Archive for January, 2011

Driving Traffic to Your Blog

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Karen McQuestion is currently running a contest of sorts, the prize of which are 3 ebooks she is giving away. All you have to do is comment on her site. From her site:

“I am the author of six books, including the novel, A Scattered Life, which has been optioned for film. Five of those originally self-published books are now under contract with Amazon’s new publishing imprint, AmazonEncore.”

She does giveaways often – an effective way of book as well as blog promotion.

Categories: Book Promotion

GUEST BLOG: Phyllis Zimbler Miller

January 17, 2011 1 comment

How to Write Blog Posts When You Are Blogging to Market a Novel

By Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Publishing a non-fiction book will usually make it easy for you to
write a blog dedicated to your book. The non-fiction subject of
your book and related topics can provide ample blogging material.

For example, if you wrote a book on cooking low-fat diets, you
could post one low-fat recipe a day along with insider tips to
ensure the recipe turns out well. Or if you wrote a book on new
social media platforms, you could write each post about one new
social media platform and probably never run out of new posts.

The problem of writing ongoing book blog posts really presents
itself to fiction writers. If you’ve written a romance novel or a
mystery novel, what are you going to write about in your blog posts?

With a little imagination (and you are a fiction writer, aren’t
you?) you can come up with interesting posts for your book’s blog.
Let’s look at some examples:

You write a novel that takes place in 1970 during the Vietnam War
(yes, such as my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT). Because the Vietnam War
plays an important role in the novel, you could write posts about
historical events that took place during that era or historical
events that led to that era. And you could write about the military
today fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan and about military families
back home. There’s no need to mention your book in every post; the
overall context of the blog is about your book.

Now let’s stretch our imagination farther. You write a mystery
novel about a series of medical-related murders. You could write
posts about deaths that were not murders but were actual medical
mysteries. You could also write posts about new hospital procedures
that are being implemented to reduce medical-related deaths. And
you could write posts telling the family of hospital patients what
to look for in suspected medical malpractice.

What if you’ve written a children’s picture book about family
members learning to get along? Children are not going to read your
blog and their parents aren’t going to read your blog aloud to
their children. You could write posts about parent-child issues; if
you’re not an expert, you can quote other experts. You could review
other children’s picture books on similar topics. You could write
posts about children’s literacy issues.

The truth is that you can cast your imagination net far and wide
for subjects on which to blog. Just remember that every few posts
you should mention your book in connection with that post. For
example, if you were writing a post about children’s literacy
issues, you could mention that a specific second-grader in your
book could read long words but not short words and that her teacher
suspected dyslexia.

Or you could quote an entire (short) scene from your novel to
illustrate a point you’re making. And, yes, it’s okay that people
reading your blog may not know who the characters and situation
are. If you choose an appropriate scene, most readers will be able
to understand the context of the excerpt.

Fiction authors should be as active as non-fiction authors in the
use of blogs to market books. Give your blog readers interesting
and well-written posts, and they will read your blog and hopefully
buy your book. How to Write Blog Posts When You Are Blogging to
Market a Novel


and other book marketing information, visit Follow Phyllis Zimbler Miller
on Twitter at @ZimblerMiller and connect with her on Facebook and
LinkedIn as Phyllis Zimbler Miller.

Publisher Invites Unagented Manuscripts

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment
Angry Robot, publisher of speculative fiction books from a variety of
authors, including KW Jeter, inventor of the term "steampunk", has
announced that they will be open to unagented submissions in March.
Categories: Getting Published

Contest to Catch Agent’s Attention

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

From the Guide to Literary Agents blog:

Welcome to the eighth (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This will be a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing a novel that’s considered literary fiction, this eighth contest is for you!


E-mail entries to Please paste everything. No attachments.


The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of literary fiction . You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, I ask that you do one of two things: 1) Mention and link to this contest twice through your social media—blogs, Twitter, Facebook; or 2) just mention this contest once and also add Guide to Literary Agents Blog ( to your blogroll. Please provide link(s) so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step!


