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Newsletter Dated: 7/1/2006 11:50:43 PM
Subject: Soup* On
Andrea Campbell’s Newsletter
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, professional friend of Andrea*s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input and hope you will stay around to see new features in every
In this issue:
• From the Author*s Desk
• Author Brenda Scott Royce and Monkey Love
• The Academy of Forensic Facial Reconstruction
• Five More Things Your Literary Agent Won’t Tell You
• Get a Freelance Life -- Mediabistro
*** From The Author*s Desk ***
Thank you to all my kind friends and supporters during our family tragedy. My son and daughter-in-law lost their seven-month old baby girl, Devin Lorraine Campbell. Mother is recuperating and the memorial for Devin was a beautiful, quiet family affair. We are a close-knit family and I appreciate your thinking of us during this time.
* * *
I’m excited about presenting an interview with a former editor of mine, Brenda Scott Royce, who is promoting her novel, Monkey Love. Brenda wrote a nice dedication in her book acknowledging me , because much of her book’s character is based on my experience with our capuchin, Ziggy Campbell. And, if you didn’t know it, Ziggy is a Helping Hands monkey and has been placed and is now the loving, helper/companion for John! You can read about it here:
Next issue we’ll get information and ideas from Susan McBride about her book, The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club.
My next Mediabistro class starts September 19, 2006. If you’re determined to get that nonfiction book proposal finished, join us. You’d be amazed how much we can accomplish in eight weeks online. Link:
*** Author Brenda Scott Royce and Monkey Love ***
Q.: Can you tell readers about your writing background.
Writing has always been one of my career goals. Growing up, I wanted to be an author, a famous actress, or Jane Goodall (I didn’t know what a “primatologist” was; I just wanted to do what Jane did!). The acting bug wore off, writing stuck, and primatology remained a sideline interest—and eventually the focus of my college studies. My writing is eclectic: Over the years I’ve published books, magazine articles, movie reviews, encyclopedia essays, book and video jacket copy, and advertising copy. I was a book editor for several years and I’m now the editor of Zoo View, the magazine of the Los Angeles Zoo. My zoo job is ideal in that it combines two of my great passions—writing and animals.
Q.: Had you written fiction before?
Not unless you count forged notes to my teacher when I’d skip a day of high school.
Q.: What was the impetus for your character and storyline?
The character is modeled after me—albeit a younger, zanier version of me. I lived in New York City when I was Holly’s age and while none of the events in the book actually happened, her reactions are based on how I probably would have reacted in those situations.
The monkey part of the story was influenced by two things. One was your book, Bringing Up Ziggy: What Raising a Helping Hands Monkey Taught Me About Love, Commitment, and Sacrifice. Though I never met her in person, I fell in love with Ziggy while editing that book! The other was my own experiences as a chimpanzee caregiver at a wildlife sanctuary. The work was backbreaking, but I loved every minute and the 31 chimps I cared for (all former biomedical research subjects) are still very close to my heart.
I didn’t set out to write about a monkey, but they say to “write what you know,” and at the time I was studying and working with primates. So I thought, “What would happen if Holly was asked to babysit a monkey?” Though she studied primatology in school, Holly is ill-prepared to take care of an actual monkey.
Q.: How did you construct the book in terms of format? Did you use a story timeline, think in terms of situation or inciting incident or what?
I hate to admit it to other writers, but I didn’t put a lot of thought into structure. I didn’t plan ahead; I didn’t outline. I just wrote it almost as though I was reading it. It is very much situation driven.
Q.: What was difficult about this book for you?
Knowing what would be funny to other people. Sometimes I’d laugh out loud over a particular line I wrote, but wonder if anyone else would find it funny. I thought maybe you’d have to live inside my head in order to get my sense of humor. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case. And the more serious, emotional moments in the book were also challenging. It is a romantic comedy, so I didn’t want to let things get too maudlin, but Holly does confront a few issues along the way.
Q.: You've had many lifestyle changes in the past five years, new husband with children, then having your first child, working with primates, how has this affected your writing?
Yes, it’s been a complete 180! When I began writing Monkey Love, I was single, lived alone, and worked as a freelance writer-editor. I could write any time I wanted, anywhere I wanted. When I finished writing the book 2 years later, I was married, with a newborn son and two stepsons. Finding time alone to write became next to impossible. Trying to balance writing with family life and my zoo job has been quite a challenge, but I wouldn’t give up the job, the writing, and certainly not the family!
Q.: Did you query an agent and how did that go?
I queried two batches of five agents. The first batch resulted in three rejections, one request for the full manuscript, and one has still not responded! In the second batch of five, I got two requests for the full manuscript. Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency was the first to respond, and we really hit it off on the phone, so when she offered representation, I eagerly accepted. She sold my book to NAL within about a month.
Q.: What can you tell us about your publisher and *your* unique experience with them?
