Publishing Possibilities

Posted: September 3, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Now that the new Knight Agency newsletter is out, with an article by Elaine Spencer, an interview with Chloe Neill, an Author Tip of the Month from Tammy Kaehler and other goodies, I’ll post up here my article from the last newsletter, drawn from the panel that Elaine and I did at the Romance Writers of America national conference along with Nephele Tempest, Nalini Singh and Deborah Blake (our esteemed moderator). And so, I give you…

Publishing Possibilities

I’ve talked a lot on panels recently about working with others, whether they be critique partners, fellow writers, bloggers or whathaveyou—to improve your work and your reach.  This past Thursday this came up at the Romance Writers of America Conference on the panel Beyond Business:  Taking the Agency/Author Relationship into the New Era, which featured Knight Agency clients Nalini Singh and Deborah Blake and TKA agents Nephele Tempest, Elaine Spencer and me.

My portion of this talk was about how an agent, a good business manager, helps you navigate through all of the possibilities out there in publishing.  In addition to traditional, small press, self-publishing and the hybrid model, there are also subrights to consider, international markets and so much more.

But you all know this.

What you probably don’t know is that agents don’t just sit back and discuss opportunities you bring to them—like what to do with your new romantic suspense novel.  We’re always beating the bushes, making the acquaintance of new editors, conversing with those we already know to keep abreast of what they’re looking for at the moment.  But here’s the best part: they regularly coming to us as well.  Because our agency handles so many well-respected authors, editors will contact us if there’s something in particular they want but aren’t seeing or approach us with proprietary ideas (concepts generated in-house that they feel are particularly marketable and for which they’re seeking out just the right author) or with tie-in work (novels, novelizations, manuals, etc. that tie in to successful media franchises like Star Wars).  We can then see what authors might be a good fit, both in terms of material and scheduling, and connect people together.

And it’s not just editors who come to us.  More and more, we’re hearing from producers, film people, gaming companies, even musical groups who want fiction based on their work.  Some have their own book production arms, some have partnered with publishers or have generated funds and interest with Kickstarter campaigns…  The important thing is that there are a wealth of possibilities and big agencies with a deep and amazing talent pools draw these opportunities out and facilitate/negotiate the deals.

Sometimes it’s authors who come to us, putting together an anthology on a theme and wondering if we have any clients who’d be interested or working on a continuity in which they’d like to get others involved.

Then there’s working together for visibility and marketing, of course!  As an agency (and as individual agents), we tweet, Facebook and all as much else as we can, but getting authors together to support and promo each other is important as well.  With so much out on the market, signals can get lost unless they’re boosted, and social cred (having others enthusiastic about your work and not hearing all about it from the author him/herself) is crucial.

Well, I think I’ve used up my allotment of words, but I hope that you’ve found this informative and maybe even inspirational!

Here are the kinds of crazy things that run through my head. I was going to say “a writer’s head,” but then I’d be implying that all writers share my insanity.

This past weekend I was at a get-together, talking to the adults gathered about how I’m still plotting out my next Latter-Day Olympians novel. I had, I said, some idea of the basics, but I didn’t know who my bad guy or girl was yet, and that informed everything—motivation, action, storyline…

“Make it a guy with an eye patch!” said one of the boys running around the pool. Soooo…now I have Odin skulking around in the back of my head, set to the tune of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal…but instead of Annie, we’re now asking repeatedly, “Odin, are you okay? Are you okay, Odin?” to about the point where he wants to slap us senseless. Which doesn’t even make any sense, because based on the song, he’d be the victim rather than the villain.

Aaannnd, this is why the demented little DJ in my head doesn’t get to write my books. Still, I can’t quite shake the thought. Who knows what will come of it. (Incidentally, this same boy wants to be written into some future story as a fire-man (think Human Torch) with burn scars over part of his body…which has to be big, strong, and well-muscled, of course. One friend wants to be a hunter with a loyal dog—he also specified muscles—and the other wants to be an ice-man who can shoot ice out of his pores. So, there you have it. What singer claimed to know what boys want? Well, so do I, and I don’t think we’re talking about the same things.)

BattleForTheBlood300 Holy stream of consciousness, Batman. I supposed I’d better wrestle this blog post back under control. So, I’m not really here to talk about the next Latter-Day Olympians novel knocking around in my head—which will likely be out of arc and from Hermes’s POV, because he insists—but to tell you all how excited I am that the fourth book in the series, BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD, comes out tomorrow in print! I hope you’ll run out and order it, though I’ll understand if you need to get caught up first! The series runs BAD BLOOD, CRAZY IN THE BLOOD, my short story The Parlor in the anthology KICKING IT, RISE OF THE BLOOD and then, of course, BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD.

