Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Translating Your Self-Published Book

One of the advantages of self-publishing is that you don't have to wait for your publisher to translate your book. You can do it yourself!

Translation can help open your book up to more markets, but keep in mind that your translated book will need to be promoted - just like the original. It helps to do some research into magazines, news services, and/or organizations that might be interested in reviewing or advertising your book abroad.

Authors have several translation options: 1) Translation services that charge nothing, but take a percentage of your sales, 2) Translation services that will translate your book into several languages simultaneously, 3) Freelance translators, who you can find on boards and freelance hubs. Most freelancers and services will give you a free quote, which will depend on the length of your work, and the degree of specialization required.

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TRANSLATION SERVICES WITH NO UP-FRONT COSTS

Babelcube

Babelcube bills itself as the easiest way for authors to team up with translators to sell their books in multiple languages globally. The way it works is quite simple: You upload ten pages of your book, along with a description. Translators then offer to translate your book and translate your ten pages. You can either accept or decline the translation, based on your assessment of the translation.

There is no charge to the author. The incentive for the translator is that for the first $2,000 of sales, the translator receives 55% of revenue generated from sales. The author receives 30%, and Babelcube receives 15% of net receipts. Babelcube distributes translated ebooks to multiple outlets, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Overdrive, Tolino, and many more. Over ten languages are offered. Their system is easy to use, and once the translation, translated cover, blurb, and author bio are uploaded, publication is immediate.

So far, I have used Babelcube to translate my book into Portuguese and French. Both of my translators were excellent, and I was quite pleased with the results. But the problem with a no-risk arrangement is that your translators can simply not follow through. They can miss their deadlines, and fail to respond to your messages. In that case, Babelcube will cancel that translation, and your book then becomes available for another translator in that language. (This has happened to me on more than one occasion.) The administrators at Babelcube are very responsive, and are always willing to answer questions. Nevertheless, waiting for a completed manuscript that never arrives can be frustrating, especially if the topic is timely.

Fiberead 

Fiberead offers translations into simplified and traditional Chinese. Translators will translate your book into Chinese at a rate of nine months for 80,000 words with one additional month per 10,000 words. Authors get their own project team that includes editors, translators, illustrators and proofreaders. For digital e-book versions: 30% goes to authors, 30% to professional translators, 5-10% to editors and the rest is re-invested into the Fiberead platform. Authors also have the option of allowing Fiberead to be their agent for printed versions as well, which pays 90% royalties.

I have not tried this service, so I can't offer feedback.

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FREELANCE TRANSLATOR BOARDS AND HUBS 

TranslatorsCafé.com

TranslatorsCafé.com is a hub where translators can post their specialties. The site includes a directory of translation agencies and translators, a forum, and a Q&A section. Writers can post a job, or simply browse translators. The site also has a good article on how to choose a translator, as well as the pros and cons of choosing a freelancer as opposed to an agency.

Proz

The Proz site features over 300,000 professional translators and translation companies. Freelance translators working in Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and other languages, and specializing in legal, medical, technical and other fields, can be contacted directly through the site. You can also post a job. Proz does not charge a fee, but you do have to pay the translator.

Traduguide
Germany
Email: info1@traduguide.com
Website: http://www.traduguide.com

This is an international online job board. You post your job to receive quotes from freelance translators. You can also simply search by source language, target language, and specialty.
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TRANSLATION SERVICES

Book Translation Service
Website: http://www.booktranslationservice.com

This site is an online job board to find translators for books or documents. They offer free price quotes. You simply post your project, and they match you with translators.

Com Translations
Phone: 818-436-6515
Email: americas@comtranslations.com
Website: http://www.comtranslations.com/en/

An international agency of more than 5,000 certified translators. They offer instant quotes, first page translation and full-book plans.

Verbumsoft, LLC
Burbank, CA
Phone: 818-748-6235
Website: http://www.translatorsbase.com

This is an online marketplace of freelance translators. You post your book/project to obtain free quotes. You can also select a translator. The site includes a helpful table of translation rates.

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TRANSLATORS' ASSOCIATIONS

American Literary Translators Association
Richardson, TX
Phone: 972-883-2092
Email: altacentral2014@gmail.com
Website: http://www.utdallas.edu/alta (Currently moving their website)

Association for translators specializing in literary works. Site includes a directory of member profiles listing their language proficiencies.


American Translators Association
Alexandria, VA
Phone: 703-683-6100 M-F 9AM-5PM EST
Email: ata@atanet.org
Website: http://www.atanet.org

Association of professional translators and interpreters, including search tools and directories to help you find the right person for your needs.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

2017 Smashwords Survey - Best Price for Your Ebook, Preorders & More

Smashwords is a popular  ebook distribution platform for self-publishers. Despite the dominance of Amazon, the company has enjoyed considerable success. Since 2008, Smashwords has published over 450,000 titles by 130,000 authors and small publishers.

In addition to its own platform, Smashwords distributes to multiple retailers and libraries. The largest Smashwords retailer is iBooks, followed by Barnes & Noble, Kobo, the Smashwords Store, Scribd, Amazon and several smaller outlets including public library aggregators such as OverDrive.

Every year, Smashwords analyzes trends in their ebook publishing platform — what works, what doesn’t work, which prices do best, etc. After nearly a decade of ebook publishing, and over the course of many surveys, the CEO of Smashwords, Mark Coker, has insights that are invaluable for writers launching into self-publishing. 

Below are some of the findings from the 2017 Smashwords survey. You can see an informative slide show of the survey HERE.

Top-Selling Categories

The vast majority of Smashwords books are fiction. The top-selling category is romance, which accounts for nearly 50% of books published by Smashwords. The top ten fiction categories are as follows:

  1. Romance (73% of the top 200 best-selling titles)
  2. Erotica
  3. Fantasy
  4. Young Adult
  5. Science Fiction
  6. LGBT Fiction
  7. Thriller
  8. Historical Fiction
  9. Adventure
  10. Horror
In the nonfiction category, the ten top-ranked books are: Self-Help, Health, Business, Religion, Relationships, Sports, Education, History, Home and Garden, and New Age.

Why Does Romance Perform So Well?

Romance has more dedicated readers than any other genre, but more significantly, those readers are voracious. Romance novels tend to be quick reads, and these readers will consume a book a day, which means there is endless demand. 

From an industry perspective, romance writers have the advantage of a strong national association, as well as regional organizations and publication-focused writing conferences. Because romance writers are prolific, they tend to adopt innovative marketing strategies (pre-orders, free series starters, and frequent releases of new books).

Best Price for Self-Published Novels

Free still draws the most downloads - 33 times more than paid books. (Interestingly, this is down from previous years.) Free promotions work best for series, and for authors with a substantial backlist. 

The most popular price is still $2.99. But, $3.99, $4.99 and $5.99 earn more. (The price that generates the most earnings is $3.99. The price that gets the most downloads is 99 cents.) How does this work? Authors who are just starting out should price their books at $2.99 in order to gain readers. But once they are established, they should increase the price of their books. Popular authors can charge more for their books than those who are relatively unknown.

Length Matters

Longer books tend to sell more than shorter. The average length of books in the top 100 selling bracket was 111,000 words. Words counts decline from that point, down to 90,000 words, which is still a substantial book. The average word count for the top 70 romance books is 113,000. 

What this means is that romance readers really like to immerse themselves in a book. 


