Saturday, May 25, 2013 Review of Satterfield's SAVING LAURA

My client Jim Satterfield's book SAVING LAURA received a great review on

Reviewer Julie Moderson says: "Jim Satterfield writes a book that you will not be able to put down so don't start at night."

To read Ms. Moderson's full review on, click here.

Congratulations, Jim!  I hope this is only one of many great reviews for SAVING LAURA.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Skinning Cats in the Digital Age: A Guest Post By Joe Clifford

Coming out of grad school, polished thesis in hand, I thought I saw a clear path to literary success. Write great novel. Get agent. Sign book deal. Seemed pretty straightforward. I felt confident I’d done the first part. In fact, I had two completed novels I was proud of, which I began pitching immediately upon graduation, and though it felt like it took ages to land my first agent, the truth is I had one within a year. So now we only needed that last part. Simple, right?

I read on J.A. Kazimer’s blog the other day, that the chances of publishing with one of the Big Six is 1 in 300,000, odds that vastly improve with an agent. Even if that 1 in 32,000 lands somewhere between getting struck by lightening and winning a Grammy (I don’t know if that’s true, I’m bad with math, but I do have a new album coming out).

Within a month of signing, we had several hits on my memoir, Junkie Love. Some of these responses were so enthusiastic, in fact, left so little doubt that my ticket was about to be punched, I began texting friends that a contract was a foregone conclusion (even though severe OCD makes such premature jumping preemptive bad juju). If it weren’t so unprofessional, I’d reprint these emphatic emails, which would leave little doubt my enthusiasm was entirely justified.

Then the sales folks got involved.

There’s a whole behind-the-scenes, bottom-line world the new writer isn’t aware of. If an editor, whose job is to pick the books, loves your novel, you’re in, right? Damn bean counters.

Apparently James Frey’s A Million Little Lies had left a bad taste in some mouths, and no one wanted to touch my “junkie memoir.” The book was never a junkie memoir, except in terms of marketing, because I’d been warned the only thing worse than a tapped-out genre is a book that is unclassifiable.

I am not a cosmic kind of guy. Don’t put much stock in horoscopes. But something strange happened when that first big publisher said no. A greater collective consciousness kicked in and it was like a moratorium had been issued on the entire project. The hot girl in high school had deemed me undateable; all other viable options dried up.

My friend, screenwriter Reed Bernstein, says that getting an agent is like asking someone to be your ex-wife. “I still believe in you, honey. I just can’t stick around and wait for it to happen any longer.”

When our contract was up, I didn’t resign with that agent. Then again, she hadn’t asked me to. There was nowhere else to go. We’d hit all the major houses. Furthermore, unless I was willing to rewrite the entire book and change my name, a new agent probably wouldn’t have any better luck. So what to do? I could’ve scrapped Junkie Love and moved on. Except I knew it was a goddamn good book.

In 2006, I had a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Broke my back, shattered my pelvis, snapped the head off my acetabulum. Organs collapsed. Bad times. As a result, daily physical activity became essential. While I was dealing with the loss and these rejections, I was also working out with a personal trainer. A very young guy named Adam. Blasting my pecs one day, I was complaining, and Adam said something that helped me take control on my situation.

“Dude, it’s not like it was when you were a kid in the ’80s,” Adam said. “With digital media, you don’t need these gatekeepers. You can take your work right to the people.”

I am probably paraphrasing because I highly doubt Adam would’ve used the term “gatekeeper.” But he did urge me to start blogging, something my lovely wife, Justine, had been on me to do as well. I don’t know why it registered as much as it did in the gym that day. Probably the surging testosterone. Whatever it was, I took Adam’s words to heart.

I started a blog, Candy & Cigarettes, and I faithfully wrote four to five (sometimes more) posts a week for a year. I revamped my website and amped up my social media presence. Especially Facebook, where I joined several writing groups, and got to know my contemporaries (I was working mostly in noir & hardboiled by this point, finding that community more supportive than the dickish purveyors of literary fiction). I learned quickly the key to social media is the “social” part. As Julie Kazimer says, “People don’t like to be sold; they like to buy.” Simply plastering links to your stories is like superficial people were to Miss July 1988: a turnoff. Basically, I made friends. Which was the real boon of the experiment. Being a writer, I find I get on better with digital people than I do with real ones. I like them better. E-friends don’t borrow my shit and try to sleep with my wife.

The dirty little secret of writing is that the “writing” part doesn’t actually matter. It’s how Dan Brown and E.L. James, two authors with little command of the English language, can sell millions, while myriad other talented wordsmiths can labor in barista obscurity. It is not a bad thing that publishers care about making money. Everyone cares about making money. Except hippies.

With this new approach, I tried to make myself more attractive to publishers. It sounds terrible to use a term like “marketable brand.” And if that is all a writer is trying to be, it would be an unpardonable sin. Or a James Patterson book. But acknowledging what audience wants—whether that is simply a reader or a prospective acquisitions editor—is paramount to the craft. Amanda Knox wasn’t offered six figures because she’s a terrific roommate who is good in the kitchen. Writing the Great American Novel is swell. But how are you going to convince publishers who’ve never seen your pretty face that you will be able to sell books?