TricksterBlood300 My prequel story, Trickster Blood (also Hermes), will be coming September 29th in digital (did I mention free?).

BloodHunt300 Then October brings BLOOD HUNT, the fifth novel in the series (and possibly my favorite), making this one fabulous fall!

If you’ve made it this far, thank you and congratulations for wading through my babble! If you’d like to see how my mischievous muse fares when I rein her in, I hope you’ll check out the Latter-Day Olympians series.

I’m so, so excited for everything going on this fall for the Latter-Day Olympians series!  Check it out:

BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD (4th in the series) comes out on September 1st in trade paperback.  (Though it’s already out in digital and already available for pre-order in print at B&N, Amazon, Books-a-Million, etc.)

Trickster Blood, the first full-length story featuring Hermes (also from the series) releases in digital (for FREE!!) on September 29th, though, of course, you can preorder any time: Kindle, ARe, etc.)

BLOOD HUNT (5th Latter-Day Olympians novel and possibly my favorite!) publishes in print and digital on October 27th!!! (But you can pre-order it now with Samhain, Amazon, Barnes & Noble….)

I’ll be doing a whole host of things to celebrate as time goes on, but today I’d like to direct your attention to my short, short story featuring Hermes and Hecate, Tricks, Treats and Sandy Feets, which is up today on Literary Escapism for your viewing pleasure!

In case Tricks, Treats and Sandy Feets tickles your fancy and you want to check out more, here’s the entire series for your reading pleasure:

Latter-Day Olympians novels:

    BadBlood300CrazyintheBlood300RiseOfTheBlood72lgBattleForTheBlood300BloodHunt300

Latter-Day Olympians stories appear:

TricksterBlood300 Kicking_It

Shorts:

Character’s Court: Tori Karacis vs. Author Lucienne Diver

If I Ruled the World (by Hermes)

Astray Cvr1 Parker authorphoto

Amy Christine Parker first made a splash with her stunning debut GATED, the story of a young girl caught up in a cult, and growing increasingly aware that fact. Kirkus gave it a starred review, Amazon picked it as a Best Book of the Month, and Pretty Deadly Reviews called GATED, “unlike any other YA book out there. It isn’t afraid to push the limits, or to go as far as it needs to go to stay honest. Gated is a candid look at the inside of a cult, an unflinching reflection on today’s society, and of course, a masterful thriller.” It’s sequel, ASTRAY, is equally stunning, psychological and suspenseful, and is out in trade paperback today(!), thus spurring me to invite Amy Christine Parker here to talk about publication and her remarkable journey. (For those of you already familiar with Amy’s work, you can look forward to a new novel, SMASH & GRAB, out in 2016!)

And now, I present:

The Ultimate Author High by Amy Christine Parker

Today my second book, ASTRAY, releases in paperback and given that it also marks the second full year I’ve been a published author, I find myself reflecting a little on the whole experience and which parts have been most meaningful. When I started this journey to get published I was focused on all of my pre-publication perceived author high points: getting an agent, getting a book deal, my book on a shelf, book signings, launch parties, and author appearances. Heady stuff for sure. What surprised me most was that while all of these things were wonderful, they didn’t end up being my highest highs. Yeah, they were up there, but as for the top five? Not one made it. The strangest, most wonderful part of this whole process was discovering that the best things about being a published author had very little to do with surface publishing bits and had everything to do with how having a book out in the world opened me up to new people and experiences. Seeing your book on a Barnes and Noble shelf can’t compete with standing eye to eye with a kid who’s loved your book enough to drive several hours to meet you. With that in mind, I’d like to take this day, my paperback release date to highlight a program that came to my attention because of my books and has become my highest publication high.

About a year ago, I was struggling to write ASTRAY—seriously struggling—and riddled with fear because for the first time in my life I was writing something with a deadline attached to it. There were also what I perceived to be a certain set of expectations from both those who had read my first book, GATED, and those who published it. I wanted nothing more than to make that deadline and meet those expectations, if not exceed them, but the problem was that like so many newbie authors, I didn’t have the confidence that I could pull it off. Maybe GATED was a fluke. Maybe it was all I was capable of writing. At a time when I should’ve been reveling in all the good things that had happened I was strangely depressed because the fear was infecting it all. Then one day I got an email from an organization called Reading for Life, a diversion program for juvenile offenders that uses literature to help teens make better life choices. A group of their teens had chosen GATED for group and the kids had read it and liked it.

