Technology Marketing is gone.
Here’s What’s New
It’s heartening to know that there were more new magazine launches in 2003 than in any year since 1998. According to Samir Husni, there were 919 new magazines. Find out more about the magazine industry by visiting Samir Husni’s Web site, http://www.mrmagazine.com.
HopeKeepers is new magazine designed to serve people who live with chronic illness or pain. Writers are invited to submit articles for a diverse group of men and women of all ages and lifestyles. The editors describe the tone of HopeKeepers as a letter from a friend or a hug from God. Articles should be upbeat, motivating and laced with scripture to validate particular points. If you have an idea for HopeKeepers, email a detailed query letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. This magazine offers writers 3 copies for their efforts. But the guidelines indicate that they might eventually pay freelance writers. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to get in on the ground floor of a new magazine.
Backyard Living is new at Reiman. You probably know this company—they also publish Birds in Bloom, Country Woman, Reminisce and others. The PR people describe Backyard Living as being like one big neighborhood with folks from all across the country sharing friendly advice. They encourage ideas that have worked in your own backyard. Columns now include vegetable gardening, water features, backyard gatherings, decks and patios, container gardening, barbequing, play yards for kids, porches and more. You’ll find Writer’s Guidelines at: http://www.backyardlivingmagazine.com
Living Space Magazine made its debut last quarter. This unusual magazine features homes and lifestyles that reflect African-American spirit, culture and style. Interview a well-known African-American athlete, celebrity or someone else of influence and you may just get published in Living Space Magazine. Write about a black architect, interior designer or other artisan and you might land a job with this magazine. I didn’t find their Writer’s Guidelines at their Web site: http://www.livingspacemagazine.net. I suggest contacting Cynthia at Cynthia@livingspacemagazine.net to ask for a copy of their Guidelines and their pay scale.
9ine Magazine will be launched in North Carolina next month and they claim that they’ll be buying thousands of manuscripts from freelancers each year. I don’t see their guidelines published on their Web site so I suggest that you contact Renee at Editor@9inemagazine.net. That’s what I plan to do. Or call her at 704-643-8020. Visit their Web site at http://www.9inemagazine.net.
Tall Magazine is designed for the 14 million men, women and teens who are especially tall (over 6.2. for men and over 5.9 for women). This magazine will address the issues of being tall. It will cover tall celebrities, athletes and business leaders. It will address tallness as it relates to dating, fashion and automobiles, for example. Tall made its debut with a special release in July, but the February 2004 issue is the first regular one. While their PR material says they have an editorial page on their Web site, I was unable to find it. I suggest emailing Everard Strong at email@example.com or call 510-325-1689. Find out more about the magazine at http://www.tallmagazine.com.
Her Sports announced its premier issue last month. Christina Gandolfo, former editor-in-chief at Triathlete Magazine is at the helm of Her Sports. Dawna Stone, a Hawaii Ironman finisher, developed this magazine for active women. Her Sports is touted as the only magazine for women who regard sports as a way of life. And they do welcome contributions. Features run 1200 – 2000 words, profiles 1000 – 1700 words, training articles 1200 – 2500 words and then there are opportunities for freelancers in the departments. If you’re a photographer, you might consider submitting some of your pictures involving women engaged in sports. Payment ranges from $200 to $500 per story and $100-400 for inside photos and $500 to 800 for a cover photo. After studying the magazine, send your query or submission to Christina@hersports.com. Send photo submissions to Kristin Mayer at Kristin@hersports.com.
Catholic Foresters Magazine has announced that their editorial calendar is set through 2004 and they won’t be considering material for 2005 until the second quarter of this year. April is the month you’ll want to send your completed manuscripts to Patricia Baron at Catholic Forester for consideration firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about this magazine, visit http://www.catholicforester.com.
Steve Florio is no longer with Parade Magazine. Make this note in your current issue of Writer’s Market.
