Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween from Flux

Halloween's a rather exciting time around Flux. As I slave away on the next series of podcasts (they're coming soon--promise), I thought I'd share a few costumes from our soiree this year--based on our own book covers!

The Acquisitions Department's theme this year was....

That would be yours truly as Uncle Fester (and Thing).
Stay tuned. More podcasts coming in November. Honest.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brian doesn't Tweet here anymore.

Hi all,

Believe it or not, more podcasts are coming. In fact, I'm putting the finishing touches on THREE new editions. But I wanted to post this quick word about the Flux twitter account.

The FluxBooks account was started by my Esteemed Predecessor and, initially, he was the only one using it. Lately, I've been sharing tweeting duties with the good folks in our marketing and publicity departments. Unfortunately, with mulitple tweeters (tweeties?), it becomes difficult to tell who is saying what.

So, in the interest of making sure you know when you're getting info from me and when you're getting info from others, I will no longer be tweeting @fluxbooks. I've started my own account @EyeOnFlux. I'll be the only person using this new account so you'll know that (unless hackers steal my password and begin sending you news that you've won the British lottery) anything said there comes from me directly.


To recap: Brian, Flux's editor, is no longer tweeting @fluxbooks (but PLEASE continue to follow that account because they will tweet more frequently than I and will have TONS of interesting stuff to say) and will now be tweeting @EyeOnFlux. Both accounts (I imagine) will post updates as to when new podcasts are posted.

And, seriously, they're almost done. I mean it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Something to fill the time

Production on the new podcast is a liiiiitle bit behind. New one is coming soon. Until then, you might enjoy this.

Today on Twitter, agent Chris Richman tweeted about a funny Onion story having to do with writing. This sent me tripping down memory lane, thinking about all the great Onion stories they've done concerning writers, litearture, and the sometimes painful collision of the two. So here's a small round-up of some of my faves. (Um, for those unfamiliar with the Onion, I'll just offer a small warning that they're not always PC, they often use blue language, but it's always done for humor. Still, those with tender dispositions might want to turn away now.)

Sci-Fi Writer Attributes Everything Mysterious To 'Quantum Flux'

My Novel Addresses Universal Themes Of Humanity And Has Fucking

Someday, I Will Copyedit The Great American Novel

Author Too Much Of A Pussy To Kill Off Characters

Heroic Computer Dies To Save World From Master's Thesis

Third-Person Limited Omniscient Narrator Blown Away By Surprise Ending

Maya Angelou Honored For Courage, Blackness

Scholars Discover 23 Blank Pages That May As Well Be Lost Samuel Beckett Play

Author To Use Water As Metaphor

Books Don't Take You Anywhere

Nation's Teens Disappointed By Banned Books

There Are So Many Experiences I Want To Write About Having Had

Area Woman Fulfills Dream Of Becoming Writer By Getting Job At Bookstore

Masters In Writing Fails To Create Master Of Writing

Author Wishes She Hadn't Blown Personal Tragedy On First Book

Self-Help Book Believes It Can Be A Bestseller Someday

Nation Afraid To Admit 9-Year-Old Disabled Poet Really Bad

Area Man Well-Versed In First Thirds Of Great Literature

My Short Fiction Will Restore America's Romantic Spirit

Monster At End Of Book Claims Life Of TV's Grover

It's Funny How What You're Saying Relates To My Novel

Novelist Thinks People Shrug 10 Times More Than They Actually Do

First-Time Novelist Constantly Asking Wife What It's Like To Be A Woman

Novelists Strike Fails To Affect Nation Whatsoever

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Eye on Flux: June 2009 Edition

Overview: Two really great interviews this month (and a special sneak peek behind the scenes of the Printz awards) plus YOUR questions answered in the Flux Mailbag.

* * * * *

See Flux in Action at ALA: Yours truly will be at ALA's 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago from July 11-14 at Booth #2658. We'll have Flux authors on hand to sign copies of their books. Schedule is as follows:

Maggie Stiefvater (author of LAMENT and the forthcoming BALLAD)
Saturday, July 11, 1pm

Susan Fine (author of INITIATION)
Saturday, July 11, 2pm

Sunday, July 12, 1pm

* * * * *

Interview: Micol and David Ostow, authors of SO PUNK ROCK (AND OTHER WAYS TO DISAPPOINT YOUR MOTHER)

The sister-brother writing team of this hybrid graphic novel (which recently got a starred review in Booklist) discuss where the idea for the book came from, how their collaborative process works, and whether or not they'd ever collaborate again.