1. This contest will be live for 14 days—from Jan. 9 through the end of Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, EST. Winners notified by e-mail within three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.
To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
This contest is solely for completed book-length works of literary fiction. Literary fiction, defined, is fiction that falls outside the categories of genre fiction. Much fiction falls into the so-called popular commercial genres of romance, mystery, suspense, thriller, Western, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Writing that falls in none of these categories is often called “literary.”
You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again.
The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W Media.
6. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.)


Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge (priceless!). 2) A free one-year subscription to ($50 value).

J.K. Rowling on ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure’

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo. Click on J. K. Rowling’s name to get the video.

Categories: Authors Speak

British Literary Agency to Open Indian Branch

January 12, 2011 16 comments

Aitken Alexander Associates will open an office in Delhi, India, from the 17th of January 2011, and is delighted to welcome Shruti Debi, who joins the agency as senior agent and director of Aitken Alexander Associates India Pvt Ltd. Aitken Alexander is the first British agency to open an office in India, and in addition to Ms Debi the new company’s directors are Gillon Aitken, Clare Alexander and Andrew Kidd.

Shruti Debi worked for seven years at Picador India, where she oversaw all editing, marketing and publicity responsibilities for the company and developed an acclaimed, prize-winning list. Lauded in particular for her talent-spotting, Ms Debi will seek out the most vibrant and interesting new voices from a rapidly changing region, as well as provide local support for Aitken Alexander’s existing roster of outstanding subcontinental writers, which includes Aniruddha Bahal, Sadanand Dhume, Shehryar Fazli, Mohammed Hanif, Raj Kamal Jha, Manju Kapur, Amitava Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Cyrus Mistry, Kavery Nambisan, Manjula Padmanabhan, Allan Sealy, Aatish Taseer and Tarun Tejpal.

Aitken Alexander Chairman, Gillon Aitken, says: ‘With the agency’s longstanding and close relationship with the subcontinent, it seemed to us a natural step to open an office there. This will give us a unique presence on the ground, and with Shruti at the helm we are well placed to discover and nurture what we expect to be a rich seam of talent in the coming years.’

Shruti Debi says: ‘This is very exciting for me. I am looking forward to the great range of new and fresh work that we are going to have more and more of from a fascinating literary environment. And it is nothing less than a privilege to bring to writers in India the depth and wealth of experience offered by Aitken Alexander, which has shepherded the careers of some of the brightest authors of our times. It will be fun.’

Press release courtesy Book Trade.

Categories: Literary Agents

Submitting Short Fiction

January 11, 2011 2 comments

Finding a place where you can submit short fiction can be hard, especially if you’re just starting out. Here are a few places I’ve come across. As far as I can tell, only one place actually pays you for your story:

Categories: Getting Published

Sample Literary Agent Contract

January 10, 2011 9 comments

If you are lucky enough to be offered representation by a reputable Literary agent, the next step is the contract you will be expected to sign. Never ever sign anything without understanding what you might be signing away.  Believe me, there are plenty of contracts out there that are not in the author’s best interests.

Below is a sample contract, reproduced with permission from Literary Agency Keller Media, to help you recognize a contract that is fair to the author as well as the literary agent. Please be respectful of Keller Media’s copyright of this contract.


Here you can see an exam­ple of our cur­rent agency con­tract. You are wel­come to review it, ask ques­tions about it, wish it was yours, and so on. In fact, the only thing you can­not do is repro­duce it. It’s copy­righted, a word that will mean a lot more to you when your book comes out. Please note the straight­for­ward lan­guage and easy-to-understand terms we use, which are by all accounts quite fair to us and to you, the author.  As the author of 31 books under 9 pseu­do­nyms, senior agent Wendy Keller is a vocal advo­cate for author’s rights. But don’t take our word for it. Review the con­tract below:

NOTE TO AUTHORS: Don’t sign an unfair con­tract, or any­thing you don’t under­stand, no mat­ter who offers it to you or how eager you are to get an agent.

