Interview with David B. Coe - No Holidays in the Publishing Business by Lucienne Diver
The Knight Agency Newsletter: Write. Read. Repeat.

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Top Announcements

» Gena Showalter's THE DARKEST TOUCH rose to #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the Featured Paranormal Author on EverAfter Romance for the month of December.

» Nalini Singh’s SHIELD OF WINTER made the Kirkus list of Best Romance Novels of 2014.

Top Sales

» Lily Everett's next three books in the SANCTUARY ISLAND contemporary romance series, to Rose Hilliard at St. Martin's, in a very nice deal by Deidre Knight.
» Levi Black's RED RIGHT HAND, to Greg Cox of Tor, in a three-book deal by Lucienne Diver.

In this issue

» Ask Deidre

» The Informer

» Agents of the Roundtable

» New Clients on the Block

» Sales Roundup

» Agency News

» Author Interview

» Author Tip of the Month

» New Releases

Ask Deidre

Every month, Deidre Knight picks a question submitted by Twitter and Facebook users. The reader who submits the winning question receives any two books of his or her choice from this page. To submit your question, simply post it on Twitter with the hashtag #AskDeidre.

And now for this month's winning question ...

You’re not only an agent, but also an author. Does seeing things from an author’s point of view affect any of your decisions as an agent?

Absolutely! I am a much, much stronger agent for the fact that I’m an author. I understand not only the creative process—the blocks, frustrations and yes, the breakthroughs—but also the difficulty that comes from trying to balance all parts of a career. I’ve had bad copy edits and great copy edits; wonderful covers and disappointing covers; I’ve lost a beloved editor in the midst of a series; I’ve sold on proposal within 24 hours; I’ve been dropped mid-series.

Mostly, though, I understand what it’s like to be juggling edits and revisions and promo and life…. It’s not easy to be a writer, and the hardest part isn’t just putting your blood on the page. It’s about balance. If you’re going to do this gig, you should do it because you love it. If it becomes so draining and hard that you get no joy, I think it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate. I like to think I’m good at helping my clients do that, too. I definitely noticed that once I became a published author, I had a better handle on the actual editorial process that my clients experience—all the stages and what they go through. In short? I’m more empathetic to our clients than I was before I was published.


The Informer

No Holidays in the Publishing Business
by Lucienne Diver

The song I have stuck in my head this morning is “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”…and “All About That Bass” because somehow when I typed in the first song to be sure I had the title right, Google pulled that up as well. Anyway, I like the sentiments expressed in both.


The holidays are a fantastic time of the year. I might wish that Christmas carols didn’t start playing practically the day after Halloween, but I can’t argue with a season that offers what Christmas does: a holiday spent with family (or friends who are just as close) celebrating all we have to be thankful for, and a time when we express our love for each other by giving gifts and spreading cheer.


There’s an idea that nothing gets done in publishing between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, so I thought I might give you a little insight into what does happen, particularly in that last lead-up to the holiday break. Don’t worry, I won’t let you swim in my stream of consciousness for too long. It’s a little crazy and there’s a powerful undertow!


OMG, one week left. ONE WEEK! How am I going to get everything done? Maybe if I don’t sleep…. Oh, wait, I gave that up last week. I know, more coffee! More hot cocoa! I only have to ignore those pesky heart palpitations for a little longer.


What—three new novels in? Awesome! Joyous! On time, even! Well, nearly so. Only two rush reads. Um, but I’m still in the middle of the last rush read. And there were all those queries I was hoping to get to before Christmas….


And that new submission I need to send out to editors before it gets any later. And the two contracts I need to review. And….


Ahem. As you can see, things get done. So, so many things. But often December is a wrap-up of current business so that we can enjoy the holidays with our families. There’s this sense of the holidays as one of those arcade coin pushers, where the quarters are all balanced precariously, ready to fall. Only, we’re the house; if we don’t have the coins all off the ledge and safely put away, they’ll fall off the precipice and out of our control. Yup, we’re all Type A personalities here. There’s no “we can pick this up after New Year’s.” If we don’t do it—make those deals, look over those contracts and statements, write those checks—our clients aren’t getting paid…and that’s no way to head into the new year!


In the midst of all this, of course, you also have personal things, like your child’s Christmas concert…or pageant…or dance. Shopping, wrapping, decorating…. All wonderful, all things calling for time you don’t have. Because agenting and editing is far more than a 9 to 5 job. In my case it’s more like 9 to 9 with a break in the middle for dinner and to remind my family that I exist.


But you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world. Not any of it. And when those cards and gifts from the clients start coming in, they give you that warm, wonderful holiday glow. Not just because cards and gifts are always fun, but because they let you know how much you’re appreciated.


And now I have “Listen, do you want to know a secret?” going through my head. Because here it is: we appreciate and love you too. And we at TKA want to wish you ALL very joyous, wonderful, peaceful, loving, healthy, and happy holidays.


Agents of the Roundtable

Question: Would you take on an author who has self-published? What kind of self-pub sales would draw your attention?

