As some folks may have noticed over the last month, I decided to take on two interns (as there were many wonderful applications with this newest intern search).
I’m excited to introduce Gwen Fitzgerald and Jennie Goloboy. Over the next few months, there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing from them in regard to queries sent to the agency, events for my authors, and more. They’re both fantastic additions, and I’m enjoying having them around! Plus by pure coincidence, it seems that they’re both Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fans. It’s a factoid that I like very much.
GF: I’m finally getting around to reading The Walking Dead. I love anything that is cultish but still character-driven.
JG: I’ve been reading a bunch of things from Angry Robot Books. I just finished their funny urban fantasy Hard Spell. Now I’m starting The Damned Busters, about a guy who negotiates a deal with the Devil to become a superhero.
2. Where do you see the publishing in 5 years? Hopes, goals, expectations?
GF: I think that publishing will become more streamlined. Authors will have to be very commercial or work very well in their niche. I would hope that by cutting the amount of things published, that the experience of being published will improve because books will do better. I hate when people feel like self-publishing is the only way to put themselves out there, because they just weren’t told how to set themselves apart.
JG: The big changes that I see are the rise of e-books, and the increased use of social media. I think as e-books become more and more popular, that’s great news for new authors– it makes it much easier to get published. I’ve also seen many mid-career authors reissue some of their older work as ebooks, which is always great news for fans. So in five years, we’ll see more books “in print” (if not on paper) than ever before.
The problem is that with so many books available, how does the reader find any particular book? The answer is social networking. As an author friend, Laurel Amberdine, recently wrote, “Your charming personality is just about the biggest marketing tool you have. Interacting with people who are cool is the only ‘advertising’ which has ever made me pick up books.” And for authors who are shy, remember, “Good writers are almost always awesome to talk to.”
3. Before becoming an intern (at Red Sofa), what were your assumptions about publishing? Now that you’re starting to learn the business of publishing, were your assumptions confirmed? Disproved?
GF: That traditional publishing was dying and a new model was waiting to emerge. Now, I’m much more confident in how publishing is going now that I’m gaining experience. Instead, I believe forming a platform is changing. I think writers want to type out their book(s) in the attic and somehow become a working writer; and I’m learning there is a lot more to putting yourself “out there.”
JG: My biggest incorrect assumption was that an author could work on marketing the book after getting the book contract. This just isn’t true: an author has to have a platform, a kind of work he’s known for, even before the book sells. Otherwise the book might not sell!
4. What do you believe is the biggest challenge for new writers today?
GF: Time is number one. It’s expensive to live well, so working and writing can be a constant struggle. Also, I think fiction authors have a hard time identifying what their expertise is when working on their platform.
JG: Finishing the book! But assuming you’ve done that, the biggest challenge is defining yourself as a writer, and letting other people know what you do. One needs to show possible fans how previous writing credits signify an area of expertise. Can you gain some kind of local following? Can you get national attention using Facebook , Twitter, and your own web site?
5. What are your favorite resources thus far for writers? And why?
GF: All of Christina Katz’s books and Jeff Herman’s Guide to Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents. Katz does a great job of showing writers how to write, despite their schedules and how to actually make the book successful. I’ve used Herman’s Guide almost every day looking for different publishers and agents in different areas, since I’m not sure where I’ll live after I graduate college.
JG: As a speculative fiction writer, I’m a big fan of the Online Writing Workshop. I’m also a member of the Codex Writers’ Group. But for keeping old friends up to date with your writing life, there’s nothing like Facebook. And for meeting new people and hearing about new projects and ideas that might interest me, I love Twitter.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Katniss Everdeen – The strongest baddest girl in town, which one? And why?
GF: Uh, Buffy, most definitely. I love the fact that Buffy spends so much time at the library, very much personifying “knowledge is power.” She’s also unafraid to tackle emotional issues head on, unlike Katniss, the constant love-triangle-vertex.
JG: Buffy forever, baby. Because Buffy made me laugh.
Welcome to Red Sofa Literary Jennie and Gwen! I’m very fortunate to have you on board. 🙂