Thursday, June 14, 2007

Q&A Thursday!!!



Good morning, all! Yes, it's Q&A from the West Coast, hence the slightly late start. As you know, one of us tries to offer ourselves up to answer your questions once each week, and today it's my turn. So, have a burning desire to ask something about the agency, publishing, writing, agents, publicity or whatever? I'll take the first five questions to be posted. So pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair, and have at it!

~Nephele

11 Comments:

Anonymous Julie Rowe said...

Hi Nephele,

Is there a particular genre or type of submission you just aren't seeing enough of?

I was chatting with a Harlequin editor recently at a conference and asked this question. Her response was, "I'd like to see more romances with medical elements in them."

So, what would you like to see more of?

Cheers, Julie Rowe

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 1:53:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous phoenix said...

Hi Nephele!

My question arc is about publicity. Is there an average number of dollars a mid-list book receives for publicity? Does the marketing department share their marketing plans and expectations for books? And what is a fiction author usually expected to contribute in the way of publicity (Website, blog, pens, bookmarks - what?)?

Thanks in advance for your insight!

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 1:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi Julie,

Personally, I'm looking for some good urban fantasy, either in romance or straight fantasy. Something gritty and different. Beyond that, I'm always up for good romantic suspense and paranormals--those are my favorites in romance. I'd love a good women's fiction novel, too--something that doesn't have that chick-lit voice, but a good, strong female protagonist with an intriguing journey.

~Nephele

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 2:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi Phoenix,

Publicity is always a tricky thing, and you'll be hard pressed to find out what your publisher is spending on it unless you have a big book and it's determined up front as part of the signing deal. Sadly, it's an ever-shrinking number, particularly for mid-list authors who aren't getting that push for being new, and aren't getting a push for being super successful.

As for expectations of the author, a publisher will never say you have to run out and print up bookmarks or anything of that nature. You do agree to do certain things as part of your contract--cooperate with their efforts, which might include doing interviews they set up or going on tour if you're lucky, or be as simple as providing them with headshots for their use in the book jacket and on the publisher's web site.

Your willingness to do your own publicity, however, might just make or break your career. It's important to understand that, in a tight market, it's really useful to do something to make your work stand out for readers. A web site is really a must these days. Other than that, my advice is to look at your strengths and work from there. Try to be creative. Blogs are great if you have that voice and the ability to show up several times each week and provide readers with entertaining content. If not, don't even go there--you'll just shoot yourself in the foot. Other ideas include looking at contacts you might have through day jobs, friends and family, etc. Talk to librarians and bookstore owners. Find out what your house-assigned publicity person is doing and make sure you compliment those efforts instead of repeating them. And consider hiring a publicity person on your own, if you're willing to spend a bit of money but aren't sure at the end of the day what you can pull off on your own. Rates vary widely, and you can generally find someone who can help on a small scale as well as more broadly.

Hope this helps!
~Nephele

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 2:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger beverley said...

Do you believe that a new author should stick to one genre? I've read contemporary the majority of my life and started reading historicals about 3 years later (this is well on about 25 years of reading). My true love is historicals but I also would love to write comtemporaries.

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 3:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Terry Stone said...

Hello Nephele,

My question is regarding genres. I see that you like paranormals, urban fiction, and romantic suspense. I, unfortunately, don't write any of those.

I am writing a historical set in the American West, and as I look around at all the different sites and blogs, I am starting to think that I should find a new genre, even though I think my voice best suits everyday people in America. I guess my question would be, is there a market for a manuscript like mine?

I know personally, I love it when I happen upon an American setting, but they are getting harder and harder to find, especially in single title length. Almost all of the new books are Regency era or a variation thereof, and I am afraid I made it harder on myself to get published by the genre I feel most comfortable in.

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 3:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi Nephele,

My last project was nicely rejected by the Knight agency, with the wording to 'keep us in mind for future queries'. My question is do I somehow mention that in my query on the new project or just leave it unsaid?

Thanks!

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 3:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi Beverly,

While it's possible to write in more than one sub-genre, I think it's easiest to establish yourself by sticking to one for a while. Your readers want to get to know you and to get a feel for what to expect from you. However, once you have several books under your belt, if you feel able to handle a busier writing schedule, you can write more than one type of book--either both under your own name, or sometimes using a pseudonym for one set of books.

Hope this helps!
~Nephele

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 6:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi Terry,

I think historicals in general have been tough for a while now, and are just starting to come back a bit. A great many of the historical romances coming out recently have tended to be from established authors, which has made the area that much harder to break into than the general market.

That said, I wouldn't stop writing what you love--you might just want to consider broadening your base a bit to give yourself more of a chance to get your foot in the door.

As for what agents take, well, it's largely personal taste, but also affected by what we feel we can sell. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Western historicals--but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of agents who are. Good luck!

~Nephele

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 6:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi Lisa,

We always like to know if someone has queried us with other projects, no matter whether we felt the idea wasn't quite right for us or we read all the way to manuscript stage and it ultimately did not make the cut. At the very least, we love persistence, which is an important part of having a career as a writer! So, please do indicate if you've been rejected by us before, and by whom. Thanks for your continued interest!

~Nephele

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 6:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Okay, folks! That's it for today. Thanks to all of you for some great, varied questions.

~Nephele

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 6:42:00 PM EDT  

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