Featured Site for Writers
BrambleStory is a fun site where writers can actually work with other writers to create stories online. This site also offers a place where you can post your short stories and poems. You can even request feedback. They post writing exercises and more than 450 creative writing links. http://www.bramblestory.com
Opportunities for Writers
Become a book reviewer. Visit this Web site to locate Guidelines and discover how to get paid for writing book reviews. There are also numerous useful links related to becoming a book reviewer on this site. http://www.thedabblingmum.com/writing/book_reviews.htm
Baycrest Books has 6 imprints: Finger Print (mysteries), One in Ten (gay/lesbian fiction), Storm Front (action), Orange Moon (young adult), Sunset Rapids (mainstream romance) and StarPoint (Sci-fi). This publisher is practically begging fiction writers everywhere to send her something that hasn’t been done before. Check out their Writers Guidelines at http://www.baycrestbooks.com and then contact Nadine Meeker at email@example.com with your unique idea.
Durban House Publishing is relatively new—having been established in 2000. They publish 8 – 12 titles per year and pay an advance up to $2000. They’re seeking nonfiction and fiction manuscripts in areas including health, New Age and biography, and fiction topics including adventure, historical horror, mystery and suspense. They ask that you query only via email firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail to Acquisitions, Robert Middlemiss, 7502 Greenville, Ave. Ste. 500, Dallas, TX 75231. Or visit: http://www.durbanhouse.com.
Lutheran Woman Magazine is looking for stories, poems, cartoons and photos. They pay $20 per 100 words for stories, $15 – $60 per poem and $30-40 for photos. Cartoons and cover photo are negotiable. Send a query for a story between 350 and 1700 words to email@example.com.
Kids N Fun. This is a family online publication that uses travel pieces and informational articles related to kids and family. They want to see articles of no more than 600 words. And they do pay, I just couldn’t find out how much. Email for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relix Magazine publishes articles covering many types of music. The editors are currently looking for material for their many columns. They pay $50 to $150 for most columns, $25 for live music and CD reviews and as much as $500 for feature articles. They also use photos and art. Contact Aeve Baldwin, Managing Editor at email@example.com.
Opportunities for Photographers
Do you need to know how to market and price your photographs? Visit http://www.editorialphoto.com. This is an interesting site as it helps you to calculate fees based on the magazine circulation, size of the photos, etc.
See photo opportunity above in Opportunities for Writer’s listing under Lutheran Woman Magazine and Relix Magazine.
Having just done a photo shoot at a wild horse rescue ranch in Central CA this week, I’m all jazzed up about publishing my photography. If this excites you, here are two sites with good articles about selling your photos for publication: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/setting.shtml and http://www.writing-world.com/freelance/photos.shtml.
Tips for Authors and Publishers
How much should I charge?
I frequently get questions through the SPAWN Web site and from National Association of Women Writers members about fees. Writers ask, “What should I charge to ghost write a neighbor’s book?” “How much does an editor get?” Find an extensive list of suggested fees for writers on page 71 of the 2004 edition of Writer’s Market. You’ll also find links to sites related to fees, taxes for writers as well as sample contracts, how to calculate royalties and other useful information at http://www.writing-world.com/links/business.shtml.
Research/Reference Site of the Month
Book Publicity Services. I happened to be surfing the Internet last week in search of some information for a member seeking a publicist for his book and I found a goldmine. John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books has a list of the top 101 book publicity services listed right on his Web site. If you need help promoting your book, visit http://www.bookmarket.com/101pr.html. Here you’ll find 14 pages of listings including publicists, radio and TV shows that book authors, newsletters for authors who are promoting their books and related resources. Some of them are pretty expensive. But I know one SPAWN member who paid the price for a publicist and said, “I was busier than I’ve ever been in my life doing talk shows, radio interviews and presentations all over the place.” And was this a worthwhile endeavor? According to this member, “Absolutely. The money was well spent.” http://www.bookmarket.com/101pr.html
English Zone offers a wide range of fun and seriousness with words. Come here to get lessons in pronunciation and spelling and also have fun with language puns, bloopers, confusing words and other nonsense. Visit this site when you have time to play because it will entertain you for a while. http://www.english-zone.com/grammar
Anyone with a book or a book idea is interested in landing a good agent to represent his/her work. I interview agents on occasion to give you an idea of who is out there, what they represent and how to approach them. This month I’ve interviewed 3 agents. If you’re looking for an agent for your work, please read thoroughly, follow the guidelines and choose wisely.
