Monthly Archives: November 2014

Book Review: Galatea

Galatea by Madeline Miller
This is actually a short story but it’s available as a digital “book,” so I’m including a review.
Like Miller’s The Song of Achilles, this story retells an ancient story. Here, she takes on the Pygmalion myth and tells it from the statue’s point of view.
What a fascinating study. The statue, brought to life by her maker’s prayers, has feelings and needs of her own. The sculptor doesn’t honor anything but his own desires, and they are lustful to the point of repulsion.
When she discovers that he has carved another statue of a young girl, she recognizes the girl as her daughter…and knows the fate that awaits the girl in the sculptor’s bedchamber. Her final sacrifice saves the girl from life while providing her with the release she so desperately wants from her semi-human life.


New Social Media Platform Focused on Books, More Teams with S&S

Simon & Schuster is joining forces with Milq, a new social media platform focused on content curation, to launch a book category. Milq allows users to collect and share a wide range of entertainment content like music, art, movies, sports, TV, and books. Launched earlier this year, the site is looking to team with other major content brands in different categories. They’ve already struck deals with VICE, Vanity Fair, Tribeca Film Festival and others.

Leading Publishers Now Open to Submissions

Little, Brown Book Group’s digital first imprint Blackfriars will be open submissions for literary novels for one week this December. Authors will be able to submit their projects, without agent representation, from December 1-7, 2014. Blackfriars publishes fiction and nonfiction titles.

Authors who have been previously published through a traditional house cannot apply. Others can submit the first chapter, a one-page synopsis and an author biography to All submissions will be read by two editors (not slush-pile flunkies), and full manuscripts will be requested for novels in which they are interested.

All novels must be complete, written in English, and at least 70,000 words. More information and the submission criteria are available on the Blackfriars’ website.

Other publishers to hold an open submissions period include Penguin Random House’s Jonathan Cape, HarperCollins’ crime imprint Killer Reads, and HarperCollins HarperVoyager imprint, which has already signed 15 writers through its open submissions process. Check out their websites for details. And good luck!

Book Review: The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
One of the greatest love stories never told…until Miller chose to work with this ancient story.
This is the love song of Patroclus for Achilles, a demi-god who befriends him while they are both young. Their friendship grows into something more, a powerful expression of the heart. But when the winds of war blow over them both, they must bow to Achilles’ fate and join forces fighting Troy to recapture Helen of Sparta.
Told in prose that is spare yet masterful, The Song of Achilles reveals the deeper movements that drive both Patroclus and Achilles forward to their deaths. Told with warmth that lacks any overblown sentimentality, this story is moving and emotionally fulfilling. A must-read for fans of mythology and those who enjoy walking side-by-side with lovers who face destiny with courage.

Children’s/YA, Religion, Education Profits Up

As we’ve seen over the past several years, YA/children’s books continue to fuel growth in print and ebook markets. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released figures for January to July 2014 showing that ebook revenue grew 7.5% compared to the same period in 2013. Ebook revenue in the children’s/YA category rose 59.5% over the same period in 2013.
Religious ebooks climbed 25.7% compared to the same timeframe last year.

Educational revenues are also rising. School-age titles are up 21.5% and higher education materials rose 10.9 percent.

An Agent Helps Self-published Authors Sell Foreign Rights

Bookcase Literary, established in July 2013 in Brazil, helps self-published romance authors sell foreign rights. Meire Dias and Flavia Viotti launched the innovative approach because they saw that self-publishing is mostly centered inside the United States. They knew authors didn’t have access to international publishers and yet readers worldwide want to read American authors.
In less than a year, they have sold 28 titles. They have also become co-agents with Rebecca Friedman, opening the path to new deals and possibly an expansion of their focus to other genres in the years to come.

Book Review: Fram

Fram by Steve Himmer
Available January 13, 2015
I received an ARC from the publisher.
A fantastic romp with an ending that couldn’t make sense any other way. Oscar, a bureaucrat made dry and brittle by a life of paperwork and duplicate copies, lives in his imagination. He nurtures a childhood dream of being an arctic explorer, something he vicariously fulfills by working at the U.S. Bureau of Ice Prognostication, an agency created to counter the Soviet’s Cold War threat. The agency never died, nor did Oscar’s dreams.
He spends his days living those dreams by imagining what might be discovered in the Arctic then generating the reams of paperwork to prove that these “discoveries” are real. Towns, schools, mining companies and paper mills, even hot springs are all drawn onto the vast emptiness of the ice. At home, he communes with decades of old National Geographic magazines that trumpeted the original polar explorers’ journeys.
When Oscar is sent on an actual mission to this place he has only ever dreamed about, he becomes entangled in a snarl of espionage and rival agencies. As he digs deeper into the secrets and strangeness, he discovers that the arctic expanse of his marriage has been as important an element in his life as the actual region. At the end, readers will know that there could have been no other resolution to the bizarre journey that is Oscar’s life.

The Secret Self-publishing Companies Don’t Want Authors to Know

Whenever I help clients self-publish, one of the important considerations is how they’re going to reach readers. Too often clients tell me they have already bought marketing services from the company that will produce their book…only to discover that what they’re really bought is PR.
PR is public relations. It’s defined as the management of the spread of information. PR services usually include press releases, feature articles, and author interviews. It sounds like the right step: authors want readers to know about their books, and PR can alert them to the book’s availability, message, theme, and impact.
PR is a powerful tool. The number of individuals who discover an author and their books can reach hundreds of thousands for a single press release, article or interview. But the key is that PR only spreads information. It doesn’t generate a purchase.
Marketing is different than PR. Marketing is geared to generate the purchase of one or more of the author’s books. Marketing plans vary according to the book’s content, the author’s short- and long-term goals, even by the types of distribution channels lined up for the book. Generally, however, marketing aims to generate sales rather than publicity.
Very few of the companies that produce self-published books for authors offer actual marketing services. If you know of one, I’d love to hear about it! Meanwhile, know the difference before you buy. You’ll make wise decisions that can support your career for years, and many other books, to come.

Association of Authors Agents (AAA) New Guidelines

Self-publishing is truly coming of age. The force and energy behind this movement is so intense that agents have for several years been offering adjunct services like marketing, assisted publishing, and the like to self-publishers.
Because of these new services, the AAA has laid out new guidelines for their members. The guidelines encourage members to provide their terms of business with regard to all services offered in writing. These should include any costs associated with the agent’s assistance and who will pay those costs.
If you haven’t heard about agent-assisted publishing, it can be a real boone. You’ll have access to the agent’s network, including connections at the media outlets that feature articles, interviews, and reviews of authors and their books. You’ll also tap into their marketing savvy as you reach out to readers.
How do you connect with an agent for this kind of relationship? You create the same pitch items you would if you were submitting to their firm for representation to traditional publishers: a query letter, book proposal (for nonfiction) and a synopsis, bio, and marketing overview (fiction).