Agent Savant

The musings of literary agent Laurie McLean

Foreword Literary Becomes Fuse Literary!

Written By: laurie - Oct• 10•14

October 10, 2014—San Francisco Bay Area—Foreword Literary, the hybrid literary agency launched in March of 2013, is rebranding as Fuse Literary following an out of court settlement with Fore Word Magazine, Inc. Fuse Literary will continue to operate as normal, focusing on customized blending of traditional and emerging aspects of book publishing for their author-clients. All pending author submissions will remain under consideration.

Fuse Literary represents authors of all stripes, including New York Times Bestsellers like Julie Kagawa and Dr. Stephen Gullo, hybrid successes like Michael J. Sullivan and Nina Amir, and debut stars like Indie Next Pick Amy Zhang. Their client list totals over 76 authors with more than 160 titles in print.

“The owners of Fore Word Magazine, Inc. felt that people in publishing would be confused by the similar sounding names of our literary agency and their quarterly review magazine. We vehemently disagreed, but a lengthy court battle was untenable in terms of time and money wasted, so we decided to change our name,” says founding partner Laurie McLean. “But you know, sometimes when bad things happen to you, something better emerges. We feel that way about the name Fuse Literary. It embodies our new tagline, ‘Igniting Author Careers’ as well as the other meaning of fuse: bonding two or more things into a stronger whole. We feel stronger and are excited about continuing to explore the fusion possibilities of hybrid authors.”

Fuse Literary will continue to operate as a virtual agency with offices in New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver. Highly flexible and collaborative, the professionals at Fuse Literary thrive on the high-tech approach, embracing cloud-based technologies and new forms of communication and storytelling.

“We are at our core an agency that sells books to be printed by major publishers, but our heart lies in innovation, and that’s where the new name really represents us,” says founding partner Gordon Warnock. “We embrace that spark of creativity, that explosiveness of quick action, and the fusing together of what has worked for the publishing industry for centuries and wonderful new opportunities the industry has yet to see.”

Along with the change, the agency’s Fast Foreword digital-first publishing operation will be rebranded as Short Fuse Publishing. The program will continue to offer groundbreaking works in alternative formats and multimedia across all genres. Short Fuse is celebrating the launch with biweekly releases of Short Fuse Guides, free e-books on writing and publishing written by Fuse Literary agents.

About Fuse Literary

Fuse Literary, Inc. is a new type of hybrid literary agency, blending the knowledge and skills of traditional book publishing with the brash new opportunities engendered by digital publishing, self-publishing, social media, transmedia, and the cloud. The company has agents in New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver. Founding partners Laurie McLean and Gordon Warnock are joined by agents Connor Goldsmith, Jen Karsbaek, Emily Keyes, Michelle Richter, and Sara Sciuto, in-house publicist Estelle Hallick, and a small army of rock star interns and assistants. For more, visit http://fuseliterary.com or follow us on your favorite social media @FuseLiterary.

Testimonials

“Gordon’s support and attentiveness are positively unwavering; it has been his compassionate encouragement and unfailing literary expertise that have carried me through the arduous process of revising and pitching my manuscript. I can’t imagine where I would be without his guidance, and would never think of making a decision regarding my career without consulting him first. Gordon has many times over proven what an excellent agent, writer, reader, and editor he is. Above all else, he has become one of my dearest friends, and a welcome addition to my community of literary folk.”

Tanya Chernov
A Real Emotional Girl
 

“I honestly wouldn’t have gotten where I am without super agent Laurie McLean.”

NYT Bestseller Julie Kagawa
Talon

 Fuse Literary logo

Cover Reveal: The Diamond Conspiracy!

Written By: laurie - Sep• 29•14

Revel in the reveal! The agents of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences will be back in March 2015 with another steampunk adventure from Berkley/Ace. Here’s the glorious cover:

The Diamond Conspiracy

And here’s the blurb:

For years, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has enjoyed the favor of Her Majesty the Queen. But even the oldest loyalties can turn in a moment…

Having narrowly escaped the electrifying machinations of Thomas Edison, Books and Braun are looking forward to a relaxing and possibly romantic voyage home. But when Braun’s emergency signal goes off, all thoughts of recreation vanish. Braun’s street-wise team of child informants, the Ministry Seven, is in grave peril, and Books and Braun must return to England immediately.

