Thursday, March 30, 2006

We Know We Know - Our blog has been a little neglected this week. Thats because everyone here has been totally consumed with buisness for our ever-blossoming clients!

Don't fret though, we haven't forgotten about all of our devoted blogee's. First off Deidre is working on an amazing post which will be up sometime in the near future (as a little preview, I had to research the crypt keeper today!). Also Julie and I have bounced a bazillion little ideas back and forth - right now they are all snowballing into an avalanche we will collaboratively release on you all very soon!

In the meantime I just want to point everyones attention to TKA's posting from last Thursday. Deidre just recently answered some of the still outstanding questions. So go check out the wisdom from our all-mighty agent, and rest assured, we'll all be back VERY soon!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

2006 Nominations are In!!

The word is out! After much anticipation RWA announced on Friday its list of 2006 Rita Nominees. We here at TKA want to take a moment to boast about five particular nominations, those highlighting projects or authors we can call our own! And the drumroll please…

A Crazy Kind of Love AND Turn My World Upside Down both by Maureen Child, for the Best Contemporary Single title

The Tiara Club by Beverly Brandt for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

And

For best Regency Romance, Miss Whitlow's Turn by Jenna Mindel

Also we are just as excited for client Jennifer Smith and her Golden Heart nomination for By The Book

Huge congrats are in order for all of these ladies. We couldn’t be more proud of each of you and can’t wait until July!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

PJ Day Gone Away



Now don't shoot the messenger...but I am here to announce that PJ Day has been postponed to a TBA date. I can hear the booing from here. We just have some very busy agents with some seriously tight schedules which happen to include some meetings that pajama attire may not necessarily be ...eh...appropriate.

Now, having said that...and being a huge pajama lover, I was sad to see such low response to our publishing phenomenon. I need some excitement and participation pledges so I can wear my PJs to work! Support a fellow PJ lover?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Can I get a WOOHOO?!

I have some seriously exciting news to share this chilly afternoon (at least here at TKA).

So Deidre was absently surfing through USA TODAY, just thinking that for *some* reason she'd peruse the list. All of a sudden I hear a *plop plop*! I rush in to her office to find her eyes popped right out of her head because low and behold

90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN
is on the
USA TODAY LIST!

It's number 130 for the first week on the list!

Congrats to everyone involved in making this happen! (especially to Don Piper & Cecil Murphey)!

Everyone all together now...1..2...3... WOOOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!

Oh and no worries, Deidre's eyes are safely back in her head ready for the next bit of fabulous news..

Monday, March 20, 2006

Transcript Up: Pamela Harty!

Hi everyone! So sorry it's taken a little while to get this up... but it's here! Please go to
The Knight Agency Yahoo! Group
to find the file:

Pamela Harty 03-10-06

To Join just click on the button!


Click here to join Knightagency
Click to join Knightagency

Friday, March 17, 2006

Major News for TKA Client Marley Gibson



















Hmm, look what I just found on today's pub marketplace deal announcements... WOO HOO, MARLEY!!!!!

******
CHILDREN'S: YOUNG ADULT
Debut author Marley Gibson's four untitled books in a series about a group of collegiate sorority sisters, to Angelle Pilkington and Karen Chaplin at Puffin, in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world.) Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

Mindboggling! HeartMate Reissue Cover

I thought I'd get an amber heart. The colors are amber, obviously they brainstormed about "gangs." I don't think I have the chance to write in the tattoo....

I laughed and laughed and I think it will sell MUCHO. Robin
Image hosting by Photobucket

A PJ Phenomenon!

Along with discovering new talent and representing the best, TKA has decided that is it now time to shake up the publishing world with a Pajama Phenomenon!!!
Sooo.. here's the deal:


Friday March 24th 2006
TKA has pronounced this day dedicated to Pajamas...
(I know, who made us Publishing Mayor, right? )
in other words... TKA PAJAMA DAY! Wooo!

To participate simply log on to
http://www.flickr.com/groups/tka_pajama_day/
Sign on with your Yahoo ID (same ID you have for the TKA Yahoo! group if you're a member) Post a picture of you in your cute pjs!

It's one of the beautiful aspects of reading and writing for a living! Much work can be done in your most comfy attire! I simply cannot WAIT until Friday! We have an animal theme going at the office. Cat's PJs, Doggie PJs... What's your theme? Your favs?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Knight Agency Blog: Question and Answer Time--the Good, the Bad, the Ugly...Bring 'em On! PART TWO/NEW THREAD

The Knight Agency Blog: Question and Answer Time--the Good, the Bad, the Ugly...Bring 'em On!

We started the questions/answers back there (follow link above.) We're continuing them here because the thread got crazier and crazier. I have quite a few questions to still hit, but if you can, please repost them here. That will help me a lot. Thanks! Deidre

Monday, March 13, 2006

Question and Answer Time--the Good, the Bad, the Ugly...Bring 'em On!


Well, it's been quite some time since I launched a question and answer thread here, but I feel like chatting. So lay those bad boys on me (how's that for revealing my southern roots?!?)

