Agents

Writer Steve Hamilton’s Second Chance

20 May 2016

From The Wall Street Journal:

Thriller writer Steve Hamilton tends to reserve the high-stakes drama for the pages of his novels. For years, he stayed with the same agent and the same publisher. He lived in rural upstate New York, and wrote at night while working as a technical writer at IBM.

Then he went rogue. When his brand-new mystery was about to go to the printer last year, he blew up his book contract in an unusual dispute over marketing and publicity and went looking for a new publisher.

Today, that book, “The Second Life of Nick Mason,” comes out amid more fanfare than he’s ever experienced. With a new book deal and movies in the works, Mr. Hamilton is hoping to take his career to a new level.

The 55-year-old author grew up around Detroit devouring the hard-boiled likes of Elmore Leonard and James Crumley. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1983, he moved to upstate New York and went to work as a technical writer for IBM. He spent the next 32 years explaining the company’s products to customers.

He joined a writer’s group and in 2000 sold his debut novel, “A Cold Day in Paradise.”

. . . .

“I led a double life,” the author says. “When my co-workers were on vacation, I was on a book tour,” which usually meant driving to stores in Michigan and Illinois.

But after 12 books in 13 years, Mr. Hamilton, who is married with two children, hadn’t broken out nationally. “I was ‘that Michigan writer,’ ” he says. Like many authors, he blamed it on a lack of marketing and publicity support from his publisher, the Minotaur imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

. . . .

In 2013, as his New York literary agent prepared to retire, Mr. Hamilton signed up with Hollywood screenwriter and producer Shane Salerno, who sidelines as a literary agent. Mr. Salerno’s main book client is Don Winslow, who used to scribble novels while on stakeouts working as a private investigator.

Mr. Salerno urged Mr. Hamilton to launch a new series and quit his day job. “He needed to be a full-time writer,” Mr. Salerno says.

Mr. Hamilton felt loyal to his publisher and didn’t want to abandon his McKnight fans. With St. Martin’s, he signed up for four more books—two Nick Masons and two McKnights—in a deal reported to be “near seven figures.” IBM offered to match the money in his contract, Mr. Hamilton says, but after learning the amount, they said, “OK, good luck.”

As Mr. Hamilton turned to full-time writing, what mattered most to him was launching Nick Mason with broad media coverage and advertising as well as a bigger book tour.

. . . .

About two months before the publication date, Mr. Hamilton and his agent say they asked for a marketing and publicity plan. They were shocked. “It was a page of nothing,” Mr. Hamilton says, well short of what had been promised. Advance copies of the book for the media promised an initial print run of 75,000 as well as a national marketing campaign. Mr. Hamilton called that a “complete and total lie.” The two sides argued for a month but St. Martin’s didn’t satisfy the author and his agent. So they decided to yank the book and buy back the contract.

“I just couldn’t watch it die,” says Mr. Hamilton. He says St. Martin’s executives told him: “You’re making the biggest mistake of your life; you’re ending your career.”

Heading toward the rupture, “my wife and I were lying in bed just staring at the ceiling,” Mr. Hamilton says. “I was terrified.”

. . . .

Mr. Hamilton says he was deluged with emails from other writers. One wrote, “I feel like I’m in a jail cell, watching you go through a hole in the wall.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire) and thanks to Ruth for the tip.

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‘Star Wars’ Director Claims the 20 Percent He’s Paying Agents Is Unlawful

15 May 2016

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Star Wars: Episode VIII helmer Rian Johnson is now piloting a campaign that might be described as the talent strikes back.

In March, Johnson was dragged to court by his former agent Brian Dreyfuss, who claimed entitlement to 10 percent of all commissionable projects including Star Wars. Not only is Johnson resisting the demand, he’s now returning fire by seeking to have Dreyfuss disgorge past commissions from past works.

Dreyfuss began representing Johnson in 2002 as an agent at Kohner Agency and helped raise money for Johnson’s first feature-length film, Brick. Four years later, Dreyfuss formed his own firm, Featured Artists Agency, and Johnson came along as a client. Up until March 2014, the two worked together as Johnson’s stature in the industry rose with projects like The Brothers Bloom, Looper and several key episodes of Breaking Bad.

In 2011, though, around the time Johnson was readying the release of Looper, he had also retained Creative Artists Agency. That meant for the subsequent three years, he was paying double commissions — 10 percent each — to both CAA and FAA. In his lawsuit, Dreyfuss says CAA’s engagement was the result of interference from Johnson’s producing partner Ram Bergman who allegedly wanted to “marginalize” him.

