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NEWSLETTER

New Clients on the Block

Denise Tompkins
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Amy Christine Parker
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Kerry Schafer
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Helene Dunbar
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Sale Roundup

Annie Jones's COWBOY AT THE CROSS POINT, featuring a loner lawman and a feisty diner waitress drawn together by an abandoned baby, to Emily Rodmell at Harlequin Love Inspired, by Melissa Jeglinski at The Knight Agency.

Marilyn Pappano's next two titles in the author's ongoing Copper Lake Secrets series, to Shana Smith at Harlequin Romantic Suspense, by Melissa Jeglinski at The Knight Agency.

Spanish rights to Nalini Singh's MINE TO POSSESS, BRANDED BY FIRE, and HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE in the Psy/Changeling series, to Plaza & Janes, by Philip Sane at Lennart Sane Agency, on behalf of Elaine Spencer at The Knight Agency.

Kerry Schafer's BETWEEN and WAKEWORLD, about a woman who must venture into that dangerous place between dreaming and waking where dreams are real, in order to fight a sorceress bent on altering reality, to Susan Allison at Ace, in Penguin's first acquisition from their Book Country site, in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world).

Danish language rights to Rachel Caine's FEAST OF FOOLS, LORD OF MISRULE, CARPE CORPUS, books #4-#6 of the New York Times bestselling Morganville Vampires series, to Tellerup, in a nice deal, by Philip Sane of the Lennart Sane Agency, on behalf of Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.

Swedish language rights to Rachel Caine's MIDNIGHT ALLEY, to Styxx Fantasy, in a nice deal, by Philip Sane of the Lennart Sane Agency, on behalf of Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.

Rachel Caine's MORGANVILLE VAMPIRES #13-#15, to Susie Dunlop of Allison & Busby, by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.

Czech language rights to N.K. Jemisin's THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS, to Argo, in a nice deal, by the Kristin Olson Literary Agency, on behalf of Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.

Turkish rights to Kalayna Price's GRAVE WITCH, GRAVE DANCE and GRAVE MEMORY, to Nemesis, by the Kayi Literary Agency, on behalf of Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.

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Going Strong Out of the Starting Gate...

Runner at the starting lineThe Knight Agency closed out 2011 with our best year in sales thus far. Not only are we proud of the hard work of our agents and authors that made this acheivement possible, but we feel invigorated, encouraged and excited about diving into the New Year. So far we're off to a promising start. January yielded several notable appearances by our authors in The New York Times; including, Faith Hunter's RAVEN CURSED debuting at #26 on the extended mass market bestseller list and #33 on the eBook list, Tessa Harris's historical mystery THE ANATOMIST'S APPRENTICE receiving a fabulous review, and debut author Kerry Schafer being interviewed about her path to publication. Kerry is the first author from Penguin's online writing community, Book Country, to be discovered and successfully sold by an agent (Deidre Knight).

Our agency was on the road this month as well, traveling to Digital Book World in New York City to hear industry leaders talk about everything to do with eBooks. We learned that the key themes of the year are to "think globally" and focus on building communities that encourage engagement among readers. It was a highly productive trip that will surely inform our plans for 2012.

In this issue, we have a special feature on Amazon phenom Julie Ortolon and her agent Pamela Harty, Melissa Jeglinski gives pointers on how to make sure your The Anatomist Apprentice by Tessa Harris, historical mysterymanuscript is ship-shape before pressing the send button, and the watercooler section is back with all-new info from our agents on what they are looking for as the year commences.

Before you go off to enjoy all our newsletter has to offer, please check out the RT Book Review's website and vote for Tessa Harris's THE ANATOMIST'S APPRENTICE in the best-cover-of-the-month poll. We're certain you'll agree she's the hands-down favorite, but feel free to judge for yourself -- click here!

