Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Deal Announcement: Exhibit A Books acquires Nik Korpon's literary noir novel FAIT AVE!

I'm thrilled to announce that Exhibit A Books (an imprint of Angry Robot) has acquired FAIT AVE by crime author Nik Korpon! Check out what Publisher's Marketplace has to say about it:

International rights: UK Fiction
Nik Korpon's FAIT AVE, in which a morally upright thief attempting to protect his family ends up in the middle of a drug turf war, pitched as crossing the moral journey of Breaking Bad with the neighborhood intrigues of Tana French's Faithful Place, to Bryon Quertermous at Exhibit A, by Brooks Sherman at The Bent Agency (World).

The Exhibit A team is is pretty excited too! They issued a press release to celebrate Nik's addition to their "Posse of Literary Thugs":

Please join us in congratulating Nik on Twitter at @NikKorpon! You can also visit his website here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Making a good impression with your query letter--a post by Gemma

Having just been away at the Bologna and London Book Fairs, my queries have got a bit backed up, so I’ve just read quite a few and have noticed some similar mistakes cropping up.  Molly and I analysed a lot of queries on our regular Ask Agent column last year (here, here, here, here and here) so for today’s blog post, I thought I’d talk about things outside of the meat of the actual pitch.

You all know to avoid the basic errors like cc’ing multiple agents, not personalising to the agent’s name, comparing your book to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, etc. (check out this post for a more detailed list of these). 

But there are other things that you can avoid to ensure you make the best impression with your submission letter: 

  • Don’t apologise for taking up an agent’s time. If they are open to submissions then they are happy to hear from you. Reading submissions is an important part of our job. 
  • Don’t put down your own work or your writing skill. If you are negative, it’s going to rub off on the agent and they will look at your work already expecting it to be bad. 
  • Don’t be too over-familiar – commenting on photos agents post on social media may seem like a compliment, but it can come across creepy.
  • Not attaching massive files seems obvious. But don’t add in smiley faces and other small images, either. These often look like they are embedded in the email when you send, but come though as an attachment, so your email will be deleted or get stuck in spam. (And also, don’t use smiley faces – this is a business email).
  • In an email, there is no need to put the agency address at the top. It’s an email, not a letter. You can put your own address under your name. We shouldn’t have to scroll through a page of addresses to get to the actual query. Speed is everything, so help us get to the best bit quickly!
  • Make sure you title your email – not just ‘A book,’ ‘Query’ etc. That isn’t very descriptive. If I see a query come in while I’m at my desk and it has a really snappy title, I’ll be more likely to take a look at the pages sooner. ‘My book’ says nothing to me, but  ‘YA romance/REALLY AWESOME TITLE/Author Name’ will get me excited without even reading a word.
  • Don’t ignore submission details – we all get a lot of queries with the words, ‘I know your submission requirements are pasting the first 10 pages, but instead I have...DONE SOMETHING ELSE.’  We have to have a system, and it will immediately get an agent’s back up if you can’t follow our first simple rule. 
  • Don’t give extensive details of your availability to talk on the phone, with all your holiday dates and hospital plans (yes, that has happened). Just give your contact details and we’ll get in touch. It’s very rare we wouldn’t email you first to arrange a call as we want you to be prepared with questions.
I always say that people over think query letters. Keep it simple is my best advice.

Dear [Agent’s Name],

I am seeking representation for my [age - MG/YA etc.] [genre] manuscript [title] complete at [word count rounded to nearest 1000 words].

[Insert Pitch - 1 or 2 paragraphs explaining your plot. Introduce your main character. What does she want? What’s preventing her from achieving those goals? And what are the stakes if she doesn’t achieve them?]

According to your submission guidelines I have [consult the specific guidelines for the agency, posted on its website. For the Bent Agency, you’d say, ‘pasted the first ten pages of the manuscript below.’]

I am a member of [any writing organisations] and have won [any relevant writing prizes]. [Then add anything relevant to your role as the best person to write this book.] Thank you for your time.

All best,

[your name]

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Deal Announcement: Subsidiary Rights Sales

At the Bent Agency, we really pride ourselves on our strong focus on foreign rights.  With that in mind, congrats to the following TBA clients on their new translation deals!

