Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A new bestseller, 20 years after publication

THE ORACLE GLASS by internationally beloved and critically acclaimed author Judith Merkle Riley was re-published in November by Sourcebooks. Now, almost twenty years since its original publication by Viking in 1994, the book has hit The New York Times bestseller list AND the USA Today bestseller list! The climb came just after THE ORACLE GLASS was featured as a Kindle Daily Deal and a Nook Daily Find on a Monday in early May.

As might be expected, the most significant impact appeared among e-book sales. In The New York Times rankings, THE ORACLE GLASS reached #7 on the E-Book Fiction list:

But e-book sales were most definitely not operating in an e-book bubble. THE ORACLE GLASS also hit #8 on The New York Times Combined Print and E-Book Fiction list:

On USA Today's overall bestseller list, THE ORACLE GLASS climbed to #16:

This bestseller success reflects the hard work and tactical strategy behind Sourcebooks's relaunch scheme. Sourcebooks bought rights to another Riley book at the same time as they bought rights to THE ORACLE GLASS.  This other book was THE MASTER OF ALL DESIRES, originally published by Viking in 1999.  It will be released in July, eight months after THE ORACLE GLASS's release.  Sourcebooks's two-part plan allows each book to capitalize on the promotions, sales, and successes of the other.

With THE ORACLE GLASS now a bestseller a month-and-a-half before Part II of Riley's Sourcebooks relaunch, THE MASTER OF ALL DESIRES is sure to reap much of the first book's success.

Sourcebooks also gave the books new, updated covers.  Below are the older covers so you can get a sense of the changes made:

And below are the two new covers!  Notice the commonalities: the font, layout, mystical tone, and the stars sprinkled throughout.  These commonalities brand the books as a pair. The print copy of THE ORACLE GLASS also has a lovely metallic sheen to it, with the title in raised lettering.  We're looking forward to seeing the print copy of THE MASTER OF ALL DESIRES when it arrives in July!

Furthermore, Sourcebooks paired new praise with the fabulous quotes the books had already garnered upon their original publication.  A sampling of the praise is below:

“Take a full cup of wit, two teaspoons of brimstone, and a dash of poison, and you have Judith Merkle Riley's mordant, compelling tale of an ambitious young woman who disguises herself as an ancient prophetess in order to gain entry into the dangerous, scheming glamour of the Sun King's court. Based on scandalous true events, THE ORACLE GLASS brims with our human foibles, passions, and eccentricities; it's a classic of the genre and unlike any historical novel you have ever read.” --C.W. Gortner, author of THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI, on THE ORACLE GLASS

“Open the pages and out comes a whiff of brimstone, as THE ORACLE GLASS transports you to the Paris of kings and witches, on a guided tour of corruption, love, and sorcery.” --Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of OUTLANDER, on THE ORACLE GLASS

Absorbing and arresting.” --The New York Times, on THE ORACLE GLASS

Fascinating and factual.” --Los Angeles Times, on THE ORACLE GLASS

“Chilly, witty, and completely engrossing...Great, good fun.” --Kirkus, on THE ORACLE GLASS

A delicious, romantic romp.” --The Seattle Times, on THE MASTER OF ALL DESIRES

“[A] dazzling mix of history, romance, and the occult...Riley [is] a writer who excels at getting the background right and creating strong, intelligent heroines.” --Kirkus, on THE MASTER OF ALL DESIRES

Delightfully rich in history, humor, and imagination.” --San Jose Mercury News, on THE MASTER OF ALL DESIRES

“A tightly woven, suspenseful and fiendishly funny novel.” --Publishers Weekly, on THE MASTER OF ALL DESIRES

“A delightful blend of history, romance, and the supernatural, served with generous helpings of wit and humor.” --Booklist, on THE MASTER OF ALL DESIRES

Monday, May 20, 2013

Regel's do's and dont's for attending a writers' conference

I'll be attending a number of fantastic writers' conferences in the upcoming months (Backspace, Willamette, and NJ SCBWI). The potential to discover new talent is what gets me excited for writers' conferences, but, that said, I also slightly dread the uncomfortable exchanges that are bound to happen. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to give you some guidelines for how to successfully attend a writers' conference. Here goes!

DON'T read me your pitch. When I've said this before on panels, I can actually see the distress wash across the attendees' faces. I understand that reading is more comfortable to you, but look at it this way, if you're going to read me your pitch, then why do we even need to meet face-to-face? I know how to read (it's kind of a prerequisite for the job), so you might as well just email me your query. The whole point of going to a writers' conference is to have a conversation with an agent. I can tell you in about 30 seconds whether I'm interested in reading your material. (Is it a genre I represent? Check! Am I interested in the plot? Check!) When I sit down across from an author I want to see that they can intelligently engage me in a discussion about their work. Because if I do read and love their work, I need to know that they will be able to talk about their book to potential editors, booksellers, and readers. 