David Duperre and Ginger Norton responded to my questions about their agency, Sedgeband Literary Associates. Here are my questions and their responses:
Q: Tell us a little about Sedgeband Literary Associates. What is your mission, purpose, goals?
A: We want to get as many new unknown authors published as we can. Being writers ourselves, we know how difficult in today’s world it is to get your start in the publishing industry. Almost everyone here at Sedgeband has been a writer and has pursued the rejection path for many years, some have gotten published others have not. After many years of trying to get an agent, or trying to work with one, we decided to start our own agency. By then we knew most of the editors and the submission process very well. The old popular writers won’t be around forever and we like to remind editors of this fact as often as possible. Besides, there is some untapped great writing talent out there and we strive to find it anywhere we can.
Q: What are some of your recent titles and which publishers have picked them up?
A: Our latest titles are:
- 13 Days of Terror, Published by New Horizon
- Kiss me Kat, Published by Lionhearted Press
- The Curse of Waldo Chicken, Published by Windriver Publishing
- The Lebo Coven, Published by Tekno Books
Q: What type of manuscripts are you currently seeking? Is there a trend you are following or a void you are attempting to fill?
A: At present we are more interested in Nonfiction books and fiction Mysteries and Romance. The country in general seems to want more popular topics at present, but they still seem to want their escapism in Mysteries, Romance and Sci-fi.
Q: Most agents/publishers have an ideal client in mind–describe yours.
A: Our ideal client is someone who has patience, works hard at his writing and doesn’t get too bogged down in the political side of the publishing industry. We like questions and suggestions from our writers, but we also want them to understand that we know our job and that they need to trust us to do our best for them. We like a writer who doesn’t believe everything he hears or reads and who has and is willing to express his opinions. A writer who enjoys writing no matter what is great, and one who can give us a new book to work with every year and a half is fantastic.
Q: Do you see a trend in the publishing industry–one that affects the countless wannabe and serious authors out there? Please describe it.
A: At the moment the publishing industry seems to have something against the Horror novel. Also most publishers don’t seem to want to pay new writers any type of an advance, and although this isn’t so unusual it can affect how much time a writer has to devote to doing edits and signings. After all, they have to make a living and if they don’t get an advance it makes that a much harder thing to do. Also, most publishing houses are closed to new writers, especially if they don’t have an agent, and then too, many agents are closed to new clients. All of this makes it harder and harder for the new, and many times published, author to get their material in front of the eyes of a publishing house editor.
Q: You suggest in your listing in Writer’s Market that the author be professional and not to send handwritten material. Do people actually send you handwritten materials in today’s high tech world? What are they thinking?
A: We get at least two submissions a week that are hand written. And although handwriting letters and so forth can be an art form, it is not appropriate for this type of business. I don’t know a single editor who will read even a query letter if it is hand written. We often get entire manuscripts that have been handwritten! Unfortunately, there are still people who do not have a computer and do not have access to a typewriter. Some people, even if they have a computer have no idea of how to run it and so they give up trying to print anything out or sending a file by email.
Q: Would you tell us about your proudest moment as agents?
A: We had a client some years ago who had been with us for several years and everyone, and I mean, everyone had turned down his book. Then one day we got a call from a little known publisher at the time who wanted to take a look at his material. We were stunned to say the least. We didn’t tell the author because we wanted to hear back from the publisher first, and we didn’t want to raise his hopes only to have to tell him later that it didn’t work out. Two weeks later we received a contract with a small advance for the book. We were so excited for him. Unfortunately, when we called to tell him the good news we were told that he had passed away the night before. We were devastated by this news.