Check out SPR's Official Site here:

See the awesome book trailer!

Micol's Web site:

David's Web site:

Sample art from SO PUNK ROCK:

Follow the Tribe on Twitter:
* * * * *
Flux Mailbag: This month's burning questions get answered....

--"Do you accept submissions from anyone?"

--"What bit of practical advice (aside from the oft-spoken 'Write well') do you have for aspiring writers?"

* * * * *
Interview: Elizabeth Burns, blogger at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy and recent Printz Award committee member.

Liz Burns took time to give an insightful look into the processes involved in getting on the Printz committee (hint: it involves black magic...I kid...maybe....), what the day to day life of a Printz committee member was like (hint: any free time involves reading...a lot...)

Check out Liz's blog at:

She also contributes articles to Pop Goes the Library:

* * * * *

To download the podcast:
AAC (iPod friendly) version: Right click here and select 'Save as.' (Clicking on the link will prompt the file to launch in iTunes.)

MP3 version: Right click here and select 'Save as.' (Clicking on the link will prompt the file to launch in iTunes or Windows Media Player.)
* * * * *

Next month: More author inteviews! More burning questions answered! And another Flux author steps forward in a brave attempt to be the new reigning champion of 60 Seconds of Fame!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eye on Flux: May 2009 edition

Overview: With the first podcast down, we sally forth with our May edition, featuring interviews with three authors, a peak into the Flux mailbag, and a new segment called 60 Seconds of Fame.

Interview: Jeremy Craig, author of THE STRAITS

We talk to Jeremy about his debut YA novel and its eerily prescient correlation to a recent article in the New York times. Jeremy also shares some of his favorite literary figures and discusses how his writing relates to his current status as film school graduate student.

For more information, check out Jeremy's web site:

Interview: Gillian Summers, author of THE SECRET OF THE DREAD FOREST

Berta Platas and Michelle Roper don the pseudonym of Gillian Summers to write the Faire Folk Trilogy, the concluding volume of which comes out in June. Berta and Michelle offer a preview of what's to come in the series, give their insight on working with a writing partner, and talk about their attraction to renaissance festivals.

For more information, check out Gillian's web site:

Flux Mailbag: I answer questions sent in by listeners relating to the types of books we do at Flux and whether or not I read every submission we receive.

Send your questions for the Flux Mailbag to questions at fluxnow dot com. Each month, I'll randomly select a few questions to answer and if yours appear on the podcast, I'll send you the Flux book of your choice!

60 Seconds of Fame: A.S. King, author of THE DUST OF 100 DOGS, joins us to launch a brand new segment on the podcast where authors sit on the hot seat for 60 seconds and compete for valuable prizes (i.e. bragging rights for being the reigning champ of 60 Seconds of Fame).

To download the podcast:

AAC (iPod friendly) version: Right click here and select 'Save as.' (Clicking on the link will prompt the file to launch in iTunes.)

MP3 version: Right click here and select 'Save as.' (Clicking on the link will prompt the file to launch in iTunes or Windows Media Player.)

Next month: We'll talk to Micol and David Ostow, the sister-brother writing team behind Flux's first hybrid graphic novel, SO PUNK ROCK (AND OTHER WAYS TO DISAPPOINT YOUR MOTHER) and our special guest will be Elizabeth Burns, librarian/blogger extraordinaire who will discuss her recent tenure on the Printz award committee.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eye on Flux: April 2009 Edition

Overview: Our inaugural podcast! We set the stage for this new series of podcasts to discuss upcoming Flux titles, the world of YA, and anything else the editor feels like talking about.

Interview: Susan Fine, author of INITIATION

We sat down for a talk with Susan Fine to discuss how her background as a teacher at a private school influenced the world she created in INITIATION.

For more information, check out Susan Fine's website.

Available on Amazon, Borders,, Powells, and Flux

Lucienne Diver, author of VAMPED

We chatted with Lucienne about her debut YA book and how her work as a writer informs the work she does as a literary agent.

For more information, check out Lucienne Diver's website.

Available on Amazon, Borders,, Powells, and Flux

Send us your questions! Ask us your Burning Questions about Flux, the world of publishing, our authors, etc. and if we answer your question on the podcast, we’ll send you the Flux book of your choice. Send questions to questions at fluxnow dot com.

To download the podcast:

AAC (iPod friendly) version: Right click here and select 'Save as.' (Clicking on the link will prompt the file to launch in iTunes.)