If I think a question is too big a topic, I'll reserve the right to create a blog topic to address it. If it's short, I'll tackle it on the thread. Pamela and Nephele, feel free to add in some answers. Diana P, you always have great wisdom, so share away. The main thing, though, is let's get some good discussion going.

Hugs, Deidre

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reflections in an Agent's Eye















I posted this on my Deidre blog, but wanted to be sure it was seen by regular TKA readers.

Gena Showalter has an excellent post up on her blog about the originality of ideas within romance. She already does a great job addressing this topic, but I wanted to add my own thoughts here as an agent.

On any given day our agency receives roughly fifty queries; often several similar ideas will surface even within that small pool. On a submission level, we always see concepts repeated, sometimes many times over—and these are often “unique” ideas. The truth is, I just don’t worry about that too much as an agent, even while I’m submitting material—unless the ideas are so markedly alike that they compete with each other.

For instance, I’m shopping two witch paranormals right now, each very different. Did I send those out on the same day? No. Do I think the presence of both proposals circulating will lessen their chances of selling? No. I believe that editors have unique tastes and what works for one editor in a witch romance won’t necessarily work for another. So I've put both projects out in the market, and will now see how it all plays out.

The important thing to realize is this--every book is unique because of the author's voice and their own original fingerprint. Their own twists, their own characterizations. Ten authors will take the "same" idea and interpret it differently.

But back to the witch books I'm shopping. Once I place both titles and they're on the shelves, side by side, what then? A witch book is no more unique than a vampire book is from another vampire. Or a werewolf from another werewolf book. It’s all in the execution. One author’s hysterically funny witch book is another author’s melancholy, angst-ridden witch book. This is what I love about agenting—any core concept receives the unique imprint of its author. I will never grow tired of this business precisely because every day, every author, every project is unique in its own way.

Like Gena, I’m weary of seeing Amazon posts where “reviewers” toss accusations of copycatting around freely. In this current market, there are particular types of books that are selling; that’s what editors want. That’s what reader’s want. It doesn’t make the authors’ works derivative. Nor are they writing in a vacuum—they are a product of their times (pop culture, novels, media) like every other author alive right now. Naturally their work bears the stamp of the times within which they live.

Susan Grant and I recently had a fascinating conversation, which Gena mentions, because I gave her an ARC of Parallel Attraction. She wrote me, saying she nearly had a heart attack because as in my novel, her upcoming August release, Your Planet or Mine, also features the alien hero and human heroine meet as children. Her characters are much younger than mine (who meet in their teens), but nonetheless, it was concerning to her. She worried that readers might think she’d copied my slightly earlier release—which would clearly not be possible with her book coming out just four months later. I reminded her that there are no new ideas under the sun. That each of our takes on this idea is unique. And that of course it’s an inherently romantic idea, the concept of a hero/heroine first meeting in their youth. It’s natural for authors of integrity to want readers to know that their ideas are original. In Susan’s case and my own, we didn’t even know each other while writing our books! But I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone ridiculous Amazon poster claim, “This book starts out just like….” Probably about ME, not Susan, since I’m the new author. And I’ll feel as upset and frustrated as Gena does right now.

These posters on Amazon need to think long and hard before they toss out accusations of plagiarism and copying ideas. They’re besmirching the integrity of good people without really considering the ramifications of that. In fact, I think these posts should be directed to Amazon with a complaint. But that’s me, and integrity, honor, and character matter a great deal to me.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Let's Do The Time Warp...

Ladies and Gentlemen!
A tiny peek into the clandestine life of
Agent Pamela Harty!

Look at that face. Now who would think she would grow up to be a super secret agent? Exactly why she makes such a darn good one. Checking out that outfit on second glance...totally seeing the romance novel industry...tempting the boys at such a young age. I meant the that strap on the right slightly falling off her shoulder...my my...


Like every good agent, she loves her mother, and what a knockout her mother is! Wow! Can't deny that these sisters (Pamela and Deidre) come from some serious quality family breeding.

Now I'm going to take you on a little flipbook of the ages. As much as Pamela loves her mother, she still has room in her heart for that fine sister of hers! So nurturing and sweet, here's Pamela as a young agent tending to her baby sister (you guessed it!) and whispering her agenting plans in her ear.


Now the plans are in motion, Pamela is emerging as a fine young woman (YOWZAH!) Just by looking at them, you can tell they were destined to become a power team of international agents.

Here we fine Pamela almost to graduation from the secret agent academy--you can tell by the donning of sunglasses. I can just see them now in a bright yellow corvette convertable cruising down a winding mountain road.


Again I present to you the adorable, stealthy, beautiful, and all around fantastic...

PAMELA HARTY

Now you want to know more, eh? Want to pick her brain about her life as an agent and otherwise. What if I told you that at NOON EST TODAY you could ask her your questions and received those long anticipated answers? Catch your breath, cause you're gonna need it!

PAMELA HARTY

TKA CHATS

NOON-1PM EST

3-10-06 (TODAY!!!!)

Don't miss out! You can find the chat space linked to The Knight Agency website. (we do not meet in the Yahoo! chat any more)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

SHOW AND TELL!


