Thanks so much to everyone for joining in as we celebrated the publication week of THE SECRET YEAR with a teen diary contest and shared the books that were our favorites when we were teenagers.
After 650+ entries, five finalists, and hundreds of votes: we have a winner.
And what with it being THE SECRET YEAR week and all, how appropriate that the winning teen diary entry is about teenagers with a secret.
CONGRATULATIONS to Jenny!!!
Jenny and finalists, please e-mail me to discuss your prizes.
Thanks again to everyone who entered and participated!
Now then. There was actually some news in publishing this week and over the holidays, so let’s get to it.
It was end of the year prediction time before New Year’s, and among those chiming in was Bob Miller, publisher of HarperStudio, with a best of times, worst of times roundup. Some of his predictions: publishers will focus on lowering overhead even as they face pressure to consolidate, big publishers focus on fewer titles even as there more self-published books out there, and authors with track records will receive still bigger advances even as the advances for everyone else shrinks. Definitely worth a read.
Agent Janet Reid looked back on the manuscript-reading year that was 2009 and added up all the reasons she ended up passing on manuscripts. And meanwhile, from the other side, Del Rey editorial director Betsy Mitchell posted about the reasons she passed on agented projects. (via FinePrint)
Looking forward to this new year is The Millions, who has a great roundup of the most anticipated books in 2010. (And by the way: are we all agreed we’re saying “Twenty-Ten?” Or are some people still saying “Two thousand ten?” Help me out here.)
Also looking forward is Pimp My Novel: twas the season for the holidays and book sales, but now tis the season for returns.
And amid all the doom and gloom you normally read about the publishing industry and how we’re all going to disappear and be replaced by Amazon’s latest algorithm, you might be surprised to know that, book sales at outlets Bookscan tracks were only down 3% for the year in 2009. Sky: not falling after all!
You need a subscription to see it, but Publishers Lunch has a seriously awesome roundup of the new eReaders that are about to hit the market, including one by Samsung, a “Dualbook” with two facing screens, the Alex (partnering with Borders), and perhaps most intriguing, one called the Skiff that has a large screen and bends. If you don’t have a subscription to Publishers Lunch: get one.
The Guardian UK also takes a look ahead at what an e-book future might look like, with ideas ranging from the perennial favorite Netflix-style book renting system to a “playlist” idea for books. Yeah…… don’t know. Netflix-style book renting systems have been tried but have a hard time competing with libraries (many of whom already have e-book lending programs), and my “playlist” is comprised of the many books I downloaded on a whim and haven’t had time to read yet. (via Neil Vogler in the Forums)
In publishing advice news, Janet Reid has fifteen things you need to know before you query, editor Cheryl Klein has tips on how to write a great query letter, author Adrienne Kress posts about how yes, the odds are long, but that doesn’t mean you should be sweating them, and agent Rachelle Gardner reminds you that yes, we do give advice on queries so we can spot your work, but at the end of the day the book is the most important thing.
The winners of the Literary Lab genre wars was announced! Congrats all.
Almost finally, my client Natalie Whipple has a comprehensive post on how she tackles the revision process, which has an incredible list of questions she asks herself as she’s revising, and which you will likely find extremely helpful as you edit redline revise.
And finally finally, I’d just like to give another heartfelt thanks to everyone for participating in the contest and spreading the word about THE SECRET YEAR! It’s been a lot of fun, and I was so impressed by the talent on display in those teen diaries.
Have a great weekend!
Thanks Nathan for another awesome contest and, as always, for the helpful info in this post :o)
Jen C says
Mira, lets go one-nine-eight-zero and break out the blue eyeshadow and skinny ties.
J.J. Bennett says
Twenty ten … (2010)The other takes too long to say.
The Secret Year reached Malaysian market! I just bought a hardcover copy for RM 68.13. The book looks different, for one it's darker than on-screen (printing with black matte lamination does that), and it looks real! Feels good in my hands.
I saw your name on the acknowledgement page. It's weird seeing the name of someone you know (knowing is a relative term) in print. Can't wait to read your actual novel. Kapow!
Can't wait to read it. Kudos to you and Jennifer Hubbard.