MP3 version: Right click here and select 'Save as.' (Clicking on the link will prompt the file to launch in iTunes or Windows Media Player.)

Next month: We look at our June releases, answer questions, and introduce a new segment: 60 Seconds of Fame!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Eye on Flux

Yes, you’re in the right place.

Welcome to the new blog for EYE ON FLUX, our brand spanking new podcast. This change marks a new direction for the Flux Blog. Where in the past we were a repository for Flux news, interesting stories from the world of publishing, and the occasionally bizarre random musings of Flux’s acquiring editors (I include my Esteemed Predecessor on that), the launch of the podcast brings a new feel and tone for the blog.

This space will now be the “go to” source for everything having to do with the podcast. We’ll have a link whereby you can download it. You’ll be able to stream it directly from the site. We’ll have supplemental information on everything you hear in the podcast. And it’s all FREE!

And just so you still get your fix for all the latest Flux news, there’s always the OTHER Flux blog on our main Web site:, maintained by the always entertaining Tricia O’Reilly. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out what Tricia’s doing over there.

Here’s the skinny on what this podcast-thingy is all about:

  • The podcast will occur monthly (for the foreseeable future).
  • I (Brian) will be hosting the podcast (for those with an insatiable desire to learn what I sound like).
  • We’ll highlight forthcoming books from our catalogs via author interviews.
  • We’ll answer Listener Burning Questions and give free books away.
  • We’ll have discussions about the world of young adult literature, we’ll have special guests, we’ll have fun.
  • For the time being, EYE ON FLUX is ONLY available here. We anticipate having distribution on iTunes in the near future.
  • Look for the first edition later this week.

Spread the word! Go forth my pretties! Make blog posts and send e-mails. Make sure that everyone has their eye on Flux!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


It's been mighty quiet 'round these parts, I reckon. Must be a good reason for that.

Well, boy howdy, there is! You might be seeing a few changes at the ole Flux Blog in the near future. Kind of a "re-imaginin'" like them thar Hollywood folks like to say.

Best put the kettle on, kick your feet up, and keep your eye on Flux, ya hear?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Let me get this straight... you're dissing the Wild and Crazy Guy?

For reasons that should be obvious, I get a bit twitchy whenever someone suggests banning a book or play or tries to impede others from access to artistic materials. For instance, a school superintendent in Oregon shut down a high school's impending production of Steve Martin's play, PICASSO AT THE LAPINE AGILE, after 137 community members signed a petition stating their "concern" about the show's adult content. Similarly, across the country, other high schools have faced similar opposition to their proposed stagings of the musical, RENT.

In the case of the Oregon school, Steve Martin himself has stepped up to the plate and offered to fund a non-profit production of the show to be produced off-campus in an effort "to prevent the play from acquiring a reputation it does not deserve."

I'm always happy to see parents taking an active interest in their children's activities and I firmly believe it is every parent's right to steer their children away from anything they feel might be harmful (based on personal values, of course). That stops making sense to me, though, when this "protective" nature expands to the children of other parents. Isn't it just easier (and more responsible) to tell your kid "I don't want you to have anything to do with that show" than it is to attempt to block other people's children from having the experience? Or am I missing something?

Anyway. Yay on Steve Martin. I hope the director of the show takes him up on this offer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Congratulations to Robin Friedman!

Robin's Flux book, NOTHING was recently shortlisted for Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year Award for Best Young Adult novel.

Winners will be announced at the end of May. Robin's book had previously won the 2009 Sydney Taylor Notable Books for Teens Award. Go Robin!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Noah's got nothing on these ARCs

Liz Burns, bloggoddess at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy has a well-researched piece on the nature of ARCs (that's Advance Reader/ing Copies) over at ForeWord Magazine.

Check out the first article here.

And the second one here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thou Shalt

Agent Nathan Bransford has a fantastic post offering 10 Commandments for Writers.

My favorite?

6. Keep up with publishing industry news. It may seem counterintuitive to follow the news of a business in which layoffs currently constitute the bulk of headlines. But it behooves you to keep yourself informed. You'll be happier (and more successful) if you know what you're doing.

Actually, they're all my favorite. Good stuff.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rejection, schmejection.

Agent Janet Reid has a great story about how getting rejected can be a good thing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

If you like this, then you'll enjoy...

Back in my days as a bookseller, I often talked with customers who looked for recommendations based on authors they liked.

"I like Nelson DeMille," I'd hear. "Got any books like that?"