LUCIENNE DIVER: I would take on an author who has self-published. In fact, I have. Hitting bestseller lists—not as part of a boxed set, but with individual volumes—is always impressive. Overall, though, I really need to connect with the material. I want to be so enthusiastic that any setbacks will only make me more determined to sell and get the work out to the larger audience it deserves. Also, it helps to know that the author will be great to work with and patient with the publishing process, whether it involves traditional publication or subrights sales.

NEPHELE TEMPEST: I have taken on self-published authors and would do so again in the future. What I look for keeps changing, but right now I’d want someone who had an established pattern of self-pub sales, month after month, and not just one really good month just after a book is released. 

MELISSA JEGLINSKI: I would definitely take on an author who was self-published, but it would need to be with a brand-new project. I would not necessarily be looking at what kind of numbers they had on their self-published projects, but rather what this new project is about. Do I love the premise and the voice? Do I think I could find a traditional publisher for the work and would it be worth it (for both of us) for me to shop it?

New Clients on the Block

» Alice Von Kannon

Website | Facebook

» Sherri Shackelford

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Barbara J Hancock

Website | Twitter | Facebook

For a complete list of Knight Agency clients, visit

Sales Roundup

» Lily Everett's next three books in the SANCTUARY ISLAND contemporary romance series, to Rose Hilliard at St. Martin's, in a very nice deal by Deidre Knight.

» Levi Black's RED RIGHT HAND, to Greg Cox of Tor, in a three-book deal by Lucienne Diver.

Sales Roundup is a selective sampling of TKA's deals for the past month. For more info on our recent sales, visit
Agency News
» Gena Showalter's THE DARKEST TOUCH rose to #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the Featured Paranormal Author on EverAfter Romance (a new eBookstore app) for the month of December.

» Nalini Singh’s SHIELD OF WINTER made the Kirkus list of Best Romance Novels of 2014.
stupid girl
» VENGEANCE by Denise Tompkins (who also writes as Kelli Ireland) comes out in print next week. It has already received a 4-star review from RT magazine.

» Robin D. Owens, author of HEART FIRE, did a Q&A in USA Today’s Happy Ever After Blog Q&A on December 18th.

» N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy made NPR's Best Books of 2014 and was recommended by Library Journal in their holiday guide.

» HOME THE HARD WAY by Z.A. Maxfield was first runner-up in Rainbow Award's Best Gay Mystery/Thriller.

» A KING UNDONE by Cooper Davis received a great review from The Novel Approach. The book was also picked up by Random House in their weekly roundup of new releases.

» Katariina Rosenblatt, author of STOLEN, was featured in the December issue of Boca magazine.

Interview with David B. Coe

David B. Coe is the author of more than a fifteen novels and a dozen short stories. His first series, the LonTobyn Chronicle won the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award as the best new fantasy. He followed the LonTobyn Books with his critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands and Blood of the Southlands series. His next project, a contemporary urban fantasy called the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, will be published by Baen Books and debuts in January 2015 with SPELL BLIND.

David also writes the historical urban fantasy—the Thieftaker Chronicles—as D.B. Jackson.
After years of writing epic and historical fantasies, SPELL BLIND is your first contemporary urban fantasy novel. What prompted this change and do you plan to continue writing urban fantasies after the Case Files of Justis Fearsson series is finished?
In a way, I think the answer to the first question lies in the question itself. I have been writing more traditional fantasy for a long time, spanning more than a fifteen novels. As much as I love those older works, and as much as I have loved writing historical fantasy, I was eager to try something completely different, something that would feel fresh. I’ve always enjoyed reading mysteriesmy first obsession as a young reader was the Hardy Boys seriesand so having the opportunity to build a mystery element into my fantasy was very appealing. I guess you could say that Urban Fantasy is a natural fit for my tastes, both as a writer and a reader. I’ve wanted to write stuff like this for a while, and I’m only just getting around to it.

I’m still working on the last of the Fearsson books, and I’m also just getting the fourth of my Thieftaker novels into production, so I haven’t yet looked too far beyond those projects. But I like writing urban fantasy. I like combining mystery and magic in innovative ways. So I can definitely see myself continuing in the urban fantasy vein.

TKA: Did your approach to writing SPELL BLIND change from your other fantasies? Were there any special challenges or surprises in switching to the modern world?
I found that the switch to a modern setting had some stylistic implications that made the Fearsson books both more challenging and more fun. For one thing, it was just nice to be able to write in the modern vernacular, to use whatever phrasing I wanted to without worrying about using words or phrases that might be anachronistic. I could have my characters travel in cars and airplanes, use phones and computers, refer to modern popular culture. It was remarkably freeing. I’m not sure I’d want to do it all the time. Setting my books in historical or proto-historical settings presents its own unique challenges that I happen to enjoy as well. But for now, I’m having fun with these books.


