Saturday, July 21, 2007

Book Buying Saturday

I'm off to get Harry Potter (and also Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, on the recommendation of Maya Reynolds and Book Cannibal). Very excited.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cover Issues

Check out Bella Standler's ongoing "I Hate My Book Cover" series on her blog, Reading Under the Covers, which I stumbled upon via Kirsten Nelson's blog.

Three degrees of bloggerization, I guess.

Rachel Morgan v. Anita Blake

Lately I've been devouring paranormal mysteries in obscene amounts. I don't envision representing more than a few clients in this genre, but its something I really enjoy to read in my spare time. I love the limitless story lines, the creativity of the different worlds, and the moral complexity that fantasy characters can bring to a book just by their paranormal nature.

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files is far and away my favorite series, but I'm also a fan of Kim Harrison and Laurell K. Hamilton. I've been debating which I like more, but after a bit of thought I realized that Harrison wins. The writing is superb in both series, and Rachel Morgan and Anita Blake are both awesome characters, but ultimately, I just love Harrison's world a little more. How could I not when it was a genetically tampered tomato that led to the spread of a disease that wiped out half the human population? I've always been suspicious of tomatoes (at least in their raw form).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Term of the Week: Flow-through

I'm going to start with one that isn't subject to much dispute.

Flow-through (also called pass-through) means an accelerated payment of certain subsidiary rights income.

When you sign a contract, you usually grant the publisher the primary right to print, publish, and sell your manuscript in book form. You also grant to the publisher certain subsidiary rights in the work, and most often the publisher will then try to license these rights to a third party. Once a sale is made, the publisher and author will split any money received.

What subsidiary rights you license and at what splits depends on the book, the publisher, and your agent, but for the purposes of this post I'm just going to discuss what happens when the publisher does make a subsidiary rights sale to a third party. Typically the author's share of the money made from the license is paid to the author in the next royalty statement, which could be up to a year away. A flow-through clause requires that the money be paid to the author within a certain period of time - i.e. that the money flows directly through to the author without the normal delays.

Typically a flow-through clause only applies once an author has earned out their advance. Also, publishers almost always require that the sale for the license be for more than a certain amount of money in order to justify the cost for the extra bookkeeping. Finally, I've found that the more subsidiary rights you grant the publisher, the more likely a publisher will agree to include this clause.

Term of the Week Begins Today

Later today I will post the first entry in what I hope will become a running series called "Term of the Week." I'll post a concept or term and try to provide a definition or an explanation. Hopefully you'll chime in with your knowledge/thoughts as well, especially on the more nebulous stuff.

Getting an offer from an agent

No story today, I actually wanted to briefly mention something about submitting to agents. I received a really interesting query via my agency website submission form, and so less than an hour after the query came in I requested the first 30 pages. Less than a week later I received an email by this author informing me that they received an offer of representation from another agent and had decided to accept the offer. As a result, they were withdrawing the submission.

I actually read the first thirty pages and thought they were quite good, and was going to request the rest. I guess it's my fault for not reading the material fast enough, and I'm happy that the author got an offer. Still, I have to say that the writer didn't handle this properly at all. Sadly, it seems writers make this mistake all the time.

I encourage authors to submit to more than one agent at a time, and when a query comes in I am assuming you are. Still, its proper etiquette to inform other agents who have requested your material when you received an offer from another agent, and you should give them at least a little bit of time to finish reading the material, especially when they've only had something for a week.

Its comparable to agents submitting to editors. If I have an offer from another editor coming in, I'll let the other editors know and give them a bit of time to finish reading the submission and making a decision. Before advising my client to enter into a publishing agreement, I like for all options to be explored and pursued that make sense. The only time this doesn't happen is if the editor and publisher are a perfect fit for the book and they make a very good preemptive offer.

Agents shouldn't and usually don't give authors a deadline to respond to an offer of representation unless it drags on for more than a few weeks. So unless you're getting an offer from someone like Amanda Urban, who can and does sell just about every book she represents, there's no reason not to give other agents a bit of time. Not only is this basic etiquette, but is the smart way to handle making one of the more important decisions of your writing career.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Layin' Down the Law

I was having some wine with my friends Sarah and Rob on Saturday night, and it came out that they've been reading my blog. Their comments were that I was "no-nonsense" and that I really "laid down the law." They meant this as a compliment, and I took it as one, but I after some thought I've decided I am going to try to spice things up a bit with a few stories.

At some point soon I'm going to share my own story of an interesting experience with placing a client's work, and every now and then I'm also going to talk a bit about what I'm reading or watching. My fiance is always quick to remind me that she is the funny one in our relationship, so don't expect anything too earth-shattering!