ring my bells

Literary Agent Evan Gregory; Free Excerpt: Daddy Knows Best; New Release

The reason I’m posting about a new literary agent, Even Gregory, is because he wrote a post in March that actually talks about e-publishing, e-publishers, and royalties. To say I’m stunned is an understatement. Most literary agent blogs never even acknowledge the fact that e-publishers exist. Not all. Lori Perkins has been talking about e-publishing for years now, and so have a few others. But I rarely see e-publishers mentioned anywhere else in spite of the fact that e-publishers pioneered digital publishing as we know it today, they paved the digital path for agents and authors and big publishers and never get an ounce of credit, and, more important, they’ve been entertaining avid readers for a decade now. I read my first digital books from e-publishers on my PC in 2002.

In any event, Evan Gregory wrote a brilliant post about royalties, e-publishers, and advances. He gets into the pros and cons, and he gives excellent examples.

The royalty-only model is, as mentioned by John, not a new model, but its rise in the digital book world is not surprising, nor should its adoption by the larger publishers for the purposes of creating their own low-overhead imprints be necessarily surprising either. The model was born out of desperation by upstart e-publishers who didn’t have the initial capital to pay out advances. Even before the rise in popularity of self-publishing, they needed an arrow in their quiver to convince authors to write for them, rather than focus their efforts elsewhere. That arrow was a higher than average royalty, and in some circumstances flexibility on the rights retained by the author. 

You can read more here. I’ve worked for publishers who have used the royalty only model, and I’ve been paid advances. (I’ve also been paid flat fees.) I’ve been fine with all. If you get an advance, you have to earn out before you get any royalties. If you get only royalties you get paid for how many books you sell anyway. Either way you’re going to make money if people read the book, so for me one thing just cancels out the other. In fact, one of the biggest worries I’ve always had was making sure I earned out with each book when I was paid an advance. I have always done this, too. But I know authors who haven’t and that really sucks.

Evan Gregory’s blog is called, Flaubert’s Pyramid, and he seems to be all over the place in social media. He’s affiliated with the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency and you can read more about him there. I would imagine he’s at BEA right now and he’ll be posting more about his experiences there in the coming weeks. I’m not sure about how he deals with queries or how he takes on clients, but I’m sure that information is out there somewhere. I’ve always found agentquery most helpful.

It’s nice to see someone fresh and new in the arena. It’s also nice to see a literary agent actually giving new authors all the advice they need, not just the advice that works for the agent. This, I believe, is the agent of the future.

New Release: Daddy Knows Best

My German editor with Bruno Gmunder Publishing e-mailed me yesterday about a new release date for the upcoming anthology I’m part of titled, Daddy Knows Best. The actual release date is July 10, 2013, and I’ll be posting more about that in the future. But I wanted to post a free excerpt today for anyone who might be interested in reading something different over the weekend.

The title of my story is Ring My Bells, and it’s never been published anywhere before…even though a hard copy version had been sitting in my files for fifteen years. This is the raw unedited version, and I did have to censor a few things because this blog is rated PG. But nothing more than a line or two, and the set-up to the storyline begins here.

About a year ago the telephone wasn’t working. No dial tone at all; just a soft beep sound when I pressed the talk button, and the small screen lighting up pale green for a couple of seconds. There had been severe thunderstorms the night before, but the electricity hadn’t gone out and there didn’t seem to be any wires down on the property.  Maybe it just had to be re-set, I thought. Unplug the cord and plug it back in a half hour later. I remembered that had happened once before, after I’d left the phone off the hook for a while.

            But after leaving it unplugged for a half hour it still wasn’t working when I re-set it. So with the telephone in my hand, I went down to the basement to see if everything was connected correctly. Attached to wooden beams, I found red, blue, white and black wires all screwed tightly to where they should be screwed. Everything seemed fine. And then I noticed a phone line going to the burglar alarm system, with phone jack at the base of a one square foot, locked metal box. I hesitantly unplugged the phone cord from the alarm box (I hate to touch things I don’t understand), pushed the talk button on the phone and I immediately had a dial tone. The problem, evidently, was with the alarm system; not the telephone.

