Monthly Archives: December 2013

Will B&N Survive?

Recently Len Riggio, chairman of B&N, sold 2 million of his shares. Does this mean he thinks the bookseller will follow Borders’ demise?

That’s unclear. Although any chairman who sells off massive amounts of stock usually seems to signal a lack of faith in the company, Riggio claims he did it for tax planning. It is the end of the year, after all.

Interestingly, he also donated 160,000 shares to The Riggio Foundation, a nonprofit that spent $20 million rebuilding homes in New Orleans. That could mean he wants the nonprofit to benefit from the shares. It could be too that he thinks the foundation can take that hit if the shares tank.

At this point, it’s clear that readers are turning to independent bookstores in numbers greater than ever. In part they recognize the value of hand-selling, and appreciate the service that comes from local, small stores. Between that and Amazon, B&N might have to revamp its approach or prepare for the end.

Book Agent Info

Clelia Gore of Martin Literary is seeking submission from the New Adult genre as well as YA and middle grade. Also enjoys picture books that feature minority and multicultural characters.

Book Agent Info

Chelsea Lindman of Sanford Greenberger Associates looks for¬†playful literary fiction, upmarket crime fiction, and forward thinking or boundary-pushing nonfiction. Also reps a select list of children’s book authors whose stories have an emphasis on voice-driven narratives.

Definition of High Concept

While looking at agents and publishers, you might come across the term high-concept.

A high-concept novel has a plotline (and possibly thematic elements) that can be summed up in a single line. It’s going to have a broad appeal (read: mainstream or commercial) and will offer something unique.

So it’s a tricky interplay of immediately recognizable, familiar enough in terms of a specific, clear market, while also being unique enough to spark interest with a broad number of readers.

If you need help with your tagline (that tricky single sentence that pitches your book, high-concept or not), feel free to visit Writer’s Resource’s website for information on assistance with your tagline.

Trends: Novella

Recently there’s been some chatter about novellas. For a long time, novellas were shunned by all but literary publishers. Too short, it seemed, translated into too little interest by readers. Of course, there was the biggest problem: novellas were not terribly economical to print. That impacts the bottom line, and that means more pushback from publishers.

The trend has been increasing judging by what I’ve been hearing from agents and publishers alike. They want longer books (fiction and nonfiction), and the 50,000 word minimum is being held to more strongly than ever before. This makes sense in a time when publishers are trying to trim every penny to enhance their waning profits.

But organizations that have been keeping tabs on self-publishing are questioning this wisdom. They note that when publishers do take on novellas, they are marketing them as novels so as not to undermine the work in readers’ eyes. Also, they’ve noted that genre works are seeing success as novellas.

This is in part due to self-publishing successes. Authors write what they write…they honor the story itself without having to worry much about lengths and economies of scale if they are self-publishing. Readers are interested in the story, not whether it’s long or short, or which publisher it might have come from.

Novellas, then, might find that they will receive a greater amount of respect from traditional publishers in the future. This will take a year or more to sink in, though. For now, consider your length when approaching traditional publishers. Aim for that 50K minimum to ensure you aren’t rejected on length alone.