Everyone get excited, today’s post is going to be a large Show and Tell. After reading a blog earlier this week I was excited to have discovered a book that I would never have known about otherwise. I love finding new things to move to my to-be-read list. My to-be-read list runs side by side with my amazon.com wish list. **TANGENT ALERT**

I LOVE the wishlist feature. Now don’t get me wrong ~ I love bookstores as much as the next book junkie, the thrill of walking through the shelves thinking I want this, and this, and this . . . But then when those geniuses at amazon found a way to put it all right in front of me, as in I don’t even have to turn my head to see all the little treasures awaiting me, truly a monumental day. Plus it is your wishlist, it’s like your own personal oasis, listing only the things you are interested in. A place with no bull, no shameless marketing, just your selections.

ANYWAYS, back to Show and Tell time. This above linked blog post combined with the release of my absolute favorite author’s newest book on Tuesday has me wondering what new releases everyone else is excited about. Tell us about it. What books have just hit the shelves that you couldn’t wait to get your hands on?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

*~* !!HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!! *~*

Have you ever had one of those days that starts off normal enough, you wake up and head off to work with the thoughts that it is just another day? Well that was me this morning. I woke up (late as usual), scurried out of the house, got into the car and settled in for my daily commute. Well then over my rush-hour coffee something dawned on me. As my mind was wandering here there and everywhere thinking about everything work related I realized that today was a special day for me. (Hopefully, at this point, I have piqued your interest enough that you are asking why I am boring you with this story about my day that sounds just like yours)well . . . drum roll please - Today, March 8 is my Six Month Anniversary of employment with TKA.

Six Months. Amazing. Cliché enough question, but seriously, I can’t help to ask, Where does time go?


While it seems like it was yesterday, (not kidding, I remember the song on the radio when I got out of the car for my interview) at the same time I can’t believe its only been six months. I guess I should elaborate on that comment. Six months ago I walked into a job that didn’t really exist. I was going to come in a few days a week to do some random jobs, basically just alleviate some of the more menial items from Deidre’s task list. From every impression I’ve gathered, when Judson hired me, I don’t think Deidre even realized she could use more help (for those of you that know her though, that’s D for you, carrying the world on her shoulders!)

So in the past six months life has undergone many major changes. Where do I even begin? Within this time I have become a key part of many of TKA’s operations. I have become a part of a company, of a team, and of a group of individuals who have become more than just co-workers, but friends.

Beyond that, I have fallen in love with this group of writers (also known as our clients) who I had no previous exposure to. And even though at this moment I have met only the smallest handful face-to-face, I feel like many of these lovely ladies and gents’ are also now my friends. I’ve grown to adore our writers, and am impressed daily by their wit and charm, as we gossip about the industry and their current projects.

Speaking of gossip, I have become addicted to industry-blogs. Talk about distraction. I seriously could spend hours a day catching up on all the little tidbits going around within different industry circles. (Don’t worry Deidre I practice self-restraint, I promise!) I’ve justified this part of my day as research, but wow, who knew research could be so entertaining!

I have learned to read. I mean really READ. Imagine being exposed to hundreds of writers a week, all with their own style and flair. No longer can I just pick up a book and see where it goes. While at times reading these samples of work can be the most difficult type of work I have to face at my job, at other times it can be the most relaxing and pleasurable part of my day. Whatever it is, it is not just the casual picking up of a book that so many people imagine when I explain my job to them.

As to that, my job description, I’ve even had to learn how to do that! I have learned that non-industry individuals have no idea that literary agents exist. Julie and I both have this little joke surrounding our professional status, its become a key line- “well you know how actors have agents, yeah, that’s us, except for authors.” It’s become one of those things that if we never had to say again, it would be too soon.

So six months later when I reflect back on my experiences thus-far I realize it hasn’t just been a period of learning the ropes. While I have learned more about publishing and agenting than I could ever fully cover here, I’ve realized most importantly that the next six-months will probably hold just as many opportunities for professional growth. And after the past 182 days, I’ve learned I can’t wait for the next 183!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

TKA Chats Present: Secret Agent Pamela Harty

Industry chats continue this Friday. TKA Chats proudly present our very own agent, Pamela Harty to the room for a brief discussion. So, brew your coffee or pack your lunch...


TKA Chats
Pamela Harty
03-10-06
Noon - 1PM EST

Now remember folks, the chats are held at our new chat space (NOT the Yahoo! one). You can find it linked to our homepage (www.knightagency.net).

A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT:
If you simply cannot make it to the chat (I know these midday/beginning of the day times are tough), please feel free to post you questions for Pamela here on this thread. If she doesn't get a chance to answer them on this post, I will try to get them answered at the chat. No promises though, but I will certainly do my best! See ya Friday!

meme

Ah... now I understand. I got this e-mail from Pamela this morning, announcing "You are it!" and telling me I'd been tagged. This before morning coffee. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I came over here and the fog lifted... I should probably be a bit more conscious for this, but what the heck. Probably more interesting this way.

1. First thing you did when you woke up today?
Turned on my computer. Yes, I do this every morning, too.

2. Last book you read for pleasure or are currently reading for pleasure?
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest.

