Helpful Site for Aspiring Writers




This is Kristen Nelson’s blog. If you’re not familiar with her, she’s the lead agent at Nelson Literary Agency, one of the bigger firms in the business. Inside her blog she covers everything from query letters to royalties and rights. This is a perfect one stop shop for aspiring writers.

Stats To Humble Any Perspective Writer


2013 Year End Stats!

Kristin Nelson

I’d like to cordially welcome you to the new year!

Out with the old and in with the new! But before we move on, I know readers love to get the tally of our end-of-year statistics. Please note that sales figures are approximations rather than exact calculations.


books sold (up from 33 last year).

foreign rights deals done (way up from 83 last year—holy cow!).

new clients (down from 16 total last year: 3 for Kristin and 4 for Sara).

35,000+ or some big number…
estimated number of queries read and responded to.

full manuscripts requested and read (down from 81 last year).

number of sample pages requested and read (down from 1029 last year).

number of projects currently on submission.

tv and major motion picture deals for Kristin.

2.8+ million
copies in print/sold for my bestselling long-running series this year.

1.5+ million
copies in print/sold for my bestselling individual title.

1.6+ million
copies sold for my bestselling hybrid author.

3+ million
ebooks sold for my bestselling indie-publishing-only author.

copies in print/sold for my bestselling debut series.

copies in print/sold for Sara’s bestselling author.

conferences attended—6 for Kristin (which includes Digital Book World, BEA and Frankfurt Book Fair), 5 for Sara, 2 for Anita.

New York Times bestsellers for Kristin (up from 20 just last year). I did 11 more in 2013 alone. Wowza!

New York Times bestsellers for NLA as an agency. (Sara had her very first with Jason Hough’s THE DARWIN ELEVATOR this summer. Woot!)

consecutive weeks on the NYT bestseller list for one of Kristin’s authors.

physical holiday cards sent.

electronic holiday cards sent.

Not telling it’s so embarrassing
number of eggnog chai consumed in the months of November and December.

of late nights reading on my living room chaise with Chutney.

great days loving my job!

Does Your Blog Have Personality? From Nelson Literary Agency Email Letter for July




A Message from Kristin Nelson

Does Your Blog Have Personality?

Kristin NelsonJust this past week, I attended LitFest, an annual event hosted by Lighthouse Writers Workshop right here in Denver. During a one-on-one conference, a writer asked me a question about her blog. She mentioned that in order to ease the social-media burden, she was blog sharing with several other writers; each curated the blog a month at a time. She noticed the blog wasn’t getting much traffic and asked me why.

To answer her question, I first had to ask a few of my own.

I asked if she herself follows any blogs. She said yes. Then I asked why. Her answer? Because she likes the content or finds the information useful.

But is that all?

I’m nothing if not persistent. When she looked at me blankly, I said there are dozens of blogs about agents and publishing. Why did she prefer some blogs over others?

It’s not just about content. It’s also about personality.

Blogs have personalities, and readers like to follow bloggers who have a unique style or an appealing voice. A shared blog maintained by multiple writers might lack a distinguishing personality, style, or voice. If that’s the case, chances are good the blog won’t gain much traction.

Watching her “Eureka!” moment made me think that you might find this information helpful, too. So ask yourself: Does my blog have a distinct personality? If the answer is no, then maybe blogging isn’t the right social-media platform for you.

And that’s my agent public service moment for July.

Talk About Burying the Lead

From Kristen Nelson’s blog:


Today HarperCollins announced their latest digital-only mystery imprint Witness. But buried in the third paragraph was the most interesting tidbit in the story! The real news item!

Harpercollins is changing their royalty period so as to pay digital-only authors on a monthly basis. Once again Amazon took the lead (asthey announced this on March 18) and the Big 6 had to follow. What I wouldn’t give for Random House or S&S to lead the way rather than do things after the fact but that might be wishful thinking.

But here’s my question to publishers and I hope they are paying attention. You are now starting to reward authors who are doing digital-only. Great. But what about your stalwart current authors who have stood by you and continued publishing with you as the industry revolutionized around them?

Why should they get shafted just because they are doing both print and digital?

I get why print payments need to be on the slow-as-molasses-every-6-months payment schedule because publishers have to factor in returns from physical bookstores. But why should those authors have to wait for their digital royalties? Why can’t this be separate? Of if that can’t be fathomed, why can’t digital royalties be paid immediately after earn out?

There is no longer any reason for the 6-month cycle.  How about payment parity for those authors?