The Knight Post

Julie Ortolon, contemporary romance author of AT LASTLightning in a Bottle: Julie Ortolon Continues Her Amazon Winning Streak

Every author covets a spot on Amazon's Kindle bestseller list. Julie Ortolon has realized that dream more than once – first as a self-published author re-releasing her Perfect Trilogy books and now through her relationship with Amazon as an author signed to their fledgling Montlake Romance imprint. At the center of her endeavor with Montlake is AT LAST, a backlist title originally published by Signet Eclipse as UNFORGETTABLE. The digital-only title has risen as high as the #5 spot in the Kindle store since its release on January 17th. Julie's agent, Pamela Harty, is the first member of The Knight Agency team to broker a negotiation with the retail giant. "Our experience with Julie [and Amazon] has been great," she says regarding the AT LAST deal. "It’s exciting to partner with Amazon on the publishing side because we’re all well aware of how much they can do to market and support a book’s digital publication.
 
AT LAST is set in the small tourist town of Hope, Texas, preserved to appear as it did during its heyday in the early 1900s. Riley Stone, a blues and American standards singer, has returned to her hometown after a failed attempt to take the music industry by storm. Just as she settles in as a singer at the local nostalgia bar, Riley learns that the beloved dance hall where she nurtured her love of music as a teen is set to be demolished. Behind the project is the high-powered family from which the eponymous town received its name – including Riley's high school crush Jackson Hope.
 
At Last, contemporary romance by Julie OrtolonFrom signing on the dotted line to publication, the process of getting AT LAST onto virtual shelves took roughly 60 days. The title is exclusively available via Amazon, but can be read on non-Kindle devices using various apps. Expanding on the experience, Pamela notes that, "The most important point of discussion for us [as the agent] was clarification around what the 'out-of-print' clause referred to, as well as rights reversion. Julie took an active role in cover design and marketing."
 
"A successful eBook launch is something you have to build toward over time," Julie says. "An author operating on his/her own would have a hard time making a big splash on launch day with their first couple of eBooks." Julie recommends authors do the groundwork on establishing a professional web presence that is multidimensional to grow an established base of eBook readers, as well as develop a support group of authors ready to spread the word upon release day. "These things don't happen overnight," she says, "...Once you have that in place…get as much momentum as possible during the first few days. Because of how algorithms and search engines work, you want enough momentum to trigger a swarming effect."
 
A unique aspect of AT LAST is its companion soundtrack featuring classic jazz and American standards sung by Julie's long-time friend Barbara Calderaro. Because of Amazon's versatility, Julie was able to fulfill her dream of selling a soundtrack alongside the eBook. The musical compilation features an energetic Latin-infused arrangement of Nat King Cole's Unforgettable, as well as Barbara's take on Them There Eyes, A Sunday Kind of Love, and, naturally, At Last.
 
Now that Julie has successfully re-launched all of her backlist books, she's looking forward to creating new material. "My success with eBooks, and the close relationship I've developed with my readers thanks to social networking, has done a surprising thing," she says. "It's freed me creatively and made me more passionate than ever about writing…. Because I love sprinkling history into my contemporary romances, I'm diving into a new series that will take that mix to a higher level. This time, though, I'm adding some globe-trotting adventure."

Purchase AT LAST.
Visit Julie at www.JulieOrtolon.com!

The Informer

Are You Really Ready? by Melissa Jeglinski

Melissa Jeglinski, Agent and Submissions CoordinatorSo, after all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve finally completed your manuscript.  And now it’s time for the next step.  But before you send your baby out in to the world looking for an agent, you want to be sure you’re doing all the right things.  Here are a few things to think about that may prove to be helpful before you take the plunge.

*Are you sending it to the right agent/agency?  This business of publishing is so subjective; it’s sort of like dating.  You have to find the right match or it’s just never going to lead to marriage.  So it’s imperative you submit your manuscript to the right agent, someone you have researched a great deal.  Take a look at what they’ve represented/sold most recently.  Check out interviews with them on various websites or industry newsletters/magazines.  Scour their website to read what types of genres they are asking for.  Because doing all of that work on the two points below won’t mean a thing if you can’t even get your foot in the door.

