Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Carrie Vaughn a NYTimes Bestseller… again

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Carrie’s latest novel of Kitty Norville, Kitty Goes to War (Tor) debuts on the New York Times mass market bestseller list. The official debut date is July 18, 2010, but you can see the list online here. Grab a copy at your favorite bookstore, Apple’s iBookstore or the Amazon Kindle store and other electronic sellers. Shopping in the iBookstore requires an Apple iPad, or most models of the iPod Touch/iPhone running iOS4. The audio book edition (Tantor) is also available. Kitty Goes to War is the eighth novel in the series and the fourth title in the past three years to make the NYTimes list upon publication.

While browsing, treat yourself to Discord’s Apple (Tor), Carrie’s new fantasy novel, now in hardcover, electronic formats and on audio from Brilliance Audio. While it is very much an urban fantasy, it is also an international thriller of power politics and a chase for the ultimate weapon: not a nuke, or pandemic-class bio-weapon, but the Apple of Discord.

The Good Humor Man is one to run after

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

The Good Humor Man

The May 15th issue of Booklist, named The Good Humor Man by Andrew Fox (Tachyon) one of 2010′s Top Ten SF/Fantasy novels. See the whole list and details of the novel at Booklist Online. Well earned recognition for Andy, his editor/publisher, Jacob Weisman at Tachyon Publications and his agent at AGLA, Denise Dumars.

Andy’s debut novel, the darkly magical, Fat White Vampire Blues and the sequel, Bride of the Fat White Vampire (Ballantine) truly capture the feel of old New Orleans–funny, scary fun and over the top. Having fearlessly addressed the fact that vampires feeding on the rich blood of victims full of gumbo and absinthe would be obese, in The Good Humor Man, Andy cuts right to the fat and spins a tall tale to be sure, but not a lanky one.

Directive 51 by John Barnes released today

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
Directive 51 cover

Directive 51 by John Barnes (Ace)

Directive 51 is President George Bush’s directive that specifies how Executive Branch powers will be transferred in the event of a catastrophic event that kills or incapacitates the Constitutionally authorized successors to the office. Every administration has had such a plan, Directive 51 is just the most current. This techno-thriller novel envisions just such an event occurring and the efforts of the surviving Americans: government officials, military forces, and just plain folks to survive and rebuild. You can read a brief essay by John on the Penguin website, just click here. More than just a disaster novel, this is a political action thriller unlike anything we’ve seen before. There’s lots of neat, cutting edge issues in the book: the real danger of a fully open internet, an epidemic of both bacteria and nanotechnology, and the consequences of thoughtless extremism of all sides of the environmental questions.

If you are an aspiring author who wants to know what sort of novel appeals to our Agency, read Directive 51.

If you have a Bug Out Bag, or participate in the preparedness movement, or are uneasy about disasters like the recent earthquakes, read Directive 51. It will help you visualize what the conditions would be if there’s a complete collapse of the national infrastructure, and no matter what might happen to you: wildfire, earthquake, terrorist attack, you can smile and say, “I’ve seen worse” as you get on with saving yourself, your family and community.

Directive 51 is on sale today, at all online bookstores including Barnes and Noble, Borders and at their retail stores and independent bookshops as well. Check out Amazon.com, they are selling this first edition hardcover at the unbelievable price of $9.99, the same price as the Kindle edition, but we don’t know how long they will offer this discount. If you are a lucky iPad owner you can grab the Apple iBook edition from the iBookstore (only accessible via the iPad).

Rework Attack ad on Karl Rove

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010


The founders of the website 37signals.com are also the developers of Ruby On Rails, the hottest new technology for building websites available. In addition to being innovative programmers, they are shrewd business people and www.37signals.com offers a variety of web collaboration tools for managing contacts, content, and tracking projects. Anyone can try these cloud applications for free and upgrade to paid services as business grows. We’ve used these cloud applications at the Grayson Agency since the first version to lower cost and improve productivity.

Now they’ve written a book on business innovation: Rework. It’s on my must read list, but today they innovated some book marketing; they released a gorilla marketing meme for their book (already a success) in the form of an attack ad on Karl Rove’s book: Courage and Consequences. I plan to read Karl’s book too, right after I finish all the books in the other great fantasies: Harry Potter, Twilight, and Kitty Norville. In case you’ve been living in Grand Fenwick or Narnia for the past decade, Karl is the popularizer (if not the inventor) of the angry political attack ad that plays fast and loosey with the truthiness of content. Check out these links. This is modern book marketing at its best. Hey, it got me to post their PR for a book we don’t even represent.

Stay tuned. This blog will shortly return to its regular program of revealing the real secrets of publishing.