3. Something you're excited about in your job today?
Finishing (hopefully) a copyedit/editorial letter for a new client.

4. Something you're dreading?
Trying to park to get the mail. It's been a madhouse the past week due to construction.

5. The worst conversation you ever had with an editor?
I'm not sure I've been doing this long enough to have a "worst" conversation yet.

6. The happiest conversation you ever had with an editor?
Closing the deal for Nalini Singh's SLAVE TO SENSATION, which was my first sale as an agent.

7. A habit you'd like to quit?
Staying up past 2 am.

8. A habit you'd like to acquire?
Exercising daily.

9. Greatest strength as an agent?
I think it's my ability to look at things both from an agent's and from a writer's point of view.

10. Greatest weakness?
I wish I could read faster, too. As in words per hour.

11. Favorite book of the past year?
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

12. If you weren't agenting, you might be...
Still freelance writing.

13. You tag?
Oh heck, I don't know enough agents by name yet to do this... Whomever feels so inclined.

I've Been Tagged!















Ok. Deidre tagged me, and I am "it" so here you go.

1. First thing you did when you woke up today?
Made coffee. I do that every morning.

2. Last book you read for pleasure or are currently reading for pleasure?
Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund. It was an ARC. Does that count? And it was wonderful, btw.

3. Something you're excited about in your job today?
Making another sale….I know…. but I just love, love, love, doing that!

4. Something you're dreading?
A funeral tomorrow at 3pm. Please say a prayer for me.

5. The worst conversation you ever had with an editor?
It went like this:

Editor X: “Hello, this is editor X” spoken in such an upbeat tone

Me: “Hi, this is Pamela Harty from the Knight Agency. How are you?” again spoken in most upbeat fashion

Editor X: “Oh, Hi Pam.” Spoken in the most down in the dumps voice you have ever heard. Now is it me, or is that just plain rude?

Or…..
It could be the editor that I called on in NYC right after I had started agenting about 5 years ago. After I gave him our project list full of potentially great projects for his list, he just looked at me and “ So, it must be nice to be here in NYC. You can shop, take in a show.”

I thought…gee …he isn’t taking me too seriously.

6. The happiest conversation you ever had with an editor?
The offer I got for Deidre when we placed her Parallel Series. I was so proud of her and it was the best editor call I ever got.

7. A habit you'd like to quit?
Hmmmmm…..there are a few. Maybe that coffee I mentioned in question 1.

8. A habit you'd like to acquire?
I would like to become addicted to running.

9. Greatest strength as an agent?
I am the bigger bitch here at the agency.

10. Greatest weakness?
I am the bigger bitch here at the agency.

11. Favorite book of the past year?
There are so many. Can I name a few client’s soon to be released books? Vertigo by Lauren Baratz-Logsted Bantam Dell 9/06, Riding With The Top Down by Debrah Williamson NAL 9/06 , and The Miseducation of April Hillson by Maureen McGowan.
I am shopping that one now. But it is good!! Shameful plug…..I know.

12. If you weren't agenting you might be
...an artist probably painting with oils and selling my paintings for loads of money.

13. You tag??
Nephele Tempest, Miss Snark

I Started a Meme, and Started All the Agents Blogging...


In case you didn't catch it, the title is a reference to an old Bee Gee's song. Yep, it's true. Agent De is a not-so-closeted fan of the Brothers Gibb. I do realize some out there are going EWWWWWWW as loud as you possibly can. That's fine. Others may be adding a new item to their list of requisite agent qualities--must not like tacky 70's disco. That's fine too.

But the real point of this blog is a little fun I dreamed up last night in bed. It's time to start an Agent's MEME. You know, the whole answer various questions and tag other people blogging game (I say that in case you DON'T know.)

So here goes my invented MEME for agents. (Does one capitalize all the letters of MEME or is it meme? I can't recall...)

1. First thing you did when you woke up today?
Read my overnight e-mail on blackberry after turning it off in its alarm clock feature.

2. Last book you read for pleasure or are currently reading for pleasure?
Lisa Kleypas's DEVIL IN WINTER.

3. Something you're excited about in your job today?I have two new submissions to send out, and I'm looking forward to getting them in the right hands.

4. Something you're dreading?
Eating weight watchers for lunch, yet again.

5. The worst conversation you ever had with an editor?In 1997 when I'd taken a preempt and another editor wasn't happy and screamed at me until I had to hang up on him.

6. The happiest conversation you ever had with an editor?

There are many, many of those. I just love talking to editors, period, because they're my kind of people, and doing the deal dance is a ton of fun.

7. A habit you'd like to quit?Checking Amazon and Barnes and noble for rankings so often. That, and too many 16 ounce diet cokes being consumed each day.

8. A habit you'd like to acquire?
Reading faster.

9. Greatest strength as an agent?Persistence and determination (that's two, but they're related)

10. Greatest weakness?
Reading too slowly--not as in getting to submissions, but as in literally being a slow reader, one who analyzes too much as she goes. I'd like to become speedy gonazales of readers.

11. Favorite book of the past year?
THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger.

12. If you weren't agenting you might be...
A music manager.

13. You tag??
Nephele Tempest, Pamela Harty, Kristin Nelson and Jennifer Jackson

Monday, March 06, 2006

E-Publishing or Print Publishing?

