Five Things Agents Do for Their Clients After the Sale by Melissa Jeglinski
The agent/client relationship doesn’t end once that publishing contract is signed. Although some pressure may be off because your manuscript has found a home, your agent will continue working for you in multiple ways.
Here are five of them:
Editorial Input: While I always defer to the editor as the person with final say in the editorial process, I do still brainstorm with my clients about ways to get where the editor has suggested. I’m also available as a second set of eyes for a read of revisions. Because I have a little distance from the situation, I may be able to point out an issue my client hasn’t seen.
Cheerleader: Some of the publishing process can be very daunting, especially the first time around. Delays will occur, feedback may not be as expected, or the publisher may choose a different title than the one you were in love with. An agent will combat these euphoria-deflaters by reminding you of your talent and the fact that we are in this together.
Processor: A multitude of procedures continue behind the scenes as the manuscript is going through editorial stages. An agent makes certain the wheel continues to turn, doing anything and everything from shopping available subrights to ensuring that payments go through in a timely manner.
The Bad Guy: It’s always preferable that the editorial process stay as stress-free as possible. I act as the liaison between editor and author if and when a difficult situation arises. If my client needs something from their editor but doesn’t want to be considered pushy, I am more than happy to act as the squeaky wheel.
Prodder: So, what’s next? That’s the question I always ask my clients after they finish a work. Even when that work has found a home, it’s my job to get you moving again on your next project.
Agents of the Roundtable
What questions do you wish authors would ask more at conferences or during phone calls?
ELAINE SPENCER: This one is easy—I wish more authors would ask whatever it is that they’re curious about. Too often I hear the comment “I was afraid to ask” or “I didn’t want to seem like a nuisance” or “I know how busy everyone is.” These unknowns build up, which is silly because often they can be resolved in just a matter of seconds. The first thing I tell my clients or potential clients is that communication is most important to me. If you EVER have a question, ANY question, ask it. So, in short, to answer your question, I want authors to ask EVERY question!
PAMELA HARTY: I love meeting authors and talking with them about their successes, hopes, and aspirations. Many of them already know the best questions to ask, and I always like to say that there is no such thing as a stupid question. I think it is important for them to ask how we work with authors, what specifically we can and can’t do for them. The questions at a conference pitch session should be more general in nature; for example, do we represent what they write, what are our submission guidelines, etc. If I am speaking with a potential client, it is important for them to ask about communication style, our mutual expectations, timelines, editorial assistance, and other such topics. If I am taking on an unpublished author, there should be discussion of the submission process and exactly what is happening when and with whom. All questions are welcome because it’s all about good communication.
NEPHELE TEMPEST: Writers tend to ask a lot of questions about how to get an agent, but I wish more would ask about how to develop and maintain a good relationship with your agent once you have one. I think it would help writers to get information about how that dynamic works, but also it would force them to think about how they would like for it to work. The relationship will evolve over the course of the writer’s career, so it can be helpful to consider it at least a little bit before it’s time to accept an offer of representation.
New Clients On the Block
» Sarah Zettel (also writes as C.L. Anderson, Marissa Day, Darcie Wilde, Delia James): Website | Twitter | Facebook
» Kate Kessler (also writes as Kady Cross and Kathryn Smith): Website | Twitter | Facebook
» Kara Jean McDowell: Website | Twitter
» Lisa King: Instagram | Facebook
» Kristin Hanes: Website | Twitter | Facebook
» Joy Avery: Website | Twitter | Facebook
» Maddison Michaels's debut THE DEVIL DUKE, in which an eccentric bluestocking agrees to a marriage of convenience with a notorious duke, unaware that a killer hellbent on silencing her at all costs is lurking in the shadows of the duke's past, to Tracy Montoya at Entangled Select Historical, in a two-book deal by Pamela Harty
» Hailey Edwards's BAYOU BORN, BONE DRIVEN, and DEATH KNELL, to Anna Boatman at Piatkus for publication in October 2017, by Lucienne Diver
