"Hunger Games" Author to Return With Children's Picture Book

Suzanne Collins' Year of the Jungle

Suzanne Collins’ upcoming Year of the Jungle

Suzanne Collins, author of the wildly popular Hunger Games trilogy will return to market September 2013 with Year of the Jungle, POSTSCRIPT’D reports. The story about a little girl whose father ships off to war, specifically the titular jungle of Vietnam, is aimed at an audience far younger than Collins’ Hunger Games devotees, but with so many families fragmented by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars–and print sales for children’s fiction among the only categories growing in the print category, it’s likely to hit the bestseller list as well. The Amazon description reads: “When young Suzy’s father leaves for Vietnam, she struggles to deal with his absence. What is the jungle like? Will her father be safe? When will he return? The months slip by, marked by the passing of the familiar holidays and the postcards that her father sends. With each one, he feels more and more distant, and when he returns, Suzy must learn that even though war has changed him, he still loves her just the same.” 

Random House Adds Three New Digital-Only Imprints

Random House expands with three new digital-only imprints: Flirt, Alibi, and Hydra

Flirt, Alibi, and Hydra: Random House’s new digital-only imprints

Just a month after Random House announced its merger with Penguin, Random House expands its digital business with three new imprints for digital readers. According to Publishers Weekly, the new imprints Alibi, Flirt, and Hydra will publish mystery, YA, and science-fiction titles respectively. The publisher also plans to fortify its digital-only romance imprint Loveswept. Gina Wachtel, Vice-President and Associate Publisher who will oversee the editorial teams responsible for the digital imprints, suggested that new authors might “find their first home” in these new ebook lines.  Wachtel told PW,”This dedicated team understands both the content and medium, and can effectively break out authors in the digital space.”

ICM Partners with Sagalyn Agency, United Agents Acquires AP Watt

author David Maraniss

David Maraniss, author of Barack Obama: The Story

Penguin and Random House are not the only entities joining forces to get bigger and stronger in the book industry these days. Publishers Weekly reports International Creative Management, better known as ICM, which represents Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison has partnered with Sagalyn Literary, the DC-based agency that represents David Maraniss’s bestseller Barack Obama: The Storywhile TheBookseller.com posts that AP Watt, the agency that represented Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, On Beauty, and recent NW before Smith’s agent Georgia Garrett left for Rogers, Coleridge & White, has been acquired by United Agents.

For writers, these new alliances offer hints as to what these powerhouse agencies may be leaning toward in terms of content. With Sagalyn bringing strong political writers to the table and ICM representing a cadre of strong Hollywood talent, it would seem political  narrative non-fiction and fiction that lends itself to screen adaptation would be welcome at the new ICM/Sagalyn. Likewise, at the new UA, authors with an idiosyncratic voice and global worldview might feel very much at home.

How'd You Get Published: Leslea Newman

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman is a novel-in-verse that explores the murder of Matthew Shepard. It was published by Candlewick Press on September 25, 2012.

What inspired you to write October Mourning?

In October 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was kidnapped, robbed, beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. Eighteen hours passed before he was discovered and taken to a hospital. He died five days later with his family at his side. It was the beginning of Gay Awareness Week at the University of Wyoming, and I was the keynote speaker. I arrived to find a devastated campus and community. The brutality of Matt’s death shook the world. October Mourning is my personal response to this hate crime. The book is a cycle of 68 poems told in fictitious monologues from various points of view including the truck Matt was kidnapped in, the fence he was tied to, the stars that watched over him, and a deer that kept him company all through the night.

How/why did you choose the publisher of October Mourning

Candlewick is a fantastic independently-owned publisher of books for children and young adults. I have wanted to work with them for some time and I was very pleased and honored to have my work accepted for publication by them. They were the first children’s book publisher I approached.

Leslea Newman has written over 64 books

Please share the details of your publication process.

After the book was accepted, I kept waiting and waiting for my editor to send me notes, and finally she sent me an email telling me that she had no notes; the poems were perfect just as they were. This had never happened to me before. However, there is a long section of “Notes” at the back of the book, which gives factual information about Matthew Shepard’s murder. The copyeditor did a very thorough job with the notes, checking my research, quotes, facts, etc. I am forever grateful for her meticulous attention to detail. It was a long, arduous process, and I learned a great deal. As for the cover, I always knew that the fence, which has become such an iconic symbol, would appear on the cover, and the artist did a fantastic job. The book was accepted for publication in December 2010 and I held a copy in my hand in September 2012.

How did your publisher support you once the book was finished? 