WE CAN HELP YOU WITH ANY OTHER AGENCY’S or PUBLISHER’S CONTRACTS… some­times even if it has already been signed!


Rep­re­sen­ta­tion Agreement

This Agree­ment is between Keller Media, Inc., a Cal­i­for­nia cor­po­ra­tion, 22631 Pacific Coast High­way, No. 701, Mal­ibu, CA 90265 here­inafter referred to as “Agency” and “YOUR NAME HERE”, here­inafter referred to as “Author.”

  1. AGENCY: The Author appoints Agency as the sole and exclu­sive Agency to advise, arrange and nego­ti­ate for the pub­li­ca­tion, sale, license or any other dis­po­si­tion in any lan­guage, media, form or for­mat my non­fic­tion con­tent, com­menc­ing with the project cur­rently titled, “YOUR TITLE HERE”, here­inafter referred to as the “Work.”
  1. PERFORMANCE: The Agency will work to secure the best pos­si­ble offers for the Work in a pro­fes­sional and effi­cient man­ner and bear all related costs of rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The Agency has the right to choose the agent in its employ to aid in place­ment, and may work with sub-agents in spe­cific rights cat­e­gories at its dis­cre­tion. The Agency will always offer its best advice and sug­ges­tions for the improve­ment, mar­ket­ing and dis­po­si­tion of the Work. The Author agrees to care­fully con­sider all advice given.

The Author agrees that if a poten­tial buyer approaches for the Author’s lit­er­ary work or writ­ing ser­vices, that buyer will be referred to the Agency.

If either party approaches the other with an idea but the par­ties do not develop it together, the idea belongs to the party first pre­sent­ing it. That party is free to develop the idea as they see fit.

  1. COMPENSATION: The Agency has the right to deduct as com­mis­sion the fol­low­ing listed per­cent­ages of all monies received related in any way to the Work, with the sole excep­tion of speak­ing fees that the Agency did not aid in booking:

a) Fif­teen per­cent (15%) of all income earned from the domes­tic place­ment of the Work;

b) Twenty per­cent (20%) of all income earned from any for­eign, elec­tronic, dig­i­tal, spon­sor­ship, mer­chan­dise, dra­matic, film, per­for­mance or other ancil­lary or sec­ondary right related to the Work. This cov­ers the expense in ship­ping and sell­ing books over­seas, as well as travel costs typ­i­cally incurred in the place­ment of sec­ondary rights. An addi­tional five per­cent (5%) of gross income may be required by a sub-agent if one is used.

c) Thirty per­cent (30%) of gross monies derived from the Agency’s place­ment of the Author as a paid speaker, such com­mis­sion exclu­sive of Author’s travel costs and other reim­burse­ments for Authors direct expenses.

The Agency is enti­tled to the above-mentioned per­cent­ages in 3.a. and 3.b for the legal life of the Work on all agree­ments sub­stan­tially per­tain­ing to or made pos­si­ble by the Work whether they arise from an agree­ment ini­ti­ated or nego­ti­ated by this or another Agency, by the Author or by any third party or cor­po­ra­tion. Speak­ing engage­ments (3.c) not booked by the Agency are not sub­ject to this agreement.

  1. TERM OF AGENCY: Most but not all book pro­pos­als sell within 90 days of pre­sen­ta­tion to pub­lish­ing houses. The Agency agrees to work on the Author’s behalf as long as it believes a sale is pos­si­ble, and notify the Author in writ­ing if no sale seems likely. Upon such writ­ten notice, the Author’s oblig­a­tion to Agency ceases for any unsold rights extant in the Work.

If the Agency suc­cess­fully places any right to the Work dur­ing this time, Agency is here­inafter known as “Agency of Record” on the con­tract with the pub­lisher or other third party and is thus enti­tled to par­tic­i­pate in the place­ment of all sec­ondary rights extant within the Work.

