May

1

2012

Christian Book Awards

Congratulations to our client Mesu Andrews (represented by Karen Ball) for winning the 2012 Christian Book Award for best New Author!

Here is the list of winners:

CHRISTIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR

  • Nearing Home, Billy Graham (Thomas Nelson)

Category: BIBLES

  • ESV Student Study Bible (Crossway)

Category: BIBLE REFERENCE

  • Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, Glen G. Scorgie (Zondervan)

Category: CHILDREN

  • The Story for Children, A Storybook Bible, Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill (Zonderkidz)

Category: FICTION

  • The Queen, Steven James (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group)

Category: INSPIRATION

  • The Law of Happiness, Dr. Henry Cloud (Howard Books)

Category: NEW AUTHOR

  • Love Amid the Ashes, Mesu Andrews (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group)

Category: NON-FICTION

Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, Greg Paul (Thomas Nelson)

May

1

2012

News You Can Use – May 1, 2012

Amanda Hocking is Happy with her Publisher – An update from the woman whose self-published ebooks garnered a monster traditional deal.

10 Best First Lines in Fiction – Chosen by editors at the Guardian (UK). Do you agree or disagree?

How We Will Read in the Future – An excellent interview with Maria Popova, the curator for the great BrainPickings blog. (The article is about 2,500 words long so take your time to absorb her thoughts.)

The Return of the Novella – “The Atlantic” article things this art form will have a resurgence. I contend it has been around, but not in a sizeable way. Try presenting one to a publisher and then talk about how easy they will eventually sell to the public.

How Do You Know You’ve Made it as a Writer? - Steve Ulfelder attempts to answer the question right after being nominated for an award for his first novel.

Market Your Book Through Google Ads – Ever wondered if this is a good use of your money? And if so, how you would go about it? Vikram Narayan does an excellent job introducing the idea. If it works, let us know!

The Most “Kindled” City in the U.S. - The answer may surprise you. The analysis of the whole article is fascinating.

Four Best Twitter Tools – Agree? Any you want to add?

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Apr

30

2012

Blood, Guts and Peanuts: What it’s Like Writing with Ted Dekker

Guest blog by Tosca Lee

Our guest today is Tosca Lee, author of Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve. She is also the co-author with Ted Dekker of the NYTimes bestseller Forbidden. The next book in that series will be out this Summer. A sought-after speaker and former Mrs. Nebraska, Tosca was a senior consultant for a global consulting firm until turning to writing full-time. She holds a degree in English and International Relations from Smith College and also studied at Oxford University. Please visit her web site at www.toscalee.com.

__________

People ask me often what it’s like writing with Ted. “Is he weird?” they say. “Does he really paint his nails/eat small children/write from a dungeon?”

Of course he’s weird. As weird as anyone else who grew up with cannibals. As strange as your average seven million bookselling novelist who lives mostly on peanuts and barbeque in Texas and, you know, speaks an obscure language known only to remote tribes in Papua New Guinea.

Or as weird as you and me.

And yet, the questions persist. “He scares me,” author friends confess in low tones.

He scares me, too. Because, you know, it’s just not healthy to eat that many peanuts.

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Apr

27

2012

Fun Fridays – April 27, 2012

How many book characters do you count in this short video? And what are their names?

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Apr

26

2012

On Reading the Classics

by Tamela Hancock Murray

“A classic is a book which people praise and don’t read.” 

This quote attributed to Mark Twain made me think of classics I didn’t enjoy, but also those I did. I have a lifelong habit of choosing classics for my leisure reading.

When I was in the seventh grade, I enjoyed Gone with the Wind so much I read it a second time. Unfortunately, this intense involvement in the full story caused me to be very disappointed in the movie when I saw it for the first time in college because time constraints meant they had to leave out too much of the 1200-page plot.