Recently a reader friend of mine decided to dip her toe in the waters of writing. Like a smart cookie, she started asking questions about the business, particularly the print and electronic publishing formats and the way each worked so that she could decide what would be best for her. Here's the long and short (though more long than short...) of my reply. Hope this answers some questions for you!

If you want to be published and you're not a patient person (like me), start learning. This is NOT a quick or easy business. An average purchase to the print publication timeframe is 18-24 months. But the bigger (and more tedious) hill to climb is the one that leads to "the call," as we call it in print publishing. (i.e., selling the book to a publisher.)

To sell in print, the average author writes for about 7 years and writes an average of 4-5 full manuscripts (of 100K words each) before selling. Some people don't have that sort of stamina. They give up after 1 or 2 manuscripts. I tell you this now not to discourage you, but to give you an idea of a reasonable expectation.

If you choose the e-publishing route, this may be easier. You'll still have to work to perfect your craft. But because e-publishing doesn't cost the publishers as much money, they're willing to take more chances than traditional print publishers. They also aren't big publishing conglomerations with corporate bottom lines to mind and stockholders to please, but are smaller, leaner and more flexible. However, publishing here still isn't a walk in the park. And selling to some e-publishers, like Ellora's Cave, has gotten every bit as difficult as selling to print publishers because they are so popular.

With money, the structures work totally different between print and e-pub. You make more money per book e-pubbing...but your audience is (at this point) much smaller. For example, if you publish with an electronic publisher, you generally won't receive an advance. They usually only buy completed manuscripts, even from their own authors. So you're writing a whole book HOPING they like it. If not...well, it's something to line your closet with.

If the book is a $6.20 download and you make 35% of that, then you make $2.17 per book, which sounds pretty good. But many e-authors are lucky to sell 1000 units. So you've spent a lot of time and effort to make $2170. And to make that, you had to do some online advertising, which costs you money. So say you kept $1500. A book that costs $6.20 is a longer one, so let's say you could write 4 of those a year. If you stay on budget and sell 1000 units of each, you've just made $6000 for the whole year. Can't live on that.

One up side is, you get your money quickly. There's no worry about books being returned from the store to the publisher. Once it's downloaded, it's done. And with most of e-publishing, you get a check every month for the units sold that month. They also don't go out of print, like print books can. So as long as the site is open for business, then you can potentially make money on that book.

The good news is, wonderful e-published authors do grow their readership. If you're with a good, growing epublisher, they get new readers every day. As the younger generation becomes readers, they will read more of their content online than either the Boom generation, or even GenXers do. But that's down the road. For now, other than a few exceptions, most e-publishing isn't lucrative enough to make an author an acutal living.

Print pubs work VERY differently. In the print world, the publisher buys a book and gives you an advance that's chunked up, usually part on signing the contract, part on the editor's acceptance of the manuscript (and depending on the publisher, part on publication of the book). The advance can be as little as $1000 or as much as millions, depending on where you are in the publishing food chain. But you're a new author, so say they offer you $5000 advance, half on signing (the contract), a third on acceptance (of the manuscript), and a third on publication.

So you get "the call" that an editor wants to buy your first book tomorrow, let's say. It will be somewhere around June before you see your contract. IF there are no changes, you'll sign it and turn it in, and get your $2500 within the next 60 days, so somewhere around August. If you have to modify the contract...that just holds the money up. If you turn the book in at the end of September, you'll see the $1250 you're due in late November/early December. Then let's say your book is scheduled to hit shelves in October of the following year. Well, you don't see that $1250 until the following October + 60 days it takes to process they check from the publisher. So you'll have a total of $5000 for that 20 month period.

But once the book is out, does that mean you start getting royalties in print books right away, like e-publishing? No. Print publishers have to deal with bookstores and the moving of physical stock, which means a little something called "reserve against returns." See, bookstores can return books to the publisher at any time for any reason. It can be years, decades, later. So publishers, when they start paying royalties to authors, they hedge their bets. First, it will be at least a few months after the books release before they even begin calculating your royalties. Second, you have to earn back your advance, so you won't see any new money until you've made $5000 on this title. And third, they hold back money until they are relatively sure that they are holding back enough money in reserve to accommodate any returns that might come in. Confusing? Yep.

Here's an example: Your book comes out October 2007. You signed a contract that entitles you to 8% of the $6.99 cover price, which is pretty normal. So you make about $.56 per book, which doesn't sound like much. But if your print run is between 20,000 and 25,000 copies. If you sell 70% of those (and you'd better if you want to keep publishing), that's a bit over $8000. But you won't sell them all at once, and even if you did, the publisher won't give that to you all at once because they'll hold back a "reasonable" amount of reserve against returns for a period of 3-5 years. Oh, and many print publishers only print royalty checks twice a year, so your October 2007 book... If your publisher prints a royalty statement as of the end of the year, you'll have sold all those books (because a sale toe them is to a book store, not a consumer), but they're waiting to see how many units the bookstores return. You probably won't get any new money for that royalty period. The "reasonable" reserve against returns during the first period is usually between 40% and 60%, depending on publisher. And you still have to earn back your advance of $5000. Over a period of years, you'll see the rest of that $8000. But it takes time. And like with e-publishing, you should spend money to promote, which eats away at your bottom line.

