Week 8

This week I learned some new publishing vocabulary. First serial rights and second serial rights. This is because a new client had previously self published one of her books to no success. So instead of negotiating for the first serial rights, like normally we do with publishers, we were negotiating for the second rights, which means that they were buying the rights to the reprint. The term serial actually has nothing to do with whether or not a book will be published in a series. It is because books used to be published in newspapers and magazines in small little excerpts, called series. 

I also learned a bunch of the different imprints which are sections of the big five publishers. The Big Five publishers are Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, MacMillan, and Simon & Schuster. Within each of these publishing houses they will have different imprints such as William Morrow Publishing or HarperTeen. this allows them to divide their resources up. Sometimes these imprints were smaller publishers that were bought out by one of the Big Five. 

It’s been another interesting week interning for Fuse literary! Till next time

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Week 7– midterm review

Emily decided to close her query box because there are just so many queries coming through, so now is a time to buckle down and clear it out once and for all. As I look back upon what I’ve learned this semester, I can definitely see how much I’ve learned about publishing, especially in regards to the submission process

  1. Query letters are like cover letters, they introduce your manuscript. Without a strong query, good luck getting your manuscript past even the intern (aka me…)
  2. Query letters should be brief, but also manage to include the general plot line of your book, the target market, and why it’s publishable.
  3. Having a full manuscript requested does not mean the agent will sign you as an author. Your first ten pages sent in the query could be great, when the rest of the manuscript falls flat.
  4. Once you sign an author, more often than not, you have a lot of edits to do in order to submit to publishers.
  5. Publishers are difficult to hear back from, and sometimes you’ll have to nudge them in order to get a response.
  6. You’ll definitely need to have clients in all phases of the publishing process at any point in time: query, request for a full, contracted clients, revisions, submission, and negotiation with the publishers.
  7. You need more than one book deal per year to be able to survive in New York City, or any city for that matter.

It’s been interesting so far, to say the least.

More to come!

Week 6 

  This week I learned about licensing. Emily emailed me an article about one of her friend’s clients doing a licensing deal with Disney. The author’s middle grade series (ages 9-13 or so) has been licensed to Disney Channel for a pilot. Now often times nothing will come of the rights, even if there are bidding wars for the acquisition. For example, the rights for “Magic in Manhattan”, a series by Sarah Mylnowski were bought years ago, and recently extended by Disney, however nothing has ever come of these rights. (Probably because Disney had a show with a very similar premise and they were covering their tracks.)

  Agents negotiate licensing and rights in authors’ contracts with publishers on the author’s behalf. In the agent’s own contract with their author/client, they negotiate the agent’s commission on the movie/ TV rights. This is how famed agent Jodi Reamer has done well for herself, as she is Stephanie Meyer’s (Twilight saga) and John Green’s (The Fault in Our Stars, and Paper Towns) agent. 

More later! 

Week 5

Another week of emptying out Emily’s query boxes. Emily has had so many queries lately that she’s overwhelmed. She said I could go through and send a form rejection letter to any author whose query wasn’t sent under the submission guidelines, whose manuscript would need significant edits to submit to publishers, and whose story concept has been oversaturated in the market lately. Which meant a lot of rejections. 

  However, Emily does want to find some new material to sign some new authors. So she participated in the #pitmad trend on Twitter. This is when authors submit their pitch in a tweet, so less than 140 characters. During #pitmad, which stands for Pitch Madness, when an agent favorites the author’s tweet it signals they would like to have read this piece. Emily posted the query email and that if she favorited the piece to email her the first 10 pages of the manuscript. This resulted in over 100 new queries! So I obviously have some reading to do. 

Still no news on submissions, I think Emily will send nudge letters out again this week. Here’s hoping for news this time next week!

Week 4

What’s a pitch competition? I learned the answer to this question as Emily went on the road this week. Emily attended the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference as a speaker this weekend, where she gave a presentation about how getting an agent works. She also attended the aforementioned pitch competition, which is where unsigned authors pitch their book in person to agents in hopes that they are interested in representing their book. This essentially is an in person query, and allows the agents to get to know if their personalities would match with the author’s, among other things. If Emily liked the pitch, she would give the author her business card inviting them to skip the query process and send her the full manuscript. I now get to read 8 new full manuscripts in the inbox! (In addition to the 50+ incoming queries each day…)

Emily is still continuing the submission process with her clients, but she has accepted a new client, a young author named Camryn Garrett. Sometimes a full manuscript is completely ready to send straight to publishers for submission, but more often then not, Emily will go through with notes and write edit letters to her clients. That’s what she’s doing with Ms. Garrett’s piece. I’m excited to see this one go out for submission, and hope to hear back from publishers regarding all of the submissions soon! 

Week 3

This week I learned about the “nudge”. When editors at publishers become unresponsive and you need action, you send them a kind but slightly passive-aggressive “nudge” letter. Emily had sent a pitch to an editor about six weeks ago, after reading that the editor had requested LGTBQ fantasy. So the editor had a demonstrated interest in the manuscript, but still hadn’t responded to Emily. So Emily wrote a nudge letter, which she bcc’d me in. It basically was similar to a regular pitch letter in its inclusion of a summary, why the manuscript is publishable, and the author biography. However nudge letter also includes the date that Emily sent the original pitch and a request for action. In this case, Emily had interest from other publishers, but thought that this house would be a better fit. So Emily was able to say in her letter that there had been interest. 

Still waiting to hear if any of Emily’s other pitches will result in any offers.

Week Two

  Emily asked me to review one of her drafts for a pitch this week. She is currently pitching a middle grade novel by Lauren Allbright. Called “How to Be Funny”, the novel is about a boy researching exactly that, how to be funny, and includes graphs and drawings. 

 I noticed a basic structure of the short pitch letter Emily will send out to publishers, hoping for a book deal. The pitch includes a paragraph long synopsis, a word count, a description of the age range/ target market, and similar authors to the manuscript’s style. It also includes a brief biography of the author. That’s it. The letter would fit on one page but is still designed to be attention grabbing. The pitch letter will be attached to an email along with a manuscript. 

I’m excited for Emily to send this out to childrens’ publishers like HarperCollins Children and Scholastic. Once an editor at a publishing house makes an offer, there will be a contract negotiation involving things like royalties and an advance. I hope that Ms. Allbright is offered a deal so I get to experience contract negotiation during my internship. 

Until next time!