Agent Savant

The musings of literary agent Laurie McLean

Fun video of Julie Kagawa on television

Written By: laurie - Oct• 17•12

Oh my. Look at the masquerade-ball-throwing YA authors from Louisville, Kentucky!–174588971.html


Oyster will be Spotify for eBooks!

Written By: laurie - Oct• 11•12

Digital Book World broke the story today that new eBook subscription service, Oyster, has received $3 million in funding to become the Spotify for eBooks. With a monthly subscription to Oyster, you could read as many books as you wish from their catalog. There are more details here on this exciting announcement!

Of course there are many questions still to be answered like how will publishers and authors be compensated from this type of subscription model. But with co-founders from many tech industry heavyweights like Google and Apple, I suspect they will figure it all out.

I especially like this line from the Digital Book World story where they compare Oyster to the “grandaddy” of eBook subscription services, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: “Unlike KOLL, Oyster would be all you could eat.” And eBook readers have proven that they can be very hungry indeed.

Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’ sells half in eBooks!

Written By: laurie - Oct• 04•12

An interesting point was made earlier this week by Little Brown’s publisher Michael Pietsch. Yes, J.K. Rowling’s first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, has exceeded their sales expectations, selling 375,000 hardcover copies in six days, which he believes will make it the bestselling hardcover in 2012. Then the other shoe dropped. Since Nielsen BookScan reported 157,000 print copies sold in the first four days, the math suggests that half of Rowling’s sales right out of the gate were, gasp, EBOOKS! That is an enormous swing and heavily underscores the notion that eBooks are saving the butts of traditional publishers just as they’re giving tremendous opportunities to new authors in the area of self-publishing. Wow, it’s a great time to be a writer!

Casual Vacancy cover

Personal recommendations (in person) key to book sales

Written By: laurie - Sep• 25•12

At Digital Book World’s Discoverability and Marketing event yesterday in New York City, ISBN powerhouse Bowker had this to say about how people buy books:

“Last year, nearly 50% of consumers altered their book-buying behavior, according Bowker’s v-p of publishing services Kelly Gallagher, who estimated that 39% of books are sold online and “people discover new books in up to 44 different ways,” DBW reported, adding that despite the ongoing upheaval in the book trade, one constant remains–‘in-person, personal recommendations are the No. 1 way people discover books, no matter who they are or how they read.'”

You can read the whole article courtesy of bookseller authority Shelf Awareness.

There’s also a nice little squib about how poet and writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti started City Lights Books in San Francisco back in the 60s.

Spencer Hill Press Buys Alex Kahler YA UF

Written By: laurie - Sep• 17•12

I am so pleased to finally be able to announce that fast-growing Spencer Hill Press has bought the rights to publish the first two books in my client Alex Kahler’s series: The Hunted. MARTYR and MENDED follow gay teen protagonist, Tenn, as he uses his chakra magic to fight an assortment of new and horrible used-to-be-human monsters to rescue his mentor and first love, Jarrett. Working with a group of heroes that include twin teen witches, a woman who used to be Jarrett’s lover, and other misfits, Tenn not only has to learn all that his powers are capable of, but he has to face new challenges at every turn in the unique and terrifying world Kahler has created for his characters. Can you tell I really love this series.

Kahler used to be the assistant to Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, so you know he picked up some valuable writing tips from these two YA powerhouses! He’s also a circus aerialist and part of the infamous YARebels Vloggers on YouTube.

Look for THE HUNTED series starting in 2014. And find out more about Alex at Oh, why wait! Here’s a photo of him doing his circus act in Scotland!

Alex Kahler circus aerialist

Alex in Chains

Amazon Publishing Shares Initial Sales Figures

Written By: laurie - Sep• 17•12

In a letter to agents, Amazon Publishing’s VP Jeff Belle shared how its imprints 47North (fantasy/horror/science fiction), Thomas & Mercer (mystery/thriller), and Montlake (romance) are doing saleswise. No big surprise, Kindle sales account for the bulk of their numbers. Also not a big surprise is that a handful of bestselling authors are blowing the doors off their former traditionally published book sales numbers.

Read it all here.

Espresso Book Machines Everywhere!

Written By: laurie - Sep• 13•12

If Kodak has its way, the future of books I’ve been envisioning since 2008 may finally become a reality. Can you imagine book kiosks where you can select among millions of books from bestsellers to obscure out of print classics? Hundreds of thousands of locations conveniently located nearby? Print books on demand with the ease you thought only available with eBooks?

Here’s the news from Publisher’s Weekly: “Kodak is working with On Demand to integrate the Espresso Book Machine, currently available in only a handful of bookstores and libraries, with the KODAK Picture Kiosk at 105,000 locations worldwide. The integrated kiosks, which will begin to go live late this year in the U.S., will have more than 7 million books available through On Demand. The kiosks will also have the capability to handle self-published books.”

You can read more about this game changing news at Publisher’s Weekly. I am very, very excited this morning!

Amazon Already Discounting HarperCollins eBooks

Written By: laurie - Sep• 10•12

Well, that was fast! Just days after the judge accepted the Department of Justice settlements from HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster and Hachette, Amazon has begun to discount eBooks from HarperCollins. Read more about it here. Guess the authors will just have to suck it up if their contracts pay royalties on net amounts. Sigh…

Writers for Change: Conference alert!

Written By: laurie - Aug• 22•12

I have to note up front that I work for the organization that puts on this and other San Francisco-based events, but it is unique among writing conferences and I want to spread the word:

Writing for Change conferenceThe 2012 San Francisco Writing for Change Conference will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Centar, Geary at Franklin, on September 15th. Paul Hawken, author of BLESSED UNREST and NATURAL CAPITALISM, called by President Clinton “one of the most important books in the world” will keynote, as will Dan Millman, author of the Peaceful Warrior series. Authors, editors, agents and social media experts will show nonfiction writers how they can help change the world, one book at a time. They’ll discuss change of all kinds: economic, ecological, social, political, legal, personal and spiritual. $145. <> . 925 420-6223. 415 673-0939

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Written By: laurie - Aug• 17•12

I played hooky this week and went to see a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park. Wonderful sunny weather. Spectacular ballpark. Great food. Only bummer was the 50-game suspension of Giants All-Star MVP Melky Cabrera for performance enhancing drugs. WTF? In the wake of the Barry Bonds steroid scandal, you’d think baseball players, especially the ones in San Francisco, would know that us fans have zero tolerance for cheating. Ouch. I think I just watched our playoff chances go up in smoke…or down with an injection…or something.

Anyway, here’s a picture of me at the game before I heard the bad news. You don’t want to see one of me afterwards…