Once again, the Lord has blessed me with much more than I deserve. My family and I are healthy and happy and He continues to provide abundantly.
I am grateful to you, my readers, and so to help you, I offer my perspective on the business:
At the start of 2014, I happily represented a robust list of Heartsong authors. As we all know, the line is poised to shut down this year. I appreciate the fact that Harlequin has shown the utmost integrity and consideration in this situation that is of course sad and tough for Heartsong authors. I look forward to working with Harlequin and other houses in hopes of placing my Heartsong authors elsewhere.
I believe that 2014 has seen a dramatic shift in attitudes regarding indie-published authors and in indie publishing as a business. Indie publishing used to be lumped in with vanity publishing, but now many indie authors have earned respect and readers. The lack of oversight here still means there is some chaff among the wheat, but I think there is much wheat to be harvested. I see the value of some authors shoring up their careers in traditional publishing with indie titles when and if appropriate. To that end. I see myself as a partner in helping those who wish to be hybrid authors manage these two parts of their careers.
As a literary agent, I see no real change regarding how I will help authors succeed. My goal is to present the finest books possible to the top tier publishers. Through the talent and hard work of my authors, we have found great success. I am privileged to represent many prominent authors with loyal readers and excellent publishers working with the best editors in the business. I see traditional publishers becoming more savvy by the day on how to market books in both hard copy and electronically. Once again, they have proven themselves adaptable to the ever-changing market. As I tell my authors, traditional publishers thrive because they are smart. I enjoy working with traditional publishers and hope to keep and increase the number of successful authors I have contracted with them.
This is a great time to be a debut author.
For fiction, the key is to take the time you need to write a fresh story. When considering your new plot, what is a twist that hasn’t been done before? Is there a way for your story to break ground without being so far out that no one knows how to market it? Disciplined authors writing with these attitudes are likely to succeed. As an agent, I see my role as identifying new and established authors with fresh ideas and presenting their stories to editors.
For nonfiction, a fresh idea is also key but so is platform. As you work on your book, take the time to develop and grow your blog and social media. As an agent, I want to assure editors that you have an audience looking for you, your topic and your book.
As you have gathered, I expect 2015 to look different from 2014 because publishing continues to change. However, I think most of these changes are positive and will ultimately bring readers more quality books. I am grateful to be a part of this business, and for my journey with so many talented authors.
How will 2015 be different for you?
What is the freshest plot you have seen this past year?
Have you recently read a new nonfiction book with a new take on a needed topic?
Happy New Year, Tamela. I hope it’ll be an amazing year for you and your family.
The nonfiction story that has inspired many conversations for my family is the story of Louis Zamperini. We all loved the movie, Unbroken. My son finished the biography of Mr. Zamperini, and passed it on to my husband first. He said it’s ten times better than the movie, and then he talked about it. I imagine as each one of us reads the book, we’ll have even more conversations.
We started the story in 2014, but it’s carrying over into 2015. I’m not sure if it’s the freshest story of the year, but it’s inspiring and making an impact on my family.
I thought of the book Unbroken as I read Tamela’s post and before I read your comment. I read it last fall, and was totally captivated by how well Laura Hillenbrand was able to capture the essence of Louis Zampereni’s life. A great book, which my daughter is currently reading.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I understand that (as with most movie adaptations) some key portions have been glossed over…or omitted. Your son may well be correct in his assessment, but I won’t elaborate because I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone.
The movie wasn’t easy to watch, but we all left glad we’d seen it. I can’t wait to read the book. I think my son is glad we saw the movie first. If it’d been the other way, we may have been disappointed. But the movie inspired us to learn more about Louis.
I plan to focus on finishing my book while I build my platform. Ordinary life, move out of the way.
Thank you for the insight and helpful advice, Tamela. Just out is Fight Back With Joy by Margaret Feinberg. I realize it isn’t a 2014 book, but I have the privilege of being on the launch team so I’ve already read a good portion of it and it has been so encouraging and helpful. I believe it is what people need at this time when life is very uncertain and challenging for so many all over the world. Looking forward to reading and watching Unbroken. I’ve heard it’s great.
Sandy Faye Mauck
Yes, changes are kind of scary. But I am in hopes for this year being the big new change as I edit my way to sending out my manuscript.
Hello Tamela. I’m new to the SLA blog, but wanted you to know that I was uplifted by your post today. As a new writer, it’s a daunting reality check to find out how much there is to learn. But it’s encouraging that you believe 2015 may well be a good year for debut authors! 😉
As for the book with the most memorable plot twist, The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin comes to mind. It came out several years ago, but I just read it last fall. Hauntingly unforgettable.
Thank you for sharing your insights.
Wendy L. Macdonald
Thank you, Tamela, for this encouraging post. I especially appreciate the advice you’ve given to new authors.
The changes 2015 will hold for me are concerning my decision to become more involved with the writing community so that I can encourage, be encouraged and improve my craft.
So far, since January 1st, I’ve posted Amazon and Goodreads reviews of the recent books I’ve read. It felt wonderful to reward good writing.
Blessings ~ Wendy ❀
Intriguing post Tamela. Happy New Year!
A. 2015 will be different for me because I finished my first manuscript on Christmas eve 2014.
B The freshest plot I have seen this past year (here comes the Dick Cheney findings) is mine, of course.
My challenge for 2014 was writing a great Christian fiction novel, it was all new to me.
My challenge for 2015 is what to do with my new novel, this is all new to me as well.
I learned much about writing and the techniques and disciplines that I needed to develop and master that would combine to greatly contribute to my “voice” and style.
I will be reaching out to others who I don’t know who would be qualified and willing to read my manuscript and offer sincere, candid, honest feedback in the not too distant future. I am excluding any family and friends from this process because I feel it would be impossible for them to be objective. Any volunteers or recommendations?
I am looking forward to further researching and eventually mastering the challenge of what is the best route to do with a manuscript once completed.
In this spirit I reached out and learned from a wise old extension agent a long time ago after buying investment farm acreage then wondering what to grow on it. I didn’t know and still have never met this individual in person but they imparted great wisdom to me on our first and only communication by telephone. I will never forget what he said, “Its not what you can produce, its what you can sell”. Truer words have rarely been spoken.
So, as pertains to my writing I have made the investment of the research and effort I put into completing my manuscript. I will now find out if there is any market for my chosen crop. On to an exciting 2015!
Psalm 65:9-11 World English Bible (WEB)
9.You visit the earth, and water it.
You greatly enrich it.
The river of God is full of water.
You provide them grain, for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows.
You level its ridges.
You soften it with showers.
You bless it with a crop.
You crown the year with your bounty.
Your carts overflow with abundance.