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Apr

25

2012

Romancing the Readers

by Karen Ball

I had a conversation with a writer friend a few weeks ago. She was telling me that the book she’s writing is, at the core, a romance, and no one was more surprised than she. “I don’t know a thing about writing romances,” she confessed. “Any tips?” I sent her an email with my thoughts, and that was that. Then she emailed me a few days ago:

I just re-read this [email] as I’m still struggling through the end of my ms. This is an unbelievably beautiful note! It would make a great blog post on how to write romance….”

Well! I took a look at it, and I think she’s got something there. It does lend itself well to a blog. So I did a little editing, and here you go. If you find yourself writing a romance and you’re not quite sure about it, here are some things to keep in mind about the hero and heroine:

* The reader needs to see their attraction as believable. In other words, Not just because he’s handsome and she’s beautiful. As with real romance, let their feelings surprise them, then show those feelings growing as an organic part of the story. That’s not to say they can’t be immediately attracted to one another, or that one can’t be immediately attracted to the other. That instant spark does happen. But make sure readers see good reasons for romance—and love–to grow between them. Think about it. What’s more romantic than a man who treats women and children with respect? What’s more appealing to a man than a woman who honors and respects him? It’s not about Tarzan meets Jane, it’s about character and integrity and true strength and beauty.

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Apr

24

2012

News You Can Use – April 24, 2012

How to Pay a Ghost – Great post on how ghostwriting works.

A Noah’s Ark for Books! – Brewster Kahle is storing a copy of every book ever published. Spending millions on storage and scanning. Fascinating.

Search Google by Reading Level – Refine your searches! Who knew Google could do this too?

Yet Another Supreme Court Case Concerning Book Sales - This time dealing with the “grey” market of reselling used books.

BookTango – A new social reading site. Check it out!

The Dirty Secret of Overnight Success – I love this article. Read it and then get back to work.

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Apr

23

2012

How Can You Manage So Many Clients?

by Steve Laube

I am frequently asked this question. It is perfectly understandable as many agencies carry a sizeable list of clients. A prospective client or even an existing one wonders, “Will this agent or agency have time for me?”

We post a list of our clients on the web site because we are honored to work with so many gifted people. Not every agency makes their client list public. It is neither right nor wrong, it is merely a preference. As of this morning we have over 150 clients on our roster.

Proper management of a client base is all about communication and work flow. The best metaphor I’ve been able to use to describe how a literary agency works is “We are like a major airline that is always overbooked but never flies full. But if everyone show up at the gate at the same time, we would be in serious trouble.”

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Apr

20

2012

Fun Fridays – April 20, 2012

An appropriate caption for this cartoon could be “What every author wishes they could say to an editor.”

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Apr

19

2012

The Mystery of the Slush Pile

by Tamela Hancock Murray

When you submit a manuscript or query to an agent, you may wonder what happens to it, and what our thought processes are regarding the properties we offer to represent versus those we must respectfully decline. Every agent is different, but you may find learning about my process helpful.

I have a very smart assistant. When she reviews my slush pile submissions, she goes through a winnowing process.

The first submissions she rejects are those that are obviously not a fit for me. These include:

1.) Stream of consciousness submissions. If she can’t figure out what you are talking about, she sends it back. By this we don’t mean that we don’t understand systematic theology. It means that the query letter is incoherent.

2.) Error-ridden letters. Even the best of us can type “here” when we meant to type “hear” but more than one error in a final letter is a red flag that either the author is not well-versed in basic grammar or will turn in careless, sloppy work.

3.) We rarely acknowledge queries sent as an email blast in the cc line to the entire industry. It is a form of spam. Target a select few and then personalize your proposal to each.

4.) Books that aren’t in categories we represent.

Submissions that bypass these four problems, among others, and otherwise show promise are passed on to a reader. The reader looks for factors such as:

1.) Excellent writing.

2.) For fiction, coherent plot.

3.) For nonfiction, whether the intended audience is likely to connect with the topic.

4.) Overall message of book, whether fiction or nonfiction.

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