Thursday, October 05, 2006

Q & A Thursday!

We hope you all are ready because it's Thursday, your chance to rack our brains! Today up on the block we have agent Pamela Harty. Pamela has had a phenomenal year, this woman has been selling projects like their is no tomorrow!
So what what have you got for her? You know the rules, the first five people to post their question will get some wonderful advice and insight from Ms. Pamela. We here at the Knight Agency are here for you, and today Pamela is opening the door to whatever you got! So, what have you been wondering about lately?


Blogger Karmela Johnson said...

Pamela -- was wondering if you regularly read Miss Snark. She had a post yesterday wherein she advised CURRENT CLIENTS not to give her WIPs, but instead give her finished, polished proposals. She basically said that even though you're a current client, she still wants something that she can sell right off the bat. She said she is not an editorial adviser; rather, she is a career/business adviser.

Your thoughts on this? Do you feel the same way?

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 10:37:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley Bell said...

What are the rules regarding historical fiction?

If a purely fictional character was "inspired by" a real person, how can an author dodge the legal bullets?

For instance: A fictional Ohio politician makes his way to fame and fortune by bootlegging during prohibition.

A real Ohio Gov. from that same era was known to be behind the sale of bootleg whiskey in Columbus.

Or what about a fictional Ohio Newspaper owner, with the power to sway presidential elections?

How close is too close?

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 10:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

What a great opportunity!

Here's my question: What genre(s) do you see selling very well right now, in your experience, and are you happy about that trend? Just curious. :D


Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 11:07:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela,

I was wondering if you've noticed any annual cycles in publishing (i.e. whether it's easier to sell a manuscript in the fall when editors are back from the Hamptons/Berkshires).

I understand that good writing will sell in any climate and certainly, I'm not waiting for an equinox. Still, all the businesses I've worked in have followed yearly rhythms of some description.


Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 11:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Brandi Ashland said...

A number of publishers say they are interested in multicultural romances. Aside from the obvious need to be familiar with the culture they're writing about, can you offer any other advice/caveats for authors who would like to write this kind of romance? In particular, do publishers still seem resistant to some types of intercultural relationships between the hero and heroine, or to romances in which the heroine's cultural background differs from the author's?

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 12:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pamela Harty said...

Ok, well it looks like I have my five, so answers will be coming soon. Thanks for the response.

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 1:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pamela Harty said...

Question from Karmela:
To rephrase: Do I like to read WIPs from my clients?

No, I really don't. I like my clients to really polish and proof before they send because once I have read something the first time, I no longer have a fresh set of eyes and dont feel that I can be as objective as I need to be. Also, I think its just professional courtesy for my clients to take the time to see that words are correctly spelled and sentences are sound.

At the same time if an author wants to run something by me to see if its working, or clear then of course I am happy to read and give feedback.

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 1:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pamela Harty said...

Another good question here. How close is too close?

Kelley, I dont know how the publishing law applies here. It might just be a matter of whether or not the subject is still living. Robert Penn Warren's All the Kings Men is a good example. Main character Wiilie Stark is not so loosely based on Louisana Govenor Huey Long who died in 1935. Warren's book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1946. I would get a legal opinion on this one.

Another approach would be how thinly can a persons identity be veiled? Would changing the setting from Indiana to Ohio be enough to disguise someone?

I dont mean to ramble here but I just dont know the legal answer.

Nepehele, Deidre or Elaine? Thoughts on this one? Feel free to chime in here.

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 1:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pamela Harty said...

Rhonda's question. What's selling right now?

Paranormal, urban fantasy and YA remain strong. Of course, erotic romance is hot.

I have had more than one editor ask recently if we had any hot, historical manuscripts to submit. I would certainly say that contemporary romance and chicklit are tough markets right now. And it is no secret that catagory romance is experiencing some growing pains as well. I also think there is an uptrend in romantic suspense.

The inspirational market is expanding too as we look at some of the recent mergers in publishing. Howard Publishing was recently puchased by S&S, and Multnomah was purchased by RH.

Of course....great writing, fresh ideas and high concept are paramount. Do we sound like a broken record here at TKA?

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 2:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pamela Harty said...

Annual cycles in publishing?

January/first quarter is usually a busy time as everyone is eager to get going after the holidays and a new year is starting.
Things are a little slower in summer particulary in August when many people do take time away from the office. (much deserved time away)

Since many offers are based on mulitple reads, when editors are out the process can slow down some.

Fall is another busy time. Alot happens between Labor day and the first of December.

Truthfully, most of us feel busy all the time!

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 2:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pamela Harty said...

I still owe you an answer and will get to it a bit later in my day.

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 2:37:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous pamelaharty said...

OK, Brandi
Here's your answer.

I think opportunites for African American writers are greater now than ever before. It seems as if publishers are realizing what a huge market this is, and they dont want to miss the boat.

This said, I do think the bar is being raised. The market is more crowded and expectations are higher. Stories have to be stronger, and I think this translates into more varied story lines and more muticultural relationships which is a better reflection of our society in 2006.

Hope this helps.

Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 10:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

Thank you kindly for taking time to answer my question! I appreciate it.

Friday, October 6, 2006 at 8:05:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley Bell said...

FYI, for anyone out there interested in the liability question:

I found an article by Alan J. Kaufman, Defining Libel in Fiction
October, 2001
PMA Publishers Marketing Association

Kaufman has 25 years of experience as a Publishing Attorney, and served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel to Penguin Books.

He states: "The dead cannot be defamed, because the law holds that a person’s reputation dies when a person dies."

So I guess that clears my case, but for more information, read his article at:

Friday, October 6, 2006 at 9:01:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Karmela Johnson said...

THanks Pamela!

Friday, October 6, 2006 at 10:35:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

More on legal issues for writers...

I had to change the name of one of my characters (a governor's son) because the name I'd given him was the name of an actual past governor. My publisher's legal team vets my manuscript.

Friday, October 6, 2006 at 11:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Hi, Pamela!

Friday, October 6, 2006 at 4:01:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous prophet barabus said...

I know I'm late, but if there's any way you could answer this, it'd be keen:

I'm currently hawking a sharp psycho-thriller to hard-to-impress agents, and that's hungry work. What's a healthier ice cream: Breyers or Edy's?


Monday, October 9, 2006 at 11:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Sir John said...

I am in the process of designing a web site to attract agents. After I get an agent,it will be changed. It would be interesting to get your opinion on it. It is located at

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 12:07:00 PM EDT  

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