The email was short and heart felt and made me cry. It basically said that reading my book had helped the group open up about their issues with their parents and had led one teen to realize that sometimes parents (or people) are so broken that they can’t or won’t fix themselves and that sometimes it’s the kid that has to lead the way. The idea that a book I wrote impacted troubled teens for the better was overwhelming and touching in a way that none of the other highs I’d hoped for could be. It felt real. It made what I do feel larger somehow and the fears I had about writing something else feel instantly smaller. It made me remember what it is about stories that I love so much—enough to spend my life trying to write them. They have the power to change the way you see the world and your place in it. They can make you feel as if they were written just for you because they resonate so strongly inside your soul. When I was younger I wasn’t at risk the way these kids are, but I was struggling to find where I belonged. I always felt like I was on the outside of things looking in, more observer than participant and I moved often which didn’t help. One of the few places I really felt comfortable was in the school library reading the latest Stephen King or Dean Koontz. I used novels the way some people now use cell phones: as a social shield, an escape, a companion (as I’m sure any of you born pre-millennia have done). They were windows into the lives of characters who overcame struggle with determination or fear with bravery. They showed me what it meant to be flawed and heroic and human. Funny, I never dreamed that my books might someday be used by others the same way, but here was this email saying that they were.

parker rfl1 parker rfl2 parker rfl3

Over this past year I had the privilege to do a Skype visit with the kids who read my books and later, to actually travel to Indiana where the program is located and meet with them in person and hear their stories. They asked me to sign their copies of my books. One even had me address his “To Mom” before I signed! What struck me most was the way they gripped those books—like they were prized possessions, like what I’d written was valuable to them. It was the most humbling thing because the truth is when I was writing GATED and ASTRAY I was wrapped up in my own fascination with cults, doomsday prophecies, mind control, and my hopes of getting published for all the reasons I listed earlier. And yet, this self-indulgent thing, this creation in the hands of others—like the amazing staff of Reading for Life—somehow became more in spite of that. That’s the magical thing about art of any kind. You make it because it makes you happy and you put it out into the world because it’s a way of letting people know you and of course to hopefully find a way to feel validated, but once it’s out there it grows a life of its own, one far better and more meaningful than what you had planned for it. In the end, as much as my books supposedly helped the kids at Reading for Life, they actually helped me more. They gave me all the inspiration I’ll ever need to keep writing, to keep chasing what they gave me this past year, that ultimate high and for that I am forever in their debt.

If you’d like to know more about the Reading for Life program, please visit their website at http://www.readingforlife.us/

If you’d like to know more about GATED or ASTRAY or me, visit my website: http://www.amychristineparker.com

NIGHTWISE!

Posted: August 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

nightwise I wished R.S. Belcher a Happy Book Birthday on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m a few days late doing it here on my blog because, well, diverticulitis will do that to a gal.  So, without further ado…*happy Muppet flail* added to *Snoopy dance* for R.S. Belcher’s new release NIGHTWISE!

Now, those of you who know R.S. Belcher for his wonderful weird west novels THE SIX-GUN TAROT and THE SHOTGUN ARCANA might be wondering about this apparently contemporary novel.  I assure you, it has every bit of his trademark lyrical, literary darkness.  You don’t have to take my word for it, of course!  You can read it yourself or check it out on Barnes & Noble’s Bookseller’s Picks for August to see their recommendation.  And…and, good people…Rod has ANOTHER wonderful contemporary coming out in 2016 called BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL, which I so highly recommend I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it!

But now, NIGHTWISE:

R.S. Belcher, the acclaimed author of The Six-Gun Tarot and The Shotgun Arcana launches a gritty new urban fantasy series set in today’s seedy occult underworld in Nightwise.
In the more shadowy corners of the world, frequented by angels and demons and everything in-between, Laytham Ballard is a legend. It’s said he raised the dead at the age of ten, stole the Philosopher’s Stone in Vegas back in 1999, and survived the bloodsucking kiss of the Mosquito Queen. Wise in the hidden ways of the night, he’s also a cynical bastard who stopped thinking of himself as the good guy a long time ago.

Now a promise to a dying friend has Ballard on the trail of an escaped Serbian war criminal with friends in both high and low places–and a sinister history of blood sacrifices. Ballard is hell-bent on making Dusan Slorzack pay for his numerous atrocities, but Slorzack seems to have literally dropped off the face of the Earth, beyond the reach of his enemies, the Illuminati, and maybe even the Devil himself. To find Slorzack, Ballard must follow a winding, treacherous path that stretches from Wall Street and Washington, D.C. to backwoods hollows and truckstops, while risking what’s left of his very soul . . . .