Jen P says
All of these links interesting, but the one that stands out is Natalie Whipple's revisions' process. A REVELATION. Truly GREAT. THANK YOU. Can't recommend it enough. For some this may be basics and elementary, for me it is an 'aha' moment.
It suddenly makes sense why I take so long and can't get it done. I am doing it all backwards, focusing on the small stuff first and getting caught up in detail way too early. Then I have to repeat effort when I make more major changes. Or it seems so superficially polished, that the major changes which need made, get hidden.
Thank you for sharing Nathan, thank you Natalie Whipple.
Congrats Jenny ! The secret keeps coming up, however, if you tell us, it will no longer be one right ?
Nathan, you have a whole big book of tangst there ! Surely you can make it into a book and sell it ? The teens will go nuts.
Congratulations Jenny! Wonderful job.
And to all the finalists! So much talent.
Congrats to Jenny! Also, I ordered the Secret Year yesterday. I can't wait to get it!
Damn. I'm terribly disappointed that I missed this contest. That'll learn me for not checking up on Nathan's blog (or the internet as a whole) for a week. But I'll abstain from rehashing 'the saddest words of tongue or pen' here…
I know it's all said and done and I've only read the first page of submissions (so far), but I'd like to dispense a compliment and some constructive criticism for a random entry.
EB's entry (timestamp: January 4, 2010 3:39 PM) really impressed me.
Although I found it a bit difficult to believe that a teenager would only just be seeing his mother (or a woman general) naked for the first time, further entries could establish a viable reason for such a circumstance. Beyond that, as far as I'm concerned, the writing was incredibly strong, cohesive, and compelling.
While everyone who entered deserves kudos for putting themselves out there, I wanted to offer some positive reinforcement to a quality entry that was otherwise unrecognized (which shouldn't be construed as disparaging all the other entries I read or Nathan overlooking this one in particular).
I'm looking forward to reading the next 200 submissions later this afternoon.
Mojito Maven says
Not really sure if this is the best place to post this question, but I'm going to give it a go. One of my blog readers sent me a link to this site:
I've spent the past hour reading about it…
It is a publishing company staffed by Twilight Fanfic writers. I don't run in the fanfiction realm, but it appears that they will be taking "original" works (i.e. changing the names of characters and locations) and publishing them. Some of the offerings available are from already completed Twilight Fanfiction works that have been re-worked.
I find it hard to believe that anyone would pay for one of these re-worked books, especially if they read the original and that this is not somehow shady.
So my point. Would you consider doing a blog post about fanfiction in general and how it affects the publishing industry.
This site makes it sound so easy. You complete a manuscript and BAM! you're going to get published.
Churchill seems to be on your authors pentips – any reason?
This is an off-topic but rather urgent so I would appreciate your feedback. One of London's top agents just asked me to send more material for a non-fiction book I am writing that she finds charming/delicious. I don't know what she means by "more" and was wondering if that translates as "everything". You're the first and only expert I thought of re. this, please let me know if I should flood away, thanks.
Nathan Bransford says
Just ask her what she has in mind. Agents don't bite.
Nathan Bransford says
I represent several literary estates and handled the deals for some of the recent Churchill projects.
Fun contest. Congrats to all the finalists, especially Jenny. Well, deserved win.
I hope you don't mind me mentioning that Mary Kole at Andrea Brown is haveing a contest this month, too. You submit the first 500 words of your finished Ya or MG novel for a chance to win a critique from her. The entry deadline is Jan. 31.
I just wanted to say Congrats to Jenny – excellent entry. As usual, I was impressed with the quality of submissions in one of your contests. Thanks Nathan for putting these on – you're, like, awesome!!!
Congratulations, Jenny! I wasn't able to vote in this contest, but your entry is great. Very intriguing. I want to know what secret they share.
And congratulations to all of the other finalists and runners up. Nice work all around.
Any YA or MG authors just itching for another crack at fame, fortune, and fabulous prizes should check out the Kidlit Contest Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency is hosting.
As far as the Netflix idea for renting ebooks, I don't think that would be the next big thing, but if the major ebook sellers like Amazon and B&N were to set up subscription programs like Audible for ebooks, where you pay x amount monthly for y number of credits towards down-loadable books (that you "keep" not rent), I could definitely see that making a killing.