» Patricia Sands' DRAWING LESSONS, set in the countryside of southern France, where an artists' workshop reveals unexpected truths to the sixty-two-year-old protagonist, to Miriam Juskowicz at Lake Union Publishing, in a nice deal by Pamela Harty
» Juice Lady Cherie Calbom's SOUPING IT UP and SIPPING SKINNY, to Maureen Eha at Strang Communications, in a nice deal by Pamela Harty
» Rhonda Rhea and Beth Duewel's FIX-HER UPPER: HOPE AND LAUGHTER THROUGH A GOD RENOVATED LIFE, which uses humor to remind every woman whose heart feels a little worn that we have a magnificent God who loves to fix the broken, to Karen Porter at Bold Vision Books, by Pamela Harty
» Lisa Childs's BACHELOR BODYGUARDS, in which a secret agency takes on high-stakes cases and even more dangerous clients, to Patience Bloom at Harlequin Romantic Suspense for publication in April 2018, in a nice six-book deal by Melissa Jeglinski
» USA Today bestselling author Debbie Mason's next four books in the Harmony Harbor series, to Alex Logan at Grand Central, in a good deal by Pamela Harty
» New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump's women's fiction series, in which four sisters running a third-generation bakery in Irish Catholic Dorchester, Massachusetts, face dark family secrets after one of the sisters is suddenly widowed, to Alex Logan at Grand Central, in a nice two-book deal by Pamela Harty
» Dakota Cassidy's HOW THE WITCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, to Daniel Totten at Tantor Media by Elaine Spencer
» Jules Bennett's final installment in the Texas Cattleman's Club: Blackmail series, which follows the scandals, secrets, and love affairs of the Texas elite after their social media accounts are hacked, to Stacy Boyd at Harlequin Desire for publication in December 2017, in a nice deal by Elaine Spencer
» Cathryn Fox's THE CONTACT CONTRACT, the first book in The Bachelor Pact series, in which a billionaire software developer in a bind pays a University of Washington student for a fake engagement, only to discover a secret she's been keeping from him, to Candace Havens at Entangled Indulgence for publication in Fall 2017, by Elaine Spencer
» Turkish rights to Nalini Singh's ARCHANGEL'S BLADE, to Yabanci, by Fusun Kayi at Kayi Literary Agency on behalf of Elaine Spencer
» Japanese rights to N.K. Jemisin's THE FIFTH SEASON, to Sogensha, by Misa Morikawa of Tuttle-Mori on behalf of Lucienne Diver
» James Alan Gardner's ALL THOSE EXPLOSIONS WERE SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT, to Audible, in a good deal by Lucienne Diver
» James Alan Gardner's THEY PROMISED ME THE GUN WASN'T LOADED, sequel to the forthcoming ALL THOSE EXPLOSIONS WERE SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT, to Greg Cox of Tor, in a nice deal by Lucienne Diver
» Norwegian rights to Cindy Holby's COLORADO HEART and ANGEL'S END, to Bladkompaniet, in a nice deal by Philip Sane of the Lennart Sane Agency on behalf of Elaine Spencer
» French rights to Lynn Flewelling's THE WHITE ROAD, CASKET OF SOULS, and SHARDS OF TIME, to Stephane Marsan of Bragelonne, in a nice deal by Lenclud Literary Agency on behalf of Lucienne Diver
» New York Times bestselling author Lauren Hawkeye's CHRISTMAS SANCTUARY, about a woman who finds both the father she never knew she had and a love she never realized she wanted, to Laura Fazio and James Patterson at BookShots Flames by Elaine Spencer
» THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin was nominated for the Nebula Award, and Bookriot listed THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS as one of 5 Diverse Fantasies that Need Movie Adaptations.
» THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR by Cat Sebastian received a stellar review from Kirkus. It was also spotlighted in Heroes and Heartbreakers.
» Faith Hunter's BLOOD OF THE EARTH and Gena Showalter's DARKEST TORMENT were finalists for the Audies 2017.
» BookBub mentioned Genevieve Cogman's THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY as one of 11 Books that Will Make You Love Libraries Even More.
» Kirkus called the upcoming IT STARTED WITH A KISS by Ella Quinn "delightful" and "a fun read." RT Book Reviews also gave it a very nice review.
» Publishers Weekly gave HOME AT LAST Lily Everett a very nice review.
» THE SOLDIER'S SCOUNDREL by Cat Sebastian is visible on the bed near the end of Ron Charles's hilarious Valentine's Day Book Recommendations clip.
» DANGEROUSLY CHARMING by Deborah Blake came in second for its category in the “Judge a Book By Its Cover” contest, a cover competition organized by the Houston Bay Area RWA.
» Audible listed R.S. Belcher's BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL as one of 13 novels fit for the big screen.
» The cover of TASTE THE DARK by Tibby Armstrong debuted on USA Today’s Happily Ever After.
» During a visit to the Harlequin headquarters in Toronto, Gena Showalter signed books and discussed her newest release, LIFEBLOOD.