            It only took one phone call to the alarm company for them to tell me they knew the problem well and they’d send someone out to fix it that day. A surge protector, so they said, had burned out during the severe thunderstorms. Not a big deal was how they’d put it, and as long as I didn’t plug the phone back into the alarm it would work perfectly normal. The same thing had happened to several other homes in my area, so they’d said.

            This all happened very early in the morning, before I’d had time for my ritual workout routine. Though I work at home for the most part, I’m usually up at five thirty or six every day so I can cram an hour workout into the day with weights and cardio. I’m usually dressed, showered and shaved by eight and seated in front of the computer no later than eight-thirty. I’d assumed the alarm guy wouldn’t show up until sometime that afternoon; they usually make you wait all day. So I ran a half hour on the treadmill and then did another half hour with free weights. This routine was strenuous, and often dull; but the workouts kept my waist at size thirty, my chest popping at forty-two inches and my ass hard and firm. The small of my back, which is deeply curved (more so when I arch my back on purpose), is what guys always said they liked most about my body. At twenty-five years old, I like to think that what I do now as exercise will benefit me in the future when things begin change.  

            But that’s also the ironic part about me. I’m usually more attracted to men with silver in their hair, a few lines on their faces, and mature looks. I’ve been known to go weak in the knees for men who have slight middle age paunches. I think men reach their sexiest point around age forty and it keeps getting better as they approach their late fifties. Why I once jumped in between a couple of men in their sixties just to see what it would be like for both of them to tackle me.

            I’m not sure why, but if there is a good looking guy in his twenties or thirties in the room, and a good looking guy in his forties or fifties in the same room, I go out of my way to make eye contact with the older instead of the younger. And it’s always been that way, ever since I was three years old and I used to sit on Uncle Joe’s lap. He would bounce me up and down, thinking nothing of it. And I would get a thrill deep in my body I couldn’t explain at the time. When I kissed him hello or good-bye, I made sure I rubbed my cheek against his rough beard on purpose.

            In any event, somewhere between seven-thirty and eight that morning, as I was stepping out of the shower, the doorbell rang. Knowing it had to be the alarm guy, and wanting to have the problem fixed, I haphazardly dried myself off, pulled on a pair of jeans and ran to answer the door in my bare feet. As I recall, they were faded, loose fitting jeans, which hung slightly below my waistline. I didn’t think twice about not wearing a shirt or having wet hair. It wasn’t a fashion show and I didn’t really give a damn how I looked. At least not until I opened the door and noticed the expression of shock on the repair man’s face, as I stood there half nude, hair still dripping wet, without a care in the world. 

            “I’m here to replace the surge protector,” he said.  But he couldn’t look me in the eye. He did look at my face for a moment, and then his brown eyes quickly examined my exposed torso, before they dropped to the floor. He looked to be about forty-five (maybe a year or two younger), he stood about five feet nine inches tall, and he was bulky and stocky, with a slight paunch. But by no means fat or what I would consider out of shape. And though his head was shaved clean, he had a perfectly trimmed goatee that framed full lips, with just the right amount of silver specks mixed with dark brown. And to top all this off, he wore white V-neck tee-shirt and dark jeans that fastened below his waist in a loose casual way. I glanced at his thick, tan leather tool belt that appeared heavy and awkward and took a quick breath. And when I glanced at a small, gunmetal tool case in his right hand I had to focus on not sighing aloud.

            “Sorry,” I said, with the most innocent voice I could find, wishing I’d at least combed my hair. “I thought you’d be here later in the day. I just got out of the shower and I thought you were someone else.”  The guy seemed decent. He just smiled. I had trouble looking into his eyes for fear he would read my mind and see how I felt about him. 

            He told me he’d been in the neighborhood when I’d called the office, and that he never was quite sure of the exact time he’d arrive for a service call.  He said, “It’s pretty much hit or miss, buddy, depending on how much work has to be done.”