Showing posts with label benefits of working with an agent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label benefits of working with an agent. Show all posts

Friday, November 13, 2020

Eta and Agents

Like the sea after a storm. Except in no way does our sea look like this. Not yet. It may take a few days.

We were in Eta's path Wednesday. Eta came in as a category one hurricane and deteriorated to a tropical storm pretty quickly, but it made for one heck of an exciting day. Rain. So much rain. Wind, of course. Driving the rain against the south side of the house until Eta moved on past us. Then the wind shifted around to the west. 

The exciting part - and I mean exciting in that 'let's not do this ever again' kind of way - was every cell phone in the house blaring alarms for the copious tornado watches we had. 

Tornado warnings are first and go up for conditions that favor the formation of tornadoes. Tornado watches are second. They're the ones that alert out via emergency notification systems. When there's a watch, there's rotation in the clouds. That doesn't always mean a tornado on the ground, but it certainly means you turn on the news and watch the track of the cell that's been marked. If it heads your way, you take shelter.

Once the tornado watches and warnings stopped coming in, flood watches took over blowing up our phones. All night long. We're up high enough that we don't need to worry about the two resident gators in the backyard pond coming to dinner. 

What we had to worry about was that big south wind blowing all that water against the house. 

This morning, my bedroom floor is wrecked. Someone with very little foresight put laminate flooring in this house before we bought it. It's a kind that swells up and delaminates the instant it gets wet. This is Florida. EVERYTHING gets wet. And in this case, the storm found a way to drive water into hairline cracks in the masonry and ruin the floor. 

Hooray, insurance adjusters are in my future. 

We're lucky. We have only minor annoyance damage. At least one person was killed during the storm when the water rose enough in his house that it touched a live electrical wire. The person was electrocuted. I'll be filing that under things I never thought about happening with a hurricane/tropical storm. It never occurred to me. 

I know I was supposed to write about agents. So here's my advice: Do you want to be traditionally published? Get an agent. Just know that traditional publishing is slow. A great agent today may turn out to be the wrong agent tomorrow. Ask me how I know. On the plus side, an agent gets your work directly in front of an editor who would otherwise use your MS as a door stop. Do you want to write fast and run your own business? An agent probably isn't in your best interest. Indie publishing is something you do at your own pace. You have control of everything. The cons to going it on your own are that you go at your own pace and you control everything. If you're deadline driven, get an agent. If you're self motivated, consider skipping the agent and building your empire in your own image.

No matter which way you go, remember: There are no 'right' answers, only right for you answers. Also, back up your work.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Questions to ask a potential Agent AND yourself!

Literary Agents: someone who represents writers and their works to publishing houses….and film agents/producers, and audiobook companies, and foreign rights publishers, and often edit, and and and

If you’re debating the need for an agent I suggest Rory Gilmore-ing the crap out of it. Pro Con list time! That’s what I did, no surprise, and I landed firmly on traditional publishing which meant: I needed an agent. 

But, how do you select which agents you’d want to work with? How do you know if the ones you pick would be a benefit to your career? 

Truth: You Don’t. 

Situations arise that alter plans. You, nor your agent, can control the opinions of publishers. You, nor your agent, can control the market. There are so many variables that shift around you, choosing a book agent is really a leap of faith—but don’t despair! There’re also some grounded aspects at your fingertips.

Some agent aspects that shouldn’t change with the winds of publishing are: what genres they represent, what have they sold recently, what do some of their current authors think of working with said agent, what’s their reputation—if you can gather that. It’s leg work that absolutely should be done before you pursue them. But, being prepared for the call is also a huge part.

The call is basically you interviewing the agent. So, that means you’d better be prepared with a list of questions for them. And yes, there’s plenty of lists of Questions to ask an Agent before Signing out there, but I believe you should also be asking yourself questions alongside them…and be open with your agent about your thoughts.

Questions for the agent in Red. 

Questions for yourself in Blue.

What did you like about my book?

What do I like about my book?

What work do you see that needs to be done before going out on submission?

Are you an editorial agent?

Do I want to work with an agent on editing my book?

Do you sign authors for one book, or for their career?

Does your agency use a contract?

Are there others at your agency that I would be working with?

What does your submission process look like?

What happens if this book doesn’t sell?

What would I want to do with this book if it doesn’t sell?

What project do I really want to work on next?

Would you support me writing in a different genre?

How many authors do you represent and what genres do they write?

How do you usually communicate with your authors?

Do I want to brainstorm with an agent, or would I prefer to come to them with ready-formed ideas?

As always, there’s no wrong answers to these. But they’re important to ask and think about because once you’re in an agent-author relationship, and working with an agent is a business relationship, you’ll come across all of these situations and more.

I’ve been through this process and would love to answer questions if you have any! Drop them here, or you can find me on Insta and ask there! Otherwise, may the words be with you!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Should You Sign With an Agent?

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week concerns the benefits of working with an agent - or, for those of us without agents - times we've wondered if an agent would be helpful or why we choose not to have one. 

I do have an agent, Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She's the third agent who's represented me - and I can personally vouch that having a bad agent really is worse than having none at all. But, I do believe having a good agent can be hugely beneficial - depending on what kind of writing career you want to have. 

What are the benefits of working with an agent? Here are three - along with their associated caveats.

Selling to big traditional publishing houses. 

By this, I mean the bigger houses that don't take unsolicited submissions. A good agent has connections - positive relationships - with editors who depend on agents to bring them books that fit what they love and can buy. This means that agents who send submissions to tons of editors in the hopes of something sticking to the wall, are not good agents. Agents who only manage to sell to houses that take unsolicited submissions aren't bringing much to the table either. This also means that if you are happy sticking to self-publishing, you don't need an agent.

Contract negotiation

See above. If you're selling to traditional publishing, an agent can be critical in negotiating the best deal and securing your rights. They're savvy to the grabs publishers can try to sneak past unwary authors. An agent who doesn't argue with contract language may not be doing their job. Also, a good agent will be solidly on the author's team, fighting for the author. Be wary of agents who prioritize preserving their relationship with the editor over championing the author. Unless the author is behaving badly, the agent should always put them first.

Career planning

A good agent can help strategize which projects a writer should choose to work on next. Again, they're going to come at this from the angle of selling to traditional publishing. Now, if you're the sort of writer who wants to work on exactly what you want to work on, with no input and without consideration for the current market - which some people are and that's a legitimate choice - then you won't want this from an agent. An agent can still sell your work in this scenario, but they'll be the sort who say "give me the next thing you write and we'll see." Both of these models work, but knowing which will work for you is key.

Having an agent can be beneficial to an author, but it's not a career-maker or breaker. Knowing what you want from an agent - or IF you want an agent - is most important.