Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Genres to pitch at the conference

The editors and agents coming to the 2010 Write Stuff conference represent a wide array of genres. If your work is represented on this list, there will be at least one publishing professional you can pitch to!

Speculative fiction
Science fiction (2)
Fantasy (3)
Young adult (3)
Middle grade (2)
Psychological suspense
Mysteries (2)
Romance (2)
Paranormal romance (2)
Romantic suspense
Women's fiction (2)
Literary fiction (2)
"Smart" commercial fiction

Narrative non-fiction (3)
History (2)
Science (2)
Women's issues

Unsure of what genre your work fits into? The following links might help.
Fiction genre definitions (go to "Info for writers")
Fiction genres (listed)
Fiction genres (Wikipedia)
Children's genres
Romance genres

If you hoped to pitch at The Write Stuff conference and don't see your genre listed: don't give up! We are working to replace one agent who had to cancel and your genre may yet show up. Here are a few things you could do if it doesn't:

  • Thoroughly research the books these agents have represented. They may not have listed your genre as one they are currently seeking, but that doesn't mean they haven't gotten behind such a book in the past.
  • Network with the agents at the welcome reception. The publishing community is a small world and when agents are asked about projects they don't represent they have been known to refer our conferees to other representatives at their agency, other agencies, or publishing companies that do.
  • Sign up to pitch to an editor or agent who represents work that sounds close to yours ("memoir,"  for example, could be a form of "narrative nonfiction") and hope they can point you in the right direction.
  • There are good reasons agents and editors list genres. This is a subjective business, and they can't be all things to all writers, so agents and editors list genres they typically resonate with. They also list genres for which they have good sales connections at publishing houses. They also may list genres they know they don't want, and we must respect that. But these industry professionals will be at our conference as a resource to you, so if you find yourself at breakfast or in the lunch line next to an agent or editor, feel free to pick his/her brain about the best way to further your career.
Read more about our agents and editors soon—full conference website is on the way!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Professionalism is the ticket for this small press editor

This week Write Stuff conference co-chair Tammy Burke interviewed editor Renee Rocco, who with husband Frank Rocco owns Lyrical Press, a small general fiction publisher based in New York. Write Stuff conferees may request an opportunity to pitch their work to Renee. Although Lyrical Press is actively seeking erotica and romance and paranormal sub-genres, they welcome all submissions (including action-adventure, fantasy, historical, horror, humor, mystery, science fiction) except screenplays, young adult and poetry works. At this time Lyrical Press is closed to self-published and/or previously published works and will not consider works longer than 100,000 words.

Tammy Burke: What writing qualities do you look for in an author? What do you admire? What are your pet peeves?

Renee Rocco: I look for professionalism, above all else. An author who treats their writing as a career is open to constructive criticisms that will result in better story structure, richer settings and stronger characterization. I admire writers who respect that publishing is a business and seek to grow in storytelling ability. As for a pet peeve... I’d say writers who call their books/characters their "children." When a writer makes the decision to publish their work, that's exactly what it becomes. Work. They need to look at their writing as the foundation for their career and not get in their own way by being "motherly" toward their written words. Those words are the tools of their careers.

T: What tip would you give a new author trying to get published?

R: Always present yourself in a professional manner. Follow submission guidelines. Be open to constructive criticism from critique partners, publishers, editors or friends. If you're blocking constructive criticism and only open to praise, how can you ever learn your writing weaknesses and improve upon them?


T: Where do you see the publishing industry going in the future?

B: As kids who are born and bred on computers grown up into eager readers, I see publishing heading toward a more digital era. We're already pointed in that direction, but I really do see digital books gaining momentum and popularity in the years to come. I also see print never leaving us—thankfully! But as technology advances, publishers would be best served to find ways to keep up with whatever the future holds by way of digital reading. 

T: How do you prefer to receive submissions? Do you prefer established authors over new authors? And how likely is it that a new author will join your stable?