. . . .

Regardless of how it happened, Dreyfuss’ relationship with Johnson came to an end on March 23, 2014. “I just want to pursue other opportunities,” Johnson allegedly then told Dreyfuss, who is now suspicious about the timing of his termination. According to Dreyfuss, Johnson was pursuing a World War II spy film, an adaptation of acclaimed Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, and perhaps most importantly,Star Wars. Dreyfuss says that in January 2014, he was contacted by LucasFilm to inquire about Johnson’s interest in future film projects. Johnson allegedly waived it off, but Dreyfuss can’t help but think that by “other opportunities,” Johnson meant Star Wars. Dreyfuss demands a cut.

Post-termination commissions aren’t unusual, but in this instance, Johnson has reacted by filing a petition to the California Labor Commissioner.

In the petition, Johnson says he fired Dreyfuss well before receiving an offer to write and direct Star Wars, and that Dreyfuss didn’t play a role in him obtaining the gig, but what takes the dispute beyond the ordinary is allegations how his former agent has “circumvented guild rules and regulations on licensing requirements, maximum commissions and post-termination commissions.”

According to Johnson, when Dreyfuss first began representing him, the Kohner Agency was licensed and franchised by the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. The guilds have an agreements with the Association of Talent Agents whereby directors and writers pay no more than a 10 percent commission to agents.

Johnson, through his attorney Aaron Moss at Greenberg Glusker, says he’s now come to learn that Dreyfuss has been operating as an unlicensed talent agent, and further, “unbeknownst to Johnson, when Dreyfuss left Kohner to start Featured, Featured deliberately failed to become franchised by the DGA, in order to attempt to avoid the obligations required of the ATA-DGA Agreement.”

Link to the rest at The Hollywood Reporter and thanks to Alexis for the tip.

What’s Driving Self-Publishing? “Company Policy.”

14 May 2016

From The Zack Company (a literary agency):

While self-publishing experienced huge growth driven by authors who could not get publishers to pay attention to them and agree to publish their books, there are now very good authors—even authors who have deals with major publishers—getting into the self-publishing game. Why? Two words: “company policy.” And, no, I don’t mean banning casual Fridays. If only. I mean insisting on certain rights or royalty rates and refusing to negotiate on those rights or rates.

I have repeatedly been informed by publishers that they must have audio rights and that there will be no offer without the inclusion of audio rights. I have also been informed that they must have World English rights or even World rights, or they will not make an offer. This is not about negotiating the best package of rights given the advance; these are firm take-it-or-leave-it positions. Yet, in most cases, the editors have not even yet read the book!

Whenever I make a submission, I specify the rights I’m offering. And what I offer US publishers is the United States, Canada, and the non-exclusive Open market, excluding Audio, Film, TV, Graphic Novel, Comic Book, and other traditionally retained rights.

All too often, the editors respond by saying, “We appreciate your position, but it’s company policy.” Really? Company policy to withhold an offer or break off a negotiation over rights the house may or may not exercise? Company policy to alienate the author you want to do business with by drawing a line in the sand not after a series of offers and counter-offers, but at the very start? Seems like a terrible way to start a relationship.

. . . .

Authors should feel excited about getting a publishing deal. Not as though they just agreed to an arranged marriage in which the terms were dictated to them. The vast number of authors who get publishing contracts do not get them after an auction or bidding war. Most are patiently waiting for editors to get to their manuscripts and make an offer. That doesn’t mean the offer won’t be for good money from a good publisher. But when the offer comes and it ignores that certain rights were on the table or it takes the position that getting World rights including Audio is company policy and those things are not negotiable, I think most authors end up feeling boxed in and bullied into giving up rights they would otherwise have hoped to license for additional advances and income elsewhere. Perhaps we should just be grateful that getting movie rights has not become “company policy” anywhere . . . yet.

And I understand authors can always walk away, but we both know that it’s not a realistic move.

Link to the rest at The Zack Company and thanks to Joseph for the tip.

Agents and Estates

6 May 2016

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Last week, I posted a blog on Prince’s lack of a will, and talked a little about estates. Of course, some people (who apparently never read my blog) asked me if agents should handle a writer’s estate.

No, agents should not.

Before I even get to the issues below, let me tell you this: Many literary agencies are small businesses, just like your writing business is. Many agents have prepared no better for their deaths than Prince did for his.

. . . .