A few months later after talking to the writers’ family and the publisher it was agreed to go ahead and publish the book. It was what he had wanted and we all felt that it had to be done. It was our proudest moment when that book hit the bookstore shelves, and to this day gives us a since of pride and well being that we made his wish come true even though he wasn’t there to see it.
Q: Please add anything else you would like to share and give your contact information.
A: We would really like to make the query process paperless in today’s computer world and request that queries be sent via email. We truly believe that email will become the standard way to do queries and publisher submissions in the near future and would like to get people use to the idea of doing business through email.
Remember, writing is a business just like any other, and although most writers write from sheer enjoyment and hope for a sale, a publisher is looking at the bottom line of the business, and sometimes his own check book. You have to treat your dealings with an agent or a publisher in a professional business manner, and try not to let your emotions about your writing get in the way of common sense.
If you have a book that you think we might be interested in, send us an email query with a synopsis and a short bio, no attachments. We can be reached through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our physical address is: 7312 Martha Lane, Fort Worth, Texas 76112 and you can find our web site at http://www.sedgeband.com.
Agent Roger Jellinek at the Jellinek and Murray Literary Agency responded to the following questions:
Q: Jellinek and Murray Literary Agency is only about 8 years old and you have 65 clients already. I see that 90% of your clients are new, unpublished writers. Please tell us what qualities attract you to an inexperienced writer?
A: In nonfiction we look for strong subjects that have not been published before, by writers with excellent credentials and at least the makings of a platform. We look for constituencies and niches that have been relatively unexploited or poorly serviced. We look for an awareness by the writer of the context in which they are writing—competitive and comparable trade books. And yes, the writing has to be solid and clear, the author has to sense the difference between a magazine idea and a book idea, and the writer has to be able to take notes and edits productively. The book has to feel indispensable.
In fiction the premise of the novel has to be striking, and the writing itself has to be remarkable. There has to be a memorable voice. It has to be a great story.
Q: Would you talk about some of the books you’ve successfully represented over the past few years?
A: In nonfiction we had a great adventure with first-time author Shelly Mecum’s GOD’S PHOTO ALBUM, published by Harper San Francisco. She’s a writer who simply blossomed as an ideal professional author. She understood what we could do for her, and what she needed to do for herself. And we all learned from the experience.
Another was with NOAH’S FLOOD, by two world-class geophysicists and first-time authors, William Ryan and Walter Pitman. They discovered that there had been a catastrophic flood in the Black Sea 7100 years ago, with radical implications for early Middle Eastern archeology, and a strong suggestion that this was the Biblical Flood, and possibly that the refugees from the Black Sea ended up starting irrigation civilization in Mesopotamia and Egypt. This was a case of non-writers discovering how to write a book around a phenomenal discovery.
In fiction the late Gardner McKay’s TOYER revealed a great deal about modern corporate publishing. We went through 28 submissions of this “first novel” (McKay was a veteran published playwright) and three major edits, before we landed Little, Brown & Co. They spent a fortune promoting the book, and could not make it a best seller. They quickly turned down the next novel. Now TOYER is being made into a movie by Brian de Palma, and the novel may take off again. This was a case of a play gradually growing into a novel. We all learned how many choices a writer has on the way to creating a story that has to feel inevitable.
Q: What are you currently looking for in manuscripts that come your way?
A: Great storytelling. Fresh voices, new insights, energetic and imaginative writing.
Q: When you say you are actively seeking first-rate writing, what do you mean? Please elaborate on this statement.
A: Writing that is compelling from the first phrase, the first sentence, the first paragraph, the first page. We are interested in writers who can think through a whole book, who are inventive, who make one forget one is reading—whether it’s a thriller or the argument in a complicated issue. We can generally tell if we are going to be interested almost from the first sentence.
Q: What advice do you have for the eager, talented author who is looking for an agent?
A: Do your homework, read widely in your field. Be aware of what’s in the bookstores. Write as if your life depended on making the reader follow every syllable. If your work is edited, come back with responses that go way beyond what you are asked for.
