Hurling Questions

Not only are we a super-cool blog on the internet, talking about the ins-and-outs of publishing and writing, but we’re a literary agency, first and foremost!

Some things you may wonder about us (or agencies in general) may be misguided by other postings on the internet. It’s best to ask the source directly to find out if the match is real! This doesn’t go for us, it goes for anyone you manage to get in touch with!

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  1. Ask the individual you’ve made contact with how they got to where they are (in life, not your inbox.) Knowing our background helps give you perspective on our passions and how they may or may not coincide with yours.
    1. A great follow-up is asking how long we’ve been in the biz. Passion and credentials.
  2. Sales are really important in this part of the business. Don’t shy away from asking. We won’t give you the nitty-gritty details but we will tell you bout some of our accomplishments as of late!
  3. Before you query, ask us if we’re looking! And if we are, what are we looking for! Each agency has criteria (and posts it on their website most likely) which must be met. Realistically speaking, “The Great American Novel” is not one of them.
  4. Our expertise is important to note as well. Each agency covers every aspect of publishing, but sometimes – sometimes – you’ll come across an agency that’s REALLY good at something. What is it?
  5. Communication is so important to both agency and client. Get it done as soon as possible: how would you like to touch base with your agency? Establish it! Most situations now involve email, but who knows, we can set up calls, video chats, dinner and a movie (no book adaptations, thank you)…(totally joking!)

The most important thing to remember is every agency is different and the people within differ from the others you may have spoken to. It’s always good to keep an open mind to whoever you come across, inside the publishing world and out!

Jumping Through Time

A story can include one of two things: flashbacks or skipping to the future. We don’t think recommending the two is a great idea but if executed cohesively…sure! Why not! Let’s discuss.

Sometimes, writing flashbacks can help a story flesh itself out. Readers understand the plot better, the character better, ANYTHING! But what happens when a flashback becomes more than a flash back? Meaning, what happens when a brief moment takes up a whole chapter? Is that acceptable? There isn’t any reason why it shouldn’t be acceptable – other than not being written properly. Make sure flashbacks are quick and easy. They’re meant to be memories triggered by people or items or occurrences surrounding the character or plot. Here’s an idea: it doesn’t necessarily have to be written in the perspective where the character is brought back to a moment in time…but rather, induces a feeling, an image flashed in the character’s thoughts. Something like that.

Skipping ahead in time is also a way to get the story moving along. Readers don’t need all filler details and a story doesn’t deserve that either! A few months can pass in the story in a matter of words, as long as the reader is caught up with the characters and ongoings in their world, what else is needed? Questions should never be left unanswered, too. If they are, there better be good reason for it. Did something happen prior to the time hop that wasn’t resolved during the time not mentioned? Well, it better come full circle because then the reader will not be happy (they’ll scream, “PLOT HOLE, PLOT HOLE!” and write a whole review about how the plot hole ruined the story for them.)

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So, now that we’ve lectured about time and the relationship it has with your story – let’s build a time machine and have some fun!

Simplicity & Books

Keeping up with book trends and sales? Don’t worry. We are too. There will always be highs and lows, one extreme to another. This isn’t really a trend but just a little something we noticed in the office. Everything is so simple.

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Sure, writing the book isn’t simple…getting the book to be noticed by an editor/publisher isn’t simple…the process of production isn’t simple…but when the final product of the book is in the author’s hands or a trusty reader’s yearning finger tips…do they just look at the cover and think, it’s so simple? We’re referring to the cover art itself. And because we came across a list of books in which the title said, “Most Beautiful…”, we thought it was about time we sit down and chat about cover art. Again.

Calling something beautiful is subjective to the writer of the article. Some of the titles on this list have been hyped up and plastered all over the internet, they were bound to become bestsellers. But there was one common thing among the covers we needed to stress. They’re so simple. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity but the simplicity of these books has helped bump up sales revenue. Many fiction titles are beginning to look…uniform. Once again…there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s getting money in someone’s pocket, regardless.

We’re not here to dictate what you should do with your book. But if you find yourself in need of change and you could envision a bit of abstract art or an object as the cover of your book, then maybe it’s time you send out a few emails to the cover designers out in the world. You may appeal to a new crowd looking for the simple covers that get them wondering what the heck the cover is trying to tell them.

Thank goodness we live in a digital age where all we have to do is delete and upload a new image.

Our Recent Publications [1]

happy.gif*EDIT: This has been updated for the remainder of April’s releases! We hope to have a longer list every month and include all other releases we work on!*

Hello dear followers!

