New Client: Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Finalist Rebecca Phillips

I’m pleased to welcome Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012 Finalist Rebecca Phillips on board!

Rebecca Phillips has been a fan of contemporary young adult fiction ever since she first discovered Judy Blume at the age of twelve. After a brief stint of writing bad poetry as a teenager, she finally found her niche with realistic, coming-of-age YA. She didn’t start getting serious about being a real author, however, until she was in her early thirties.

After several years of writing, rewriting, revision, submission, rejection, and banging her head off the keyboard, she entered her third novel, OUT OF NOWHERE, in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She made it all the way to the Top 3 in the Young Adult category. In June 2012, she self-published her first two contemporary young adult books, JUST YOU and SOMEONE ELSE.

Rebecca lives just outside the beautiful city of Halifax, Nova Scotia Continue reading

Writers: How well do you know your digital rights?

How well do you know your digital rights?

I was going to rely on retweeting a couple of articles, but there are a lot of facts and points of contention to share. Writer’s unions are a great source of information about all the rights of authors, but digital rights are still a point of confusion. If you are a writer looking to get published you must get informed about your rights so you can ask the proper questions and be knowledgeable about the pertinent deal points!

Yes, it is an agent’s job to know this information on your behalf, but many writers are pursuing publication alone and there is no excuse to be misinformed when there is a wealth of information out there and lobbyists available to answer questions.


Do you know the difference between assigning and licensing rights? Assignment: the outright transfer of intellectual property from one party to another. Licence: the terms given to the permission, which the owner of an intellectual property right may give to any other person or parties to use that intellectual property.

You can assign rights, but agents always prefer to licence the work for reasons like foreign rights potential and being able to control the intellectual property.

Do you know how long copyright lasts? 70 years after the death of the author in the U.S., 50 years after the death of the author in Canada.

Copyright, at its core, protects the author to reproduce, revise, distribute, and display their own intellectual property.

Digital rights:

As book sales eagerly migrate from print to digital ebooks are no longer a subsidiary right, but a primary right that is a very important part of contract negotiations. Publishers have been firm on 25% ebook royalties (net receipts) but in the UK agents have been negotiating for 30-35% and getting it. Below, the Writer’s Union of Canada argues why ebook royalties should be 50%.

From this National Post article last week:

Author Greg Hollingshead, chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, answered some questions from the National Post about the bill of rights.

Q: Many writers seem content to leave matters of digital rights to their agents. Why is it important they’re educated? Continue reading

Title Trends and Tips

Catchy title?

I have noticed titles being a point of contention lately. Either little thought has gone into them, they do not fit the genre, or writers are waiting to be represented or published to decide on a title.

While the title you query with often won’t be the title that goes to print (as the marketing department has a say and publishing houses ultimately make that decision), first impressions are still very important. You query with the title in the email subject heading which is the first thing agents and editors see in their inbox. We will always look past titles to the body of text, but why not use that opportunity to show how serious you are about your work.

How do you come up with a great title?

Continue reading

First Half of 2011 Publishing Round-Up

We are halfway through 2011 and the numbers and lists have been released:

Best Books of 2011 so far (from Amazon).

Best Kindle Books of 2011 so far (from Amazon).

Best Books of 2011 so far, by category (from Amazon).

The Bookseller reports on 2011 so far: publisher performance, half-year overview, and stats so far.

The Guardian reports on the best books of 2011.

Publishers Weekly released a report on 2011 so far: print falls 10%.

The Young Adult Library Association 2011 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list.

The Chapters Indigo Blog best of the year, so far.

eBook sales up 160% for the first 6 months of 2011.

Finally, The Millions leaves us with the best upcoming releases in 2011.

My 2011 round-up?

Best published non-fiction: Doug Sanders Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World

Best published fiction: Paula McLain The Paris Wife

Best upcoming fiction: tie Diana Abu-Jaber Birds of Paradise and Erin Morgenstern The Night Circus both coming out in September 2011.

Q: What do you think are the best books of 2011 so far? What are you looking forward to reading when it comes out later this year?