What does your idea of book success look like?

witanddelight.tumblr.comOne of the most challenging–but most helpful–things a writer can do before getting into the book business is deciding what success looks like to them.

This is a topic close to my heart because it’s all about being honest with yourself, making the most of your time and energy, and helping visualize where you want to be. For some people just getting a novel on paper is the whole point of writing. For others, it’s about getting an agent and that’s their first step of success. (Getting an agent means beating serious 1:2000 odds!) And I know some of you dream hard and won’t stop until you get your agent, editor submissions, publication offers, and book tour.

I’m a proponent of never stop dreaming. Only the ones who stick to their guns will have the gumption and strength to make it in this crazy, creative, subjective business. I can rattle off all the cliché quotes and you can plaster them above your work desk, but only those who internalize them will have the tenacity to achieve their idea of success–whatever it is.

Agents are here for one type of success: traditional publishing, foreign and subsidiary rights, and consultation on other paths, like digital publishing. If your idea of success is 100% creative control, an agent isn’t for you.

If your idea of success is writing a memoir for your family as a keepsake, an agent isn’t for you.

If your idea of success is self-publishing to great acclaim, an agent can only help in certain ways. We can help you pick a publicity and marketing company to assist you, and sell foreign and film rights. But an agent is there for the long haul.

And if your idea of success is writing one book, an agent isn’t for you. We invest a lot of time and energy in clients and are looking for authors that want a career.

If your idea of success is having an agent negotiate a contract–and that’s it–what you want is a contracts consultant, not an agent.

Agents are here to help our clients achieve long-term print and digital publishing success. And what success means to me and my clients is great publishing contracts, working with amazing editors, financial stability through writing (which takes years!), subrights expansion with foreign sales, an honest relationship with me, social media proficiency, and looking into the future for all the great digital opportunities that arise.

I’m not saying one type of success is better than another, what I am saying is that agents are here for one type of success and it’s a collaborative one.

And because it’s MLK Day here’s one inspirational quote:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – MLK

Q: Writing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. What does success look like to YOU?

Being An Agent in the Age of Digital Publishing: Social Media and Ebooks

Are you following me on Twitter? @carlywatters

Many agents and editors can tell you to start a blog, get a Twitter feed following, and to think about how to publicize yourself in case you don’t get much help from your publishing house. All of this on top of writing a novel, yes.

At P.S. Literary we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. I’ve had a Twitter account since early 2010, an agent blog that gets 1,000 hits a month and we’ve recently redone our website to reflect our dedication to consistent agency and author brands.

We’ve recently begun to explore the option of a freelance publicist, communications intern, and are always open to ideas from our authors on how to better support them in these changing times.

Our clients have done ebook first then print book arrangements as well as follow traditional publication models.

We aren’t going to open a digital publishing arm as there are digital publishers that already do this so well. We will continue to do what we do best: licence rights (whether print or digital), support our authors’ careers and offer guidance, negotiate contracts to best reflect the changing interest of publishers and authors, on behalf of our authors.

For my great tips on social media see this post from earlier in the year. Follow me on Twitter here.