When Life Derails Your Writing by New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Rock
It’s been a stressful year. Back in March, my husband got sick with what we thought was the flu. As days turned into weeks, we learned that he did not have the flu, but something much bigger and more life threatening. Little did we know, this illness would become one of the biggest challenges our marriage has ever had to face. Hospitalization, missed work, and loss of income all piled up on top of our shoulders like a large, stone boulder. This boulder crushed my energy, strained our marriage, and often left me with no emotional energy at the end of the day.
You can imagine how this impacted my writing. As a result of all the outside stress, my writing came to a standstill and my spirits declined. By the time Christmas came in 2016, I had become emotionally exhausted and showed tangible signs of the stress I had been carrying for the past ten months (dang those wrinkles and gray hairs!).
I knew I had to do something before I buckled under the pressures life dealt me, but what? While I couldn’t change the outside stresses, I could change my reaction to them. In short, I could either curl up in a ball and lament about how unfair and horrible things had become, or I could turn those trials into something that made me a stronger, more empathetic person. I chose the latter, of course. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but my year-long struggles have taught me a few life lessons. I’ll outline them below in hopes of helping those of you going through a difficult time, too.
1) You are not a machine. This was probably the toughest lesson for me to learn. With my husband ill, I had to take on both his and my responsibilities. Paying bills, taking care of the lawn, and doing all of those little things he took care of during the day fell on my shoulders. In addition, I had to field questions from our kids, phone calls from concerned family and friends, and paperwork required for his disability and medical insurance. In addition to all of this, I had to continue writing because I had made commitments and deadlines.
Do you know how hard it is to write an upbeat, flirting conversation between lovers when you feel overwhelmed with life? It’s tough to do, and many days I just couldn’t manage it. During these times I learned the skill of writing non-linearly. If one scene was too difficult to write, I’d write another, or I wouldn’t write at all. Often forcing a scene makes it feel flat or stilted. It’s much better to work on a different project or take a break if you’ve had a rough day. Recharging your batteries can make a previously difficult scene seem much easier to write. Give yourself permission to not finish something. It won’t be the end of the world, I promise. Tomorrow is another day.
2) Make small, easily obtainable goals. This ties in closely with the first point. When life gets overwhelming, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead of writing an entire chapter, write a page, or a paragraph. Remember that each day you write, you are moving closer to your goal, even if it is only one hundred words at a time. When you hit a smaller goal, it often boosts your energy and confidence enough to keep going. On the other hand, missing a goal can be depressing, and often leaves a person feeling inadequate and drained.
3) Surround yourself with people who support you and your writing. This business is rough and can often drain your creative energy. Rejections, roadblocks, and learning curves can derail your plans and lead to a sense of frustration. During these tough times, it’s important to surround yourself with people who will lift you up and help you through to the other side. Life is tough enough. Don’t make it tougher by hanging out with negative people who will bring your spirits down.
4) Allow yourself to feel the negative emotions, but don’t dwell in that space. Sometimes you can’t escape feeling depressed, sad, or angry. Those emotions are part of the human experience and are completely normal. When these things happen, allow yourself to feel them. Dwell in that space for an hour or a day, then move on. Easier said than done, right? Well, pushing through the negativity isn’t as hard as you think. Try putting all of that anger into your big fight scene at the end of the book, or the sadness into the scene where your heroine loses her mother to cancer. You get the idea. Feel the pain, then let it go by writing about it. Pour it out onto the page. When it’s done, not only will you feel better, but your emotions will translate to readers and enrich their reading experience. Which leads me to the last lesson learned—
5) Remember why you started writing in the first place. For me, writing started in seventh grade. My father had just been diagnosed with cancer, and I needed a way to pour out all of the anger, fear, and sadness welling up inside of me. I didn’t write a story, nor did I keep a diary. For me, writing a made-up scene filled with the emotion I was experiencing was enough. I never wrote for publication, nor did I try to craft the scene into a story. For me, the scene did what it needed to do: clear my head of negative energy so I could move forward.
Writing doesn’t always have to be about getting published or making money, and it shouldn’t. Writing is a form of art and can provide emotional healing. Let it. Pour out whatever you are experiencing onto the page and leave it there. Only then will your head be clear enough to see the path set before you in life.
You’re probably wondering about my husband at this point. While he’s not one hundred percent better, we have identified the source of his illness and are starting to take steps toward his recovery. It will be a long road, but for the first time in almost a year we have hope that things will get better. At some point we will be able to put this behind us and emerge as a stronger, more compassionate couple because of all that we had to face in our lives. Until that point, I can take solace in my writing—not because my writing helps pay the bills, but because words can heal. Words do heal. I have experienced this first hand, and I know, in my heart, that you can experience that, too.
So what’s stopping you? Go on—write!
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