Your Personal Key Player
This is the person who can help you jump over the ever-growing slush pile.
slush pile: noun…INFORMAL
- a stack of unsolicited manuscripts that have been sent to a publishing company for consideration.
- not asked for; given or done voluntarily. “unsolicited junk mail”
If there were no outside help, the publication business would have to hire more people to wade through the mountains of mail accumulating. It has now become quite clear that many publishers will NOT look at anything that does not have an agent attached to it. The agent is the linch-pin between the business and the writer. The agent is the guide who knows the who, where, what, how, and when of the business.
I want and need one. If you are interested in talking with me, please, send me a message! Really! HELP.
I am so glad you can’t see me right now. Some how I have splashed milk from my oat crunch cereal all over the monitor on my desk. Each time I try to wipe it off my screen expands and shrinks (it’s a touch screen). But I’m getting it. I shouldn’t eat at my desk. I shouldn’t but I do, and probably will again tomorrow. Any-who, run along and fill that drained cuppa while I finish cleaning up my nibble. Don’t forget your copy of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer. I will get the reading rug out in a minute. This is harder than I thought. Hang on…
And I’m back. Turn to page 167 and join in the discussion.
What Do Agents Do?
Think of the agent as a car salesperson. They know the ins and outs of the vehicle (your book) and they know how and to whom to sell it. You don’t sell a minivan to a young guy looking for a hotrod. You sell the minivan to the couple who came in with two kids in tow and one on the way. Well, the agent knows who can and will sell your novel. Like, don’t pitch my book to Harlequin Romance because they are NOT romance books. The agent knows where to go and who to avoid. They also know what changes are occurring within the industry and the rumors that are flying about changes that may occur later.
Some agents were other things first. They may have worked within the industry as editors or spent time learning the trade. Even if they were editors it doesn’t mean they will pick your work apart and help you spit polish it. No. This is a business of volume. They want more clients to build their business. Your work will be sent out to someone else to do the edits. If your work isn’t in a solid state to sell, they will turn you down.
They don’t have the time to fix every tiny detail, in every single book, for each client. That falls on you first. The closer your work is to perfect, the quicker your book can and will be picked up. What does this mean for you? You need to find an editor.
Agents are the salesperson. The product they are selling or leasing, is the rights to your work. The agent will view and negotiate the contract. These can vary from publisher to publisher and the agent can use this to your benefit if they know what they are doing. One thing to keep in the back of your mind while this battle ensues, is to have an entertainment lawyer in your arsenal. A great contract is only great if every line is read and understood by someone on your team.
Agents examine royalty statements, they evaluate the publisher’s performance, they collect the money due and render shares, they stay in contact with the publisher to follow their plans for your book…they are busy doing all the things you, as the author, have no clue how to do. They have all these hats to wear but you must be just as responsible. You need to stay on top of your agent. You need to know what they are doing and what they need to do next. You need to be kept informed and have the ability to make informed decisions about your book(s). The agent works for you. Let me type that again: YOUR AGENT WORKS FOR YOU. You negotiate your business with the agent. If they decide they want to work with you then you need to have a good repour. They represent you. If you don’t like them or they don’t like you- how could they possibly work for your best interests?
Here’s a commonsense moment: I have heard people complain about someone. They tell you how horrid this person is, and they expect you to stand on their side. Okay, if I have never met the ‘horrid’ person, I have no obligation to take a side. Think about this with an agent. You may hear how bad they are but how bad was the person they worked with. Maybe the bitter person was a bad client. Keep that in mind. Use it as a grain of salt and move forward.
Next…the treasure map to finding an agent.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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Universal Code for O-B*tch-uary: https://books2read.com/u/bOZe8o
Universal Code for Sin Full: http://books2read.com/u/m2Vdqd
Author Page: amazon.com/author/nellawarrent