Dean constantly nagged Bill about writing a will. And Bill would always respond, “What do I care about what’ll happen to my stuff after I die? I’ll be dead.”

As I’ve aged, I understand where Bill was coming from. I have a lot of stuff, more than I can fathom, particularly considering I moved to Oregon nearly 30 years ago with Dean, my cat Buglet, and most of my possessions stuffed into a LeCar. I did ship 20 boxes of books, but that was it. Not even enough for a small U-Haul trailer, let alone a van.

. . . .

When Ralph Vicinanza who was a major (unmarried) agent died suddenly, his entire estate went to his sister, a clueless woman who had no idea how to run a business, let alone a literary agency.

Behind the scenes, I did a lot of hand-holding with heirs to estates handled by that agency. These heirs were brilliant people, many of whom had grown up around Grandpa the Writer or Mommy the Writer, but never learned the business of writing. The heirs often made their own money at super high-powered careers of their own, but they were lost when it came to publishing.

. . . .

So, if you had asked me five years ago, what you the writer should do when it came to who should handle your estate, I would have told you this:

  1. Choose someone to manage the literary part of your estate who has an interest in publishing, particularly the publishing business.
  2. Make sure that person gets a percentage of what she does to manage the literary estate.
  3. If you don’t have any heirs, pick a charity to receive the money from your estate, and then designate a representative to handle the management of the estate. Make sure the charity receives enough money so that if the estate is mismanaged (and they often are), the charity will complain and a new representative will be appointed.
  4. If you don’t have any heirs or you don’t have any smart heirs, and the charity you’ve chosen is outside of the publishing industry, then get a literary agency that has a long list of literary estates to handle your estate after your death.

You’ll note that I have put a line through point four. I do so because some of you will ignore the rest of this post and think that I am advising you to hire an agent to handle your estate.

Yes, I used to give that advice.

And—God as my witness—I was so wrong that I’m embarrassed by it.

. . . .

But on the estate side, I have now worked with a lot of agents, many of them Big Name Agents. The Big Name Agents who handled multimillion dollar clients as well as estates all assigned the estate matters to assistants.

The assistants were so incredibly clueless that I actually felt sorry for them. The assistants didn’t know who I was (not a big deal to me), didn’t know the names of the various companies I was working with (some of which they should have known), did not understand the contract terms and asked me about them—which you should never ever ever do in a negotiation.

If you’re negotiating, you shouldn’t let the other party know the depth of your ignorance. Seriously. Think that through for a minute. These assistants have bosses. They’re the Big Name Agent, hired (in theory) for the prestige and for the Agent’s experience in all matters. And the Big Name Agent did not use that prestige or that experience in these negotiations. The Big Name Agent was too busy to be bothered – for a client.

. . . .

Agent doesn’t care and/or doesn’t know that Famous Dead Author’s works are all out of print and unavailable. Yeah, I can’t believe it either, but when I mentioned it to a few of the agents about their client estates, the agents were shocked to realize that nothing had been in print for years.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Indie or Traditional?

14 March 2016

From MadGeniusClub:

Before we get into the heart of the video, let’s start with what we know — or don’t know — about the man making it. He is, apparently, an agent. He is from Great Britain. His accent and reference to pounds instead of dollars sort of gives that away. But that’s it.

Now to the video, “Seven reasons why you shouldn’t self publish” (His reasons are italicized)

1.It’s expensive because you have to pay for jacket design, “all the photos”, copy editing and proofreading. He goes on to say he doesn’t feel comfortable with any system that forces authors to pay money to enter the marketplace.

Oh, my. Where to begin?

First of all, you don’t have to hire someone to design your cover. There are templates out there you can download for free. There are detailed instructions to walk you through building your cover. There are free photo manipulation programs as well. As for “all the photos”, I don’t think I have ever paid more than $10 for cover elements. I will admit that I don’t build my own covers, not the final versions. I find what I want and then talk to Sarah or Cedar or a couple of others I know and then trade services. I will copy edit/proofread if they will make what I have drafted as a cover look good. (I’ll admit right here that lettering is my downfall.)

As for the copy editing and proofreading, I admit to shaking my head when this so-called agent didn’t mention content editing. Again, copy editing and proofreading are services you can trade off with other authors for. Effective use of beta readers will also handle a lot of those issues. So, again, no money out of pocket. Nor did this agent mention the fact that there are writers who are traditionally published and who pay to have their work edited before they send it to their publishers because they have learned the hard way that is the only way quality editing will happen.