That was my challenge. Instead of holding out for Big Six or Bust, I began targeting the smaller, indie houses. I still planned—and plan—on getting to the penthouse someday, but if the elevator wasn’t working, I was willing to start climbing, one stair at a time.

Now I don’t know if I’d call myself a success. But I do have three books out. All released within a six-month span: Choice Cuts and Wake the Undertaker, Snubnose Press; and Junkie Love (now a novel), Battered Suitcase Press. I’ve gotten darling reviews and good press, been invited to read, where I’ve sold out books, and in the process, I have done something I once didn’t think possible: I’m actually making money at this.

I hate to close with a cliché, but given that I spend so much time hocking my wares on the Internet these days, I guess cats are just on my mind, and there really is more than one way to skin one (figuratively speaking, of course. I fucking love cats.)

All this helped me land my current agent, Liz Kracht, at Kimberley Cameron & Associates, who is pitching my latest, a mystery/thriller called LAMENTATION. I am targeting the Big Houses yet again. I am cautiously optimistic.

Writing is a solitary act, and getting a book published requires an awful lot to go right. You can feel pretty helpless at times. The best part of getting my books out there is that I learned there are things we can do as writers to help our own cause, and that success is, at least in part, contingent on the hard work we are willing to put in. Which is nice to know.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Launch This Saturday!

Come join Susan C. Shea for a fabulous book launch at the ever wonderful Book Passage in Corte Madera this Saturday, May 18 at 1:00 pm. She will be signing copies of her latest novel The King's Jar, which has been garnering great reviews. We are all very excited and proud of her.


The King's Jar:
When the renowned archaeologist who authenticated the King's Jar turns up dead, and the invaluable relic vanishes, Dani suddenly finds herself trapped in a real-life game of Clue with a gallery of glittering suspects, and a killer who's playing for keeps. But drumming up donations from society swells is a far cry from matching wits with homicidal thieves. And juggling the amorous advances of a police detective, a TV celebrity, and her own playboy ex-husband while sparring with an African ambassador, an obsessed archaeologist-in-training, a millionaire and his trophy wife certainly doesn't make it any easier to figure out who's lying...or keep anyone else from dying.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Leigh Anne Jasheway Sells Comedy Book To Hunter House Publishers

I am very excited to announce a deal between my client, comedian Leigh Anne Jasheway, and Hunter House Publishers, for her book 101 COMEDY GAMES FOR KIDS AND ADULTS.

Congrats, Leigh Anne!

Leigh Anne is such a joy to work with; she never fails to make me laugh when we speak (a very important requirement in an agent/author relationship).

To see what Leigh Anne is all about, click here.

To see the types of books Hunter House publishes, click here.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Very excited to announce my client Jim Satterfield's thriller SAVING LAURA received a review in Publishers Weekly!

"Set in 1979, this appealing thriller from Satterfield (The River’s Song) tracks the efforts of 21-year-old Bobby Lee Shelby to save his sweetheart, Laura, from a malevolent drug lord."

To read the full review on Jim Satterfield's thriller SAVING LAURA, click here.

Congratulations, Jim!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Hello All!  Please come out and support my client Joe Clifford, whose book launch is tomorrow in Berkeley. I'll be there as will many other local writers and artists. Joe throws a great party. This is an event that should not be missed. Come feel the warm embrace of a gifted author who knows how to foster community like no one else I know.

And the Nominees Are...

Kimberley's client D. P. Lyle's nonfiction More Forensics and Fiction is an Anthony Award Nominee! Congratulations Doug, on yet another award nomination!

Anticipated New Book by James Gunn!

Happily anticipating Kimberly's client, James Gunn's newest release, TRANSCENDENTAL to be published in August, 2013, by Tor Books! Gunn is a prolific author with over 100 stories published in magazines and books and 26 novels. He is also the founding director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas and is a key member in the development of the modern Science Fiction literary genre.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Author Jim Satterfield Signs Copies of SAVING LAURA

My client Jim Satterfield's book SAVING LAURA is due to be released through Oceanview Publishers on June 25th.  Jim is pictured here signing a box of books for Oceanview's use.  To read more about Jim's work, visit his website:

What I love most about Jim's writing is his ability to capture setting. He's also a master at pacing and creating characters I invest in.

Besides being one of the nicest guys on the planet, Jim is also prolific; I have two manuscripts of his awaiting my attention. And I'm also waiting on a revision from him for a historical fiction project I think will garner a lot of attention, titled SOON YOU WILL CRY, about Sitting Bull's last battle. I can't WAIT to see this project.

Congratulations, Jim! I'm really so thrilled to be working with you.

Kimberley Talks to the Author Learning Center

Kimberley speaks on the value of finding ways to interact and communicate with peers when one is in the solitary business of writing.

"Run to the Ground" is a Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist!

Congratulations to D. P. Lyle for becoming a top three finalist in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards 2013 for your novel, Run to the Ground. We are all very proud of you!