Q: What shifts do you see taking place within the publishing industry–trends that would affect authors?
A: Since 9/11 the chain stores rule. They are running scared. They don’t like risks. They apply rigid categories, and the publishers have to live within those categories. It used to be that publishers created the platform, but now they demand that the author has a platform before he/she comes to the publisher. We’re beginning to see a four-tier system: self-published; small publishers; medium publishers; giant publishers. We see more and more cases of authors starting at the bottom tier and gradually working their way to the top tier, and then often slipping down again. We have a number of clients we have advised to self-publish regionally. We counsel them on the most appropriate regional marketing, and when they have reached a certain rate and level of sales (say 5,000 copies in six months) we then take them to the large publishers, and if that doesn’t work, then the medium publishers—etc.
Q: Please share your submission guidelines with our readers–be sure to include your contact information.
A: Always query first, with a synopsis and bio. Email is fine, even preferable. If we think there’s something we can work with, we’ll probably ask for a full outline that demonstrates the author has full control of the book, an analysis of the competition and of comparable books, a marketing proposal, and the first 50 or 100 pages, or a full proposal. If we like what we read, we’ll ask for the balance of the ms.
Q: Add anything else that you feel is important to folks who are seeing representation.
A: Our plate is really full. We try to respond within a month, but sometimes we can respond immediately, sometimes it takes three months. Sometimes longer if for some reason the proposal doesn’t quite come into focus. Time is at a premium, and sometimes we’ll get two dozen proposals in a day. We work on a commission basis, so every hour spent unproductively has to be paid for by something else.
Our assessment is not simply a question of “I like that, let’s go with it.” My partner, Eden-Lee Murray, is also a professional actor and director and ghostwriter, so she is very focused on the performance values of storytelling. I have just come off three years as an editorial director of a small start-up publisher based on Maui and distributed nationally by Publisher’s Group West, and I managed a foreign rights team of agents and sub-agents. So I am very much aware of the professional realities of publishing since 9/11. So we only take on what we reckon we can truly sell.
Roger Jellinek and Eden-Lee Murray
Jellinek and Murray Literary Agency
2024 Mauna Place
Honolulu, HI 96822
James Schiavone, Ed.D. of the Schiavone Literary Agency, Inc.
Q: How about starting by telling us a little about your agency and what prompted you to start it.
A: I began my agency immediately after accepting an early retirement incentive from the City University of New York. Additionally, I was designated “Professor Emeritus of Developmental Skills” at the University. Having specialized in the psychology of reading, with graduate degrees and many years of experience in the discipline, I sought to continue my endeavors in the related publishing industry. As an academic I had developed significant contacts with editors at major publishing houses, and had published three textbooks and five trade books during the course of my career. The transition from academia to publishing proved to be a successful move indeed. I appreciate the opportunity my agency provides to read stimulating and important book proposals, as well as novels of intense literary quality.
Q: What types of manuscripts are you currently looking for?
A: I have always been interested in biography. I often guided my students to important works which I believed would give them insights into psychology. Taking courses in psychology enables students to understand themselves. Reading about the lives of others strengthens their understanding of the human condition. Biography is life. I have actively sought to encourage writers to send me queries dealing with compelling biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Of course the celebrity status of the biographee is of paramount importance in terms of the marketability of the manuscript. While John Doe may have led an intriguing and interesting life, most readers want to see books about people in the limelight. I’m also interested in seeing outstanding fiction and nonfiction proposals. I do not consider poetry.
Q: What are some of the titles you have sold in recent years?
“A Brother’s Journey: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse,” a memoir by Richard B. Pelzer (Warner Books, 2004).
“The Scorsese Psyche on Screen: Roots of Themes and Characters in the Films,” by Maria T. Miliora, Ph.D. (McFarland, 2004).
“Faith Under Fire: Religion’s Role in the American Dream,” by David Yount (SterlingHouse, 2004).