Title Length Matters Too

Readers who like long books, apparently don't like long titles. The top 100 bestsellers featured titles with roughly 25 characters, rising up to 30 characters as the bestselling rank decreased. Coincidence? Probably not. Covers sell books, and romance covers sell a LOT of books. Romance readers don't need to be distracted by a lot of words on the cover. Just the semi-naked man/men or woman/women plus the author's name will do.


Pre-orders

Smashwords launched its pre-order program in 2013 with the promise that it would yield significant gains for authors. Surprisingly, very few authors took advantage of this feature - only 12% of books were launched as pre-orders. But, over 60% of the highest earning authors utilized a pre-order for at least one of their books. Roughly 45% of bestsellers were born with pre-orders. 

The spread of fiction categories utilizing pre-orders was fairly even. About a quarter of romance, YA, and historical fiction books were launched with pre-orders. Fantasy, mystery, and thrillers each amounted to 20%, with the rest of the categories declining. What is interesting is the percentage of sales gleaned from pre-orders. Those categories which utilized pre-orders the most, also generated the highest number of total sales. In sum, pre-orders work.

Series 

Series still rate as the top means for finding readers. Of the top ten series, seven started with a free book (all seven were romance titles). And of the top 100 series, 67 began with a free book. What is important to note is that series that started with a free book eventually made three to five times more than series that did not.

There was an average of between seven and eight titles per series. Three-quarters of Smashwords bestsellers come from a series. Series titles sell significantly more than stand-alone books. On average, series books sell nearly four times more than stand-alones. 

Bottom Line(s)

1) Always start with a pre-order

2) Write a series, and start with a perma-free first book

3) Price your book at $2.99, but then increase as your books gain readers

4) Don't base your publishing strategy on a single metric - experiment to find what works for you!

Free Guides

Smashwords provides a number of incredibly useful free guides. Take advantage of these!




(Also available in Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Hindi and more.)



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

3 New Literary Agents Actively Seeking Clients

Here are three new literary agents seeking clients. New agents are a boon to writers. They are hard-working, enthusiastic, and will go the extra mile for their clients.

Hilary Harwell (KT Literary) is looking for middle grade and young adult fiction. Julie Dinneen (D4EO) is interested in literary fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction, romance, and select memoir. Shaheen Qureshi (Capital Talent Agency) wants literary fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on historical fiction and narrative nonfiction, as well as memoirs, cookbooks, and graphic novels.

As always, go to the agency's website before sending your query. See which publishing houses they have worked with, what type of books they have represented. And don't forget to do a google search on the agency (and agent) to check for other authors' experiences.

ALWAYS check submission requirements before sending your query. Requirements may change, and agents may close their lists.

Note: For many more agents looking for writers see: Agents Seeking Clients
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Hilary Harwell of KT Literary

About Hilary: Hilary joined the KT Literary team to support office operations and assist with queries and manuscripts, and now acts as Associate Agent with clients of her own. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a degree in Anthropology and went on to work in the back office of a major Swiss Investment Bank for eight years before deciding to trade numbers for letters. When not reading or editing or writing stories of her own, Hilary likes to hike the Rockies with her family and dreams of one day owning her own horses.

What she is seeking: Middle grade and young adult fiction.

How to submit: Please email your query letter and the first three pages of your manuscript in the body of the email to Hilary at hilaryquery@ktliterary.com. The subject line of your email should include the word “Query” along with the title of your manuscript. Queries should not contain attachments.
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Julie Dinneen of D4EO

About Julie: After years of editorial work, professional writing of many descriptions and an internship at The Bent Agency, Julie joined D4EO Literary as an agent in 2017 to build her own list of upmarket fiction.

What she is seeking: Literary fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction, romance, and select memoir. She will consider high-concept YA with blockbuster potential, psychologically complex horror, and female-centric thrillers. In these categories, she is looking for select projects with storytelling that won’t let go.

How to submit: To query, please send a query letter and the first ten pages in the body of the email to jdinneen.submissions@gmail.com. Response time is between ten minutes and four weeks.

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Shaheen Qureshi of Capital Talent Agency

About Shaheen: "I have worked in publishing and editing for the past five years. As the former managing editor of Tadween Publishing, a Middle East academic press, I facilitated the publication of a political cartoon book and a collection of interviews with Iraqi activists. Before being promoted as literary agent, I assisted Capital Talent Agency’s senior literary agent Cynthia Kane with reading and editing manuscripts. I also teach writing workshops and volunteer in public schools in Washington, DC as a writing mentor and tutor. I received my B.A. at Bard College where I was awarded the Wilton Moore Lockwood prize in creative writing, and have published poetry in Bard Papers and Sukoon Magazine. As a growing literary agency in Washington, CTA will provide me with a strong platform to represent authors, and I’m looking forward to getting to work on behalf of interesting writers and their works."

What she is seeking: Literary fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on historical fiction and narrative nonfiction, as well as memoirs, cookbooks, and graphic novels. "I am particularly interested in character-driven stories that give voice to the underrepresented and marginalized. Books that challenge the status quo and examine race, class, food, gender, colonialism, or history in a new light always grab my attention."

How to Submit: Submissions should be sent to literary.submissions@capitaltalentagency.com. For fiction and nonfiction submissions, send a query letter in the body of your e-mail. Attachments will not be opened. Response within six weeks.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

21 Young Adult Publishers Accepting Manuscripts - No agent required

Young adult literature did not exist when I was growing up. There were children's books and books for adults, but there were no books specifically aimed at teens.

Since that dark period in our literary history, young adults (aka teenagers) have gained the power of the purse, and they want to read about themselves - their growing pains, their first forays into sexual (mis)adventure, love, friendship, and struggles with identity. These themes are the mainstays of young adult literature.

Perhaps not surprisingly, adults enjoy reading young adult literature almost as much as teenagers. YA literature, especially contemporary YA lit, is often humorous, snappy, and less demanding than many books geared to the adult market. (If adult literature were translated into music, it would be classical. And YA literature would be pop.)

For over 150 publishers looking for writers - no agent required - see: Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts

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Albert Whitman & Company


Albert Whitman & Company has been publishing award-winning children’s books since 1919. They have since expanded to include YA literature. Albert Whitman’s special interest titles address subjects such as disease, bullying, and disabilities.

Submissions: Albert Whitman and Company currently has an open submissions policy. They read and review unagented manuscripts and proposals for picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult novels. Email submissions only. Note: They will not review any submissions that do not follow their submission guidelines.

Blaze

Blaze is a new publishing venture started by Krystal Wade. "Krystal is on a mission to introduce readers to Books with Heart. They might be fantasy, contemporary, horror, or any genre really, but they’ll all have heart and a message waiting for readers to discover. At Blaze, we’re not looking for any particular genre. We’re looking for a message woven into the words of a well-written, young adult or middle grade novel. Your message can be inspiring, moving, sad, or make people change the way they view others around them. If you choose to package that up in a fantasy, horror, or sci-fi, so be it!"

Submissions: Manuscripts must be between 55,000 and 120,000 words. Send a query letter, first three chapters of manuscript (pasted in body of email), a couple sentences about the message your book contains, short Author Bio or experience and contact information. Read their submission guidelines here.

Cedar Fort

Cedar Fort is an established house that publishes over 120 books a year. Their books are available nationally through major distribution companies including Ingram Content Group, Baker & Taylor, and ReaderLink as well as through major retail corporations like Deseret Book, Seagull Book, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sam’s Club, and Indigo in Canada. Cedar Fort is active in selling foreign language rights, and they attend the Frankfurt Book Fair every year to present their frontlist titles internationally.