My publisher sent me to the National Council of Teachers of English conference, set up school visits, sent out many advanced reading copies, nominated my book for awards, and did everything I ever could have asked for and more.

Would you recommend other writers seek publication with Candlewick? 

Candlewick is an awesome press and I would absolutely recommend them with no hesitation whatsoever. They respect their writers and support them completely.

What’s the biggest revelation you’ve had about the publishing business in your experience getting published? 

I have been publishing books for a long time (since 1980!) so I’m not sure that I had any big revelation when this particular book was published. I will say that this is the first time I focused so heavily on marketing via the internet. I learned how important it is to have a web presence. In addition to posting on Facebook and tweeting, I wrote many guest blog posts and I realized that I enjoyed doing so.

What advice do you have for authors currently shopping their manuscripts for publication? 

First of all, make sure your book is absolutely the best it can possibly be. Write, rewrite, get feedback on it, rewrite again. What you want to present is a book that an agent or editor cannot not accept. It has to be so good that it will keep an editor or agent reading long past his or her bedtime. Once you have your book in the best shape it can be in, do your homework. Choose an editor or agent to approach for a specific reason (don’t just randomly pick someone). Always be professional in your dealings with people. Remember, agents and editors acquire writers, not manuscripts. In other words, be someone that an agent wants to develop a relationship with over a long period of time. And most important of all, believe in yourself, have patience, and while you are shopping your book around, start your next project.

Watch the trailer for October Mourning.

"Eat, Drink, & Be Literary" with Junot Diaz

MacArthur Genius Grant Recipient Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz

The roster for the 2013 season of “Eat, Drink & Be Literary” looks amazing! Presented by BAM and the National Book Awards, aspiring writers and literary fans will have the chance to socialize with and learn from a host of literary stars including Pulitzer Prize winner and recent MacArthur Genius Award recipient Junot Diaz, Jamaica Kincaid, and Colson Whitehead. Starting in January and running through June at BAMcafé, tix are $55 which includes admission to the reading, dinner, wine, tax, and tip. If you buy tickets for five or more “Eat, Drink & Be Literary” events, you’re eligible to save 20%.

Tickets go on sale December 10 to Friends of BAM and December 17 to the general public. Tickets can be purchased by calling BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100 or by visiting BAM.org. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the BAM Box Office (Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue from 10a-6p Monday—-Friday; 12-—6p on Saturday; and 12-—4p on Sundays.

Save the Date(s)!

The featured authors and moderators are:
January 23
Martin Amis, Author

Deborah Treisman, Moderator

February 6
Colson Whitehead, Author

Deborah Treisman, Moderator

February 27
Nell Freudenberger, Author

Phillip Lopate, Moderator

March 6
Jamaica Kincaid, Author

Phillip Lopate, Moderator

April 3
Junot Díaz, Author

Deborah Treisman, Moderator

May 8
Alison Bechdel, Author

Phillip Lopate, Moderator

May 29
Richard Russo, Author

Harold Augenbraum, Moderator

June 5
Keith Gessen and Masha Gessen, Authors

Phillip Lopate, Moderator

Amazon Publishing Expands to Europe

Barnes & Noble’s refusal to carry Amazon’s print titles may have caused the internet publisher to set its sights on Europe. Yesterday, Amazon’s Publishing VP Jeff Belle explained Amazon’s  expansion plans in a letter (excerpted below; hyperlinks are mine) to literary agents:

Vicky Griffith, who as Publisher of our West Coast Group, has been instrumental in launching our US business, will be relocating from Seattle after the New Year to help support this effort. We will begin staffing a team of editors and marketers, and ensure we are expanding the English language audience for our authors, with a focus on our English language bookstores on amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr,amazon.it and amazon.es.

As Vicky hops the pond, we will make a few organizational changes in the US, centralizing key functions and positioning us for continued growth.  Larry Kirshbaum, Publisher of our East Coast Group, will now assume editorial leadership for our Seattle and New York adult imprints, as well as Amazon Children’s Publishing. Daphne Durham will step into the role of Editor-in-Chief across all of our adult imprints, reporting to Larry. Amazon veteran Amy Bates will oversee Operations across our entire publishing business. West Coast Marketing chief Mikyla Bruder will oversee our global marketing efforts across all imprints. Philip Patrick, who has been leading our rights and licensing team, will now lead our larger business development, rights and sales teams across all imprints. And another long-time Amazon veteran, Brooke Gilbert, will continue to lead our dedicated Author Services team.

We remain determined to invent ways to help authors reach more readers.