Rave Reviews:

“Another fine effort from Belcher, ripped from a dark, dark place.” —Kirkus, Starred Review

“Belcher twists all manner of legend, occult beliefs, history, and myth into a sophisticated magical framework and offers his typically eccentric cast of characters… The wisecracking and musically opinionated Ballard narrates this fast-paced and violent story with an offbeat humor and intensity that will have readers believing that magic and conspiracy exist all around them.” —Booklist

“Ballard is a darkly funny narrator with fascinating allies in the world’s mystical underbelly . . . .Belcher tells a tense, tightly paced story.” —Publishers Weekly

“Belcher’s relentlessly vivid imagination and brilliant prose drive this sensational noir urban fantasy novel, reminiscent of Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series. In Laytham Ballard, Belcher has created an ideal anti-hero: He’s constantly pursuing good by the meanest, most cutthroat ways possible, serving as a lightning rod in this world of dark spells and blood sacrifice, and he’s moving relentlessly toward a phenomenal magical and moral showdown. Belcher’s prose is clipped, brutal and beautiful by turns, bringing a striking artistry to an often violent, intense story that swiftly becomes addictive. One can only hope for Laytham Ballard’s quick return, as this is a book that is wholly addictive.” —Romantic Times Book Reviews, Top Pick!

leopard enchanted Doranna Durgin’s new Sentinels novel LEOPARD ENCHANTED came out this month from Harlequin Nocturne, and I want to a) wish her a huge HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY here and also take a moment to celebrate this wonderful series.  What I love most about the Sentinels books is that the characters are each fierce individuals, all with a deep and abiding connection with the land.  They’re caretakers for the land, active combatants in the Cold War with the dark Atrum Core…which truly runs more hot than cold…and extremely in tune with their animal natures.  One thing I’ve prized about Doranna’s work since the very beginning, going waaayyy back to her very first fantasy novel, DUN LADY’S JESS, in which a horse is transformed into a human, is that she really, really knows her animals.  The mannerisms, the instincts, how they think and react.  Her work is so rich because she has such a deep understanding of that about which she writes.

They say write what you know.  I’d never go so far as to say that come the full moon Doranna is out in the wilds of New Mexico hunting on four legs and howling at the moon, but, well, sometimes I wonder just a bit. D, care to comment?

And so, a whoot for Doranna’s excellent and long-running paranormal romance series:

The Sentinels: Powerful and Passionate Protectors of the Land
Wild Thing Jaguar Night Lion Heart Wolf HUnt Tiger BoundTiger BoundKodiak Chained
Lynx DestinyAlpha Entangled

Okay, wow!

Posted: August 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

aliceinkandbone_FINAL invisible library

Okay, wow, I have so much to say today that it all wants to fall over itself to come out.  SO MUCH GOOD!  You may know that I’ve had a few books about books or for booklovers or however you want to shout it from the rafters come out this year:http://www.grcogman.com/books/the-invisible-library/ by Genevieve Cogman (out in the UK already, coming in 2016 to the US), INK AND BONE by Rachel Caine (July), ALICE by Christina Henry (August).  And they’re all doing so amazingly well it warms the cockles of my heart.  Yes, contrary to popular belief, agents do have hearts.  They’re steampunk and don’t do well in the cold, so warming them is definitely advisable.  Just this week, among other wonderful things, the Christian Science Monitor reviewed INK AND BONE.  The kind of reviews that puts tears in an author’s and agent’s eyes…though in the case of the agent, they’re actually gear grease and…well, I won’t bore you with the details.  Anyway, to give you just a taste, “Ink and Bone is a modern masterpiece. It’s as striking and brilliant as the Greek fire its characters fear, fusing ancient Egypt, Greek, and Rome in an old-meets-new intellectual thriller.” Awesome!

ALICE, which is just out, has in addition to all the other lists it’s made, just hit io9’s picks of “The Science Fiction and Fantasy You Absolutely Must Read in August” along with N.K. Jemisin’s amazing novel http://nkjemisin.com/books/the-broken-earth/, about which she just did a great post on John Scalzi’s Big Idea blog because, it is a big idea!  (Oh, and did I mention Nora’s wonderful NPR review?  Or the one Naomi Novak did for THE FIFTH SEASON in the New York Times?  No?  Shame on me.)

fifth season

See how it all wants to come tumbling out?

THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, while I’m on the kick of book-books, just received a great review from A Sea Change, where among other things, the reviewer exclaims, “I love this book, like really really love it….This is the book for anyone who loves books, who respects the power that words have, who likes strong women and characters with intriguing pasts. It’s also the book for someone who wants to see an inspired use of reptiles”.  Really amazingly awesome!

Okay, a million things to do today, so I must run off, but the good has to be celebrated.  There may even be virtual confetti.  Be glad you can’t hear the noisemakers from there!