Need Questions!

on May 29, 2008

PASIC, the Published Author Special Interest Chapter, has had online workshops for the past year, and this Fall is turning the monthly workshops into quarterly events. We want to provide writers, both published and unpublished, with workshops that can’t be found elsewhere.

As PASIC President, I think it’s important as both a fundraising tool, promotional opportunity, and service (paying forward concept) to provide such workshops to members of RWA and other aspiring and published authors. So I’m developing a unique workshop for November that is exclusive–at least for the year after I present at PASIC online, you won’t get this same information from me anywhere else.

CJ Lyons, who coordinates the workshops and is a fabulous writer as well, reminded me yesterday that I need to come up with a workshop description. It’s kind of hard to do that when I don’t know what I want to “teach!” But she gave me some ideas, and I’m running with them. I’m taking a concept of a workshop I did in 2005 at RWA Reno with my agent and Dianna Love Snell called “From The Call to Publication” which covered all the things you could expect after receiving the call until your book hits the shelf. But I want to go a step further and not only cover the basics of author responsibilities, but working with an agent, an editor, publicist, and others and the roles of each; contract basics; troubleshooting problems; picking your battles; what terms mean in theory and practice (i.e. co-op); distribution; retailers v. wholesalers; promotion basics; what bestseller lists mean and don’t mean; genre and format; etc. So I think the class would appeal to not only serious aspiring writers, both those on the verge of a sale or with a recent sale, but also midlisters and others. The class is not going to be directed to romance writers only, so ALL genre/commercial fiction writers should find the information valuable. I’ll also talk about the different genre expectations, pros and cons of being marketed as A, B or C, and what bookstore shelving means practically.

I’ll admit, I know a lot about this stuff, but I know far less than I should AND I know that my experiences are different from others. CJ had the brilliant idea of interviewing editors and agents and bestselling authors for their take on different aspects of the business and what it takes to STAY published as opposed to GETTING published.

To this end, I need to hone my description and come up with questions. That’s where you come in. And because I’m in a relatively good mood, I’m giving away three copies of TEMPTING EVIL randomly to commenters AND those same commenters get to pick three friends to send one of my backlist books. Everyone is eligible, even if you just say “hi, love the concept.”


The Writer’s Business Journey (okay, the title needs help, too!)
What happens after you receive THE CALL? You’re going to be published . . . then what? Join New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan on a writer’s journey from The Call to Staying Published.

Part One: The Call to Publication
Learn what happens after you sell, who the players are from your agent to editor to publicist and more; what does everyone do in a publishing house and how do they impact your book and you career? What should an author expect from their agent and their editor? How do you query an agent after you receive The Call? What are common contract clauses and what do they mean? What are foreign rights? Subsidiary rights? Defining terms like copy edits, page proofs, rights, etc. What happens in production? What is expected from the author? This is the nuts and bolts of what is required for every author after a sale.

Part Two: The Three Ps: Publication, Placement and Promotion
What do you HAVE to do before your book is released, what MIGHT you do, and what should you NOT do? Pre-book buzz–what is it and how do you get it? What is co-op and other publication terms? How are books distributed? What are wholesalers and what do they do? How are bestseller lists determined? Velocity, word-of-mouth, reviews, interviews, fans, blogs, MySpace, and your space. What will your publisher do, what MIGHT they do, what can YOU do? Is promotion worth it? Pros and cons of promotion–from authors, agents, editors, and publicists.

Part Three: The Career Author
What it means to be a career author and how to get there; roadblocks; and success. Blunt and to the point, you’ll never again say to an author, “I wish I were you.” Stories from authors who are successful, and those who are struggling. What they’ve learned and why it’s never the same path for any author. How to be a career author from the viewpoint of agents and editors; how to rebuild your career; professional jealousy; career management; changing agents; changing houses; and everything in between. Business management and surviving, pros and cons of quitting the “day” job, and practical issues like managing deadlines, speaking engagements, and family. Dos and don’ts of being active online–i.e. you’re now a public figure, what does it mean? The rudest questions authors get and how to answer them without telling the person to go jump in a piranha infested river.

That’s what I came up with today. Anything I’ve missed? Anything you want to know? If you could ask anyone in publishing a question or three, what would they be? I plan to “interview” at least 10 people in publishing, as well as many authors. I want people to be blunt and honest, so I’m going to offer anonymity if they want. So ALL questions are welcome. Post away!


TEMPTING EVIL debuted at #12 on the NYT list. Yeah!

An excerpt for PLAYING DEAD is posted on my website.

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, do it now–this summer I’m giving away a LOT of books, to you, your friends, your family–you don’t want to miss out!