October 30, 2013

Does Your Publishing Contract Guarantee a Print Edition?

Publishers Weekly just ran an article about contracts and book formats that affects anyone looking for a traditional deal.

Agents (most speaking anonymously) are concerned that contracts will soon come with clauses that make no guarantee on format. In fact, according to agent and e-book publisher Richard Curtis, that's already the case with big houses that are releasing e-originals.

For a new author, this can hit hard. Traditional publishing royalties are generally higher for print as opposed to e-books. That means less money for you.

But unless your contract stipulates otherwise, a publisher can test a digital version of your book before deciding if it's worth investing in print.

Since I expect to be going the indie route, this isn't a big issue for me. However, if I were looking for an agent, it would be huge. Why sign away my rights when distribution may be limited?

What are your thoughts? Would you sign a contract that doesn't guarantee a hardcover or paperback edition?

September 24, 2013

5 Great Books for Indie Authors

As I begin my journey towards indie publishing, I've been buying books aimed at newbies. Here are five to consider.

If you click on the title you'll be taken to Amazon.com, where you can check out the Table of Contents for each book and then decide which one (or more) fits your needs the best.

Hope you find something useful.

by Daphne Dangerlove

I love that Daphne has included a workbook you can print out to keep track of things. Her guidance on market research is spot on. She takes you through the KDP process on Amazon, including how to set up your Author Central profile, Amazon product page, and much more. She notes how Scrivener users can export their books directly into the Kindle format, so there are no extra steps, a huge relief to anyone dismayed about formatting. A fantastic resource.

SELF-PRINTED, The Sane Person's Guide to Self-Publishing 
by Catherine Ryan Howard

Catherine guides you through the process, from building an online platform, to formatting (for non-Scrivener users) and publishing e-books and paperbacks, as well as how to sell your self-published work. You'll enjoy Catherine's wit along the way.

by Joanna Penn

It's hard to miss Joanna, she's a powerful presence on social media and has a wonderfully helpful blog, The Creative Penn. Her book focuses solely on marketing and it's full of time-tested strategies she's used with her own books. I especially enjoyed her section on Amazon reviewers.


by David Gaughran

David is passionate about authors pursuing the e-book route and the first part of his book covers the digital "revolution" and how it's changed the publishing landscape forever. He covers the basics succinctly, and has excellent advice on why you need to invest in a good editor and book cover designer. He also includes thirty-three success stories to inspire you.

by Carolyn Howard Johnson

Carolyn is a public relations pro who knows all about getting publicity on the cheap. She addresses common worries, takes you through the basics, and has a very thorough section on how to put together a media kit.


If you'd like to continue receiving my blog posts, please subscribe at my new website. I'll be closing out Blogger soon.


August 2, 2013

What Every Speculative Fiction Writer Needs

A critique group dedicated to your genre, that's what!

Get the full story at my website:


While you're there, be sure to sign up for email alerts when I post. No more clicking from one site to another.


July 12, 2013

My New Site

I've been busy putting together my very own website!

Hop on over, have a look, and tell me what you think.


June 5, 2013

The 2013 Baker's Dozen Agent Auction

If you're a regular reader of Miss Snark's First Victim, you know she has monthly "Secret Agent" contests. But the biggest event of the year is her "Baker's Dozen Agent Auction", during which agents bid on promising manuscripts.

To participate, you'll need to submit a logline, the first 250 words of your story, and a $10 entry fee.

October 29 and 31 -- Adult fiction (all genres except erotica and erotic romance)
November 5 and 7 -- Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction (all genres)


Note: This is for completed, polished manuscripts only. So get cracking, you've got almost six months to whip yours into shape.

Interested? For more details, go to:


Good luck!

May 31, 2013

Bloomsbury Spark Seeking Submissions!

It's rare to find a publisher who'll accept submissions without an agent. But if you've got a teen, YA, or New Adult manuscript between 20,000 and 60,000 words, then Bloomsbury Spark has a new imprint you may want to consider. 

Spark is a digital, global imprint that will begin publishing short fiction as of August, 2013.

All it takes to submit is a simple email.

For details, go to:


Good luck!

Thanks to Deborah Halverson at Dear Editor.com  for her blog post that brought this to my attention.

April 20, 2013

Want to Change from Blogger to Wordpress?

Paranormal author Jami Gold is conducting two hour-long classes this week that will show you how to set up a free or hosted website using WordPress.

It's one of many classes available through WANA (We Are Not Alone) International, a social media site started by Kristen Lamb to teach creative professionals how to build effective online platforms.

Neither class is free but they both include handouts and access to a private web page with additional info.

I haven't decided which one would be better, so I'd appreciate your feedback.

  - Do you have a Wordpress account?

  - Is it free (Wordpress.com) or hosted (Wordpress.org)?

  - What made you decide on one rather than the other?

  - Did you set it up yourself or did you have help?