Submissions: Cedar Fort accepts all manuscript submissions through Submittable. "Your submission is reviewed not just for its content, but as a business venture to which the publisher contributes significant capital investment. Your ability to actively support the promotion of your work and brand in the market is an important consideration during the process. Please include any audience or following you have built for your name or brand and on what platforms, if applicable." Read their guidelines here.

Charlesbridge Teen

Charlesbridge Teen is a new imprint of  Charlesbridge, a well known Watertown, Mass-based publisher of children's books. Fiction titles include lively, plot-driven stories with strong, engaging characters. Charlesbridge books are distributed by Penguin Random House. They are actively seeking debut authors.

Submissions may be sent via email to YAsubs@charlesbridge.com. Please send a detailed plot synopsis, a chapter outline, and three chapters of text. Read guidelines here.

Clarion

Clarion is an imprint of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers Division. They have published a number of award-winning books and serials in all genres. HMH is one the the "Big 5" publishers.

Submissions: Your manuscript should be typed and submitted via mail. (They do not accept submissions by e-mail or fax.) Read their submission guidelines here.

Clean Teen

Clean Teen publishes books that are rated according to violence, language, romance, and drugs/alcohol. They don't believe in censorship, but they do want their readers to be informed.

Submissions: They are seeking YA (young adult) or NA (new adult) novels that are between 50,000 and 110,000 words. While they accept stand-alone books, their ideal submission would be the first two books in a series or a novel with a novella that is a prequel to the novel. Genres that they are specifically seeking include the following: horror, mystery, witches, fortune teller, psychic, magician, historical, escapism. When you submit to Clean Teen Publishing, your title may also be considered for one of their other imprints. This includes their new digital-first imprint— CTP Pulse. Read their guidelines here.

Curiosity Quills

Curiosity Quills Press is a publisher of hard-hitting dark sci-fi, speculative fiction, and paranormal works aimed at adults, young adults, and new adults. Refreshingly, they have a very detailed FAQs page that answers every question an author could have, including royalty rates, editorial process, length of time before publication. (Very few publishers offer this crucial information up front.)

Submissions: They are seeking sci-fi, fantasy, romance, horror, historical fiction, magical realism, and more. (Consult their Acquisitions Editors page for more detail.) Read their submission guidelines here.

Desert Breeze

Desert Breeze Publishing is a publisher of non-erotic romance fiction in a variety of sub-genres, as well as mainstream women's fiction either with or without romantic elements. They also publish both Christian romance and Christian women's fiction, and a variety of young adult and new adult fiction. In those books categorized as romance, romance should be the prevailing theme of your manuscript, not romantic elements.

Submissions: They are seeking manuscripts from novella length (between 25,000 and 35,000 words approximately) to super novel length (exceeding 100,000 words), with a preference for novels between 55,000 and 80,000 words. They accept queries on book series, and will consider a series concept when at least one book is completed, a second novel is at least partially complete, and the series has been thoroughly formulated. They are seeking to expand Sci Fi Rom/Futuristic Romance/Speculative Fiction Romance genres. Read their submission requirements here.

Dial Books

Dial Books for Young Readers is a hardcover division publishing approximately 70 titles per year for children of all ages, from preschool through young adult. It is currently a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Submissions: Dial accepts a maximum of 10 pages.When submitting a portion of a longer work, please provide an accompanying cover letter that briefly describes your manuscript's plot, genre (i.e. YA novel), the intended age group, and your publishing credits, if any. Regular mail only. Read guidelines here.

Entangled Press

Entangled Press' young adult imprint, Entangled Teen publishes "swoon-worthy" romance in the following subgenres: contemporary, suspense, sci-fi, historical, paranormal and fantasy. (They require at least a romantic subplot.) Entangled’s titles are distributed by Macmillan, one of the largest book distributors in the world. Their royalties are generous. Digital-first releases receive up to 35% of cover price, while print royalties begin at 7.5% of cover price. When releasing simultaneously in print via brick and mortar bookstores, ebook royalties are 20% of cover price.

Submissions: Manuscripts should feature 16-19 year old protagonists. Length: 70k to 120k words in length for all genres, except contemporary romance, which they prefer remain under 90k. Read guidelines here.

Flux

Flux is an imprint of North Star Editions, a Minnesota-based house specializing in trade fiction. Flux specializes in "alternative voices." The editors believe that young adult novels are a "point of view," not a reading level.

Submissions: In addition to a query, and three chapters, Flux requires 3-5 comparative books published within the last 5 years with an explanation of how your book both ties into a trend in the Young Adult genre and offers something unique. Read their submission guidelines here.

Holiday House

Holiday House specializes in hardcovers, from picture books to young adult, both fiction and nonfiction for ages four and up.

Submissions: Holiday House only responds if they are interested in publishing your manuscript. Please send the entire manuscript. All submissions should be directed to the Editorial Department, Holiday House, 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017. They do not accept submissions by email or fax. Read their guidelines here.

Hot Key Books

Hot Key Books (UK) publishes original and thought-provoking novels for teens and young adults. If you would like to submit your work for consideration please send your full manuscript along with a full synopsis to enquiries@bonnierzaffre.co.uk. They prefer Word and PDF files if possible and please note that we can only accept electronic submissions. "We read everything we’re sent but due to the high volume of submissions we receive we are only able to get back to writers we are interested in pursuing. Good luck!"

Read their guidelines here.

Ink Road

Ink Road is a new young adult imprint of Black & White Publishing, an established Scottish publisher with over 300 books in print across a variety of genres. Their books are distributed through GBS. Publishers Group UK (PGUK) provides sales representation. Seeking: Contemporary YA. Read submission guidelines here.

Jo Fletcher Books

Jo Fletcher Books (UK), part of the Quercus family, publishes science fiction, fantasy and horror, including all subgenres. "JFB authors are writing critically acclaimed, award-winning and unputdownable novels right across the fantastical spectrum, encompassing everything from crime to literary fiction. If you love chunky, engrossing epic fantasy or fast-paced dystopian thrillers, alternate history or paranormal romance, far-future SF or mythic fantasy, spine-chilling horror or heroic fantasy, you’ll them all here: just step through the portal into the wonderful worlds of Jo Fletcher Books."

Submissions: Jo Fletcher considers YA, but only if it can be classed as YA/Adult crossover. Previously self-published books are accepted, as long as the author is willing to let all rights revert to JF on signing a contract. See their guidelines here.

Jolly Fish Press

Jolly Fish Press is an imprint of North Star Editions, Inc., based in Minnesota. They publish trade fiction and select nonfiction books in the national and international market. Right now they are seeking middle grade and young adult titles in science fiction and fantasy with an epic and visual scope; thrillers with strong, carefully crafted characters and a unique voice; and unconventional love stories.

See their submission guidelines here.

Pajama Press

Pajama Press publishes picture books—both for the very young and for school-aged readers, as well as early chapter books, novels for middle grade readers, and contemporary or historical fiction for young adults aged 12+. Pajama Press is looking for manuscripts from authors of diverse backgrounds. Stories about immigrants are of special interest.

See their submission guidelines here.