We’ve decided to share with you all every publication we have had in the last month! We are so proud to represent such amazing and talented authors that we couldn’t keep these to ourselves. Without further ado, these are the latest and greatest releases in the audiobook department:

4/9

  • Amelia Wilde // ENDLESS KISS Series
  • Ivy Layne // 2 TITLES
    • THE BILLIONAIRE’S ANGEL
    • ENGAGING THE BILLIONAIRE

4/10

  • Helen Scheuerer  // HEART OF MIST

4/11

  • Yumoyori Wilson // DARK WISH
  • Jenna Wolfhart // WITCH’S FURY

4/12

  • L.C. Hibbett // THE SHADOW WAR
  • Katy Regnery // UNLOVED, A LOVE STORY
  • Maggie Kirton // MY FIREFLY
  • Joslyn Westbrook // CINDERELLA-ISH
  • Dan Sheehan // AFTER ACTION
  • Michelle Damiani // IL BEL CENTRO
  • Emma Dawn // HAREM OF SOULS
  • Molly Milligan // RAINING CATS AND DOGS
  • T.F. Jacobs // UNTANGLING THE BLACK WEB

4/13

  • Bobbi Holmes //  THE GHOST OF VALENTINE PAST
  • J.R. Rasmussen // FORSAKEN KINGDOM

4/16

  • Nina Walker // 2 TITLES
    • PRISM
    • FRACTURE
  • Shari J. Ryan // LAST WORDS
  • Lew Jennings // 19 MINUTES TO LIVE
  • Krista Street // REMEMBERED
  • Juno Wells, Miranda Martin // DRAGON’S HOPE
  • Eva Chase // DRAGON’S GUARD

4/17

  • Mark Stone // LOST IN THE STORM
  • Ripley Proserpina // BRIAR
  • May Dawson // WILD ANGELS

4/18

  • Stephanie Rose // REWRITE
  • J.A. Cipriano, Connor Kressley // DOOMED INFINITY MARINE

4/24

  • Bobbi Holmes //  THE GHOST FROM THE SEA
  • Heather M. Orgeron // BREAKWAY

4/25

  • Juno Wells, Miranda Martin // DRAGON’S KISS
  • LJ Swallow // THE FOUR HORSEMEN: LEGACY
  • Krista Street // REBORN
  • Joslyn Westbrook // HAUTE COUTOURE
  • Lidiya Foxglove // PRIESTESS AWAKENED
  • Deborah Wilde // THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER

4/27

  • Ben S. Dobson // THE EMPEROR’S MASK
  • Willow Rose // TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET

World Book Day, April 23rd

Reading is one of the most important life skills that one will ever learn. Reading creates all sorts of positive changes- from reducing stress, to creating a better sense of self and independence, to empowering our brains to keep growing. We should be encouraging those around us to read each and every day (especially our children), even if it’s just for five minutes, but there is no better day to preach the wonders of reading than this Sunday, April 23rd because it is World Book Day!

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As a literary agent, it’s no surprise that this day means a whole lot to me. But, this day goes way beyond my career, it strikes a very personal cord with me. My friends at Amazon are encouraging people to share why they read so well, here it is.

There are so many different reasons why I read, but I think what really hits it home for me is that reading is the easiest and least expensive vacation you will ever get. I don’t think I have ever come out of a reading session more stressed or frustrated than when I started. In fact, I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t noticeably more relaxed after reading just a few chapters of whatever book has my attention at the moment. A book is the one tool that is available to us on a daily basis that allows us to transport ourselves somewhere else. While reading we can visit any place in the world, be whoever we want to be, and experience new adventures. I don’t know of a better “break” from the chaos and natural stresses of our every day lives than that. Reading allows us to totally disconnect and recharge. Reading creates a safe environment where we can just be with ourselves (and the characters of course), which is becoming harder and harder to find in a social media driven world. Reading is the best therapy we can give ourselves.

Why do you read? #LovetoRead

Write on.

Top Publishers of 2016

A few weeks ago, Publisher’s Weekly came out with a ranking of America’s top 20 publishing houses for 2016. It’s no surprise who the top 5 were, but what’s really important is what came after.

The sixth and seventh publisher were both that of children’s books- Scholastic and Disney came in right under the ‘Big Five.’ It’s quite a refreshing thing to see. Children’s literature has always been a tough genre to crack because the audience is smaller, the interests change rapidly, and the surge of technology has threatened to turn some children away from reading and the love of books. Nevertheless, books sales for 2016 has proved that there is still so much to love about children’s publishing. For Disney, Star Wars and Rick Riordan books led the way.

