I get a lot of queries for self-published novels. Sometimes they get pitched to me at conferences. Once, someone handed me four self-published books at a pitch session and said, "I was thinking you could peddle them around to one of the big six and see if anyone is interested."

This made me very confused. Besides the obvious (that's not exactly how the author/agent relationship works...), there's a big problem with that statement.

I represent two fabulous authors who self published: Cora Carmack and Chelsea Fine. And I'm open to representing more. So that's not the problem.

The issue is that these books are already published.

There are a few important things for you to consider before you self publish.

Really think about your goals. What do you want from the experience? And then think about what you're going to do in order to make that happen. Be honest with how much effort you're going to put in to publicity and marketing and reaching your audience. Then think about what your next step is going to be if the book doesn't to well.

For every success story, there are a lot more stories we don't hear about--the ones where the book only sells about a hundred copies.

Because here's the truth: if you self publish a novel and it only sells a hundred or even a thousand copies, you can't then turn around and query me (or another agent) with it. Whenever a query for a self-published project, there are two questions on my mind:
1. What do you want from me?
2. How many copies have you sold on your own?

Addressing that first question, most people who query me will say that they want to sell more copies. That's what they want me to help them with. They want me to connect them to a traditional publisher who can do more marketing and publicity and ultimately help them get the book "out there" in a bigger way.

Guess what? A traditional publisher doesn't want to put their money behind a book that hasn't sold well. Which means, if you aren't selling a thousand copies a day, it's going to be hard to make that happen. They also don't want the sequel to your self published book that hasn't done well.

Writing is an art form, but publishing is a business. If you're going to do both, you have to take both aspects into consideration.
You may have heard, New Leaf is putting on another epic author event. This one is at Powell's in Beaverton, OR on April 17th at 7 pm. (If you're within driving distance, you have to go--this is an event that shouldn't be missed).

If you can't make it, there's still a chance for you to get your hands on this:

It's an extra content booklet--exclusive to the Powell's event. It has never seen before content from each of the seven authors. That includes: alternate POV, deleted scene, annotated chapter and more. And it's going to be autographed by all seven authors: Mindee Arnett, Leigh Bardugo, Lisa Desrochers, Sarah Fine, Kristin Halbrook, Kody Keplinger, and Ingrid Paulson.

The contest runs from now until April 12th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
A little late with my queries this week--I blame it on going to the Bologna Book Fair. I had so much work to catch up on in the office this week. (But I was in Italy, so I can't complain!)

I received 323 queries.

I requested 5 manuscripts
Women's Fiction: great premise!
Paranormal Romance
Contemporary Romance
YA Urban Fantasy

I passed on 3 manuscripts that I wanted to request:

Historical romance: I have been reading Lisa Kleypas and have thus been really into historical romance. I'd love to find some more good ones in my queries. But I have to admit...I don't want the hero or heroine to be a ghost.
YA Time Travel: The main character was 19 and at first it sounded like an awesome contemporary romance, but it was time travel instead. I've just read too much of that lately and it didn't sound different enough.
YA Contemporary: It was written in verse which just isn't my forte.

I passed manuscripts to colleagues because it seemed good but not right for me for whatever reason.
YA Southern Gothic
Adult Science Fiction

On my Spring/Summer 2013 Wishlist:
Literary Middle Grade
YA that I haven't seen before
YA that will make me swoon
Contemporary Romance
Historical Romance

And of course, anything that's awesome!
JJ Howard's fantastic contemporary young adult novel, That Time I Joined the Circus, is officially out in the wild today!

Now first can I just say that this cover speaks to my heart (which is a 15-year-old girl). I can stare at it for a long time and just feel entranced.

Here's the important thing you should know. I actually had nothing to do with this book at all--so you have to believe me when I say it's amazing. Jen, the author, sold this book to Scholastic all by herself. After the editing was done and the book went into production she queried me with her next project. Which naturally I loved and then begged her to let me rep her.