Becky Albertali's SIMON AND THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA sold in Italy to Mondadori and in Israel to Matar Publishing.

Jen McLaughlin's OUT OF LINE, OUT OF TIME and OUT OF MIND sold at auction in Italy to Newton Compton, in a three book deal.

Lynsay Sands had the following deals:  THE LOVING DAYLIGHTS sold to Cora in Germany, and VAMPIRE MOST WANTED sold to Audax in Holland and to Lyx in Germany.

Victoria Van Tiem's LOVE LIKE THE MOVIES sold to Mlada Fronta in the Czech Republic and Fortuna Libri in the Slovak Republic.

Adventures at the Bologna Book Fair--link to post by Gemma

I was asked by the lovely folks at The Golden Egg Academy to write a blog post about my trip to Bologna Book Fair - click here for the link

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Peek at the Hybrid Author: Choosing to Self-Publish

I’m giving the floor to my fab-tastic client, Donna Hosie, whose YA novel is forthcoming from Holiday House. But she is also a seasoned indie writer! Donna knew that traditional publishing wasn’t the only way to go, and that self-publishing didn’t necessarily have to be a Plan B. Far from setting a singular goal of signing her books over to a publishing house, she saw an opportunity to take control of her own destiny – or, you know, her distribution. Here's how she sees it:


Traditional or indie publishing? It’s a question more and more writers are asking themselves. It’s never been easier to go down the indie route, and with fewer imprints, it’s never been harder to chase the traditional dream.

But is it a question that writers should be asking themselves at all?

Enter stage left: the hybrid author. A hybrid author is someone who wants the cake and eats it too! A hybrid author will have an agent and hopefully a book deal (or ten!), but will still project-manage their own career by independently publishing other work.

Take me, for example. I signed with Beth Phelan a year and a half ago to represent my novel titled THE DEVIL’S INTERN. Because Beth is AgentAwesomesauce™, she successfully negotiated me a book deal with Holiday House in New York, one of the most respected publishers for children and young adults in the industry. THE DEVIL’S series is a run of four novels and we are very optimistic for its future. For my part, I trust Beth implicitly to handle that side of my traditionally published career.

But when I signed with Beth, I was also independently releasing a trilogy called THE RETURN TO CAMELOT. It was very important that this wasn’t a problem, and when Beth and I started corresponding after her offer of representation, the first question I asked was whether this was going to be an issue.

Not only was it not an issue, but Beth was happy about it.

Because here’s the big secret, and the reason why writers shouldn’t ask themselves whether to choose the traditional or indie route: progressive literary agents, (like Beth at The Bent Agency), know that being a hybrid author is good for them, good for the author, and good for the reader. 

I have spent the last two years steadily building up my author name/brand and my readership. When THE DEVIL’S INTERN is released in the Fall, there will be readers waiting to read it. I understand the publishing world because I’m at the heart of it already. I understand the process because I manage my own.  I’ve put down good foundations for a successful traditional career. It really can be a win all round.

There are differences, of course. With traditional publishing I acquiesce a lot more control, and indie publishing takes more (wo)man hours! Both routes require a huge amount of dedication and hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I learn so much from having Beth in my corner, and hopefully she learns from me.

So don’t ask yourself “traditional or indie publishing?” Have your cake, eat it, and take those sprinkles on top as well!


Donna is enjoying the best of both worlds. Obviously, this isn’t for everyone and it takes a certain kind of moxie to be a hybrid author [I think Donna actually subsists on a diet of wine and chocolate so she might just be a completely different breed [of awesome)]. But you don’t have to choose between one and the other. And you don’t have to look at self-publishing as a last resort or an Island of Misfit Toys Books. Self-publishing isn’t the end, and most of the time, its sales won’t turn agents’/editors’ heads either. If you're self-publishing because you're hoping for big numbers that will catch our attention, you're going at it all wrong. It could totally happen, but I think your main focus should be on making your indie book a success for YOU; take it seriously and be your own publisher. We should be setting a new standard, celebrating our achievements -- big and small -- and exploring the indie route in a more dedicated way to find our audience.

As long as you’re committed, you can have both.

You can follow Donna’s journey on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and on her blog. Look for THE DEVIL’S INTERN (Holiday House) in Fall 2014 and her indie THE RING OF MORGANA coming this May!