But what really had me scratching my head was his comment about not being comfortable with any system that “forces authors to pay money to enter the marketplace.” At first, I wondered if he was conflating self-publishing with publishing through a vanity press. After all, those presses, and I use that term loosely, are notorious for making authors pay large sums of money for the production of the books and then forcing the authors to buy a certain number of books that they then have to hand sell.

Then he went on to say that the expense of producing a book should be the responsibility of “big corporations”. Okay, that’s to be expected from someone who makes his living by selling his clients’ work to these traditional publishers. But does he really think authors don’t get that, by going with a traditional publisher, you are paying them in a way? Not only is the author signing over rights to their book for a period of time, they are also giving up the majority of any moneys that might come in from sales of the book. Giving up that money is, if you are honest about it, paying the publisher to publish you. That is especially true regarding e-books when there is no shipping cost, no storage cost, no printing cost and, if you are really honest about it, no editing cost because the book has already been edited. Yet, the authors still receive less than 50% of the royalty in many contracts for digital sales.

. . . .

5. Indie publishing puts off agents and publishers.

He says this is because the author has missed the “debut bloom”. He goes on to say that you need to sell in the high five figure to hundreds of thousands of copies of your indie book to impress a publisher.

That’s when I fell out of my chair, laughing hysterically. Yes, it scared the dog and the cats looked at me like I’d lost my mind. Of course a traditional publisher would like someone with that sort of history to come knocking on their door. Unfortunately for the indie author, the track record of traditional publishers maintaining that level of sales for the author after signing a contract is poor. Part of it is that they don’t promote the author like the author promoted herself. Part is the difference in pricing. More folks will buy an e-book at $4.99 (or lower) than they will at $12.99. Not that traditional publishing gets that. They simply see a higher profit margin instead of more of a lower margin. There comes a point in profit where you will make more by selling more at a lower cost.

What he didn’t say, and what may have been at the back of his mind, is that agents and publishers are scared of indie authors. Sure, they might sign one to a contract but they know the indie author knows what sort of money she made on her own. She knows how to read royalty statements and, more importantly from the author’s point of view, she knows that she has an alternative to traditional publishing. She knows she doesn’t have to be tied to traditional publishing to make money or get her books into the hands of her fans.

Link to the rest at MadGeniusClub and thanks to Sara and others for the tip.

When Publishing Trophies Become Meaningless

7 March 2016

From agent Janet Kobobel Grant:

Publishing trophies come in three forms: signed contracts, making a best-seller list, and winning a writing award. But, with all the changes in the publishing industry, these trophies are beginning to look like kids’ sports trophies–if you were on the team, you receive a trophy. That way everyone wins; but that also means trophies lose meaning. Here are some hints to figure out what’s what:

Signed contracts. Scrolling through posts on Facebook, I see plenty of pics of writers turning into authors as they sign their first book contract. It is a heady moment, and the writers have worked diligently and probably for years to arrive there. But a contract with a tiny indie publisher that includes little or no advance is not the same as a contract with a long-established and revered publishing venue–let alone a contract with one of the Big Five.

. . . .

[T]he difference between signing with a publisher who will sell a couple hundred copies of your book and signing with a publisher who can bring in thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of copies sold is like the difference between riding a tricycle and revving the engines of a Harley.

. . . .

Making a best-seller list. You may have read about marketer Brent Underwood’s hoax in which he created a #1 Amazon best-seller with $3 and in five minutes. He recounts how he created a wordless book and sold three copies to make his book a best-seller.

. . . .

Underwood set out to reach best-sellerdom to make a point: If you become an Amazon #1 best-seller, that might be akin to the kid who showed up for every grade school baseball game wearing a uniform. If you understand what you need to do to win the trophy, it’s not all that hard to achieve.

Now, legitimately winning a spot on the New York Times list, Publishers Weekly list, USA Today list, ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers) list  is not so easily achieved and holds real meaning.

Even managing #1 best-selling status on Amazon can mean significant sales have occurred. The caveat with Amazon is that fame can be fleeting (capture a screen shot of that #1 status because it can be gone in the next hour). And the book must achieve that status in highly-competitive categories (parenting, historical fiction, cookbooks, etc.).

Link to the rest at Books & Such and thanks to David for the tip.

PG says the best trophies are monthly direct deposits from Amazon with no deductions.

Seven reasons why you shouldn’t self publish

7 March 2016


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Thanks to Michael for the tip.