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Houghton and Workman come in next, showing us that non-fiction titles still have a big impact on our consumption market as well. For Workman, Atlas Obscura and What to Expect When You’re Expecting were their bestsellers. But for most publishers, their fiction titles landed them on this list. For Sourcebooks, The Cellar by Natasha Preston sold the most units.

Some other cool trends to see were that a few religious publishers made the cut, John Wiley’s business books proved fruitful once again, and adult coloring books are still in high demand from publishers like Dover and Sterling.

Here is the complete list:

  1. Penguin Random House
  2. HarperCollins
  3. Simon & Schuster
  4. Hachette
  5. Macmillan
  6. Scholastic
  7. Disney
  8. Houghton
  9. Workman
  10. Sourcebooks
  11. Sterling
  12. John Wiley
  13. Abrams
  14. Dover
  15. Candlewick
  16. W.W. Norton
  17. Kensington
  18. Chronicle
  19. B&H Publishing
  20. Tyndale

Write on.

 

 

The Audies, 2017 Edition

I’m a little late to the game, but the finalists for the Audie Awards were announced recently. If you don’t already know, the Audies are like t he Oscars for audiobooks. They have been awarded annually by The Audio Publisher’s Association since 1996. There are a bunch of categories in which authors and narrators are applauded and honored for their outstanding work. The actual award ceremony is always held during Book Expo of America in May, which this year is in NYC.

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You can see all their categories and their finalists here, but I have highlighted a few of my favorite categories below:

Fantasy

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey

The Hike by Drew Hagary

League of Dragons by Naomi Novik

Mystery

Crimson Shore by Preston & Child

The Crossing by Michael Connelly

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens

IQ by Joe Ide

Romance

Dirty  by Kylie Scott

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Glitterland by Alexis Hall

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Sci-Fi

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuval

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Write on, listen on!

 

The Instant Approval Process

It’s been about six months since we launched our new ‘Submission Page’ and it’s about time we talk more about this revolutionary process.

As manager of Hershman Rights Management (HRM), a literary agency founded in July 2015, I am always looking for ways to better serve my authors and future authors. HRM represents about 100 authors and has successfully sold hundreds of their titles to audio publishers such as Audible, Tantor Media/Recorded Books, Brillance, ListenUp, and MMB Media to name a few. We have also assisted our authors in expanding their works internationally with our most popular translations being into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Turkish, and French.

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As a literary agency, we constantly receive submissions and queries from authors for unpublished works through our ‘Contact Page.’ We love hearing from new talent and cherish the opportunity to be one of the first eyes to peruse the fruits of their labor. But, we also love working with our many self-published authors and have started an Instant Approval Offer Process (IAOP) to make their submission process easier and more accessible. If you are a published author (either self-published or traditionally published) and are looking for ways to expand your reach via audiobooks, foreign translations, etc. then our instant approval process is just what you have been looking for. IAOP allows published authors to enter in some simple information about their work based on criteria that we know publishers are looking for. If your information matches the criteria, you will instantly be given an opportunity to be represented by HRM.

The IAOP is helpful because authors no longer need to wait extended amounts of time to hear back from a literary agent or publishing company they might attempt to query themselves. Representation by HRM allows authors to invest more of their time in writing more books rather than trying to figure out the audiobook process or international publishing process themselves, which often times becomes much more complicated and confusing than the author initially imagined.

The goal of the IAOP is to allow authors who like the freedom of being self-published, but still want to explore other avenues in which they can profit off their work, to get a hassle and worry free offer from a literary agency designed to cater to their specific needs.

See below for a brief FAQ about our IAOP:

-How long does it take to hear directly from HRM after I am approved for representation?

If after filling out the form you receive an approval for representation by HRM, you will hear from us within 48 hours with some information about our agency and a draft contract for you to look over.

-What happens if my information doesn’t match the criteria you are looking for?

The simple answer, nothing. If you don’t get approved for representation, you are more than welcome to keep trying once you have garnered more sales, reviews, or social media followings for your work. If only some of your information matched our criteria you might get a message saying that we need to further review your submission information before we can make a decision about whether or not we think representation by HRM would be a good fit for you. Fingers and toes crossed!

-Are there any obligations when filling out the IAOP?

Nope, there are no obligations on either party when filling out the IAOP. If you get approved for representation and after talking more with HRM you decide you aren’t interested, that’s perfectly fine. You are under absolutely no obligation to sign on for representation with HRM just because you did the IAOP. We also aren’t obligated to extend representation to you if we don’t think we would be able to help you in any way. The last thing we want to do is spread false hope.

To learn more about HRM, click here.

To use the IAOP, click here.

Write on.