The webinar on free sites is April 23 from 7:00 -8:00 p.m. EST. More info here: http://wanaintl.com/event-registration/?ee=133

For those interested in a hosted site (more bells and whistles, but they come with a price), the webinar is April 25 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. EST. More info here: http://wanaintl.com/event-registration/?ee=134

March 22, 2013

5 Ways to Impress an Agent

I recently attended a webinar hosted by Author Media (see 3-11 post) that was full of great information on how to deal with agents and editors at writers' conferences.

The overriding idea was simple: preparation is key. You don't just show up, you have to know why you're going, what you hope to accomplish. A clear game plan makes all the difference.

While protocol means I can't reveal everything that was presented, I can pass along my take on a few of the suggestions given by agent Rachelle Gardner and media pro Thomas Umstattd, Jr.:

1. Research - Find out everything you can about the faculty. Check out blogs, websites, twitter, Facebook, etc. This is especially important if you've got a meeting set up with an agent or editor. You won't feel like you're sitting across from a stranger and they'll appreciate the effort you made.

2. Prepare your pitch - Know how you'll answer when someone asks, "What are you writing?" Memorize a five-second pitch, a twenty-second pitch, a two-minute pitch. And practice, practice, practice! Don't limit yourself to friends and family, either. I'm going to start pitching to the grocery clerks who load bags in my car.

3. Bring multiple book ideas - These don't have to be finished projects, but having more than one book in mind shows you're serious about a career.

4. Invest in professional business cards - No homemade, perforated card stock. White background is best. Though some authors use both sides for info, Ms. Gardner suggested keeping the back blank or perhaps inserting a tiny snippet, such as Notes about [your name]. Clever!

5. Always ask if an agent or editor wants your material(s) - You may think it's nothing to hand over a business card--it's small, right? But whether it's a card, a one-sheet, or sample pages, you need to ask first. It's a professional courtesy, pure and simple.

Ms. Gardner has 10 "teaser" tips at her website:

If you weren't able to make it to the webinar, hop on over to Author Media. There should be information about buying a recording of the webinar soon: http://www.authormedia.com/how-to-win-agents-and-influence-editors-at-a-writers-conference-webinar/ 

March 11, 2013

How to Win Agents and Influence Editors

Agent Media is hosting a webinar on March 18—featuring mega-agent Rachelle Gardner and marketing expert Thomas Umstattd, Jr.—on how to stand out at a writer's conference.

Just a hint of what they're offering:

  • What turns agents on, what turns them off and what makes them run away in terror.
  • How to avoid the classic mistakes that scream “amateur”.
  • The 5 things successful authors do before the conference to double their chance for success.
  • How to talk to an agent who’s already booked solid (without staking out the bathroom).
  • Tips, timelines, and goals not offered anywhere else.
It isn't free, but it looks like you'll get a boatload of info for just $15.

I'm in. How about you?

For details, visit: http://www.authormedia.com/how-to-win-agents-and-influence-editors-at-a-writers-conference-webinar/

February 24, 2013

Where Can I Get a Cat Like This?

Oh, how I wish this video were longer!

The bond between these two is  truly amazing. [wipes eyes]

February 21, 2013

IndieRecon, Day Three

It's the final day of IndieReCon and the content continues to be amazing.

My faves of the day:

Measuring Success by Susan Kaye Quinn - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/measuring-success-by-susan-kaye-quinn.html

Breaking into International Markets by Orna Ross - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/breaking-into-international-markets-by.html

All About Audio by Stacey Wallace Benefiel -  http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/all-about-audio-by-stacey-wallace.html

Partnering with an Agent by Steena Holmes - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/partnering-with-agent-by-steena-holmes.html

Lessons Learned and Tips from Indie Authors - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/lessons-learned-and-tips-from-indie.html

Chat with LM Preston - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/chat-with-lm-preston.html

All the sessions will be up for some time, so catch them at your leisure.

Thanks again to S.R. Johannes and all the great speakers and sponsors for a truly wonderful conference!

February 20, 2013

IndieReCon, Day Two

Lots of great information coming your way again as IndieReCon enters Day Two.

My picks of the day: 

Chat with Samantha Young and RaShelle Workman - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/chat-with-samantha-young-and-rashelle.html  

Releasing Single and Listening to the Audience by Hugh Howey - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/releasing-singles-and-listening-to.html  

Marketing Plans Made Easy! by S.R. Johannes - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/marketing-plans-made-easy-by-sr-johannes.html 

Building an Author Brand By Ali Cross - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/building-author-brand-by-ali-cross.html 

Creative Book Launches that Command Attention by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi - http://www.indierecon.org/2013/02/creative-book-launches-that-command.html

Have fun!

February 19, 2013

IndieRecon, Day One

A great first day for this online conference geared toward independent publishing. The posts will be archived, so you can go back and read them at your leisure.

I especially enjoyed:

The Future of Digital Publishing by Bob Mayer

The Honest Inside Scoop by Jessie Harrell

Entrepreneurial Authors  by S.R. Johannes

Seven Worst Mistakes Indie Authors Make by Joanna Penn

... A Business Plan by Denise Grover Swank

Chat with Bestselling Author Darcie Chan