It’s Time for Bookstores to Stop Boycotting Amazon Publishing

16 February 2016

From agent Andrew Zack via Huffington Post:

When Amazon.com announced it was going to start publishing books as well as selling them, my reaction, like many in the publishing world, was mixed. On the one hand, I loved the idea of a new market to which to license the rights to my clients’ works. On the other hand, I couldn’t imagine any other bookstore–chain or independent–ever selling a book published by Amazon, which would mean that books published by Amazon would be sold only by Amazon. Would that be enough?

I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. I’m not alone in this, of course. Publishers dislike Amazon for certain practices, such as mucking around with pricing and devaluing books by charging too little. But publishers also love Amazon because it nearly single-handedly began the business of selling books online, creating a sales channel that has provided great rewards for publishers.

As predicted, bookstores–chain and independent–have mostly chosen not to carry the books published by Amazon Publishing. But has the time come to end the refusal to stock Amazon Publishing’s books? Has the position simply become more one of spite and petulance than principle?

Let’s be honest. The boycott by traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores of Amazon Publishing’s titles hasn’t hurt Amazon at all, but it may be hurting the authors it publishes. Some publishers may say “Good! They should never have done a deal with Amazon.” But as an agent I have represented books published by Amazon and I welcomed the offers from Amazon’s editors. In fact, I was excited to see what it would look like to see a book published by Amazon.

. . . .

The irony is that by not ordering books published by Amazon, bookstores are helping to increase the profitability of those titles for Amazon. Let’s not forget how the publishing industry works. It’s one where bookstores order books and return books that don’t sell. Yet Amazon pretty much doesn’t have to worry about returns, because few bookstores are ordering its titles. If Amazon had to suffer the ignominy brought on by the utter failure of titles it publishes, to be bloodied in the marketplace on a level playing ground, perhaps it might develop a new appreciation for the difficulties regular publishers face. Perhaps it might even take a different tack in its dealings with them. Or perhaps it would just shutter its imprints, deciding it was a foolish endeavor to start publishing its own titles. Some might see that as a “win” for traditional publishing. Many would certainly find it ironic.

But, for now, traditional bookstore owners and chain buyers should give the titles published by Amazon’s imprints the same consideration they give those published by traditional publishers, not because failing to do so hurts Amazon, but because failing to do so hurts the authors of those books.

Link to the rest at Huffington Post

 

Clarity: How to Love Your Contract

1 February 2016

From Publishing for Humans:

I’m just going to say it: I love contracts. But that’s not enough. I want you to love them too.

Contracts are not a dull, essential adjunct to our activity. They are the sure ground on which our business is built, the tracks along which the publishing train steams. All the creative, innovative work you do: you work to contract. All of your exciting collaborations: set out by contract. Why you aren’t an amateur: you have a contract. How you are protected: by your contract. Your friend in times of need: your contract. Your road to profit in good times: your contract. The most important thing you’ll ever write: your signature, at the bottom of your contract. If you love your contract – give it attention, understand it, read it carefully, talk about it, do your best to improve it – it will love you back. Don’t be frightened of your contract. Do you know what frightens me? How frequently fear stops authors from reading and understanding and querying their contracts with their agents and publishers. Don’t be scared, join my love-in.

. . . .

Badly drafted contracts are as distressing to me as badly written novels: just as I audibly tut and sigh when struggling impatiently through narcissistic prose, so can I be physically unsettled by the clouded meanings, lost intentions, clunky sentences and incomprehensible jargon of a badly written agreement. A good contract has a pleasing geometry to it. At DHA, we draft all our UK and translation rights contracts – as opposed to using publishers’ templates – and they are written in a style I have named DHA Simple – short, plain, minimal.

. . . .

Why should you love contracts? A good contract offers us a second beautiful thing: Stability. Even though author and publisher are interdependent, often sharing mutual interests, the balance of power between parties shifts constantly due to multiple factors: the success of the author’s last book, the strong advocacy of individuals within publishing houses, market appetite, luck, how long it is until the next book is due to be delivered, or published. The role of the contract is to ensure that, even as the wind changes direction on the landscape of publishing, the author and publisher do not move position – what was agreed, stands.

Why should you love contracts? Here is a third beautiful gift a contract can bring you: Protection. When I read contracts, I always ask myself: How will I like this contract in the worst case scenario?

Link to the rest at Publishing for Humans and thanks to Ashe for the tip.

