The P.S. Literary Agency had a fantastic year. Below are some of the highlights and I leave you with what’s coming up for us in 2012.
The year began with the release of Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s NEVER TOO LATE. It became a Canadian bestseller. Gail was on the non-fiction bestsellers list in January appearing at #1 (NEVER TOO LATE), #6 (EASY MONEY), and #7 (DEBT-FREE FOREVER).
Release of French-Canadian edition of DEBT-FREE FOREVER.
Release of THE 10-POUND SHRED by Tommy Europe.
Release of THE HAPPINESS EQUATION by Nick Powdthavee in the US.
Release of ENDANGERED by Pamela Beason from Berkley.
Release of BLACKJACK SECRETS by Jay Moore from Skyhorse Publishing.
Sold English-language rights in India to Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s DEBT-FREE FOREVER.
Sold Gail’s next book, MONEY RULES, to HarperCollins Canada.
Sold English-language rights in India to Tommy Europe’s THE 10-POUND SHRED.
Sold Japanese rights to Nick Powdthavee’s THE HAPPINESS EQUATION.
Sold German rights to Pamela Beason’s first three titles, beginning with ENDANGERED, in the Summer Westin mystery series, to Egmont, at auction.
Sold GUNSHIP ACE by journalist and author Al Venter to Casemate Publishers.
On Friday I posted Part I of this series on the role of an associate agent featuring how I came to my current role as Associate Agent at the P.S. Literary Agency. Today I want to write about what I have learned in my role thus far.
Value of international conferences and book fairs. If you work in the business or know a bit about how it works, you’ll know that senior members of the industry and rights personnel attend international book fairs and many members of the industry as a whole attend conferences. While you need to be comfortable via email and phone there is no comparison to meeting your colleagues face to face to chat about catalogues and what they’re acquiring. This week I’m at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto speaking with industry professionals from Brazil, China, French Canada, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.
There are no guarantees. What you think might be a hit, might surprise you and vice versa. It’s a subjective industry that deals with changing interests and trends. That’s what makes it fun, a challenge, and exciting all at the same time.
Trends are not enough. Agents cannot follow each trend as it ebbs and flows, we have to love the work and clients we represent. A longterm relationship like representation is not a flash in the pan while trends are hot. We ride out trends, try to create new ones, but have to believe in the merits of our authors whether they are ‘on trend’ or bordering the cusp of one.
Get comfortable with the phone. Agenting does not exist in a bubble. There are so many relationships to manage and email is not enough.
Your time is not your own. When I was an assistant I read everything I could get my hands on. Now, I have to be selective with my time and what material I can invest in. My time is my client’s time and I am not able to offer feedback and critiques on every query, partial or full manuscript I look at. Continue reading Life and Times of an Associate Agent Part II
Have you wondered what the difference is between ‘associate agents’ and ‘agents’–well I’m sure you can guess. Associates are newbie agents that benefit from the mentorship of principal agents at their agency.
Associate agents are more actively building a list a looking for new clients.
Associate agents are more often working with debut writers.
Agenting, like most of publishing, is an apprenticeship career. Agents either come from a background in publishing houses (often in the editorial or rights departments), come up through the agent ranks as interns, are readers for agents (who read slush and give reports on mss that agents need a second read on), or are agency assistants. My foray into agenting was the latter: agency assistant at Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency in London from a connection through my masters degree program.
Starting my career on the agenting side of the industry (with a brief stint at a large independent publisher, Bloomsbury UK) has given me the framework to always think in ‘agent’ terms:
Best interests of the author
Familiarity with contracts and contract negotiation
Always being able to question procedures and processes with hopes to improve them, which is a benefit of working for smaller companies
Agency/client relationships and communication
Constantly reading industry news, blog posts and Twitter feeds