Polis Books

Polis Books is an independent publishing company actively seeking new and established authors. They are currently acquiring titles in a wide variety of genres. While Polis primarily publishes books for adults, they also publish young adult novels.

Submissions: Novel-length submissions should be a minimum of 60,000 words. They only respond if interested. See their submission guidelines here.

Quirk Books

Quirk Books is a Philadelphia-based company that publishes just 25 books per year. Their titles are distributed through Random House. They are always on the lookout for "strikingly unconventional manuscripts and book proposals. A well-written novel with an off-the-wall editorial premise? That’s Quirk. A playful cookbook or craft book with cool photography or crazy illustrations? That’s Quirk, too. We publish across a broad range of categories—always with the goal of delivering innovative books to discerning readers. Put more simply, we publish books that are smart, original, cool, and fun."

Read submission guidelines here.

Skypony Press

Sky Pony Press is the children's book imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. They publish picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA fiction and nonfiction. "We’re open to any genre and style, and we’re always looking for something new and different. We love original concepts, fresh voices, and writing that knocks us off our feet."

See their submission guidelines here.

Tor Teen

Tor Teen is an imprint of Tor/Forge, which is an imprint of Macmillan. Tor is one of the top sci-fi/fantasy publishers in the world, but they also publish general fiction for young adults. Since Tor Teen launched in 2003, they have published fiction by Cory Doctorow, Brandon Sanderson, Kendare Blake, David Lubar, Veronica Rossi, Susan Dennard, and Kristen Simmons, among others.

Submissions: Tor's guidelines are quite detailed. Make sure you follow them to the letter, otherwise your submission will not be read. See their submission guidelines here.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When Can a Publisher Terminate Your Contract?

"Sue me, sue me, what can you do me?"
The recent lawsuit brought by Milo Yiannopoulos against Simon & Schuster brings up an interesting question: Can a publisher simply terminate a contract at will?

Before I answer that question, here is some of the background to the Milo Yiannopoulos case.

Late last year, a Simon & Schuster imprint, Threshold, offered Milo Yiannopoulos a $250,000 advance for his book Dangerous. Yiannapoulos was editor of Breitbart Tech and had gained a reputation as a notorious right-wing "troll." His racist, misogynist, and generally over-the-top statements were outrageous enough that he became "cool." (Twitter did not think Milo was "cool." Yiannopoulos was banned for hate speech after his racist tirade against Ghostbusters actress, Leslie Jones.)

Yiannopoulos' bad behavior, if anything, made him more attractive to S&S, which was willing to pay a quarter of a million dollars for the opportunity to publish his book. There was some pushback however, as one reviewer announced he would not review the book once it was published, and bookstores said they would not carry it. (That, by the way, is not a violation of the First Amendment; it is the operation of the free market. Nobody is obligated to review or sell a book.) What made S&S think twice was Yiannopoulos' public endorsement of pedophilia between underage boys and men. Conservatives immediately dropped Yiannopoulos, and his contract with S&S was canceled shortly thereafter.

Not to be outdone, Yiannopoulos, sued S&S for breach of contract six months later. In the interim, he self-published his book, which sold 18,000 copies the first week. (Yiannopoulos' publicist said the book had sold 100,000 copies the first week, but all independent sales tracking sources disagree.)

This brings us back to the question: When can a publisher terminate a contract? The answer is: It depends on what is in the contract.

All publishing contracts contain a clause that specifies the circumstances under which a contract may be terminated by the publisher. These may include Acts of God (a hurricane wipes out your publisher's headquarters), buy-outs (a larger company purchases your publisher), failure to deliver a manuscript as promised, legal liability (plagiarism, possibility of lawsuit), and any other reason that a publisher might decide at the publisher's discretion. Publishing houses also claim the right of discretionary termination for an "unsatisfactory" manuscript, the definition of "unsatisfactory" being left entirely to the publisher. In that case, the publisher may terminate and demand all or part of the advance.

Can Yiannopolous win his lawsuit? Probably not. S&S returned all rights to Yiannopoulos and let him keep $80,000 of his advance. (An advance is not paid out all at once, but in stages. The second of those stages would have been acceptance of the manuscript, which did not happen.) A further problem for Yiannopoulos is that one of those discretionary termination clauses was included in his contract. Once you sign on the dotted line, especially if you keep your advance and accept a reversion of rights, it's hard to have your day in court, especially if that day is, as S&S put it, “a meritless publicity stunt.”

You can read more about the suit here: S&S Asks Court to Dismiss Yiannopoulos Suit

Thursday, August 3, 2017

2 Pitch Contests in August

Pitching your book is the most important aspect of getting representation. A query letter is essentially a pitch. It contains a brief summary of the plot, a "hook" to get the agent interested, and comparative titles, to let the agent know that your book already has a market. You can also pitch your book in person during a conference that includes pitch sessions to agents.

If you can't make it to a conference, and are getting the cold shoulder on your queries, you may want to consider entering a virtual pitch fest. These can take a number of forms, from simple tweets that pitch your book's central idea, to longer excerpts.

The most popular of these virtual pitch fests is Pitch Wars. Every year, writers submit their query and first chapter of their manuscripts to four mentors in their age category, who then choose one writer as a "mentee." The mentors help their chosen writers create a compelling pitch, as well as assisting them with their manuscripts. The advantage of Pitch Wars, or any pitch fest, is that agents are alerted, and dozens will be waiting for the upcoming pitches in the genres they are seeking.

Entering a virtual pitch fest costs nothing, so you have nothing to lose by participating. Even if you don't "win," pitch fests are a golden opportunity to hone your pitch.

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Pitch Wars

August 2 - August 6, 2017

Fiction only

Pitch Wars is a contest in which published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for the agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit his or her writer’s pitch for the contest and his or her query letter for submitting to agents.Writers send applications (query and first chapter of manuscript) to four mentors who best fit their work. Mentors read all their applications and one mentee is chosen by each mentor or set of co-mentors, and together, mentee and mentor spend two months revising the manuscript and pitch.

You can find the mentor who best fits your work on the site. Mentors are categorized according to the age group (not genre): Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, Adult. Read the bios of the mentors in your age group, and make a list of the ones that either write in your genre, or who share a common interest or background. Narrow those down to four.

From August 2 - 6, submit your query (follow instructions on the site for your query) and first page to those four mentors.  After mentors read all their applications, one mentee (writer) is chosen by each mentor or set of co-mentors. Writers spend the next two months revising the manuscript and pitch with their mentor. In November first chapters are posted for agents to view. Last year more than 50 authors were offered representation.

Submissions can be made HERE. (Follow the instructions! You will only get one chance to enter!)
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Pitch America

August 30 - September 3, 2017

#PitchAmĂ©rica was created by Laura Pohl to focus on submissions and books produced by Latino voices. "Latinxs being such a large population and so diverse themselves, we’re often grouped in a single place. We have white, black, hispanic, native and Asian Latinxs, and I’d like to open a space where we can welcome all as well as have more discussions about diversity, coming from a different culture, and what it means to be Latinx."

This contest will feature the first 500 words and the 35-word pitch of completed and polished manuscripts written by Latinos. Please keep it in mind that this exclusively for Latino writers.

The entries will be open on midnight August 30th, until 11:59 pm of the 3rd of September. Read their submission guidelines here.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

34 Calls for Submissions in August 2017 - Paying markets

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County fountain
There are nearly three dozen calls for submissions in August.

Every genre and every form is welcome! All are paying markets. There are no submission fees.

