Tuesday, July 29, 2008

David Anthony Durham's Acacia optioned for film!

I am so happy for my friend David Anthony Durham! His remarkable epic fantasy novel Acacia has just been optioned for film. Go congratulate him!

"We few, we happy few...survived Comic-Con."

You must watch this. (No, really.) Especially if you're a big Shakespeare nerd. (I'm looking at you, Bear!) The Bard has never been so much fun.

New podcast interview with Kelley Eskridge!

Way back before the dawn of time a fine young man named Dave Slusher had an NPR-syndicated radio show called Reality Breaks wherein he interviewed authors of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery as well as writers and artists from the fine arts and comic book fields. Now Dave has revived Reality Breaks as a series of podcast interviews, free and available for download here.

This week's podcast interview features my friend, writer/screenwriter (and lesbian go-go dancer) Kelley Eskridge. It's a great interview that was originally taped in 2007 (but never aired) to coincide with the release of Kelley's extraordinary short fiction collection Dangerous Spaces. Go listen to Kelley's interview now!

PS: There's also a wonderful (and rare) interview with the late Robert Jordan.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Two new book industry blogs covering SF/F

In addition to Tor.com which launched about two weeks ago and looks pretty good so far (although the convoluted layout makes the conversations in the community area difficult to follow easily), there are two more new genre blogs coming out of the book industry that look to be good reading.

The first is the (unfortunately named) Suvudu.com, a joint effort from the myriad SF/F, graphic novel and gaming publishing groups that fall under the Random House, Inc. umbrella; this blog launched last week at Comic-Con. Like Tor.com, there are wide variety of RH editors and marketing staff posting here regularly, resulting in a blog has a lot of great personality and different viewpoints. (Although some of the content seems weirdly random and arbitrary: Top Series! Top Authors! As decided by whom, exactly? Bookscan? The marketing department? The readers? An act of Congress? Our feline overlords???) So far the focus on this blog has been less on SF/F books and more on SF/F pop culture but it's super fun reading nonetheless. (The Comic-Con reporting in particular has been a blast to read.) I'm secretly hoping that Suvudu will start gravitating a little more toward actually talking about books, graphic novels and authors (cos, ya know, book publishers!) but you should definitely bookmark Suvudu for daily reading.

The next new blog you should be reading is Genreville, a thrice-weekly Publishers Weekly blog written by Rose Fox, editor of PW's SF/F review section. On Genreville, Rose will also be writing on the business of genre book publishing. First up is a good interview with acclaimed anthology editor (and my pal!) Ellen Datlow.

Okay, that's all you get. I've more than made up for my blogging hiatus.

Edit to Add: It appears that PW is a little behind the times in providing individual RSS feeds for all of their blogs, so there isn't one for Genreville yet. Too bad!

Why is your hook so important?

Del Rey Books senior editor Liz Scheier was interviewed recently over at the new Novelists, Inc. blog. She has some excellent advice for writers throughout the interview (particularly genre writers), but this paragraph in particular struck me as something that new writers really need to keep in mind when writing a query:
I’m only the first in a long line of people who are going to have to sell a book – to the marketing and publicity departments, to the sales force, etc. – and I need to be able to envision a quick, snappy hook that’s going to get the attention we need, and to have the passion for it that’s going to make my pitch stand out.
Indeed, the sales process for a manuscript is a time-consuming and seemingly never-ending one. The writer needs to first sell his/her book to the agent; the agent sells it to an editor; the editor must sell it to marketing and publicity; marketing and publicity must sell it to the sales department; the sales department must make chain and independent book buyers love it enough that they will put in a sizable estimated order so that the publisher can then justify printing enough copies to make it worthwhile for the marketing and publicity department to spend time and money promoting it; the chain and indie book buyers must sell the book to their customers; customers read your book and try to sell it to their friends. And so on and so on.

A strong hook in your initial query is going be the most effective tool you'll have to help all of these other publishing and bookselling professionals sell your book. A great hook will get used and passed along the food chain, appearing everywhere from an agent's pitch letter to an editor's initial tip sheets for launch to the catalog and sometimes even the cover copy of the book.

Need a quick refresher course in crafting a hook? Reread agent Nathan Bransford's excellent post here.

New U.K. agent blog

In order to give y'all some insight into what happens in the publishing world outside of The Colonies, I'm pleased to present Miss Daisy Frost of the Edward Cecil Agency in London. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Palm Centro vs. Blackberry Curve:
Which one is better?

Yeah, it's time for me to break down and get a smart phone. I rely on email so much during the day that checking email on my wee tiny LG phone screen isn't cutting it any longer. And, realistically, I can't haul my laptop around 24/7.

So I'm putting it out to y'all: Palm Centro or Blackberry Curve?

Primarily I'm looking for the following: good phone, good email, good battery life. Don't care about music, web browser, or camera. As for cost, well, with my current phone plan, they're both going to be about $50 and I'm already on an unlimited plan for data and voice so the plan price won't go up, either. Nope, it's all about functionality for me. So, advice/suggestions welcome, please!

(And before any of y'all start shouting "iPhone, iPhone!" at me, be aware that I have Verizon and I really love Verizon so until Apple opens up the iPhone to other carriers, I won't be getting one anytime soon.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

General (wholly unsatisfying, I'm sure)
query update and a big apology.

First off, my sincere apologies to any of you out there who've been waiting for a response from me on a query or a partial. I'm still (more or less) on a blogging hiatus but wanted to pop in and give y'all brief update on where I am currently with partials and queries. And where I am is WAY WAY BEHIND.

So, if you've queried me or sent me a partial and haven't heard back from me yet, please don't resend your query or partial. Don't worry that I haven't gotten it because you haven't received a response yet. Do assume that I am just extremely backed up in reading and responding. For some reason my query rate has shot up enormously. (As an example, yesterday I received 131 queries in one day. That's considerably more than for a normal day; that's considerably more than more a normal week, actually.) I actually do respond to everything I receive (unless there's an unsolicited attachment of any kind; those just get deleted).

And I also want to gently remind everyone that I no longer accept snail mail or paper queries of any kind (although some of my colleagues at the agency still do). Any paper queries that are mailed to my attention at the FinePrint offices are automatically discarded. If you've sent me a snail mail query anytime between June 1st and today, and haven't heard back, well, it's because your query didn't get read. Do feel free to re-send as an e-query after reading my submissions guidelines, okay?

Please give me until September 1st to respond to everything. If by then you still haven't heard back from me (and if it has been at least four weeks since you sent your query or partial), please do feel free to drop me a polite reminder poke by email.

Thanks, all!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I CAN HAZ GMAIL!

Er, sorry. I just got all excited about having my Gmail working again. And then I noticed that I have 256 new emails in my in-box. Although I'd like to think I'm really that popular, the truth is that 256 new emails is a much higher than normal number of new emails for one day, so methinks that perhaps some of these were floating around in cyberspace for a few days.

That being said, I can't use the Gmail problem as an excuse for my being so far behind in reading queries, partials and fulls. I'm just really backed up on my reading at the moment. Apologies! I'm hoping to get caught up completely by August 1st.

Now, back to my hiatus. (Look, I can blog, or I can read queries. Which would you rather I do? Yeah, that's what I thought.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hiatus Interruptus: Client News

My client Kelly Gay, author of the forthcoming urban fantasy THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS, has just posted her introduction on the Livejournal Fangs, Fur & Fey community. There's also a new interview with her posted at Romance Writers on the Journey. Go say hello. :-)