But when the intrepid agents finally arrive in London, the situation is even more dire than they imagined. The Ministry has been disavowed, and the Department of Imperial Inconveniences has been called in to decommission its agents in a most deadly fashion. The plan reeks of the Maestro’s dastardly scheming. Only, this time, he has a dangerous new ally—a duplicitous doctor whose pernicious poisons have infected the highest levels of society, reaching even the Queen herself…

PRE-ORDER HERE: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Kindle Unlimited Creates 2-Tiers for Authors

Written By: laurie - Jul• 21•14

Amazon jumped into the book subscription service with both feet over the weekend with their Kindle Unlimited program. My client Michel J. Sullivan wrote a great article for Digital Book World about how the subscription service creates a two-tier system for authors depending on whether you are traditionally or self-published.

I can’t say it any better than he did, so here’s a link to the article:

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/kindle-unlimiteds-two-tier-system-makes-some-authors-second-class-citizens/

 

Michael J. Sullivan

Amazon versus Hachette: the authors lose

Written By: laurie - Jun• 20•14

I was recently interviewed on a great podcast called The Shared Desk run by two of my clients: veteran podcasters Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine. Give us a listen if you want to hear my views on the ongoing battle between Amazon and Hachette Books over ebook royalty rates and other sundry things. Pundits are billing this as the fight to determine publishing supremacy–the very future of publishing itself! I try to remind everyone that it is ultimately the authors who are the losers in this scuffle. http://www.theshareddesk.com/2014/06/18/episode-36-amazon-and-hachette/

The Shared Desk

News Corp Buys Harlequin

Written By: laurie - May• 02•14

Parent company to HarperCollins, News Corp., is buying Harlequin Enterprises from Torstar Corporation for $415 million in cash and will make it a division of HarperCollins. Harlequin’s headquarters will remain in Toronto, as will the offices of HarperCollins Canada.

harlequin_logo_050214

Founded in 1949 and bought by Torstar in 1981, Harlequin publishes more than 110 titles monthly in 34 languages in more than 100 markets. In 2013, Harlequin revenues were US$363 million, about 95% of which came from outside Canada.

“Harlequin has a devoted audience around the globe and an empathetic insight into contemporary cultures, which is itself a remarkable resource,” News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson said. “This acquisition will broaden the boundaries of both HarperCollins and Harlequin, and is a significant step in our strategy to establish a network of digital properties in the growth regions of the world.”

Brian Murray, HarperCollins president and CEO, commented: “Harlequin has built one of the largest and most widely recognized consumer brands in publishing with a highly focused publishing program for women…. The Harlequin name and rich heritage will be preserved independently, with the aim to leverage capabilities to bring the book-reading public more choices. Harlequin’s business has grown internationally, and will give HarperCollins an immediate foothold in 11 new countries from which we can expand into dozens of foreign languages for authors who choose to work with us globally.”

–originally from Shelf Awareness 5/2/14

TALON Cover Revealed!

Written By: laurie - Apr• 15•14

NYT/USA Today/international bestselling YA author Julie Kagawa has hit it out of the park with her new cover for fall release TALON. The bold, ruby-colored dragonskin cover makes you want to pet it! Universal Studios producer Chris Morgan (“The Fast & the Furious”), who is making the book into a movie said, “its elegance, mystery and understated sensuality are resonant of what the readers will experience when devouring Julie’s words…”

Check out the cover for yourself here at the exclusive cover reveal at MTV.com: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1726193/talon-cover-reveal.jhtml

The Book Release: Now the Work Begins

Written By: laurie - Mar• 26•14

A guest post by my client, Tee Morris

tee_steampunk

It’s 8:15 p.m. as I begin work on this blogpost. We got snow today in the Nation’s Capitol which is still hard for all of us in the area to wrap our brains around. It is, after all, the first week of Spring. Tonight, our daughter decided to cop an attitude about dinner which sparked a familial confrontation, driving the nine-year-old-teenager to call me “a mean daddy.” I should mention she said this before I drove her to dance class. All this, coming on the heels of a textbook that I finished writing up for a Social Media Master Class for Writers that my wife Pip and I are teaching Friday. The “go” sign was given to the modest print shop to make a fistful of these teaching materials just after I received email from another client for my Social Media know-how. They were “not that impressed” with the curriculum I was offering his “experts” who, apparently, aren’t that expert to begin with seeing as they need me to come in and train them on better blogging strategy. All in all, it’s been a busy day.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot — Dawn’s Early Light, the third book in the award-winning Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, was released into the wild today.

Welcome to the glamorous life of a modern-day author.

I would love to say “Life goes on…” but this is the part where people think “Okay, the book’s out, let’s kick back, bury our toes in the sand, and drink Mojitos until the sun stops setting and the tide ceases to roll in and out.” While this sounds like an overture to a new Jimmy Buffett ballad and a wonderful idea, the modern-day author cannot do this. I’ve already written about the unbridled fear of what writers face every morning before a premiere, but here I’m going to talk about what you do after the book comes out. See, the hard part has only begun. It’s not writing the book. It’s not getting the book published. It’s getting people to buy your book.

Yes, young Padawan, your journey has only begun. In today’s modern world of the blue collar author, amidst the dinosaurs bemoaning technology and lamenting for the days of wine and roses, we young upstarts of science fiction, fantasy, and things that go boom in our books, are refusing to go gently into that good night. What you should have done up to this point, as the modern-day author, is build up anticipation and momentum on your title. You wanted to get people excited about your new book; and depending on how you look at the activity on your social media channels, you should be getting pinged hard and pinged often with activity and interactions. No matter how you cut it, a publisher has made a gamble on your latest work and on your series. They are expecting this gamble to deliver. This is what it means to be a professional writer in today’s publishing industry. The likes of Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and even the more modern sensations like J.K Rowling, Stephen King and George R.R. Martin never had to bother themselves with issues like market performance, analytics, and R.O.I. “Sure, take your time on writing that next book. We’ll be here when you want publish that bad bear.” It’s a different game now, Sparky. You can’t kick back and enjoy a few years between titles. You’re measured by your last book, and even if it’s been a day like it has been for Pip and myself, that last book now includes that one-day-old title currently sitting on the bookshelves.

It’s your job to get it off the bookshelves and into readers’ hands. What do you do?

Keep the Blogging Pace You’ve Set. The best thing about recent blog tours I’ve participated in has been the habit of blogging I’ve developed. I’m figuring if I can keep up the pace of two blogposts a week at TeeMorris.com and the Ministry blog, this will keep people tuned in to what’s going on with me and Dawn’s Early Light. The increase in post frequency, I know, has been working. Between February and March on the Ministry blog, we have seen a 400% increase in traffic, and my own blog has been enjoying its fair share of new visitors as well. I’ve just recently added Tumblr to my blogging platforms, so it’s time to play in a new arena.

Continue Podcasting Appearances. Something I’ve seen often with podcast tours is once the book is out, the promotion stops cold. Truth is the key time for promotion is a month before and a month after a book’s release. Make sure that when you schedule interviews on podcasts, you have some appearances reaching into the weeks following the book’s birthday. (I’ve got three interviews on the books, and am hoping to schedule a few more before the month is out.) With an additional month, you can keep your title on readers’ and potential readers’ RADAR.

Another promotional avenue that can be an ongoing venture, and not as aggressive as a media onslaught or constant bombardment of promotion, is producing short stories set in your works’ universe. Our own award-winning Tales from the Archives just dropped its third story of its third season. We have nine more planned. Free short stories in either digital or audio formats are a fantastic way to introduce new readers to your titles.

Continue to Post in Social Networks within Reason. This is a hard avenue to traverse because you don’t want to turn your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ accounts into noise as enough writers tend to make this mistake. However, promotions on these channels are key. For every one promotional post, mix up your content with three or four other posts of either personal or community nature. That way, you are still active on your platforms and active in your communities; but not indulging in an “All About Me” party.

Maybe you’re wondering “When will I be able to write again?” You will. That drive to create eventually comes back; but while the month before a release date is important to the visibility of the new title, the following month is just as important to its success. These two months matter. Once the weeks slip by (and they will as I’m stunned that today was the day), you can scale back the posts about reviews. You still need to be visible, but less about the book and more about the author. As you move on and (hopefully) let the book continue without aggressive promotion, you need to strap in and begin work on the next project. As I mentioned before, you’re only as good as your last book. This means for there to be a last book, you’re going to need a new book either underway or nearly complete. Otherwise, your last book truly will be your last book.

So with the new title on the shelves, I’m suiting up for battle. I’ve got my ætherpistol set to “Confound” and my armored pith helmet secured on my head. Goggles are down. Time to get to work. My first step in post-release promotion?

Congratulations. You’re reading it.

———————
Tee Morris has been writing adventures in far-off lands and far-off worlds since elementary school. Inspired by numerous Choose Your Own Adventure titles and Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, he wrote not-so-short short stories of his own, unaware that working on a typewriter when sick-from-school and, later, on a computer (which was a lot quieter…that meant more time to write at night…) would pave a way for his writings.

Tee has now returned to writing fiction with The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, written with his wife, Pip Ballantine. Their first title in the series, Phoenix Rising, won the 2011 Airship Award for Best in Steampunk Literature, while both Phoenix Rising and The Janus Affair were finalists in Goodreads Best in Science Fiction of 2011 and 2012. In 2013 Tee and Pip released Ministry Protocol, an original anthology of short stories set in the Ministry universe. Now in 2014, following a Parsec win for their companion podcast, Tales from the Archives, Tee and Pip celebrate the arrival of their third book, Dawn’s Early Light and launch a new venture—One Stop Writer Shop—offering a variety of services to up-and-coming and established indie authors.

dawnsearlylight

Goodreads Author Tips

Written By: laurie - Mar• 05•14

As a former marketing pro with 25+ years in that industry before I became a literary agent a decade ago, I am bullish on establishing a strong author brand. I speak about it a lot at conferences and in webinars. So I was delighted that a recent Forbes magazine article entitled “The Strongest Brand in Publishing” featured my client, science fiction and fantasy author Michael J. Sullivan. Towards the end of the article, Michael J. gives you three tips on how he became one of the “most effective authors” on Goodreads according to Patrick Brown, Goodreads’ Director for Author Marketing.

Michael J.’s strategy has to do with building and participating in community, as well as interacting with your fans and giving away books. Another tip is that he started out as a reader and knows both sides of a story. It’s a fascinating article and well worth a couple minutes of your time to read. Find the Forbes article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2014/03/04/the-strongest-brand-in-publishing-is/

Goodreads

Goodreads

UPDATE: Michael has added more detail to his advice here: http://www.riyria.blogspot.com/2014/03/goodreads-secrets-of-fantasy-king.html

Hollow World Cover 1200 x 1900

My client, AR Kahler, Nominated for 2 Book Awards!

Written By: laurie - Jan• 23•14

My client, debut fantasy author A.R. Kahler has made me a proud mama today by sharing the news that his The Immortal Circus fantasy trilogy (Amazon 47North) has been nominated for two awards for 2013: The Endeavor Award for best science fiction or fantasy written by a Pacific Northwest author and published in the previous year, and the Compton Crook Award for best first novel of the year written by an individual author from the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. He is also eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and will be in their 2014 Campbellian anthology. Way to go Alex! Plus look at his cool photo. And did I mention that he’s a circus aerialist as well as an author. You go, sir!

Alex Kahler author

Kindra Nikole Photography

Wild 2014 Publishing Predictions

Written By: laurie - Jan• 02•14

If you’re wondering what to expect in the new year, hop on over to Foreword Literary’s blog and see what zany predictions we cooked up in our last staff meeting of 2013. Remember that this was at the end of an hour long Facebook chat, so forgive us in advance if we got a bit irreverent.

forewordliterary.com