The winner will be chosen from one of the three finalists and named on May 29, at a ceremony in NYC. Cross your fingers!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How To Tame The Wild Slusher: Formatting Your Submission to Professionally Stand Out in The Slush Pile

Authors, if you are looking to submit to KC&A, I hope you will find this post useful, as it gives some insight to the slushpile process, and the animals that guard the threshold, the slushers.

Kimberley Cameron & Associates has one of the classiest submission policies that I have seen.
Firstly, the policy allows--in fact even would rather--you attach the first 50 pages of your manuscript. There is no need to convince them to read your partial via the dreaded and ubiquitous QUERY LETTER. Your writing sample is right there, and yes, it gets read.
Secondly, every query is responded to. every. single. one. This does back up things a bit, so have patience, you will get a response, hopefully within a few months.
Thirdly, the submissions are open year round. All the time. Whenever you want.

This means that already, as an author, you have an advantage submitting to KC&A. Your writing is getting read! That means you can go wild, right? Submit! Submit it all, right now! SUBMIT! Feed the beasts!

I am here to say, please, take a moment, a breath. As a slushpile reader, I beg you for my sanity and the sanity of the other agents/interns in the office, please follow the submission guidelines and make sure your query is clean and easy to read. Let's put it this way. We are reading 100 plus emails a day, sloughing through hundreds of writing samples a week. Our eyes hurt, our brain hurts, our butts hurt, heck, even our hair hurts. But we do it, because we love it. We love to read, and we love books. And when we do stumble across that breathtaking novel, it's all worth it. That excitement of getting someone signed, watching their manuscript draft develop into a full-blown book, and then seeing it out on the shelves, there's nothing like it. We are not evil gatekeepers, rather hopeful hunters. So when you do send us your query and writing sample, take the time to make it as painless as possible for us to read it. Trust me, if you do this, you have an advantage over other submissions, because a grumpy slusher is way more trigger happy with the rejection button than a slusher in a good mood.

A few things to sooth the wild beast that is the slushpile reader:
  1. First and foremost. Formatting. Times. New. Roman. 12 point. Double spaced. Please. For the love of sanity, NO COURIER NEW. Don't get me wrong, Courier New is a lovely font. It looks great on some websites, fine on paper, adds a touch of class to designed work, makes poetry pop, but on the screen, after straining the eyes reading for five plus hours, multiple pages of Courier New looks like a bunch of ants squirming around on white sand. It hurts. Beastly we may be, but we're not anteaters.
  2. "Unique Formatting." Know this. Anything that is meant to make your submission stand out, i.e. images, colored fonts, LARGE FONT, borders will not make your submission stand out in a good way. It will appear unprofessional, and again. IT HURTS THE EYES! This causes the slusher's hackles to raise and they can't read like that.
  3. Your front matter. A lot of authors like to insert in their submission an opening quote, or dedication, or table of contents, as if it were already in print. It's not. This is a draft manuscript. Anything that requires more work to get to that opening sentence, the less patience the slusher has. The less patience the slusher has, the more likely your manuscript gets chomped.
  4. Italics. Or more specifically, the loathed ITALICIZED PROLOGUE. I must confess I have been guilty of this offense as well. It looks so... dreamy. I now realize, dreamy = blurry which equals, rumbling growls from the slusher and no desire to read any of it. *see comments on Courier New for a clearer explanation. (Now if you have the sort of manuscript that has caught the slusher's eye, and they are happily reading along, when suddenly flashback! Pages and pages of italicized flashback! It goes on forever and ever and ever! You may have just broken the slusher's spirit. Doesn't mean you'll get a full request though. Just a tear stained rejection.) 
  5. Which brings us to the prologue. Try reading your manuscript starting at Chapter 1. Does it need the prologue? Yes? Then the prologue is Chapter 1. No? Take the prologue out. Start your manuscript where the story/action starts, i. e. Chapter 1. Trust me, this will make your slusher purr.
  6. Minor points. Number your pages. Don't use the term "heaving" to describe a woman's uhm assets. Have your name and the title of your manuscript at the top. Make your query brief (a paragraph, maybe two). Address your email query to the agent you are querying and spell their name correctly. Follow their submission guidelines. Try to keep your manuscript between 75,000 and 90,000 words.
  7. Finally, the big one. The thing that causes the slusher to bare their teeth and growl and futilely swipe at the screen. The cliche introduction. Here's the big three cliches. In the first paragraph, does your main character: - Wake up? - Look in a mirror (or any other reflective surface)? - Die (or almost die)? If your character does one (or all) of these these things, don't be ashamed. You are the majority. Over 50% of the submissions that go through the slusher's claws have one of these three cliches in the opening paragraph. Just slink away, start your story in a different, unique way that is full of action.
If you are reading this blog, then you are already ahead of others in getting your submission to stand out. Remember, although content is king, formatting that content professionally will create the gentle reading mood to sooth the wild slusher and may even cause them to drool just a little bit. If your slusher is drooling and purring, then that means your submission is in the place you want it to be for a proper read.

For tweets on slushpile advice follow me @Mary_C_Moore
To see what I'm about besides slushpile reading: