Agent Janet Reid wrote a great blog post about agent burnout among other things. One part that stuck with me was her comment about agents reading things that aren’t client work.
I can understand when writers see their agents talking on Twitter or Facebook about books that aren’t theirs and they think: “If they had spare time, why weren’t they reading my manuscript?” But one of the most important things an agent can do is read and READ A LOT.
Why you want an agent who reads:
1. They know what’s selling.
If we don’t read published books, how up-to-date is our taste? How do we know what is working in the market? I call it ‘cleansing the palate’ and it’s a much needed respite.
2. They know what’s successful.
Not only do we need to know what’s selling, we need to know what’s selling well. We follow the ‘best of’ lists, bestseller lists, and indie picks. We read bestsellers to know what makes it to the top.
3. They know what certain editors are excited about.
Editors send us stacks of books all the time. We read these to know what editors are working on and what gets them excited about projects. We also get to support our agent friends and read their clients books.
4. They take breaks from work.
Work life balance is not a joke. In order for us to stay enthusiastic about client projects and keep our sanity, we need to take a time-out every once and awhile–and we’re book lovers at heart.
SIGN WITH AN AGENT WHO READS
A: It’s possible. But it’s a lot of hard work and you have to have the right people in your corner.
Here’s how you can make writing a career:
1. The Right Team
You need the right people around you to make it work. You need an agent that you trust and connect with. And your agent needs a team that can support you: contracts expert, sub rights manager, film and TV agent, publicity contacts, editorial contacts and much more. You are not alone when you have an agent that is well connected, has their finger on the pulse of your career and is aware of what’s going on in the industry.
2. Sub Rights
This is the #1 way that authors can make writing a full-time job. Sub rights include selling film and TV rights, audio rights, dramatic rights, translation and foreign rights, and many more. When you have multiple books earning money from multiple sources in multiple countries you are on the road to financial sustainability. One good advance isn’t enough; making money year after year is based on revenue earned in sub rights and royalties. The more hands you have pots in the bigger your success will be.
3. Understanding the business
When writers start out in the business they shy away from asking questions that they really should. Continue reading
Getting ready to go on submission to agents?
Don’t know what to have prepared?
Wish you had a checklist?
Here’s your tool kit:
1. Log Line: You have to be able to describe your book in one sentence.
2. Query: Use a three paragraph structure 1) why you’re querying this agent, log line, genre and word count 2) short ‘back cover copy-style’ paragraph 3) author bio (hint: it’s okay to call yourself a debut)–and make sure you have a finished manuscript!
3. 1 Page Synopsis: Make sure you have a short synopsis handy for when the requests start to roll in.
4. 3 Page Synopsis: Make sure you have a long synopsis handy. Some agents like short & some long. Make sure you have both handy so you don’t have to delay sending your manuscript when an agent requests it.
5. Critique Partner: I hope you have one before this point, but it’s always good to have someone you can talk to about the process other than your agent. Continue reading
Ever feel like a fraud calling yourself a writer? There’s a name for that: impostor syndrome.
Here’s when you can start calling yourself a writer: when you have external evidence of your skills– ie. the moment you put pen to paper!
It’s easy to feel like you’re deceiving others and that when people find out you said you were a writer but you haven’t published anything. Self-doubt has plagued writers since the beginning of time. The truth is that no one knows what they’re doing when it comes to art, but the act of doing is the act of creating. Continue reading