Talking To Writers

30 October 2015

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

I just got back from MileHiCon in Denver. Not only did the con committee and the attendees treat me well, I had an absolute blast. I met a lot of people—readers, fans, wannabe writers, published writers—and I saw a lot of old friends.

. . . .

I have no idea how to talk to a room full of writers any more.

I know that sounds weird. I talk to writers all the time. Just before I went to MileHiCon, I helped Dean teach the first four days of the week-long Master Class for professional writers that we hold here on the coast.

. . . .

It used to be that everyone on the panel would give the same answer to basic questions. On the basic how-to-get published questions, there was only one answer, and it was the same for writer after writer after writer.

In fact, those of us on the panel were interchangeable. It didn’t matter if I sat there or another writer sat there or a relatively new writer sat there, we all gave the same answer. So did editor after editor, agent after agent.

Everyone who had the smallest bit of writing experience stopped attending publishing panels at cons because those writers had the basics down.

Now, the basics differ depending on who you talk to. We all agree on craft issues. To sell, whether traditionally or direct to readers, writers have to tell a good story. A good story includes all elements of craft—good plot, memorable characters, a clearly defined setting, and so on and so forth. Writers need to learn all of that, and never stop learning. We all can improve our craft and we should work at it, day after day after day after day.

But…

When we move to how to get published, writing panels actually get contentious now. When Dean and I spoke at a writers conference in Idaho in May, we debated whether or not we would say what we really believed. Because if we said what we believed, we would anger half the room. And (bonus!) we would piss off every agent in the place.

I have a lot of trouble fudging my answers if I believe someone will get hurt if I don’t speak up. And on the topic of agents, my beliefs have shifted strongly. I believe (and have seen) most writers get seriously harmed by having an agent.

I can’t, in good conscience, recommend a writer have an agent for any reason.

Before I accept a writers conference request, I always explain that I will anger every agent and book doctor who shows up. I anger agents because I think they’re no longer useful. Some agents I’ve met at writers conferences are not only no longer useful, they are actively harming writers. I know this, because I’ve seen it or experienced it.

. . . .

The book doctors who show up at mainstream writers conferences fall into two categories. Those book doctors are either scammers who want to make money off writers who don’t believe in their own work or the book doctors are well-intentioned souls who have never sold a book of their own yet somehow believe they can make a book marketable.

Both types are complete and utter waste of money. There are real book doctors who work in traditional publishing. They’re hired (for a minimum of five figures—usually more like six) by a traditional publishing house to either improve a manuscript or to write it from scratch. Generally, those book doctors work on guaranteed bestsellers, whether they are written (or should I say bylined) by a celebrity like Snooki or whether they are written by a former bestselling writer who has gotten ill or has writer’s block or a wide variety of other problems.

If a publishing house has spent millions on a project and that project suuuuuuucks, then a book doctor gets brought in to make the project acceptable so that it can recoup its investment. If it wasn’t fixed, the project wouldn’t last longer than a day or two on the bestseller list before word-of-mouth put the book out of its misery.

Those book doctors never show up at writers conferences.

. . . .

I sigh, and say that with all honesty, I can’t recommend any agent. I mention the fact that it’s illegal in all 50 states to practice law without a license, which most agents are doing, and I mention that you just don’t need them for anything, and on and on, trying to keep my answer relatively short.

The woman who worked for the agency was incredibly cool. We agreed on most things. She’s bright and is a writer herself, and handled me with aplomb. Of course, she rebutted some of what I said, but not all of it (turns out, I learned after two panels with her, we agreed more than we disagreed), and she ended her statement with a sentence that I hate.

I’m sure Kris can do these things because she’s Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Hell, no. I can do these things because there’s this thing called “the internet” and writers I know who do not have the credentials that I do have done the same things and more because they have a “contact” button on their website. Good books are good books, and foreign rights offers as well as movie/TV offers follow the good work, not the big names.

. . . .

The 1995 answers don’t really work any more. It’s a shark tank in the traditional publishing world, and if a minnow enters, it will become chum within the first five seconds of its attempted tenure in the tank.

So many writers are minnows with no desire to swim with the sharks. And the problem is that in today’s publishing environment, the writers have to be able to swim with the sharks comfortably and easily to survive.

Writers who’ve gotten their feet wet in the publishing industry, writers who’ve finished more than one book, who’ve submitted more than one short story, who are driven and work hard, know this. They’re coming to panels and conferences to learn how to become sharks—at least when it comes to business.

But the minnows, they don’t want to learn anything except how to be sell that one project. And the poor things, they’re going to get screwed.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

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