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!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Deal Announcement: Macmillan acquires two picture books and three more fiction titles from Mo O'Hara!

As announced in the Bookseller, I am delighted to confirm a two-book picture book deal for the amazing Mo O’Hara, author of the New York Times bestselling MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH series.

The first picture book will be a full colour adventure set in the zombie goldfish world, and illustrated by Marek Jagucki who also illustrates the fiction titles.

The second picture book is called MORE PEOPLE TO LOVE ME, and tackles the subject of divorce and coping with new families in a funny and warm-hearted way. I am so excited for you all to get to read Mo’s picture books – she is a natural with this age range!

AND in addition to these, Macmillan Children’s UK and Feiwel & Friends have jointly acquired a further three titles in the MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH series – bringing the total number of swishy-fishy adventures to six. With the picture book, and rights to the fiction series sold in Brazil, Turkey and Germany, I think we have to worry about Frankie, the zombie goldfish, and his plans for world domination. *insert evil laugh here*

All go and congratulate Mo on twitter or visit her website

Middle grade 

Mo O'Hara's next three books in the NYT bestselling MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH series, further adventures of two boys, their zombie goldfish and their mostly evil big brothers, to Venetia Gosling at Macmillan UK Children’s and Jean Feiwel at Feiwel and Friends, by Gemma Cooper at the Bent Agency, on behalf of Vicki Willden-Lebrecht at The Bright Group. (world)

Picture book 

A debut picture book by MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH series author Mo O'Hara, set in the zombie goldfish world and focusing on the exploits of the characters from her original series, to Laura Roberts at Macmillan UK Children’s and Jean Feiwel at Feiwel and Friends, by Gemma Cooper at the Bent Agency, on behalf of Vicki Willden-Lebrecht at The Bright Group. (world).

International rights:
UK Children's 

A picture book by MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH series author Mo O’Hara, entitled MORE PEOPLE TO LOVE ME, telling the warm and touching tale of a young boy discovering the many benefits of his rather large family, to Laura Roberts at Macmillan UK Children’s, for publication 2016, by Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency (world)

Deal Announcement: Two-Book Deal for middle grade debut Mike Revell

As announced on BookBrunch and The Bookseller, I am thrilled to share the news of a two-book deal for Mike Revell's middle grade debut, STONEBIRD.  

 ‘There’s a demon living inside Grandma, eating her from the inside out.’

This is the quote I always use when talking about STONEBIRD, as it says so much about how Liam, the main character, feels about his grandmother's disease.  Much of this story is based on Mike’s real life experience, but although it deals with the difficult issue of dementia, it is also an uplifting book about friendship and the magic of storytelling. I’m so proud to represent Mike and his writing. 

From Publishers Marketplace: 

 International rights:
UK Children's 

Mike Revell’s debut STONEBIRD, in which ten-year-old Liam struggles to deal with his grandmother’s dementia until he discovers an old stone gargoyle in a rundown church, and his life changes in impossible ways, to Sarah Lambert at Quercus Childrens, in a two-book deal for publication Spring 2015, by Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency (World).

Please go congratulate Mike on Twitter. Or check out his new website here.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Deal Announcement: Two-book deal for Sheila Grau!

Big news at TBA today: Sheila Grau's hilarious middlegrade debut, DR. CRITCHLORE'S SCHOOL FOR MINIONS, has found just the right home. Maggie Lehrman at Amulet Books saw exactly what I saw in this gem of a novel: tons of fun and tons of heart, all set in a (there's no other word for it) bonkers world that young readers will go equally bonkers for. Here's the deal announcement from Publishers Weekly:

I can't wait for the world to meet Runt! And to learn a thing or two from Dr. Critchlore, too. Make a note to pick this one up for all the middle-schoolers in your life—and in the meantime, congratulate Sheila on Twitter at @SheilaGrau!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Deal Announcement: AND THEN WE SAVED by Anna Newell Jones

I'm so happy to announce a book deal for the charming and adorable Anna Newell Jones, creator and author of the blog AND THEN WE SAVED.  How charming is she, you ask? Well, her blog post announcing this book deal was titled:  "I Got a Book Deal and then the Baby Pooped on My Leg." I don't think she's letting success go to her head!  

Anna got herself out of over 20K in debt in a little over a year by going on a Spending Fast and her blog chronicles her adventures and gives tips and advice so that readers can go on their own Spending Fasts. The book will be the first step-by-step guide available for doing a Spending Fast and I'm thrilled that Cassie Jones at Morrow won the rights to publish it in a six-bidder auction.

Here's the announcement, below.  Please join me in congratulating Anna on twitter at @andthenwesaved and follow her on Facebook or Pinterest if you are so inclined! 

February 17, 2014 - AND THEN WE SAVED by Anna Newell Jones
Non-fiction: Business/Investing/Finance
Anna Newell Jones's AND THEN WE SAVED, based on her blog of the same name, the very first step-by-step guide to going on a Spending Fast as well as the personal story of how the author rid herself of over $20,000 in debt in just 15 months, to Cassie Jones atWilliam Morrow, at auction, by Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency (world).

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Deal Announcement: Paul Gaus sells his latest book in the Amish-Country Mystery series!

I'm so pleased to announce the sale of the NINTH book in the wonderful Amish-Country Mystery series by PL Gaus.  This one tells the story of Fannie Helmuth, a young woman hiding in the scattered Amish communities of America, on the run from a murderous drug cartel.  If you haven't read this terrific series you are missing out, and you can get a complete run down on all the books at PL Gaus' website.

Here's the deal announcement:

Fiction: Mystery/Crime
Paul Gaus's WHISKERS OF THE LION, the next in the author's Amish Country Mysteries series, to Denise Roy at Plume, by Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency (world).

Please join me in congratulating PL Gaus on twitter, @plgaus, or on his Facebook page.