Many of these journals have recurring calls for submissions, so if you miss this window, you can always submit during the next reading period.

For more literary journals seeking submissions and to get a jump on next month's open calls see: Paying Markets.
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GeometryGenres: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry. No genre work. Payment: Between $10-$50 for poetry, and 1-3 cents per word for fiction and nonfiction. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

KaleidoscopeGenre: Disability-themed nonfiction, fiction, poetry. "We accept the work of writers with and without disabilities; however the work of a writer without a disability must focus on some aspect of disability." Payment: $10- $100. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

The Food of My People AnthologyRestrictions: Canadian writers only. Genre: Food-themed speculative fiction. Please include recipe! Payment: 5 cents/word. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

The First LineGenre: Poetry, nonfiction, short story beginning with "Frank Rooney had been the manager of the Shop & Save for thirty-eight years, and he wasn't retiring anytime soon." Payment: $25.00 - $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 - $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction (all U.S. dollars). Deadline: August 1, 2017.

Skirt! MagazineGenre: Personal essays. Theme: Stories about the physical; body and mind, health and happiness. Payment: $200 per piece. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

Bright Wall/Dark RoomTheme: David Lynch. Genre: Essays, criticism, poetry, reportage, interviews, and short humor pieces. Payment: $25 per story. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

Body Parts Magazine: Issue #9: Nothing but Witches, Bitches! Genre: Speculative fiction short stories on theme of witches. "All witches, all the time! Permutations of witchery, magick, crones, warlocks and familiars from fairy tale baddies to black or white magic, witch doctors, and the merely misunderstood. Personal power, communion with spirits and the dead, spells, trickery, solitude and a visionary third eye with a window on the fates." Payment: Not specified. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

The Heart of a Devil Anthology Call: Horror and Dark Fantasy Villains AnthologyGenre: Short stories. "For this anthology, we want glimpses into the world of those we love to hate. Monsters, demons, murderers, etc. Are they as evil as they seem? What made them do those horrible things? What was their breaking point? A broader take on the fairy tale villains anthology. " Word Count: 500-10,500. Payment: One half-cent per word, with a minimum payment of $5.00 and a maximum of $15.00. Reprints: $10 max.  Deadline: August 10, 2017.

Alien Dimensions. Genre: Speculative fiction. "Set it in space, in the far future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens helping to solve a pseudo-scientific problem.” Payment: $10.00. Length: 3500-5,000 words. Deadline: August 10, 2017.

Fire, Demons, Dragons and Djinns AnthologyGenre: Speculative fiction. "We want to explore the many facets of this beautifully furious element and the creatures associated with it so Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns will be filled with stories about every kind of fiery creature you can imagine, not only those listed in the subtitle. We’re looking for phoenixes, ifrits, salamanders, lava monsters and fiery beasts no one has ever heard of before. And of course this anthology will not be complete without at least one demon, dragon, and djinn!" Payment: $50 (CAD). Deadline: August 15, 2017.

AFTERMATH: Explorations of Loss & Grief AnthologyGenres: Poetry, personal essays, fiction about the consequences of grief. Payment: Fiction and nonfiction, 6 cents/word. Poetry, $35. Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Gehenna & Hinnom: “Year’s Best Transhuman SF” Anthology. Genre: Speculative fiction. "We are seeking stories for this anthology that properly portray the technological evolution of humans, be it cybernetics, immortality granted through means of science, transcendence of AI into consciousness, the AI singularity and its impact on humanity, the assimilation of human and machine, and anything else you could think of that would fall into Transhumanism." Payment: .003 Cents per Word. $5 minimum and $25 maximum payments. Deadline: August 15, 2017.

SQ Magazine. Genre: Speculative fiction. Theme: Rebellion. Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words. Payment: 1c per word to a ceiling of $75. Minimum of US$15.00 per story. Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Ruminate. Ruminate welcomes submissions that both subtly and overtly engages faith from all the world religions. Genre: Fiction. Payment: $15/400 words for prose. Deadline: August 20, 2017.

Autumn's Harvest Anthology Call: Autumn Fantasy AnthologyGenre: Short stories. "We are primarily wanting fantasy and dark fantasy settings focusing on an Autumn theme. While we will consider modern/futuristic stories, we want the focus to be on the nature of Autumn and magic/fantasy elements inspired by it." Word Count: 500-10,500. Payment: One half-cent per word, with a minimum payment of $5.00 and a maximum of $15.00. Reprints: $10 max.  Deadline: August 25, 2017.

Spark AnthologyGenre: Short stories. Theme: Picture Perfect. Payment: 2 cents/word. Deadline: August 25, 2017.

Cricket: Faces. Genre: Fiction and nonfiction for children. Theme: Basketball. Payment: Up to 25 cents per word for stories and articles, and $3 per line for poetry, $75 for activities. Deadline: August 25, 2017.

BriarpatchGenre: Nonfiction "writing and artwork on a wide range of topics, including current events, grassroots activism, electoral politics, economic justice, ecology, labour, food security, gender equity, indigenous struggles, international solidarity, and other issues of political importance." Payment: $75 - $225. Deadline: August 29, 2017.

Triskaidekaphilia: TransformedGenre: Speculative short stories. "We are seeking romantic and heated stories that delve into the different challenges all shifters face while navigating the mysterious paths of love and forbidden attraction." Payment: $10. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Chicken Soup for the SoulGenre: True story. Themes: Stories of Redemption and Miracles and More. Payment: $200. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

FreefallGenre: Fiction and poetry by Canadian writers. Payment: $10.00 per page. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Qu Literary MagazineGenres: Fiction, essays, poetry. Payment: $100 per prose piece, $50 per poem. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Tech Edge MagazineGenre: Nonfiction articles on Communicating Success. Payment: $50-$125 per article. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Strange ConstellationsGenre: Speculative fiction. Payment: $30 per piece. Deadline: August 31, 2017. Accepts reprints.

Baby BugGenre: Poems, stories, fingerplay for children aged 6 months to 3 years. Theme: I did it myself! Payment: Up to 25 cents/word. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

The New QuarterlyRestrictions: Canadian writers only. Genre: Poetry, nonfiction and short fiction. Payment: $250 for fiction and nonfiction, $40 for prose. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Alberta Fishing GuideGenre: Nonfiction. "The Alberta Fishing Guide Magazine is an annual magazine devoted to fishing in the province of Alberta. It provides up–to-date  information regarding fish species, size and catchability by waterbody, along with access hints, angling pressure, forage and hatches, and other pertinent information Alberta anglers want to know. " Payment: $350 - $500. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Normal Deviation: AnthologyGenre: Short story inspired by photo (see photo on site). Payment: £10.00/story plus contributor e-copy. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Stairs in the Woods. Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Claudius Speaks. Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry on theme of “Fever.” Payment: Essays / Creative Non Fiction: $30, Art: $15, Poetry: $10. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Twelfth Planet Press: Mother of Invention Anthology. Genre: Speculative fiction on theme of AI. "We want to bring some genuine revolution to the way that artificial intelligence stories are told, and how they intersect with gender identity, parenthood, sexuality, war, and the future of our species. How can we interrogate the gendered assumptions around the making of robots compared with the making of babies? Can computers learn to speak in a code beyond the (gender) binary?" Payment: US$0.06 per word. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Nous. Genre: Short stories, poetry, nonfiction. "The upcoming ninth issue of NOUS will be all about “Home” touching issues like homelessness, cultural diversity and belonging. By taking part in the Manchester Sleepout we want to support this local charity by raising money for the Booth Centre in town and continue the discussion about how we live together in our society." Payment: "Complimentary fee." Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Pen and Ink: Transformed Anthology. Genre: Speculative fiction. "We are seeking romantic and heated stories that delve into the different challenges all shifters face while navigating the mysterious paths of love and forbidden attraction." Payment: $10 USD and a paperback copy of the anthology. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Hamilton Review of BooksRestrictions: Canadian writers only. Genre: Reviews of new or forthcoming titles and essays. Payment: Reviews: $50.00; Essays: $75.00. Deadline?: There doesn't appear to be a deadline.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

29 Free Writing Contests in August 2017 (No entry fees)

There are more than two dozen free writing contests in August. They cover the full range of topics, styles and genres, from short stories, to essays, to poetry, to full-length works.

In addition to the prestige of winning a contest, some of the monetary prizes this month are substantial.

Be sure to check the submission requirements carefully, as some have age and geographical restrictions.

Many contests are held annually, so if you miss a contest you may be able to catch it next year. For a full month-by-month listing of contests see: Free Contests.

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Winter Tangerine AwardsRestrictions: Submissions will only be accepted from writers who have not yet published a chapbook, novel, or collection of any type. Genres: Poetry, Short Fiction & Creative Nonfiction. Prize: $250 apiece for poetry and prose (fiction and essay compete together), plus trophy, used books, box of cookies, and one-year WTR subscription. Deadline: August 1, 2017. 

The Ballade (Not Ballad) Contest! Genre: Poetry. This contest is for the best poem written in the ballade form. Prize: $100. Deadline: August 1, 2017. 

Milwaukee Irish FestGenre: Poetry. Entries should have a culture/literary relation to either Ireland, Irish-America, or to Irish poetry. Prize: $100. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

Boardman Tasker PrizeRestrictions: Books published between 1st August 2016 and 31st July 2017 in the UK. Genre: Books with mountain,not necessarily mountaineering, theme whether fiction, non-fiction, drama or poetry, written in the English language. Prize: £3,000.00. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist FellowshipsRestrictions: Delaware poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who have lived in Delaware for at least one year prior to application and who are not enrolled in a degree-granting program. Genres: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Prize: Established Professional Fellowships of $6,000 each and Emerging Artist Fellowships of $3,000 each. Deadline: August 1, 2017.

Leeway Foundation Art and Change GrantsRestrictions: Writers living in Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties Delaware who are 18 years of age or older and who are not full-time students in a degree-granting arts program are eligible. Genres: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Prize: $2500.  Deadline: August 1, 2017.

The Governor General’s Literary AwardsRestrictions: Books must have been written, translated or illustrated by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Genre: Best English-language and the best French-language book will be chosen in each of the seven categories of Fiction, Literary Non-fiction, Poetry, Drama, Children’s Literature (text), Children’s Literature (illustrated books) and Translation (from French to English). Prize: $1,000 - $25,000. Deadline: Nominations by publishers for books in English must reach the Canada Council no later than August 1, 2017.

Costa Short Story AwardRestrictions: Residents of UK and Ireland. Genre: Short story.  Prize: £3,500.00. Deadline: August 4, 2017.

Sweek Go Explore ContestGenre: Any. "Adventures make incredible tales – from Jules Verne’s classics to the modern travel stories we see today; they allow you to explore the world through the eyes of someone else. Adventures are exciting – whether they are about travelling, summer love, extreme sports, starting a new job, an unexpected turn of the day or something breathtaking in a fantasy world your protagonist lives in." Story may be written in English, German, Dutch or Portuguese. Prize: GoPro Hero camera (or €150 in cash). Deadline: August 10, 2017.

RBC Taylor PrizeRestrictions: Citizens or residents of Canada. Must be published author. Genre: Literary nonfiction. Prize: $25,000 (CAN). Deadline: August 11, 2017 for books published between May 30 and July 31, 2017.

Essay Service Writer’s Encouragement ScholarshipRestrictions: Open to high school and college students. Genre: Essay. (See themes on site.) Prize: Up to $500. Deadline: August 14, 2017.

Montgomery County Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to Montgomery County residents only. Genre: Fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Prize: $250 and publication in Montgomery Magazine. Runners-up will receive $100 and have their work published on montgomerymag.com.  Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Australian Help Writing ContestGenre: Essay. Topics: What Are The Opportunities For Success Without A College Degree? Developing a Literary Voice through Essay Writing; How Can Students’ Creativity Be Boosted by EdTech? What Reforms Are Urgently Needed By Modern Education? The Importance of Learning Storytelling in College. Prize: 1st place $700, 2nd place $500, 3rd place $250. Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Best New Fairy Tale CompetitionGenre: Fairy tale. Prize: $300 gift certificate to Amazon.com.  Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary ExcellenceRestrictions: Emerging African American writers.  Genres: Short story collection or novel published in the current year. Prize: $10,000.  Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Poets living in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C., or West Virginia. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500, publication by Broadkill River Press, ten author copies, and two cases of Dogfish Head craft beer. Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Pockets Fiction ContestGenre: Children's fiction. Stories should be 750–1,000 words. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Scotiabank Giller PrizeRestrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English between July 1, 2017 and Sept 30, 2017. Must  be nominated by publisher. Genre: Fiction. Full-length novel or collection of short stories published in English, either originally, or in translation. Prize: $100.000 to the winner and $10,000 to each of the finalists. Deadline: August 15, 2017.

Val Wood Prize for Creative WritingGenre: Short story on theme: Freedom in Hull. Prize: £200. Deadline: August 19, 2017.

123 WritingsGenre: Essay. (See site for topics.) Prize:1st place, $2500; 2nd place, $2000; 3rd place $1500. Deadline: August 20, 2017.

Seat 14c: Flight to the Future Anthology. Genre: Speculative fiction. "Your flight has been mysteriously transported 20 years into the future. How could this happen? Wait, that’s not important. Take a deep breath. Look around. Without a doubt, the world has changed. What new technologies and innovations have reshaped the way we live?" Payment: $10,000 "package" and a trip to Japan. Deadline: August 25, 2017.

Harvill Secker Young Translators' PrizeRestrictions: Open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34. Genre: Short story translation from Korean to English. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: August 28, 2017.

A Very Short Story ContestGenre: Flash fiction (10 words max). Prize: Free Gotham 10-week workshop. Deadline: August 28, 2017.

Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Author must be resident of Upstate New York. Genre: Book of poems in English, at least 48 pages long, published between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. Prize: $2,000.  Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Epigram Books Fiction PrizeRestrictions: Authors must be Singaporean, Singaporean permanent resident or Singapore-born. Genre: A full-length, original and unpublished novel written in the English language. Prize: $20,000. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Jacques Maritain Prize for NonfictionGenre: Essay, Catholic themes. Prize: $500 top prize. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative NonfictionGenre: Essay, maximum 5,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation or Multi-Lingual TextsRestrictions: Translators and authors of multi-lingual texts. Genres: Poetry and prose. Prize: $200. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Enchanting TravelsRestrictions: Students aged 18-32 studying Tourism, English, Journalism, Literature, Geography, Anthropology, [and/or] History. Genre: Travelogues, 1000 words or less (must include three photos). Prize: $1000 USD. Deadline: August 31, 2017.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

19 Writing Conferences in August 2017

Conferences are not only the best way to meet agents, get tips from other writers, and learn about the publishing industry, they make you feel like a writer. We all need community, and this is how we, as writers, get the necessary incentive to keep writing.