If within three (3) months of ces­sa­tion of this Agree­ment a pub­lisher to whom the Work had been sub­mit­ted by the Agency noti­fies the Author or the Agency that it wants to con­tract pub­li­ca­tion of the Work, the Agency is enti­tled to all rights pro­vided under this Agree­ment, includ­ing the right to receive commission.

If the Author has or does cre­ate addi­tional non­fic­tion works prior to the sale of the Work, the Author may offer such to the Agency for review and pos­si­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The Agency is not obliged to accept such works for rep­re­sen­ta­tion. If the Agency declines, the Author is free to take the works else­where with­out oblig­a­tion to the Agency. Any new project taken on for rep­re­sen­ta­tion is wholly sub­ject to the terms of this Agreement.

Upon the sale of the Work herein con­tracted, the Author agrees to give the Agency first right of refusal on Author’s next non-fiction work.

  1. RECEIPT and DISBURSAL of FUNDS: All third par­ties acquir­ing rights to the Work in any form or for­mat shall be directed and autho­rized by the Author to remit the Author’s pay­ments to the Agency. Receipt of such pay­ments by the Agency shall be deemed receipt by the Author. The Agency shall remit pay­ments to the Author, after deduct­ing Agency com­mis­sion, not more than ten (10) busi­ness days after monies have been received. There will be a clause in the Author-Publisher con­tract stat­ing these terms and con­di­tions. The Author’s heirs and assigns will respect and adhere to the inten­tions of this Agreement.
  1. EXECUTION OF AGREEMENTS: Agency will not enter into agree­ments on behalf of the Work with­out the Author’s approval. No agree­ment is valid with­out the Author’s sig­na­ture unless the Author has expressly pro­vided per­mis­sion for Agency to sign by proxy (usu­ally only applic­a­ble for the sale of translation/foreign rights). Author has the right to review all offers received and make sug­ges­tions for improvement.
  1. OWNERSHIP: Author hereby war­rants own­er­ship to all the rights related to the Work and is able to dis­pose of them, that all man­u­scripts are orig­i­nal and are free from any pla­gia­rism, slan­der or libelous con­tent or intent thereof. The Author will keep an orig­i­nal copy of the man­u­script in the Author’s pos­ses­sion and declares that there are no liens or pend­ing legal action against this Work. Author accepts full and com­plete respon­si­bil­ity for the results of the autho­rized dis­po­si­tion of the Work by any third par­ties. Author indem­ni­fies Agency and its employ­ees, sub-contractors, and cor­po­ra­tion from any lia­bil­i­ties, losses, claims, demands, costs (includ­ing those of an attor­ney) and any other expenses aris­ing from or in con­nec­tion with any breach or alleged breach of the foregoing.
  1. PREVIOUS EXPOSURE: Prior to or upon sign­ing this Agree­ment, the Author will pro­vide the Agency with a com­plete list of pub­lish­ers, if any, located any­where in the world who have seen the Work or a pro­posal for the Work in any form.
  1. RELEASE: The Author acknowl­edges that the Agency does not pur­chase lit­er­ary prop­er­ties and can­not guar­an­tee a sale. Author acknowl­edges that other works may exist in the mar­ket­place which may be sim­i­lar to the Work, and that nei­ther the Agency, its employ­ees or assigns can bear any respon­si­bil­ity for the exis­tence of such com­pet­ing works. The Agency has the right to rep­re­sent sim­i­lar con­tent as long as the rep­re­sen­ta­tion does not inter­fere with the efforts made on behalf of the Work. At the Author’s option, works sub­mit­ted for rep­re­sen­ta­tion can be reg­is­tered with the US Copy­right Office, although it is cus­tom­ary for the pub­lisher to obtain copy­right on behalf of the Author when the work has become a viable com­mer­cial prop­erty as a result of a legally bind­ing con­tract. Author agrees to notify the Agency if such copy­right is obtained prior to the sale of the Work.

