Thursday, May 08, 2008

Galley Ho!

Today, I'm over at Writer Unboxed chatting about the pre-publication galley push that's planned for Time of My Life.

Check it out!

And while you're clicking around the web, don't miss Betty Confidential. is a content and confidential networking community website focusing on women's life stages and interests. offers a place for women to raise their voices, be heard, and express themselves about real "day-to-day" issues in a "room full of women" atmosphere. was co-founded by bestselling author and television commentator Deborah Perry Piscione and Internet entrepreneur Shaun Marsh in March 2008. CNN's Soledad O'Brien serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board. The fabulous Manic Mommy also writes for them, which is more than enough reason to check it out!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Great Summer Reads (By My Friends)

It's impossible for me to wrap my brain around the fact that it's already May, but, indeed, life has sped forward without pause, and now that it's May, it means...spring reading! So here are a few great picks, all of which have been written by fabu writers whom I've been fortunate enough to get to know, for book clubs, your nightstand or the beach - wherever you find a second to lose yourself in a read!

1) Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass LookBig, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer by Jen Lancaster. If you've read either of Jen's previous memoirs, you know that she is scathingly funny and this time, she turns the spotlight on herself as she trucks to the gym and puts herself on a diet, in an attempt to slim down. Jen sent me a copy of the book, and while I've been swamped, I've only be able to read the first few chapters, but needless to say, it is laugh-out-loud funny. Like, really laugh-out-loud funny. If you've ever wished a few pounds away, dragged your ass to the gym or tried to stuff yourself into skinny jeans, this book is for you. Check out more on Amazon.

2) The Divorce Party by Laura Dave.
I'll have more with Laura next week on the blog and full disclaimer, she is a very dear friend of mine, but for a little objectivity, I picked up her first book, London is the Best City in America, before I knew her and absolutely adored it. So I am sooooooo excited for her second book, which explores love and family dynamics when one young couple gets engaged and another couple, set to celebrate their 35th anniversary, throw themselves a divorce party instead. Kate Jacobs and Marisa de los Santos have raved about this book, and did I mention how excited I am to read it and for Laura? She is one of my favorite people - generous and kind and smart and lovely - and she deserves all of her success.
Check out more on the book on Amazon. (Oh and yeah, Jennifer Aniston's production company optioned the rights to the movie!)

3) Driving Sideways by Jess Riley. I met Jess through the blogosphere, and we endured the process of getting our debut novels sold and published together. So now I'm thrilled that hers is finally (almost!) here. This one, which follows the journey of Leigh Fielding, a recent recipient of a new kidney, as she treks across the country, sounds tailor-made for bookclubs and beaches reading - the perfect mix of poignant, funny and sharp. Check out more on Amazon.

4) Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein.
This one had me at the title...and then at the cover. Oh man, do I love this cover. Some of you might know Stephanie from her put-it-all-out-there blog,
Greek Tragedy, or from her first memoir, Straight Up and Dirty, which chronicled her young marriage and subsequent divorce and how she got her life back together, and she's back this time with a touching, honest and damn funny account of her lifelong struggle with her weight. But this one is more than just about losing a few pounds - I've never been to fat camp and was really sucked in by the writing and just the universal story and struggle for self-acceptance. Buy it for the cover, if nothing else. :) More about it on Amazon here.

5) Frenemies by Alexa Young. This is a must-read if you dig YA or if you have someone running around your house who digs YA. Or who watches Gossip Girl because this is sooo the literary rival to the show...or to the books, if you want to get technical. Frenemies poses that lifelong, philosophical question, "What happens when two besties become full-blown worsties?," and for the answers and all the dish, you'll have to dive into the book. Alexa is a friend of mine, and I can certify her as officially awesome, so I'm sure that you (or your teen) won't be disappointed! More about it on Amazon.

So, go ahead and share, what's on your summer reading list?

Monday, May 05, 2008

So, Where Do I Sign?

Question of the day: I'm finishing up the work on a book and starting to think about looking for an agent and I have some questions. I assume that when you do finally find an agent, you sign some sort of contract with them? What kind of things are in the contract and what kinds of things should not be in the contract? I assume that in this type of situation their is the potential to sign your writing life away (just like with publishers) or am I just being paranoid? Any clarification would be helpful, thanks.

You are not being super-paranoid - this is a great question. Too few writers don't think about the fine print and can end up getting screwed as a result.

Every agent and agency handles contracts differently. Some (I'd venture to say most) agencies do indeed have standard contracts that they'll issue to you once you've been offered (and accepted!) representation. The clauses in the contract may include everything from stuff like the percentage fee that the agent receives to how they deal with foreign and film rights to how you can both remove yourself from the agreement. If you have any doubts about some of these clauses, I do suggest that you hire a lawyer - for one hour's fee, he or she can save you a lot of headache in the future. But basically, you should definitely ensure that you're not granting the rights to your agent for any and all future works and that there are clear terms on how to end the relationship. Agents are going to be inflexible on some things (i.e. their fee, which the industry standard dictates is 15%), but if anything is a real red flag and they won't waver, remember that having shady representation does no one any favors.

That said, there are plenty of agents - good, top agents - who operate with a gentleman's agreement. And this isn't necessarily indicative of whether or not they're legit. If this practice makes you uncomfortable, simply ask your future-agent to put it in writing: it won't be the first time he or she has been asked, trust me, and it shows good business acumen for you, your career, and your future.

So readers, what are some other contract red flags? What else can one expect to see in said paperwork?