If you miss your perfect conference this year, you may be able to catch it next year. Many conferences are annual events. Planning ahead may also lower the cost, as quite a few conferences offer scholarships and discounts for early bird registrations. (Note: I include conferences that are sold out so you can plan ahead for next year!)

For a full list of conferences organized by month, as well as links for finding local conferences, see: Writing Conferences
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Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. August 3 - 5, 2017: Fort Bragg, California. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as panels and workshops with editors and agents, craft lectures, readings, and discussion forums on publishing and marketing. Keynote Speaker: Michael Krasny. 2017 faculty include: Jody Gehrman, Michael Lukas, Kat Meads, Lewis Buzbee, John W. Evans, Shara McCallum and Lisa Locascio.

Cape Cod Writers Center Conference. August 3 - 6, 2017: Hyannis, Massachusetts. Workshops and craft classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as manuscript consultations and mentoring sessions with editors and agents. KEYNOTE SPEAKER: B.A. Shapiro; FACULTY: Lou Aronica; Michelle Clark; Ray Field; Danielle Legros Georges; Kate Klise; Leslie Fishlock; Richard Hoffman; Michelle Hoover; James M. Lang; Ron MacLean; Dale T. Phillips; Janice Pieroni; Marcella Pixley. + Agents.

Florida Authors and Publishers Association Annual Conference. August 4 - 5, 2017: Orlando, Florida. Professional development sessions designed to provide authors and publishers with up-to-date publishing resources. Faculty: Ava Doppelt, Shari Stauch, Tara R. Alemany, John Fleming, Brian Jud, and many more.

Confluence-SFF. August 4 - 6, 2017: Pittsburgh, PA. Located at the birthplace of the Ohio River, Confluence is Pittsburgh’s longest-running literary conference with a strong focus on science fiction, fantasy and horror. Award-winning authors, editors, artists and song-writers gather for three full days.

Willamette Writers Conference. August 4 - 6, 2017: Portland, Oregon. 100 workshops conducted by more than 50 seasoned pros in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, screenwriting, manuscript editing, publishing, self-publishing and promotion, pitching, entering writing contests, research and business. Whether you write self-help books, historic fiction, blockbuster Hollywood screenplays, mysteries, romance, magazine articles, sci-fi, plays, children's books, humor, self publish or simply need help marketing yourself as a professional, you'll find helpful guidance and keen insights. Other conference features include advance manuscript critiques, filmlab, silent auction, awards banquet, and group and one-on-one pitch sessions with New York literary agents and editors and Hollywood film agents, managers, and producers.

Revision Retreat. August 5 – 9, 2017: Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Sponsored by Highlights Foundation. In this working retreat, Harold Underdown and editor Eileen Robinson will teach proven techniques for self-editing and revising and help writers try them out on their manuscripts. Mornings will be dedicated to revision techniques and afternoons to model critique groups, individual meetings, and writing time.

Catamaran Writing Conference. August 6 - 10, 2017, Pebble Beach, CA. The conference will be held on the campus of the Robert Louis Stevenson school, and attendees will meet in the elegant Stevenson classrooms, commons, theater, and chapel for workshops, lectures, and presentations. Also available are optional daily literary themed excursions, daily craft talks, nightly special guest readings, and student readings. Cost, including tuition, most meals, and lodging on the Robert Louis Stevenson School campus, is $1,250. Submit five poems totaling no more than 10 pages, or up to 10 pages of prose.

Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Conference. August 7-13, 2017: Montpelier, Vermont. The conference is designed for writers with graduate degrees or equivalent experience. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as readings, craft classes, and individual consultations with faculty members. "At the heart of the Postgraduate Writers' Conference's unique model is the small workshop size, with groups led by acclaimed faculty limited to five or six writers. The intimate format allows for an extraordinarily in-depth, far-reaching discussion of participants’ work. Beyond the daily group sessions, each member has an individual consultation with the workshop instructor. The schedule also features a rich menu of readings by faculty and participants, craft talks, generative writing sessions and social events that galvanize our vibrant, inclusive community."

Worldcon. August 9 - 13, 2017, Helsinki, Finland. This is a huge international scifi event. Each Worldcon selects a small number of Guests of Honor for the highest recognition that the event can grant, essentially a Hall of Fame for the science fiction and fantasy field. MidAmeriCon II chose to honor Kinuko Y. Craft, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Tamora Pierce, and Michael Swanwick.

The 2017 Writers' Police Academy. August 10–13, 2017: Green Bay, WI. The annual Writers’ Police Academy offers an exciting interactive and educational hands-on experience for writers to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement, firefighting, EMS, and forensics.

Travel Writers & Photographers Conference. August 10–13, 2017: Corte Madera, Calif. Writing and photography workshops in the morning, a full afternoon of panels and discussions, and evening faculty presentations. There are optional, working field trips to explore the resources of the Bay Area. The faculty includes publishers, magazine editors, photographers, travel essayists, food writers, restauranteurs, guidebook writers, and more.

Santa Barbara Summer Poetry Workshop. August 12 - 13, 2017: Santa Barbara, CA. "Time will be spent on all aspects of the practice of poetry: crafting, writing exercises, discussion, publication advice and the art of reading your poems.This workshop is an opportunity for you to grow your poems with thoughtful attention from experienced poets who combine their approaches for you to hone your skills and go deeper into your own creative process."

Murphy Writing of Stockton University: Live Free and Write. August 13 - 19, 2017: Sunapee, NH. "Combine an extended writing retreat with a relaxing summer vacation in the picturesque mountains of New Hampshire. This getaway blends our trademark challenging and supportive workshop experience with plenty of free time for you to write and bask in the refreshing New England summer." 2017/2018 faculty includes Stephen Dunn, Sharon Olds, Gregory Pardlo, Barbara Hurd, Carol Plum-Ucci, James Richardson, Peter E. Murphy and more.

Whole Novel Workshop. August 13 - 19, 2017, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Sponsored by Highlights Foundation. The Whole Novel Workshop is specifically designed for writers of middle-grade and young adult novels. This unique program offers the one-on-one attention found in degree programs, but without additional academic requirements, lengthy time commitments, or prohibitive financial investments. Our aim is to focus on a specific work in progress, moving a novel to the next level in preparation for submission to agents or publishers. Focused attention in an intimate setting makes this mentorship program one that guarantees significant progress. Waitlisted.

Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. August 16- 26, 2017: Ripton, VT. Workshops in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction are at the core of the conference. Each faculty member conducts a workshop that meets for five two-hour sessions over the course of the 10 days. Groups are kept small to facilitate discussion, and all participants meet individually with their faculty leaders to elaborate on workshop comments. Faculty members also offer lectures on issues around literary writing and one-hour classes on specific aspects of the craft. Readings by the faculty, conference participants, and guests take place throughout the day and into the night. Participants meet with visiting editors, literary agents, and publishers who provide information and answer questions, individually or in small groups. Applications are due by February 15, 2017. There is a $15 application fee.