*Has the manuscript been reviewed by a non-biased reader?  That is, has someone other than your husband or mother read it and told you they enjoyed it?  It’s great to have loved ones give you the seal of approval but it’s even more meaningful if this endorsement comes from someone not as emotionally invested in the project as you may be. Consider asking a fellow writer, especially one who is aware of the parameters of your genre, to review your manuscript.  You can repay the favor by doing the same for their work.  And you can both make the most out of this trade by being totally honest with one another so that both of your projects receive the benefit of an objective critique. 

*Has the manuscript been edited to within an inch of its life?  A critique partner will be looking at big picture issues within your project but they are not always going to find typos.  And spell check doesn’t catch everything.  And yes, even if you’ve looked at the pages five hundred times, you are still bound to miss something.  I’m not suggesting you go out and spend hundreds of dollars to have your manuscript professionally edited, but perhaps a pair of fresh eyes could help you out with the typos and grammar issues.  This would be a great opportunity for your loving significant other to prove just how supportive they are of your writing career.

Narrowing down your search to the right agent for your work and submitting a manuscript that is as clean and enjoyable as possible will really help make the search for representation much less stressful.  So...what are you waiting for?  You’re ready!     
 

Agency News

An excerpt of WRITING THE PARANORMAL NOVEL by Steven Harper was excerpted in the February issue of Writer’s Digest.

Nalini Singh’s SLAVE TO SENSATION, read by Angela Dawes, was picked as one of the Top 100 audio books of 2011 by Tantor.

MISS HILLARY SCHOOLS A SCOUNDREL by Samantha Grace was selected as a Spring 2012 notable by Publishers Weekly.

The New York Times featured Kerry Schafer’s two-book deal with Penguin's Ace Books imprint, which was negotiated by Deidre Knight for the debut novelist's fantasy duo BETWEEN and WAKEWORLD. The deal marked the first time a writer from Penguin’s online writers’ community, Book Country, was picked up by a publisher.

The fourth book in Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series, RAVEN CURSED, debuted on The New York Times bestseller list at #26 in mass market and #33 in the eBook categories, respectively.

Tessa Harris's THE ANATOMIST'S APPRENTICE was reviewed by The New York Times. The reviewer said due to the books stunning cover, it "...pretty much jumps into your hands," and furthermore that "...we await--indeed, demand--the sequel."

Agents of the Roundtable

Knights of the RoundtableQUESTION: What genres do you most often see miscategorized, and what tips would you offer to help people distinguish between them?

Melissa Jeglinski: I very often see Single Title Romance categorized as Women’s Fiction. While there can be a romantic element in a Women’s Fiction novel, there must also be a greater scope to the story and should encompass more of the main protagonist’s life rather than be focussed on her romantic relationships.

Nephele Tempest: I see a lot of confusion regarding what actually constitutes a young adult novel. Young adult books are generally aimed at readers around 12-16 years old, and the characters tend to be in high school—14 to 18 years old. I see stories being touted as young adult where the protagonist is in college, and it’s extremely rare that those books would fall into the young adult category. Although in the world you might consider someone 19 or 20 years old to be a young adult, the problems and challenges faced once you leave home and go off to college are very different from the ones you face in high school or as a teen. A 20 year old is in a very different emotional place than a 16 year old, so those stories aren’t considered to target the same market.

The Watercooler


Watercooler: What Knight Agency agents are looking forDeidre Knight: I don’t know when I’ve been so excited about a new calendar year as an agent.  Having just attended the Digital Book World event in NYC, I can tell you that there’s never been a more exciting time to be in publishing. For me personally, that’s translating to a lot of submission reading and scouting—not just for myself, but for others at TKA.  I’d love to find more warm contemporary romance with a strong series concept, a new historical series with strong emotion, women’s fiction with a rich, wonderful voice (literary and commercial), and in nonfiction, memoir and finance/investment.

Pamela Harty: I would love to see more historical romance particularly Regency period. I am also looking for romantic suspense and women's fiction. On the nonfiction side, memoir, parenting, health and business, as well as strong narrative nonfiction are on my wish list right now.