Read the full letter on PaidContent.org.

1978 Copyright Act Lets Authors Break Contracts with Publishers in 2013

Rights for Judy Blume's "Wifey", published in 1978, could revert back to Blume according to the 1978 Copyright Act

Judy Blume’s “Wifey” was published in 1978

Authors who published books in 1978 could benefit from a copyright law that allows them to terminate any contract after 35 years. According to a post on PaidContent.org, Section 203 of the 1978 Copyright Act was put in place to protect young artists who often sign away rights for almost nothing. With authors like Judy Blume and Stephen King among the bestselling authors who published books in 1978, this Copyright Act could further threaten the embattled publishing industry’s attempts to stay financially solvent and competitive in the face of Amazon. If the numbers in this March 1990 NY Times article still hold true, backlist titles account for 25-30% of publishers’ sales.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

If you’re not sure what a “Blog Hop” is, check out my earlier post, and hop on! It’s a great way to introduce new authors and books to your circle, and to get practice pitching your own project out there as well. I was tagged by the dear Stephanie Nikolopoulos, a new friend and dedicated writer who is working on an exciting new book about legendary novelist and poet Jack Kerouac. She’s been hard at work on it and I can’t wait to read the finished product.

Here’s info about my book, Powder Necklace:

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I was 12, my parents sent me from Queens, NY to Ghana, where we’re originally from. I lived and schooled there for three years. It was a life-altering experience for me, mainly because I was really embarrassed about being from Ghana/Africa. I grew up in the ’80s when assimilation was the name of the game, and the Ethiopian famine was in heavy rotation on the news. Africa represented abject poverty, famine, and war. But after seeing for myself that only a fraction of the story about Ghana, and by extension Africa, was being shown on the news/American television, I wanted to write a book  that created a more balanced portrait. I started to write Powder Necklace as a memoir, but wanted to open the story up so it wasn’t just specific to my experience, but could be more universally enjoyed. Though inspired by actual events, it is fiction.

What genre does your book fall under?

Powder Necklace is a YA / coming-of-age novel.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Powder Necklace chronicles the experience of 13 year old Lila Adjei when her mother abruptly yanks her from her familiar life in London to live and school in Ghana. Lila’s father is not a main character, but he is a shadow throughout the story that completes Lila’s circle in the end. With that preamble, I’d say:

Lila should be played by an unknown.

Lila’s mother should be played by Viola DavisAma K. AbebreseGenevieve Nnaji or Jackie Appiah

Lila’s father by Idris Elba, Chiwetel EjioforAdewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Djimon Hounsou, or Kwaku Sintim-Misa.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When Lila Adjei’s mother sends her packing on an indefinite “vacation” to her unfamiliar homeland Ghana, Lila finds herself globe-spanning quest of self-discovery.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Powder Necklace  was published by Simon & Schuster’s Washington Square Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took me about a year and a half to write the first draft, but four years to find a literary agent!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Powder Necklace has been compared to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s first book Purple Hibiscus.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I didn’t feel like there were many novels out there about contemporary Africa, and I felt like black literature immediately conjured the African-American experience. With Powder NecklaceI wanted to include a version my story which is African, American, with some Europe thrown in.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think Powder Necklace is a great introduction to Ghana without any political biases or agenda to present Ghana/Africa in a certain way.

Five Authors You Should Check Out:

Deanna Nikaido is a talented poet I had the chance to join on a fellowship/residency in Brazil.

Tayari Jones (I’m in the middle of her latest book Silver Sparrow which is absolutely amazing)

Tinesha Davis (you will just gobble up her book Holler at the Moon)

Katherine Thomas Woodward (I just finished her self-help relationship book Calling in “The One” and thought it was wonderful–a must-read for single girls who don’t want to be!)

Catherine McKinley (I loved her book Indigo, a memoir of her travels across West Africa learning about the history of the indigo dye trade and African textiles)

It's a "Blog Hop"!

I love it! Not a sock hop, but a blog hop! And here’s what it is: 1) You tag a writer you’re loving at the top of a blog post, thereby introducing your circle to said writer, 2)You answer 10 questions (see below) about your current project, 3)You tag four other writers, again, to introduce them to your circle.

Definitely a great way to help promote your favorite writers and authors. Someone tag me please!

Ten Interview Questions for “The Next Big Thing”:What is the working title of your book?

Where did the idea come from for the book?

What genre does your book fall under?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Of course, you can answer these questions any way you wish. It should be fun, and hopefully we’ll generate some traffic.
At the end, list your 5 authors and links to their blogs.