R: I personally love to find that shining new voice. I was given the chance of a lifetime when I was offered my first publishing contract, and I love giving a new author that same chance. Although having an established voice join Lyrical Press is just as rewarding. With the help of the Internet, authors have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips and can learn plenty about any given publisher prior to submitting. Each submission, to me, is an honor, since it means an author trusts Lyrical enough to publish their work. I never take any submission for granted and we truly do give everyone a fighting chance at impressing us at the submission stage.

T: What are your expectations for an author’s business and promotional skills?

R: I expect an author to act as the business they are. Lyrical expects them to go out to the public and prove to readers their work deserves to be seen. Authors like that make Frank and I take notice. It motivates us to help them promote. In this day and age—and with small presses especially—authors can't sit back and think their books will sell themselves. Publishers won’t throw opportunities their way if they lack the motivation to so much as secure a website for themselves. That smacks of bad business and trust me: publishers notice that as well.

T: What do you like to read for your own pleasure? What are some of your favorite authors and books?

R: My favorite book is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I love all things medieval, so I mainly read historicals for pleasure. And paranormals. I'm still a sucker for a good vampire story—pardon the pun!

Happy holidays everybody! Watch this blog and the GLVWG Yahoo Group for news about the conference website, which will soon go live. Write Stuff registration opens in 25 days!

Monday, December 7, 2009

David Wilk on his favorite topic: Publishing

If you are an author serious about selling your work in today’s ever-changing market, mark these two Write Stuff conference sessions by David Wilk as “must see”: “The Writer as Entrepreneur” and “The New Rules for Writers Who Want to Master New Media Tools and Online Marketing.”

From his home base in southern Connecticut, David operates Creative Management Partners, which provides authors with a full suite of publishing services, from editorial to sales and marketing. His role morphs according to his client’s needs: one day he might help a client develop a marketing or self-publishing strategy, and the next he might execute that client’s plans for him/her, all or in part.

Simply put, David is a publisher who has functioned under many different guises. He has owned or operated at least six different publishing imprints at various times in his life, as well as managed imprints for companies for whom he worked. He has been closely involved in the publishing of hundreds of titles as distributor, sales or marketing manager, or publishing consultant, including a number of best sellers. Print, electronic publishing, digital marketing strategies—David has done it all. Working with writers and publishers to help them connect with readers is his primary work. Writing and editing words in any media remains his primary passion.

What follows is an interview Conference Chair Kathryn Craft conducted with David.

Kathryn: Writers attend The Write Stuff to learn more about craft, to network, and to beef up their publishing industry IQ. Let’s start with a definition. With so much of the industry in flux, how would you define “publishing”?

David: Publishing is the interface between the writer and the reader, whatever that looks like in practice. I’m coming to The Write Stuff conference to help writers understand how the business of publishing works now and what they need to do if they want to make their way in the latest and still evolving ecosystem of books and readers.

K: How did you educate yourself in so many areas of the publishing industry?

D: Learning by doing. I have been involved in writing, editing, publishing, book wholesaling, distribution, sales, marketing, and online business going back to 1970. I am deeply interested in every aspect of the business of books and its meaning and impact on our culture.

K: Are you a writer? If so, what is/are your area(s) of interest?

D: I have always been most interested in writing poetry and experimental prose and continue to write sporadically. These days my writing tends more toward the expository—explorations of culture, technology and change, as well as political involvement with issues relating to ecology and climate change.

More from David, including his involvement with a New York Times bestseller, in next week’s blog.

Readers: do you have questions about how your own project fits into today’s publishing industry? Do you wonder how the future will affect writers, e-publishing, e-reading, royalties, the role of agents? Do you want help developing a strategy for marketing or self-promotion? Do you wonder whether self-publishing would work for you? Then you’ll want to talk to David. As a Write Stuff conferee, this opportunity is available—for FREE! While he doesn’t want to talk about specifics of writing, he will give opinions on subjects, concepts, and marketability for the first five conferees to sign up for a ten-minute consultation with him. So don’t delay—make sure your Write Stuff registration is postmarked January 15!

And watch for an announcement—the conference website will soon go live!