We had cheat sheets that told us "if a customer likes THIS author, recommend THAT author." After a while, you got a feel for what people wanted and could make recommendations without even thinking.

There's been an interesting discussion on Adbooks recently that stemmed from one person's request that people recommend titles that are "like" TWILIGHT. The subsequent answers have often surprised (and occasionally amused) me. Sometimes I'd go, "That's a fair comparison" and other times I'd think, "Those two books are NOTHING alike." It got me to thinking: what exactly do we mean when we say one book (or author) is like another?

Are we comparing style of writing? Similar theme? Pacing? In the case of TWILIGHT, when asking for a comp title, do we mean something that's romancey? Angsty? Vampirey? More importantly, when someone asks for a recommendation, do we offer suggests based on what WE feel is comparative or what we think the OTHER person feels is comparative?

When someone asks you for a comparable title, which area do you typically default to?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Biz Lingo

Editorial Anonymous is doing a great running series of posts defining various publishing industry terms.

Dying to know what CMYK, PPB, or F&G stand for? Want to find out exactly what the difference is between a galley and an ARC? Then EA is your one stop shop!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Accolades! Accolades! Accolades!

As you might have guessed, I'm a bit behind.

Some congrats are in order for Flux authors!

Congratulations to A.S. King whose DUST OF 100 DOGS was named a Spring 2009 Indie Next list pick! (Stop by the D100D website to check out the book trailer!)

Congratulations to Robin Friedman whose NOTHING was named a 2008 Sydney Taylor Award -Notable Book for Teens.

Some great reviews for Heather Duffy-Stone's THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU:

“A sharp writer, Stone’s central triangle of relationships is both strong and universal, and her details are authentic.”—Booklist

“[T]he story is powerful and engaging and worthy of attention.”—Kirkus Reviews

And praise for Barbara Haworth-Attard's MY LIFE FROM AIR BRAS TO ZITS:

“Although laugh-packed, the heart of this endearing, but definitely not sappy, novel is Teresa's evolving family relationships, which challenge her to grow up quickly.”--Kirkus Reviews

“This is a book for chick-lit fans who want more intelligence than fluff.”--ForeWord Magazine

And a bit of advance praise for a book you'll be clamoring for come April: Vance Briceland's THE GLASSMAKER'S DAUGHTER:

"A thoroughly engrossing and surprising narrative, with wonderful descriptions of an imaginary Italian kingdom, this one's a strong contender for next year's Cybil’s!”--Readers' Rants

Friday, February 6, 2009

You can take the boy out of publicity...

Although I currently wield the dreaded red pen (actually, no, my pen is black), I find my roots in publicity hard to shake and I continue to be fascinated with unique approaches to marketing and publicity. Say what you want about THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (I happened to love it), the marketing plan that blurred the line between reality and fiction was br-ill-iant. Others have tried to mimic this sort of approach to varying degrees of success.

This most recent effort comes to us from across the Pond, regarding a forthcoming book called MR. TOPPIT. Apparently, the publishers took out a large add in the Times, claiming to be the characters in the book who then went on to denounce the book as unauthorized. Nothing courts controversy like something being made public that was never meant to see the light of day. The ad then directs you to a web site for more information but when you arrive there, the site claims to have crashed due to high volume of traffic but clicking on the "more info here" bar sends you to a blog with further mocked-up info.

It's kinda fun (says the geek who enjoys all the tertiary internet diversions offered by the producers of LOST).

One bit of frustration is that after only a base level of searching, I still don't know what the book is about. But here's the thing: I want to find out. So I'm going to keep digging. Damn their ability to spark my curiosity!

It's a fun little gamble that Penguin has taken. I'm really fascinated by risky attempts at book publicity; the more creative, the better. I remember a stunt a few years back involving carting a casket full of books around town and handing out free copies. (Was that also London? I can't remember. I couldn't find it in a quick Google search. If you remember this and have the info, send it my way.) What remains to be seen, of course, is if it will translate into sales. What's obvious is that it's translated into attention, which is half the battle right there.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go figure out what this book is all about. I have to.

UPDATE: I found it. I cheated. You'll have more fun if you burrow through the blog.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Coming soon to a Kindle near you...

Never let it be said that Flux isn't standing at the ready to pounce on any bandwagons that saunter our way.

Starting this month, the first few Flux titles (HOW TO RUIN A SUMMER VACATION, THE TREE SHEPHERD'S DAUGHTER, and INTO THE WILDEWOOD) became available as Kindle downloads on Amazon. Over the next few months, more titles will be appearing in this exciting (and popular) format.