I know it sounds like you can't make money doing this. You can as you develop a name, as your print runs/popularity grows. Once that happens, the sky might be the limit!

Shelley
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Sizzle from the Heart
BOUND AND DETERMINED ~ Berkley Sensation ~ Available now!
"If you pick up one only romance this year, consider this one. Highly entertaining." ~ Romantic Times Top Pick
STRIP SEARCH ~ Berkley Sensation ~ July 2006
WICKED TIES ~ Berkley Heat ~ January 2007
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Deal Round-Up!


I posted a look at our Berkley/NAL deals from the past year as part of my blog posting on agents who write. But I also want to share our overall sales so far in 2006. Keep in mind, we don't wind up posting everything on publishers marketplace, despite our best intentions. So this isn't a complete glance at 2006 so far, but it least gives you a fairly detailed glimpse of the deals we've been making:

6 March, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Sylvia Day's MY IMMORTAL, an erotic tale of a warrior who battles nightmares and finds love with the woman prophesied to destroy both human reality and his, to Erika Tsang at Avon Red, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency.Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

1 March, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Commentator and member of the Allison family racing dynasty Liz Allison's NO HOLDING BACK, RISKING HER HEART, and WINNING IT ALL, with Wendy Etherington, to Tracy Farrell at Harlequin, in a good deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency (world).
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

28 February, 2006
Foreign rights: Fiction
German rights to Beverly Brandt's MATCH GAME, to Goldmann, by Bastian Schlueck, on behalf of Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency. Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

28 February, 2006
Non-fiction: Religion/Spirituality
Don Piper and Cecil Murphey's 90 MINUTES FROM HEAVEN, a devotional follow up to the bestselling (more than 500,000 copies in print) 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, to Denise Silvestro at Berkley, in a significant deal, in a three-book deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world).
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

14 February, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Maureen Child's untitled paranormal romance, about a demon who was Jack the Ripper in a former life, to Melissa Jeglinski at Harlequin, in a nice deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency.
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

14 February, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Maureen Child's DUSTING FOR DEMONS, in which a very unexpected birthday gift leaves a thirty-something single mom dealing with the chore of demon killing amongst her daily to-do list, to Rose Hilliard at NAL, in a nice deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency. Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

6 February, 2006
Film rights
Beverly Brandt's MATCH GAME, to independent producers Ben Shahrabani and Louis Lombard, by Sarah Self at The Gersh Agency on behalf of Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency.Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

2 February, 2006
Non-fiction: Religion/Spirituality
Steven James's SAILING BETWEEN THE STARS: MUSINGS ON THE MYSTERY OF JESUS, a collection of essays exploring the enigma of Jesus and the paradoxes of Christianity, to Jennifer Leep at Revell Publishing, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency (world).
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

2 February, 2006
Fiction: Thriller
Steven James's debut THE PAWN, about a detective tracking a serial killer who plays a macabre game of cat-and-mouse with the police; the first of three books in his new Patrick Bowers series, to Jennifer Leep at Revell Publishing, in a nice deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency (world). Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

1 February, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Sylvia Day's historical erotic novels, again to Kate Duffy at Kensington Brava, in a very nice deal, in a three-book deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency (world). Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

1 February, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Mae Nunn's A REGULAR JOE, the third book in her Texas Treasures series, which throws together a single mother who has prayed for a "Regular Joe" with a high-profile VP struggling to find "ordinary" happiness, to Melissa Endlich at Steeple Hill, in a nice deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency (world). Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

1 February, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Karen Kelley's DOUBLE DATING WITH THE DEAD about a psychic and a skeptic stuck in a haunted hotel with two sex-starved ghosts, to Kate Duffy at Kensington Brava, in a nice deal, in a three-book deal, by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency (world). Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

31 January, 2006
Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Gena Showalter's two adult and two YA books, for her alien huntress series, AWAKEN ME DARKLY, including SAVOR ME SLOWLY, about a woman whose DNA has been spliced and honed by scientists, making her an empath and gifting her with superhuman strength, to Lauren McKenna at Pocket and MTV Books, in a good deal (cumulatively), by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world English).

29 January, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Adrianne Byrd's EDUCATING CHARLIE and SEXUAL HEALING, to Mavis Allen for Harlequin, in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world).
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

24 January, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Jaci Burton's WILD, WICKED AND WANTON, an erotica novel about three best friends who make a bet and each wind up enjoying a life-altering weekend of sensual abandon, to Kate Seaver at Berkley for Heat, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency.

19 January, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Shannon Butcher's debut NO REGRETS, about a brilliant, beautiful mathematician, whose talent in cryptology makes her the target of a ruthless terrorist group and forces her to go on the run with an ex-Navy SEAL, to Michele Bidelspach at Warner, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Nephele Tempest for The Knight Agency (world).
Nephele.Tempest@knightagency.net

18 January, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Sylvia Day's contemporary erotic novella, A FAMILIAR KIND OF MAGIC, about a rogue Familiar and the warlock who tames her, to Lucia Macro at Avon, in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world). Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

12 January, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Renee Luke's SWEET TREATS, a single-author anthology of three erotic love stories, to Tina Brown at NAL, in a nice deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency (world English).Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

Deidre's Transcript Now Available


I know you have been waiting all weekend, but it is finally ready! Log on to or sign up for The Knight Agency's Yahoo! egroup below and find the transcript under the "files" section.