DO come with questions. Once you've pitched the project there are only two things for me to do: 1) Ask for materials, and 2) Tell you it's not right for me. Once that's out of the way, what can we talk about? I've flown all these miles to meet you, so you might as well walk away with some knowledge! Use this time to your advantage.

DON'T expect me to take materials from you. First of all, no one wants to lug around heavy pages. Second of all, these days, almost everyone (including me) reads on a reading device.

DON'T pitch me at inappropriate times. What's an inappropriate time, you ask? ANY TIME THAT IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PITCHING. Every conference offers their attendees the opportunity to sit down and pitch an agent for a specific amount of time. That is really the only time you should be pitching an agent, EXCEPT...

DO be prepared to pitch at any time. We could be meeting casually over lunch and when I ask YOU, "So, what's your book about?" you should be prepared to talk about it. Otherwise you're missing an opportunity.

DO remember that we WANT to say yes. We want to discover the next big thing. And we hope that it's you! That's the whole reason why we attend writers' conferences. So try to keep a positive attitude and don't take it personally if we turn you down.  Remember that we're all here because we love writers and books, but this is still a business.

I hope to see you at a writers' conference soon!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Take a walk on the blonde side

Last month, It Books released THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES: Highlights from a Fair-Haired Life by stand-up comedian, storyteller, and writer Selena Coppock.

A natural blonde, Coppock was awarded the “Best Hair” superlative in high school and has since embarked on numerous adventures and misadventures in her navigations through a world in which blondes are often considered ditzy, dumb, and vain. Now she has compiled her hilarious hair-care anecdotes and pearls of wisdom into a laugh-out-loud--and witty--essay collection. As noted, “[Coppock] admits she has benefited from some stereotypes, especially the ones about being fun-loving and young. However, she proves repeatedly [throughout THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES that] she is not dumb nor does she want to play dumb.”

Coppock's particular brand of humor can perhaps best be sampled in her book trailer below:

Since its publication, THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES has hit media outlets by storm. It was featured in Time Out New York and Glamour, and it is currently part of a give-a-way with She Knows, lasting until May 23 (so enter now!).

In an interview with Yuletide Snapper, Coppock describes why it was important to her to put together these “new rules” in the first place: “Today...things have changed and blondes have evolved. Just look at bold blondes such as Lady Gaga (naturally a brunette but most often seen with blonde hair now) and Hillary Clinton--blondes are killing it in politics, entertainment, and elsewhere, so I wanted to map out a new pathway for all of us.” Read the full interview here.

Meanwhile, over at Motherhood Moment, Coppock describes her favorite “blonde moment” and blonde hero, and she explains how hair color is like a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. Find out more here.

Coppock lists her do's, don'ts, must haves, bests, lasts, and more regarding all things writing related at Chick Lit Is Not Dead. Learn here the importance of setting boundaries in writing, how Coppock overcomes writer's block, and how she celebrated her book deal.

In a guest post at Fresh Fiction, Coppock describes exactly how she became the author of this book, which originated as the brainchild of her blonde agent and blonde editor. Check it out here.

Lastly, in an interview with Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Coppock gets to the heart of one of the deeper themes in her book: self-esteem. Here's an excerpt below, but be sure to read the full piece here.
...the book is fun and informational, but at its core it’s a book trying to encourage self-love.  Girls and women are socialized to be really hard on themselves and each other--we get a lot of grief for how we look or what shape we are and many of us internalize those toxic messages without even knowing that we are.  With THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES obviously I’m talking about blondeness, but I’m also encouraging the reader to embrace the fact that she is smart and spunky and unique, and who cares what other people think. 

Below we've compiled some of the exciting reviews the book has received so far:

Perfect for the summer…The key to recounting stories like these is making them pop off the page...Thanks to Coppock’s writing style, which I would liken to hanging out with a funny best friend..., she manages to do just that and ends up making reading New Rules a breeze.”

“Her writing is FUN with a capital F!...Whether you are blonde or not, you will love this book!” --Chick Lit Is Not Dead Blog

“A humorous guide to undermining stereotypes and becoming both self-aware and self-assured...Coppock’s book is both fun and informative, whether or not you’re of the golden-haired persuasion.” --Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“Selena Coppock is hilarious!....THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES is entertaining for anyone of any hair color who wants to laugh.”

A must-read for all blondes, those who hate blondes, or anyone with a sense of humor. Otherwise, this is NOT a book for you!” --Kristen Johnston, actress and New York Times bestselling author

“Selena Coppock is a hilarious, sexy bundle of blonde madness. Her willingness to own her magnificent dorkitude is an inspiration to us all. Read this book and fall in weird, awkward love with her.” --Sara Benicasa, author of AGORAFABULOUS!

“Blondes have more fun reading this book, at least this fair-haired broad did. A fresh, fun "lady-guide" that all girls can enjoy...even dumb brunettes. You heard me!” --Jillian Bell, comedian (Saturday Night Live, Workaholics)