10. ENFORCEMENT: In the unlikely event of a dis­pute over any of the terms of this Agree­ment, the par­ties agree to resolve such dis­pute by the pur­suit of arbi­tra­tion through an accred­ited and mutu­ally accept­able arbi­tra­tor. The pre­vail­ing party shall have the right to recover all asso­ci­ated costs from the breach­ing party. In any dis­pute over this Agree­ment, the laws of the State of Cal­i­for­nia apply.

11. ASSIGNMENT and AMENDMENT: This agree­ment shall be bind­ing on both the Author and the Agency. It is not trans­fer­able or assign­a­ble with­out joint writ­ten con­sent. In the event of the death or inabil­ity of either of the par­ties, the heirs, assigns and execu­tors are hereby legally bound. This Agree­ment can­not be can­celed, altered or amended except in writ­ing and signed by both par­ties.

I have read and fully under­stand the terms of this doc­u­ment. In agree­ment, I sign below…

That’s it!  Hope your work is so fab­u­lous we offer YOU one of these soon!

COPYRIGHT © 2010, Keller Media, Inc.
Infringe­ment WILL be prosecuted.

Categories: Literary Agents

GUEST BLOG: Nancy J. Cohen

January 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Every so often I plan on inviting other writers to guest blog for me. Here’s the first in the series.

AUTHOR TOURS by Nancy J. Cohen

Do you enjoy meeting people, chatting with readers, and getting out into the community to build your fan base? It helps your writing career to tour locally, signing and discussing your books as you establish your identity as a local author. Libraries, community groups, book clubs, fairs and festivals, and even local businesses may offer venues other than chain bookstores, who are increasingly reluctant to host events anymore except for bestselling authors. Indie bookstores are a treasured resource so be sure to get friendly with your independent bookseller if you have one.

So how can you get your name out there?

  • Network, network, network.  Join as many writing groups as you can and sign up for their speakers bureau.
  • Make sure your contact info is available on your website and your blog.
  • Join sites where you can announce your schedule, like Book Tour and Author’s Den.
  • Prepare a bookmark or flyer about you and your work so you have it handy when you meet people.
  • Build your mailing lists and send periodic news updates to your fans and local contacts.
  • Have a professional high-resolution head shot ready to email upon request.

What do you do when you have an engagement?

  • Confirm the details: date, time, place, and what you are expected to do.
  • Send photos or other materials if requested.
  • Revise your talk if you have one prepared and create handouts.
  • Make travel arrangements if necessary and hair appointment.
  • Add your appearances to your website and blog, as well as all other sites where events may be listed.
  • Send email with appearance info to local newspaper contacts for events or books pages.

Now I invite you to click on the Appearance tab on my website to see where I’m headed. Making all these arrangements and publicizing them is very time consuming but I’m excited about meeting new people. May I add that I didn’t solicit any of these opportunities. They came to me as a result of the networking mentioned above. But also keep in mind that I’ve been doing this for a long time, and when I started, I had to make the rounds of bookstores and libraries just like other newbies. It’s easier when you join your professional organizations and can share resources. If you’re shy, start out on a panel with other writers or do a workshop with a partner until you gain confidence. Then hit the road and have fun!


Nancy J. Cohen is a multi-published author who writes romance and mysteries. Her popular Bad Hair Day mystery series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors & Poets.





Categories: Guest Blogs

List of Small Publishers

January 8, 2011 Leave a comment
Here's a list of Small Publishers. Use at your own risk. Don't forget to check 
with Preditors and Editors. This advice goes for Literary Agents as well.
  • Duotrope is an award-winning, free writers’ resource listing over 3200 current Fiction and Poetry publications. A searchable list of publishers included.
  • Beacon Press
  • Ralan’s has writing market listings by genre.
  • Milkweed Press
  • PBS is a great resource for finding publishers as well as books.
Categories: Getting Published