File name: Deidre Knight Chat 03-03-06


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Now this is just the first installment. We are already hard at work for Part II. No client left behind is our motto!

We are so proud of all our clients!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Agents Who Write Books--A Conflict of Interest?

There are many agents and editors out in the market who are also authors. After all, they come to the publishing game because first and foremost they love books, then somewhere along the way—like many other writers before them—they keep pounding at their craft, and finally write a publishable book. A dream is realized! They’re gosh-golly-darn AN AUTHOR.

Since my own agent sold THE PARALLEL SERIES for me last year, I have been regularly asked if I perceive a conflict of interest between writing romance and representing authors in the genre. So after reading Miss Snark’s recent column on the topic, I thought I would speak to the issue. Miss Snark argues that an agent writing is directly in competition with her clients for limited slots; this viewpoint is predicated on a faulty analysis of how the publishing process works. For that matter, also on how the agenting business works. Let’s take a look.

Every publisher has slots that an agent can potentially slide books into. Are they finite? Yes. But are they equally fluid, i.e. are some authors being dropped, dying, moving, or going insane so that new slots—-even in a full list—-are perpetually coming available? Yes again. If Miss Snark’s hypothesis were correct, the publisher’s lists would not be fluid, but instead as recalcitrant as a slab of concrete solidified around a mobster's feet. And the situation would be every bit as hopeless for authors everywhere as it is for our drowning good fella’.

In that scenario, here’s how things would look: There would only be, say, 20 slots a year at the publishing house, and once they were filled, that would be that. In this model, it would be dang hard for agents to ever sell anyone, since all the slots would get gobbled up, leaving no more pie. We'd shop out new authors and hear, "Well, the publisher and editorial director loved this project, but unfortunately, we have ZERO slots here on the list through the year 2010."

The publishing terrain I work in every day is far more fluid, with opportunities ebbing and flowing as lists change, authors move or change genres, markets transform, and so on. It’s a constantly shifting climate, not an inflexible place where a set number of slots get swallowed up. That’s why I can happily keep so many agent friends—-because even we don’t view ourselves as being in competition with each other. We all recognize that opportunities abound to sell new authors, and there’s room for all of us. It’s no different for an agent who writes while representing authors. In fact, I’d even argue that having an agent who writes is a supreme benefit. For just one example, because of my own publicity efforts for my series, last fall I had an opportunity open up to arrange for several authors to attend a national bookselling conference. Had I not been spending the money myself, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity.

Back to this idea of a limited number of slots, some of which would be potentially seized by the agent-as-author. Here’s the main thing—I have never had a publisher turn down a book that everyone at the house wanted to buy. If they pass, it’s because someone in the chain of command doesn’t think the book will work at that house. Nor do authors miss sales opportunities because other of our clients—or me for that matter—took a piece of finite publishing pie. They reject books because they don’t think they’ll work on their list, or in the market, or because the writing isn’t great, or because they just don’t love it. But if I send an editor three fabulous books, and everyone at the house loves those three books, I will then sell all three. If that’s the case, how is it that an agent also writing “steals” a slice of pie out of a client’s mouth? (terrible analogy, but hey, maybe I’m NOT a writer after all! LOL!) The fact is that it doesn’t.

Having an agent who is also an author gives the client some wonderful benefits: great empathy for their pain, a different way of brainstorming ideas (I’ve personally titled a TON of my authors’ books just b/c I’m good with titles—if I weren’t a writer, I might not have been able to do that), an understanding of publicity. Contacts at media outlets and book chains etc. I can honestly say that I am a better agent today than I was a year ago when I made my first sale as an author. For instance, I now put stronger emphasis on what an author really has to do for publicity—after all, if I’ve spent my entire advance on publicity, I can fairly suggest that the author do so.

Some imagine that the agent’s work is being shopped, head to head with the various clients’ works when in fact the reality is far different: they find their publishing home and settle in to write the books. In other words, my agent isn't sending out new material day after day after day. I’m writing for NAL, delivering the books I’m contracted to write, end of story. And every day I'm shopping my clients' works. End of story.

Here’s some hard data, too, in terms of whether my books at NAL shut our clients out of potential opportunities. I’m published by NAL, sister company to Berkley. In the past year since landing there, we have sold the following to both NAL and Berkley:

Fiction:
Women's/Romance Maureen Child's DUSTING FOR DEMONS, in which a very unexpected birthday gift leaves a thirty-something single mom dealing with the chore of demon killing amongst her daily to-do list, to Rose Hilliard at NAL, in a nice deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency. Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

12 January, 2006 Fiction:
Women's/Romance
Renee Luke's SWEET TREATS, a single-author anthology of three erotic love stories, to Tina Brown at NAL, in a nice deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency (world English).
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