“The Lightning Shrikes: A Novel of an All-Star American Indian Softball Team,” by Devon Mihesuah (The Lyons Press, 2004).
Q: What are some of your proudest moments as a literary agent?
A: Actually, I’m elated with each and every sale. After all, that’s what agenting is all about. I suffer as much angst as my authors waiting for responses to my submissions. Rejection letters are a part of the program, and woe to those with a thin skin.
Q: I see that you prefer to work with established authors, but will consider marketable proposals from new writers. What advice would you share with an unpublished author who is looking for an agent?
A: Fortunately there are many resources available to you as an unpublished writer. As in all viable endeavors, you will have to do a considerable amount of homework. This means making use of reference books, source books, and other aids to the new writer. There are at your disposal guides to publishers, editors and literary agents. Make use of them. Agents are alert to authors who provide a well-conceived, well written extensive proposal for their nonfiction work. As a novelist, you need to write an attention getting query letter to agents. The library shelves have a wide selection of works dealing with writing various genres of books, query letters, and of course, the all important professional proposal. Joining writer’s groups, taking courses, and meeting with fellow authors, all contribute to your eventual success in seeking out an agent who will get your book published.
Q: The publishing industry has seen many changes in recent years. Can you define a trend for our audience of published and unpublished authors? What do some of these changes mean to us?
A: Yes, the publishing industry has become more dynamic in the past few decades. Gone are the days of editor Max Perkins who discovered and nurtured the likes of such great American writers as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and numerous others. In those days the editor held the reins and made all the decisions. Perkins published whatever he chose to and no one stood in his way. Alas, that no longer applies especially with the major publishers and large independent presses. Nowadays the editor enters a so-called pub meeting and presents his chosen submissions to his colleagues. He may champion a project only to have it trampled down. And in many instances the sales department has the final say. That’s why the editor needs a solid proposal for nonfiction since this gives him the ammunition to convince his associates that the house should publish the book he wants to acquire. In the case of a novel several editors are asked to do a reading and comment on the commercial value of the story. Major publishers are no longer connected to family ownership and all are under gigantic corporate umbrellas. Hence, publishers are corporate driven with emphasis on profits. No one wants to put the company at risk. Editors are success oriented and are interested in work that will bring substantial gains to the company. Independent houses and small presses often present a more realistic venue for the unpublished writer.
Also, the new technologies offer an alternative to publication. The new print on demand has been utilized by a number of companies and involves no print runs or warehousing. The books are printed on demand (POD), and shipped out per order. There are no returns with POD. The author is totally responsible for marketing his work. While tens of thousands of authors have chosen this route to publication, it is naive to believe that POD will be subsequently picked up by a major house. It is very rare for this to occur. Through a special agency agreement with iUniverse, I was able to bring two of my titles back into print at no cost to me. Most authors who have had reversion of rights, have had to pay to bring the books into print again via POD.
Trends are dynamic but a review of titles on the New York Times best-selling list has demonstrated through the decades that certain titles are always on the list (see Michael Korda’s “Making the List”). Cookbooks, diet books, self help, how to, business, psychology, are all staples of the book industry. My advice to new authors is to write about what you know best, rather than to restrict yourself to the trendsetters. The changes in publishing emphasize competition, but the opportunities abound, so go for it!
Q: What type of author are you most eager to work with?
A: I’m eager to work with the author who believes in himself and the value of his work. Commitment, diligence and hard work, coupled with a burning desire to succeed, are all elements I seek in working with an author.
Send query letter only with SASE. All genres except poetry. For fastest response, one page query letters via email are acceptable and encouraged. Contact: email@example.com. Please, no phone calls or faxes. If I’m interested I’ll ask to see more.
James Schiavone, Ed.D.
Schiavone Literary Agency, Inc.
236 Trails End
West Palm Beach, FL 33413-2135
NY Branch Office (June, July, August, only)
3671 Hudson Manor Terrace, #11H
The Bronx, NY 10463-1139
Phone (718) 548-5332