Chris Keeslar planted his publishing roots as an editor at Dorchester Publishing, where he spent many years working with authors including Marjorie M. Liu, Victoria Alexander, Lynsay Sands and more. Now, Keeslar is spearheading the new Boroughs Publishing Group, an e-book house, where he will continue his practice of taking chances and discovering new author voices. RT's Morgan got a chance to talk with Keeslar about his new endeavor and find out what Boroughs is looking for and how authors can submit their manuscripts. So what does Boroughs want? Keeslar shares that an author's vision is key, and while he's partial to urban fantasy and paranormal romance stories, he wants books that give their hero and heroine a happily ever after. Ultimately, romance is near and dear to this editor's heart, and we can't wait for what's on the horizon for Boroughs.
Aspiring authors, we know that it can be disheartening to look out into the abyss of potential publishing houses and only see the same old phrase, “no unsolicited manuscripts accepted.” These days many of the major publishing houses rely on their ties with literary agents and in-house promotions to find new authors. But don’t despair; today we’ve come up with a list of nine places — from off-the-beaten path publishers to special back doors of the big-name houses — that would welcome your query letter, manuscript or submission.
Earlier this month, at the RT Booklovers Convention, we hosted our first annual Pitch-A-Palooza. Billed as “speed dating for authors and editors and agents,” it was a chance for authors to spend three minutes pitching their next project, book or series to agents and editors in one-on-one sessions. The atmosphere in the room was very friendly, which helped newbie aspiring authors feel comfortable pitching and although there were long lines to meet some of the agents and editors, things moved swiftly and smoothly. The event had over forty agents and editors in attendance, and authors got a chance to pitch an average of about twelve times.
But it wasn’t just about the three minutes when authors were chatting with the editors that were important, the event also had a special Pitch, Feedback & Advice Booth at the center of the room, where a literary agent, Hollywood producer, media personality and image advisor were happy to help aspiring and published authors polish their pitch, to make sure that they were doing the most with the time they had available.
And what did the agents and editors think of the event? We got a chance to chat with several of them after the end of Pitch-A-Palooza and they shared their takeaway!
Newbie author Elisabeth Staab is proud to say that during this year’s RT Booklovers Convention, “I was an RT Con Virgin.” In this guest post, the author hopes to help others by breaking down the things that she thinks every author should know before they attend RT for the first time.
Looking back on my week at RT Booklovers Convention 2012, it’s astonishing to think that I wasn’t even planning to go this year. My debut vampire novel, King of Darkness, had only released in February. Nobody would know who I was, right? RT was hardly on my radar screen. But veteran vampire romance author Laura Kaye asked if I’d be interested in joining her for a really fun-sounding reader panel called Name that Vampire! I couldn’t say no. Still, RT was such a huge con, and I didn’t know what to expect. I can’t tell you how blown away I am, even still, now that I’m finally home and de-virginized.
So today I bring you a little of what I’ve taken away from my very first RT experience. The good, the bad, and the holy $&#!:
Romance has been a booming genre since it took off in the early 1970s, however, how do authors who have been writing for most of their careers keep the spark of creativity alive? Yesterday, authors Rosanne Bittner, Jennifer Blake and RT’s own Kathryn Falk sat down for a discussion about how writing is as much a business as it is a passion. With a collective (and incredibly impressive) 95 years in the industry, these pioneers of the genre shared essential tips and tricks for not just surviving in publishing, but conquering the business side of romance writing!
Passion is a big part of romance novels, sure, but according to publishing pioneer Rosanne Bittner, it's also the fuel that will power your career. "Passion can help our careers by bringing us new perspective and keeping us at the computer," says Bittner. It was that drive that kept Bittner and her panel mate Jennifer Blake, writing — on manual typewriters, with carbon paper and whiteout, no less — with full-time jobs and children and husbands to feed and clothe.
When it comes to making it big in self-publishing, we all know it takes sales to make your e-book climb up bestseller lists. But how do you know what you should price your self-published story, whether your long and complicated epic is actually a trilogy disguised as one book and if authors who change the prices of their books frequently earn more or less for their troubles? Yesterday Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords.com, an online publishing platform for authors and publishers, gave RT convention attendees a look at how to make “Money, Money, Money” at the panel by that name.
During this RT-exclusive workshop the founder of the self-publishing platform talked about the factors that impact sales, all based on the statistical data mined from the site. As of this week, Coker told us that he was drawing on the data of over one hundred ten thousand e-book authors' sales. Here is a taste of some of the data that he shared about the analysis of Smashword’s figures — and what it says about how you can have financial success with your self-published books!
Do authors who offer free e-books earn more money?
It’s no secret that the YA genre is exploding, and teenage heroes and heroines make up more than a handful of the characters that readers are looking forward to spending time with. So it’s no surprise that many established authors are double dipping, crafting both adult and teen tales are a few of our favorite names in fiction. On Wednesday at the RT Booklovers Convention, authors Ann Aguirre, Jenna Black, Sophie Jordan, Jeri Smith-Ready and Rachel Vincent’s conversation was moderated by Kelley Armstrong during the afternoon’s “The Kids are ‘Alright’ Adult to YA Fiction” panel. The topic was what it takes to transition back and forth across the line and these authors certainly provided an insiders’ look at some of the perks — and pitfalls — of “going both ways.”
The authors all agreed that when it comes to “genre-jumping” and moving to writing YA, that’s a little bit misleading.
Aspiring authors, we know that it can be disheartening to look out into the abyss of potential publishing houses and only see the same old phrase, “no unsolicited manuscripts accepted.” These days many of the major publishing houses rely on their ties with literary agents and in-house promotions to find new authors. But don’t despair; today we’ve come up with a list of eight places — from off-the-beaten path publishers to special back doors of the big-name houses — that would welcome your query letter, manuscript or submission.
Amazon Studios: Calling all creative thinkers with a flair for screenwriting! Want to develop your script into a TV or movie, and potentially earn $200,000 along the way? Amazon Studios, Amazon’s new arm for television and film development, wants to work with you and develop your script. Over the course of 18 months, participants can get professional advice on transforming their script for the screen, and even sell their script for a hefty sum. To learn how you can be a part of Amazon Studios, click here.
When it comes to online behavior, it's generally best for authors to steer clear of getting into tiffs with the online reading community — especially over a bad review. Whether you think you just need to say just one tiny thing because the reviewer clearly didn’t understand what you are trying to convey, or if you can’t help jump into a full-on comment war, authors should think long and hard before posting a response to a review. After all, nobody wants to become the next author to have an “Internet Meltdown” and join the ranks of the oft-joked about, for actions similar to those that lead to the self-destruction of Jacqueline Howett and bad behavior of Candace Sams. (Because, as we have just demonstrated, the Internet has a long, long memory.)
But it looks like authors are about to get some help from an unlikely source. The book-centric social networking site Goodreads is attempting to help authors stay on the “write” side of online etiquette. We learned via author Andrew Shaffer’s post on EvilReads, that the online reading community has installed a new feature, a message that appears if you (as an author) attempt to respond to a review of a book that you’ve written.
We all know that when it comes to writing mysteries, it’s all about the details. And sometimes, there is simply no substitution for research that's done by asking a professional. Today, thriller author Andrew Peterson shares a look into the hearts and minds of ATF agents — and talks about what it was like to be attacked by one of their dogs (don’t worry, he volunteered for it!) during the 2011 RT Booklovers Convention. Then, find out how you can get your questions answered by — and an up close look at — these fearless agents.