The people I know who have Kindles swear by them. I know several agents who use them as an alternative to schlepping paper manuscripts around, I know publicists who enjoy being able to view popular blogs for breaking news, and I know editors who use them on the commute to work to get caught up on the competition.

As Kindle 2.0 looms in the near future (with, I'm told, a sleeker design) and as Amazon struggles to keep up with the orders, it's clear that the age of the e-book may finally be coming into its own (and, no, I don't think that threatens the future of publishing real books, as some harbingers of doom like to predict...but that's a post for another time). I say "finally coming into its own" only because e-books have had a start and stop history, as have most new techonologies strugging to discover which formats make the most sense (VHS vs. Betamax, Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD).

So for you e-book readers out there, have at thee! More Flux to come!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Freaky (sorta) Friday

Remember FREAKY FRIDAY? Not the movie(s) but the original book by Mary Rodgers? In it, teenage Annabel Andrews swaps bodies with her mother and is forced to give Mom's life a try (it turns out harder than she first imagines).
Well, I've decided that if I ever wake up in the body of a teenage girl,* the book I'm turning to that will tell me what I need to know is Barbara Haworth-Attard's MY LIFE FROM AIR BRAS TO ZITS.** A hit in Canada (under the title A IS FOR ANGST), Flux is pleased to publish the US debut of this funny and original novel. Teresa, the book's protagonist, is a fresh and (sometimes painfully) honest voice that had me from page one. I'm not saying I want to BE Teresa, but I think she holds her own in the story and (again, should I find myself a teenage girl in this or any future life) I'd be happy to follow her example (well, mostly).

You may have guessed by now that this February release also just arrived in house and I'm holding a shiny new copy in my hands, which made me happy and giddy and prompted the need to tell the world about it.

So there it is, world!

*=No, I don't plan on this happening but I liked to think I'm prepared for any eventuality. Ask me sometime what I plan to do if I ever find myself in John Malkovich's body.
**=The plot of Barbara's book has NOTHING to do with FREAKY FRIDAY or body swaps. It's just a segue device. Not necessarily a good one. I'll work on it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You had me at 'ahoy.'

Some of you know that I started my career with Flux as the senior publicist. In that capacity, I had the good fortune to work one-on-one with many of the authors (and in my new position, I'm enjoying the chance to get to know the other authors not in my charge) and it often fell to me to discuss with them some of the quirkier of aspects of publishing. Like having a final copy of a book in your hand when it first gets delivered from the printer is very different from the book actually appearing on a bookshelf. These things take time. And after a bit of initial consternation, everyone comes to understand this.

My Esteemed Predecessor liked to blog about new books when final copies arrived in house. He'd share his delight at seeing the book come to light and just generally enthuse about how excited he was that soon the world would know the wonderful secret he'd been sitting on for months.

This sort of blog post usually started this chain reaction:

Esteemed Predecessor (on blog): TITLE X is in the house! Woo hoo!

Author of TITLE X to Me (the author's publicist): You have my books in? Why aren't they in the stores? Why aren't they available? Oh sweet Gutenberg, my life is over!!!!*

Me to Esteemed Predecessor: I hate you.

And then me and Author of TITLE X would talk about the aforementioned difference between having a book in house and having a book in store and everything would be cool.

Now that I've shifted sides, I completely understand his often unbridled giddiness at seeing a project come to fruition. Case in point: I'm holding in my hands a brand-spanking new copy of THE DUST OF 100 DOGS, the debut YA novel of A. S. King. It's pretty. I didn't acquire this book. I had no editorial input. But I read it and fell instantly in love with it.

The book has generated a bit of internet buzz for its cover and some of the early reviews have been positively glowing. I can guarantee that you haven't read anything quite like this book and if you think you've got it pegged based solely on the premise (17th century pirate is killed and reincarnated as 100 dogs before finally being reincarnated again into a 20th century teen with all her memories intact), you're very, very mistaken.

This beautiful book (no, really, how can you not love the cover?) also features a fantastic interview with the author, conducted by Leila Roy, the blogoddess over at BOOKSHELVES OF DOOM. Everyone who has read this book can't help but talk about it. So pardon me while I summon the spirit of my Esteemed Predecessor and crow about the impending arrival (in a bookstore near you) of DUST OF 100 DOGS. You'll find it in about a month. Pick it up and see what all the talk is about.

*= This is, of course, an gross exaggeration of the actual reaction. But I think the spirit is there.