Editorially speaking, it’s been a very positive experience. My editor is terrific. She pinpointed a few areas of the manuscript that she felt could be improved. Most were minor, and I agreed with her on almost every suggestion. Her comments resulted in the addition of one of the funniest scenes in the book, so I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for that. As for marketing and publicity, I think every author thinks their publisher could have and should have done more to promote their book, and I’m no different. But that’s to be expected when you’re a little fish in the big sea of publishing. Self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me, and I’d rather spend the time writing, but if I don’t sell my book, no one else will.
So here goes: Hey, all you Soup’s On readers, if you’re looking for a fast, funny summer read, check out Monkey Love. It’s more fun than a barrel of … well, you know what.
*** The Academy of Forensic Facial Reconstruction ***
Many students and artists ask me about my forensic art training. A professional colleague of mine, Ann Morland, is teaching Forensic Facial Reconstruction workshops:
The Academy of Forensic Facial Reconstruction
2431 – C Wall Street
Millbrook, AL 36054
The Academy of Forensic Facial Reconstruction is the first school of its kind in the world where training and education is available in all aspects of forensic facial reconstruction and forensic art. Whether you are a professional working in the field or you are a beginner looking to become a forensic artist, forensic sculptor or a forensic facial reconstruction specialist, there are courses available to fit your needs.
*** Five Things Your Literary Agent Won’t Tell You by Fern Reiss ***
If you’re trying to publish a book traditionally, you’re almost always better off using a literary agent than going it on your own. Nonetheless, working with a literary agent is not always as idyllic as it sounds. Here are five things your literary agent probably won’t tell you:
We won’t jeopardize our relationship with editors. Working with a literary agent is much like working with a real estate agent: On the one hand, their job is to get you as good a deal as possible, and they don’t make money unless you do, since they make a percentage (usually 15%) of your sales. On the other hand, their relationships with publishers are complex, and although they’d like to get as much as possible for your book, they also need to stay on good terms with the publisher for all the other books they’re discussing. So in the same way that the realtor will try to get you a good price (but will be reluctant to jeopardize the sale by asking too much), your literary agent won’t ask for a killer sum just because you think your book is worth it.
We won’t play hardball with your publisher. Again, agents make their living by having good working relationships with publishers and editors. They’ll track your payments and make sure you’re getting a fair shake, but they’re not going to jeopardize those relationships by being obnoxious, aggressive, or overly demanding. So don’t expect them to play hardball. That’s not their job.
We won’t be your new best buddy. It’s important to remember that while agents need to stay in touch with their authors, that’s only a small part of their job. They also need to: Read the slush pile for new properties, read a lot of current books to see what’s selling, deal with contracts and lawyers and payments, meet editors and publishers for lunch to discuss other books, go to conferences and trade shows to keep up with the rest of the industry, and a myriad of other activities. And agents, unless you’ve gotten to know them well over a long period of time, are your business partners, but not necessarily your friends. So don’t expect your agent to stay in touch daily—or even weekly. Some agents are better at keeping in touch than others, but most agents are too busy to be as attentive as their authors might prefer.
We will probably run out of patience. It would be lovely if agents, once you finally find one who is dying to work with you, would be faithful and submit your work forever. The reality, however, is that agents tend to be excited when they first sign an author, and are able to maintain that enthusiasm only if they’re able to sell the book relatively quickly. It’s a rare agent who is incredibly responsive to your phone calls after 18 months of unsuccessfully peddling your book.
We probably won’t help with your publicity. This may be the single most common misperception of what a literary agent does. Literary agents help you get your book to a publisher. They oversee your payment. If you’re incredibly lucky with your choice of agent, they may even help to oversee your career, recommending books for you to read and conferences for you to attend. But one thing they probably won’t do is help you with your book’s publicity. Agents get paid (a percentage) because of the work they do in brokering the agreement between you and the publisher. They don’t take any responsibility for the publicity of your book after a publisher has accepted it. (Unfortunately, neither do most publishers, these days, which means that most books are off bookstores shelves in just six months. See my book, The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days, if you want to learn how to publicize your book successfully on your own.)
Having said all that, having a relationship with a literary agent can be a valuable and rewarding experience. Just keep in mind what you can, and can’t, expect.
Fern Reiss is CEO of PublishingGame.com, offering books, workshops, and consulting on how to get a literary agent, publish, and promote a book. She is also CEO of Expertizing.com, teaching people how to get more media attention; in the past six months, she’s been quoted in over 100 publications from the NY Times to Wall Street Week. http://www.PublishingGame.com/signup.htm for her complimentary monthly email newsletter.
*** Get a Freelance Life ***
This book is for anyone seeking practical, solid advice on the writing business. A complete guide, straight from the creators of mediabistro.com—the nation’s most connected, authoritative source for media professionals.
For more: http://mediabistro.com/insideguide/news/default.asp?c=mbenag
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters we will answer reader’s questions, share a new story or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2006 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.