Lucienne Diver: I’ve just taken on a fabulous debut young adult author, and I have a pretty full list at this time.  That said, I can’t resist anything that blows me away.  I’m a sucker for really strong original characters.  That matters more to me than the particular genre or age range for which you’re writing.  I love anything from middle-grade up through adult that’s brilliantly character driven.

Melissa Jeglinski: I’m still intersted in finding more middle grade stories, especially with male protagonists, but set in today’s world with relevant issues.  I’d love to see a multi-generational fiction manuscript or psycological thriller.

Nephele Tempest: I’m currently looking for great middle grade and young adult fiction, both real world and fantasy; historical fiction, particularly Regency era and later, and I’d love some early 20th century (pre-WWII)—either romance or straight historical; contemporary romance—something warm and emotional with a great sense of place and strong characters; and contemporary women’s fiction, with a determined but likeable protagonist I can love and cheer for.    

Elaine Spencer: I’m looking for everything! This year I’m really eager to grow my list and add some exciting fresh talent to my roster. A strong voice, compelling characters, unique plotting and conflicts, these are all sure to captivate me!

January Releases

THE DAEMON PRISM

Carol Berg | Roc Trade: Dante the necromancer is the most reviled man in Sabria, indicted by for crimes against the living and the dead. He salves bitterness with a magical puzzle - a desperate soldier's dream of an imprisoned sorceress and a faceted glass that can grant one's utmost desires. But the dream is a seductive trap.  Haunted, blind, driven to the verges of the world, Dante must risk everything he values to unravel a mystery of ancient magic, sacred legend, and the truth of the divine... > Amazon
The Daemon Prism by Carol Berg

RAVEN CURSED

Faith Hunter | St. Martins: The vampires of Asheville, North Carolina, want to establish their own clan, but since they owe loyalty to the Master Vampire of New Orleans they must work out the terms with him. To come up with an equitable solution, he sends an envoy with the best bodyguard blood money can buy: skinwalker Jane Yellowrock. But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. > Amazon
 
Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter

KING OF THE ISLES

Debbie Mazzuca | Kensington Zebra: Evangeline may be powerfully persuasive, but convincing King Lachlan MacLeod to strengthen his alliances with a marriage seems to be asking the impossible. Lachlan seems determined to go against her will, even if it means endangering the people he's sworn to protect. When his mentor is kidnapped, forcing him to ride into combat alongside Evangeline, he must choose between her safety and his own independence. Once wed, he'll soon find that his heart is in even greater danger than his kingdom. > Amazon 

King of the Isles by Debbie Mazzuca

HOW MANY LIGHTBULBS DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A PERSON?

Rhonda Rhea | New Hope Publishers: All of us search for light, but there is only one way to find the light we really need to be able to live the Christian life in successful obedience. Fruitful, joy-filled, victorious living happens only as we are spiritually enlightened through the truth of the Word of God. Through humor and stories, Rhonda Rhea explores many of the almost 300 references to light in the Bible to draw us back to the real light found in Christ. > Amazon
 
How Many Lightbulbs Does it Take to Change a Person? by Rhonda Rhea

HOLD ME IF YOU CAN

Stephanie Rowe | Sourcebooks: It's unfortunate for Natalie that Nigel Aquarian is so compelling. With his inner demons, his unbridled heat, and his "I will conquer you" looks, he calls to her in exactly the way that nearly killed her. That he's an immortal warrior and that her powers rise from intense passions would seem to make them a match made in heaven, but unless they embrace their greatest fears, they'll play out their final match in hell. > Amazon

Hold Me If You Can by Stephanie Rowe

BRING IT ON

Kira Sinclair | Harlequin: Escape is an adults-only Caribbean island resort. What could be better advertising than tantalizing photos of a real couple on their honeymoon? Unless, of course, the couple is faking it… Graphic designer Lena Fuller fled the chaos of her ruined wedding with her best friend, filmmaker Colt Douglas. But she wasn't expecting the "honeymoon" her ex arranged would be a weeklong photo shoot. As the sets become more intimate, Lena and Colt find that their libidos are slipping out of control. Sure, they can fake it…but when the week is over, will they be able to forget it? > Amazon

Bring It On by Kira Sinclair