The other thing I chose to do, for the first time in any of my books, was write in first person point of view. My point of view character in the Fearsson booksJustis (Jay) Fearssonis a fun character to write. He has a snarky sense of humor, but he also has a deeply dark side to his personality. Being inside his head is a complex, at times disturbing, at times hilarious experience. From an artistic standpoint it’s quite satisfying when I manage to capture all that complexity. Writing it in first person, which is as intimate a writing voice as there is, connects me to his emotions and experiences all the more. And hopefully I’ve managed to write his perceptions and thoughts and feelings in such a way as to convey that intimacy to my readers was well.

TKA: You’ve also been writing a historical fantasy series, The Thieftaker Chronicles, under the name D.B. Jackson. How are you able to crank out so many books in such a short period of time?
I’ve been writing fiction professionally for nearly twenty years. In 2015, I’ll publish my sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth novels. So part of the answer is that I’ve had a lot of practice. I don’t mean to sound glib. The fact is, I wasn’t able to be as productive early in my career. I wrote more slowly, and I worried over every little setback. I write faster now because I’m better at what I do, but also because I have more confidence in myself and my craft. When I run into a dead end, or, say, realize three-quarters of the way through a book that I need to add in a new subplot (which actually happened to me with a recent novel) I don’t panic. I just do it. Because I know that it will work out, and I know that whatever challenges I face I can handle.


It also helps that I really love what I do. I don’t need to force myself to sit down and write each day. I’m eager to get to work, and I’m happy to work on my novels for six or seven or eight hours a day. I am fortunate enough to write full-time, thanks in part to having found the Best Spouse in the World. And that is also a factor. So, I have the time, I have the passion for what I do, and I have confidence in myself. That’s a powerful combination, and it’s allowed me to be very productive in recent years.

TKA: You’ve developed a large fan base of die-hard readers through the years. For fantasy authors out there, what are some of the keys to getting visibility and building a name?
David: To be honest, I don’t believe there’s any secret formula to doing any of this. It takes a lot of work and a good deal of time. I know of aspiring writers who have devoted themselves to blogging and posting in all sorts of social media venues, and sure those things can help. But the fact is, until an author has books out, a blog is only going to sustain readers’ interest for so long. Same with the social media stuff. The best thing an author can do, no matter the genre he or she is in, is write fiction. Write novels and sell them to publishers, write short fiction and try to get it published in anthologies and zines and websites that specialize in genre fiction. That’s the most effective way to build an audience and attract attention. It’s hard of course, but that’s kind of the point. If all the other stuff—the blogs and social media—are keeping someone from writing their fiction, then that publicity stuff has become counterproductive.
Are there authors out there who have built a name for themselves through blogging alone?  Absolutely, but they’re the exceptions to the rule. Generally speaking building an audience from scratch before publishing any fiction is really, really hard.
Now, once an author has developed a readership, there are lots of things he or she can do to generate additional interest in upcoming publications. I put together small blog tours to coincide with my releases. I’ll appear as a guest blogger at the site of a friend who’s also an author, or sometimes on a genre oriented site that has reviewed some of my books in the past. I find blog tours to be very effective, particularly if I back up the posts with references to the sites on Twitter. The Tweets about my blog tour are every bit as important in generating buzz about my appearances as the blog posts themselves. And I use Facebook and my own blog in the same way: to buttress the publicity work I’m doing at all these different sites.

Finally, what’s something that most people don’t know about you?
David: Well, there are a few things. I have a lot of side interests that most of my readers don’t know about. I’m an avid birdwatcher and have been since I was a little kid. I’m a musician; I play guitar and sing, and in my younger days I did a fair amount of performing. I’m a dedicated amateur photographer, and have actually had my work exhibited in my local community. And I’m an elected representative on my small town’s Community Council, which is kind of fun. So, yeah, I have a lot going on, even when I’m not writing.


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Author Tip of the Month

Molly Cochran is the New York Times bestselling author of SEDUCTION, the final book in the Legacy trilogy.

The advice I’d most like to pass on to aspiring novelists is this: 


At least not while writing your first draft. While you’re laying down those first obsessive ideas that prompted you to write in the first place, thinking is the enemy. Thinking will have you rewriting the first sentence a hundred times. It will curdle your brilliance into a stagnant cliché that will embarrass you. Worst of all, sooner or later, thinking will convince you that your novel is stupid and not worth finishing.

After abandoning a half-dozen novels before page 100 because I couldn’t justify their imperfection, I’ve learned that passion, not intellect, is the raw material of art. The first draft of a novel should be an exhilarating, thrill-a-minute ride, where your creativity can soar untrammeled to new heights. Let yourself be inspired by your own words. Fall into your story with the passion of a lover. If you get stuck, leave a blank and move on to the next place where you can fly again. You can correct every mistake later. You can rewrite every awkward sentence. But you cannot infuse a creative spark into a safe, academic screed, and without that spark, the work will be meaningless, both to the author and the reader.

So fly! Don’t be sensible. Don’t imagine your success or your humiliation. Don’t analyze. Don’t compare. Don’t imitate. Don’t think. Just leap onto the page, and let it take you on the ride of your life. 

For more information about Molly and SEDUCTION, be sure to visit

New Releases

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