John Reed, had a little list

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

John Reed as Koko in The Mikado

Today’s New York Times, carries a nice obituary for John Reed, one of the great word guys of the century. He wasn’t an author, yet I mention him here because of his performances, which unlike most singers, depended on his masterful delivery of words. He was the leading performer of Gilbert and Sullivan’s patter songs at the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. Here’s his performance of Willow, tit-willow, the love song from The Mikado on youtube.

Reeds characters were always the antithesis of romance novel heros, un-macho but not without yearnings. As Judge Scaphio explains in Utopia Ltd:

Never!  I have often marveled at the fairy influence which weaves its rosy web about the faculties of the greatest and wisest of our race; but I thank Heaven I have never been subjected to its singular fascination.  For, oh, Phantis! there is that within me that tells me that when my time does come, the convulsion will be tremendous!  When I love, it will be with the accumulated fervor of sixty-six years!  But I have an ideal–a semi-transparent Being, filled with an inorganic pink jelly–and I have never yet seen the woman who approaches within measurable distance of it.  All are opaque–opaque–opaque!

A fine singer and actor who can deliver such lines and be understood in the last row of the second balcony.

Amazon concedes

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Gilda Radner on SNLIn the words of Gilda Radner, “Never mind.” (Clic the pic for sound.) However, let’s not fool ourselves that the war is over. This is only a skirmish. There are some new insightful blogs on the underlying causes of the conflict. We suggest you check out:  Scrivener’s Error and Charles Stross’ blog for a legal perspective and a supply chain analysis respectively. Great stuff.

UPDATE: A biting and appropriate summary by John Scalzi on his blog.

Amazon pulls Macmillan titles from online store

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Amazon will still allow customers to buy Macmillan titles from used book resellers as part of their partners program, but no longer displays the “Ships from and Sold by Amazon.com” text. The biggest impact is the elimination of royalty generating sales for authors on the web’s largest book retailer. The New York Times reports that the reason is the ongoing dispute between Amazon which wants to drive down the cost of e-books to $9.99, and publishers who want to hold up the price.

Technically Amazon is justified: book prices have risen due to increasing costs of manufacture and transport to place physical books on display in local bookstores. Ebooks have no cost of production, delivery or (shudder) returns. So ebooks don’t “need” to cost as much as paper books. Publishers, of course, don’t want to see revenues drop and want to continue the business-fiction that books are valued by the “format” of the book, rather than by the content. They are historically justified, because a hardcover costs more to produce than a paperback. But when there’s no physical object involved, the argument collapses. Alas, while my sensibility as an agent, makes me want to see strong, healthy publishers, there’s no good guy in this battle. And the only loser is the author.

Facilitators of delivery like Amazon and Apple don’t need the same margins as brick and mortar bookstores because they have no fixed costs for stores (not that Amazon doesn’t spend a lot of IT dollars on their computers). That’s why Apple’s iTunes and App stores have always passed 70% of the consumer price on to the rights holder. Amazon used to require 65% of the take for ebooks sold for the Kindle, but scared purple by the iPad, they dropped their share to match the Apple business model.

This fight, and the pulling of the Macmillan titles, is over the list price of the e-book. Publishers have been demanding agents and authors accept 15% of the ebook list price or sometimes a larger percent of the “Net receipts.” Our agency has been fighting the unfairness of publishers holding high percentages of e-book revenues for years. The problem is that 15% of the list price is not profitable for authors if business partners (say, Amazon and Macmillan) decide to price the e-book at $2.99. Likewise, the apparent niftiness of a 25% net receipts royalty is a bad deal if the delivery facilitator decides to collect 65% of the sale price, which Amazon used to do. Too many contracts have authors incomes tied to the publisher’s ability to artificially inflate the price of e-books; a fight I don’t think they can win.

It’s time to rethink the business model for publishing. Print runs are falling, even NYTimes bestsellers are being stocked in big chain bookstores in smaller quantities, and consumer spending is falling. Arguing over the wrong things for the wrong reasons and arguing against technological reality is not the way to improve the world. I’m concerned, but not worried; I love all the editors we work with and want them to have long careers, but my fiscal duty is to the cash flow of our authors. I think I’m the only literary agent who is also a computer software guy; someone who can edit books and refactor software. (They are very similar activities). I was in the BBN network control center the night the Internet, then called ARPAnet was first turned on. I’m pretty sure I’m the only agent with the iPad development system running on my laptop. All this e-book and web stuff is fun and it is not going away. So to Amazon and the Publishers, I want to say: stop fighting kids. The author, and agent–at least this one, is your friend. You can’t fool me; but you don’t have to.