Northwestern University Summer Writers’ Conference. August 17 - 19, 2017: Chicago, Illinois. "Join a community of writers at Northwestern University for a three-day institute on writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The program, which is now in its 13th year, includes a diverse array of workshops, panels, keynote speakers, networking events, and literary readings. Learn how to make dialogue pop with Juan Martinez, edit your writing with Rebecca Makkai, and follow the journey from a manuscript to a published book at a panel of publishers and editors. Hear a keynote from acclaimed author Stuart Dybek and enjoy a live performance by You’re Being Ridiculous. You can also schedule an individual manuscript consultation with conference faculty. Writers at all levels of experience are welcome, as are writers of all genres and backgrounds. Come seek a fuller understanding of the craft—and business—of writing."

Writer’s Digest Conference. August 18 - 20, 2017: New York City. Annual Writer's Digest Conference featuring: Pitch Slam, with more than fifty agents and editors in attendance, educational tracks devoted to publishing and self-publishing, platform and promotion, and the craft of writing,  speakers and instructors.

Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference. August 24 - 27, 2017: Nashville, TN. The Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference was created in 2006 by author/filmmaker Clay Stafford in an effort to bring together forensic experts, writers, and fans of crime and thriller literature. "At the conference, we try diligently to ensure that the weekend has something for every writer and lover of literature, and our sessions are structured to assist writers on multiple career levels. Our learning tracks tackle the craft of writing, business of writing, marketing, and forensics. Killer Nashville features nine breakout sessions for intense smaller group interaction, an authors’ bar (free for hotel guests), a moonshine and wine tasting, free agent/editor roundtable pitch sessions, a mock crime scene designed by special agents and other law enforcement professionals, cocktail receptions, the Guest of Honor Dinner and Awards Banquet, film previews, live music performances and—of course—all the great activities one can enjoy in downtown Nashville."

A Retreat For Poets 2017. August 27 – August 31, 2017: Honesdale, PA. Sponsored by Highlights Foundation. Join Eileen Spinelli, author of When You Are Happy and numerous other poetry collections, for a poet’s retreat in the woods. You will begin each day with a short writing exercise, followed by hours of individual writing time. In the evenings, you will gather again to share work and discuss the craft of writing poetry. There will be time to talk about wordplay, word choice, writing process, and how to find ideas. Special guest Kathleen Hayes will offer a few points about how poetry fits into today’s marketplace. This retreat serves all poets, writing for any audience.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Inside Look at Literary Agents

This full one-hour interview with Jodi Reamer (Writers House), Kim Witherspoon (Inkwell Management), Robert Gottlieb (Trident Media), Sloan Harris (ICM), Eric Simonoff (WME), and Christy Fletcher (Fletcher & Company) is fascinating. These agents are surprisingly frank, revealing not only what they think about writers, but how the whole publishing industry works.

(If the video doesn't play, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL5bcAXTZys)



Here are the responses that, for me, really stood out.

What’s the best, or most memorable, opening line from a query or proposal you’ve ever read… that you said, “I know this is a book I want to sign?” What about the worst opening line you’ve ever seen in query or proposal?
Eric Simonoff: "It would be an egregious lack of judgment on your part if you did not represent me. Let me give you ten reasons why." 
Jodi Reamer: "I don't read query letters. I go straight to the manuscript, because that tells me everything I need to know."
What is the biggest frustration you have with the way Hollywood handles books? What is the state of power that authors have over adaptation when it comes to film or television adaptation? Is there a best strategy for timing the submission or sale of film or television rights for a book to Hollywood?
Sloan Harris: "Being stuck in development forever and ever ... five six years." 
Jodi Reamer: "They want changes that have nothing to do with the book. But the more the studios involve the authors, the more successful the project tends to be." 
Robert Gottlieb: Studios don't want authors slowing down production, but also it's a different medium." 
Kim Witherspoon: "It's healthiest for the author not to be involved in production."
What are the trends with young adult fiction, paranormal fiction, dystopia, and erotic fiction (like 50 Shades of Grey)? Are they past their peak?
Eric Simonoff: Publishers are always chasing yesterday's trends. 
Jodi Reamer: In terms of YA as a whole, it just comes down to great writing.
Have you ever had the "one that got away"?
All: Just one?!?
What do you feel are the best outlets for promoting books? How important are Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere? Do authors have to Tweet or blog? Can it help get bigger deals? What is the best way to tap into an audience and grow? How important is it for authors to have a relationship with their fans?
Jodi Reamer: The best media outlet is NPR. 
Robert Gottlieb: Publishers have recently discovered Facebook, but the blogosphere is extremely important in terms of the promotion of books.
Eric Simonoff: If you need to ask, "Do I have to tweet? Don't."
Kim Witherspoon: It's important for writers to have a relationship with their readers. The writers know who their readers are; the publishers don't.
What’s the most exciting thing about how the publishing business has evolved? Where are you finding new talent? How is Amazon and self-publishing changing publishing? Is there a new and growing marketing for shorter, mid-length books?
Sloan Harris: I used to find talent scouring literary magazines, but those sources have largely dried up. My younger colleagues are finding talent on blogs. 
Robert Gottlieb: Amazon is having an influence on traditional publishers. Stories that publishers won't pick up are selling millions of copies when they are self-published on Amazon, and that makes publishers take notice. 
Sloan Harris: I think that following trends is a really tricky way to build lists. 
What makes a literary agent valuable? 
Robert Gottlieb: It's really about managing rights and making the author successful. 
Sloan Harris: I think of myself as someone who can help a writer develop.
(Note the important difference in how these two agents approach writers. Gottlieb takes a strictly business approach, while Harris values his position as someone who can enhance a writer's career. If you are a commercial writer, an agent like Gottlieb would be a good choice. Literary writers would be more comfortable with an agent like Harris.)

Agent Bios

Jodi Reamer (Writers House):  Jodi Reamer is an agent and an attorney. She's been with Writers House since 1995. She represents children's books, picture book to young adult, and adult books with a focus on commercial fiction.

Kim Witherspoon (Inkwell Management): Kimberly Witherspoon, at age 26, founded her own literary agency, which quickly became one of the most prestigious and successful agencies in Manhattan, with clients who are frequently published around the world. Over the past 15 years, she has represented critically acclaimed and bestselling authors of both fiction and nonfiction.

Robert Gottlieb (Trident Media): Robert Gottlieb started the Trident Media Group agency in 2000 so that he could inculcate the entrepreneurial spirit into the DNA of the firm from inception. For many consecutive years, Trident continues to rank as the number one literary agency in North America in the number of transactions for authors based on the statistics from the major trade website, Publisher's Marketplace.

Sloan Harris (International Creative Management – ICM): Sloan Harris co-heads publications at ICM, a talent and literary agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. and London, representing clients in the fields of motion pictures, television, music, publishing, and live performance.

Eric Simonoff (William Morris Endeavor – WME): Eric Simonoff began his publishing career at W.W. Norton as an editorial assistant. He joined Janklow and Nesbit in 1991 and rose to co-director. He left Janklow & Nesbit for William Morris Endeavor in 2009. He represents three Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as over a dozen New York Times bestselling authors. Note: Mr. Siminoff is closed to queries.

Christy Fletcher (Fletcher & Company): Christy Fletcher began her career at the Carol Mann Agency. In 2003, she founded Fletcher & Company, widely considered one of the leading independent literary agencies. Clients include many international bestselling and prize-winning authors. The agency expanded into feature film and television production and management in 2006, and acts as producer on several client-based projects. Note: Ms. Fletcher is closed to queries.
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