8 July, 2005
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Nalini Singh's SLAVE TO SENSATION, about a young woman born to a race without emotions and her encounter with a group of sensual changelings, and a second untitled book, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, in a nice deal, at auction, by Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency (NA).
Nephele.Tempest@knightagency.net

28 June, 2005
Fiction: General/Other
Debrah Morris's ORPHANHOOD, a humorous 1955-era novel in which two young orphans set out on a road trip and find a new life, and a second untitled novel, in a nice deal, to Ellen Edwards at NAL, by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency (NA). Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

28 February, 2006
Non-fiction:
Religion/Spirituality
Don Piper and Cecil Murphey's 90 MINUTES FROM HEAVEN, a devotional follow up to the bestselling (more than 500,000 copies in print) 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, to Denise Silvestro at Berkley, in a significant deal, in a three-book deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world).
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

24 January, 2006
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Jaci Burton's WILD, WICKED AND WANTON, an erotica novel about three best friends who make a bet and each wind up enjoying a life-altering weekend of sensual abandon, to Kate Seaver at Berkley for Heat, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency.

8 April, 2005

Fiction:
Women's/Romance
Shelley Bradley's first two eroticas, one about a personal security specialist who lures his enemy's sister into a trap he's set for revenge -- only to find that his trap is a two-way street, and the second about the sexual lessons an idealistic ingenue seeks to learn at the hands of a brash ex-Special Forces soldier, to Louisa Edwards at Berkley, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (NA). Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net


23 March, 2005
Fiction:
Women's/Romance
Chris Marie Green (AKA Crystal Green)'s VAMPIRE UNDERGROUND series, about a stuntwoman turned slayer as she searches for her missing father only to uncover an erotically charged vampire society that languishes below the streets of Los Angeles, to Ginjer Buchanan at Berkley, in a very nice deal, by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency (NA).
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net

9 February, 2005
Fiction: Women's/Romance
Shelley Bradley's STRIP SEARCH, about a CPA determined to avenge his past when he goes undercover as an exotic dancer in Vegas, working for a sexy Mafia Princess who may not be innocent in all the ways that matter, to Louisa Edwards at Berkley, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world English).
Deidre.Knight@knightagency.net


Nineteen books are represented by these deal announcements, including one significant deal for half a million dollars (illustrating very well that my ability to negotiate toughly has not been undercut at my own publishing house.) Not one of those editors said, “Wow, we’re all out of room because in February 2005 we acquired Deidre Knight’s romances.” Business went on as usual, book buying and selling went on as usual, and along the way my clients were serviced with the exact same level—if not better—of service they were accustomed to at TKA.

I think the above goes a long way toward illustrating my point. But let’s consider something else—-the argument that an agent will be selfishly pursuing her own interests to the detriment of her clients’ successes is built on another misconception—-that the agent isn’t equally vested in making commissions and building her agenting business.

I’m sure there are plenty of authors out there who would find it uncomfortable to sign with an agency where one of the principals is also writing; in fact, a client of mine fired me right away. A client, by the way, who I had stood with for about two years after she was dropped by her publisher, finally selling her in single title for the first time in her career. Loyalty is such an interesting thing in this business, isn’t it? Her words were that she wanted an agent “focused fully” on her career. Hmm, does this mean agents can’t have children? Read for pleasure? Agents should be machines, focusing only on their clients’ careers, not perhaps gardening or enjoying movies on weekends. So long as the agent is at the office, handling her workload, responding to emails, etc, she/he IS focused on that author’s career. But she’s got another 40 other clients she’s also focusing on, so it’s never a matter of doing so “fully.”

In the end, I think the real answer is to consider the ethics of the agent in question. I’m sure not all agents should write; some may have a decline in their job performance or get behind on reading or might shamelessly self-promote. There are always bad apples growing out in the orchard. But if you examine the fruit of that agent’s labors—have they been selling like mad (we’ve sold 43 titles already this year!), do they have an impeccable reputation, do their clients rave about them—you can easily reach the correct conclusion about the conflict of interest question.

Part of our mission at TKA is to give warm and encouraging support to each client; it’s also about helping make their dreams come true, and taking their careers to the heights writers dream about. Maybe it’s because of that nurturing, author-focused climate, which I have worked hard to create, to maintain, and to pass on as a vision to others, that I find Miss Snark’s column so frustrating.

Thanks, and I welcome all open discussion here.

Deidre

Art!!



Just dropping in to show off the cover art for Nalini Singh's SLAVE TO SENSATION, which is due out in November from Berkley. This art work isn't quite final, but I couldn't help but share anyway. Sexy, no?

A little tease:

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation"— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two powerful races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

I just love the look in his eyes. Among other things...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Continuing the Trend

Stop everything and mark your calendars! Set an Outlook reminder! Prepare lunch...Deidre Knight will be picking up where Elaine Spence left off.

You guessed it...

Deidre Knight
TKA CHATS
March 3, 2006
Noon - 1PM EST

Now I don't have to really ephasize the cool factor of this opportunity! Get those lunches packed and prepare your questions for Friday!

While you wait, check out her new blog posts and website! Excerpts now available for PARALLEL ATTRACTION and new contests to win awesome prizes. (I do promo for a living, couldn't help to take the opportunity to share!)