11, 2014

New At QueryTracker:


This week we've added four agent profiles to our database and updated five. Please make sure you double-check every agent's website or Publisher's Marketplace page before sending your query.

If you're a QueryTracker premium member, then you can be notified whenever an agent or publisher profile is added or updated. If you're not a premium member, you can just check for yourself.

Publishing News:

The fun continues with Hachette and Amazon doing mighty battle.
 Popcorngif.com

Costco decided to remove Dinesh D'Souza's bestselling book from their shelves, then decided to put it back.

Award-winning author Walter Dean Myers passed away at age 76. May perpetual light shine upon him.

Around the Blogosphere:

Some of the difficulties libraries have with ebook publishers.

What one agency reader learned while reading slush.

Three ways to put your first-person narrator to better use.

If you're tire of being serious, the thirteen writers you hate (and who probably hate you too.)

Literary Quote of the Week:

Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, 
and nothing else. -CS Lewis

Thanks for stopping by, and keep sending those queries!

---
 Jane Lebak is the author of The Wrong Enemy. She has four kids, three cats, two books in print, and one husband. She lives in the Swamp and spends her time either writing books or crocheting inappropriate objects. At Seven Angels, Four Kids, One Family, she blogs about what happens when a distracted daydreamer and a gamer geek attempt to raise four kids. If you want to make her rich and famous, please contact the riveting Roseanne Wells of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. 
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Advice from Carolyn Kaufman, Part 3: Control Your Online Image

I've been posting a short series based advice for aspiring authors from my friend, fellow founding QT blogger, and critique partner, Carolyn Kaufman. Previous posts can be found here: Part 1: Professionalism and Part 2: Accepting Criticism

Carolyn passed away well before her time, but she left a rich legacy of advice for writers in her book and on her blogs, including Psychology Today and this one.

This is the third part of an interview she did for me back when her book, The Writer's Guide to Psychology, was about to come out.

What I’ve Learned: Advice for Writers Who Aspire to Publish  
Dr. Carolyn Kaufman 1973-2013 
3. Control your image: be conscientious about what you share online. 
This is a good general rule, but it’s doubly important when you’re trying to convince people – agents, editors, potential readers – that you’re a professional. 
Thanks to books (and films) like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, we all know that Hunter S. Thompson was heavily into drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, the same image might not do much for you if you’re writing YA or MG or even a nice nonfiction book on scrapbooking. Even if you are writing edgy material, you don’t want unsavory personal choices to overshadow your work, a la Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears.

Yes! I completely agree with Carolyn. I see this all the time. I guess it's the anonymity of the internet that makes people want to over-share, but stop! Please.

Querying authors: Save the behind the curtain posts for after you land an agent or publisher or decide to publish your book yourself. Don't put the angst of the process out there for everyone to see while it's happening. To outsiders, it looks like you are a failure (which rejection of a manuscript in this business is NOT), or it makes you look like a whiner to those inside. A little bit is okay, but were an agent to Google you, and see nothing but posts about rejection letter after rejection letter and how torn up and discouraged it makes you feel, it might affect his or her stand on what to do about your manuscript. It's a tough business. It takes tough people--or at least people who can appear tough. Sad, but true.

After the fact, whine and rant away if you feel you must, but be careful. It's out there forever.

As for online persona… I go to conferences and workshops all over the country and meet readers who feel like they know me simply from online interaction. Without having met me in person, they come up and introduce themselves (sometimes by Twitter handle) knowing I'm friendly and approachable because I work hard to give out that vibe online.

I can't even tell you how many times I've wanted to rant and rail about specifics of the industry or jump into a flame war over a review of what I though was a fantastic book by an author I love, but I don't. I never do. Not because I'm scared, but because there is absolutely no benefit from it. I write commercial fiction. I'm aware that the readers of my books don't really care about my political, religious, or industry beliefs. They care about books, and dogs, and my kids and funny crap I accidentally do or say--usually involving my dog or kids. Now, other authors are in different situations, especially if their works relate to specific issues hitting the coals. I can only speak to what works for me.

When I want to jump in the middle of something flaming on a board or Twitter, I step back and think, would I do that in real life? Would I tell a group of my friends that? If so, I go for it. But it's rare.

More than that, I think long and hard about how personal I want to get online. I'm pretty open, but I don't air dirty laundry. Some people put it all out there, and if it's helpful for them personally or professionally or enhances their platform, okay. For me, its like putting a personal diary out there for strangers to read and pass around. Not for me, thanks.

Carolyn mentioned genre related to persona being a consideration. I completely agree. In real life, I cuss like a sailor (thank you, Dad). Online, I intentionally don't swear because I speak at middle and high schools and write for teens in addition to adults. I don't want a school board or teen book club to cancel an appearance because they think I'm going to go all potty-mouth on campus in front of an auditorium full of students. Teens follow and interact with me on social media, and I never ever let myself forget that. I'm an ambassador for my books, my publishers, my genres, my profession and ultimately, my brand as an author. You know… I'm that super nice woman from Texas who loves meeting new people and writes ghost stores for teens and adults.

Carolyn had a fantastic online presence. She prided herself on her accessibility to aspiring writers as a resource of psychological issues addressed in books and for professional advice. Sadly, her website no longer exists, but you can check out some of her articles the links found at the bottom of Part 1 in this series.

Stina did a great post on online behavior recently you might want to check out called, You Really Want to Avoid This.


***

Mary Lindsey is one of the founding members of the QT Blog. 

She writes young adult novels for Penguin USA and is the author of Shattered Souls, Fragile Spirits, and Ashes on the Waves. She also writes adult romance for Entangled Publishing as Marissa Clarke. Love Me To Death is scheduled for publication October, 2014. 

Mary is represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and can be found the following places: Twitter, Facebook, MaryLindsey.com and MarissaClarke.com
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