Agents

Advice for an author looking for a literary agent

29 April 2015

From veteran publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin:

Until last week, I hadn’t stopped to think about how often I’m advising authors about how to deal with the publishing business. I would imagine this is something that most of us in the industry find ourselves doing very frequently. There are, after all, a lot of aspiring authors in the world and when one’s a friend, or a friend of a friend, they ask. And you try to help them.

. . . .

Although we all know stories of self-published books that went on to have fabulous runs with a publisher (“50 Shades of Gray” being the obvious example), it seems that most agents think that most publishers see the previous publishing history as a challenge. If the book didn’t do well, they don’t attribute it to poor or non-existent marketing. And if it did well, they sometimes wonder if the audience has been exhausted.

Obviously, there are both agents and editors who don’t think that way, but I was really surprised to learn that so many of them apparently do.

. . . .

I have long had a formulation of how to recruit an agent which I passed along when asked.

This assumes the aspiring author is starting from scratch: they have a manuscript completed or in development and they need to start knocking on agents’ doors. What I suggest — not rocket science but most writers don’t know about it — is using the databased information at Publishers Marketplace to find which agents to target.

. . . .

I do know dozens of agents personally. But rarely do I have a sense of what they are looking for, what kind of author would be suitable for them. I have one friend in particular who runs a large agency and for whom I have very high regard. So, often, if I know somebody to be a good and competent writer, I’ll send them to him. But that’s a sloppy answer. I find I have no good way personally to distinguish among the dozens of agents I know. That’s why I send people to the databases at PM. I tell my writer friends that if they narrow down their search and let me know whom they’re targeting, I’ll introduce them to any targets that are in my circle. But that’s been the extent of my help and that’s as far as I’d thought it through.

. . . .

So I reached out to a very powerful travel publisher I know and asked for an agent suggestion. He gave me one name, an agent based in San Francisco and, as it happens, a person I know well. Since Rand and Geraldine are in Seattle, I thought that was worth passing along and I offered to make the introduction. That’s when I started to learn what even very smart people who know how to look have trouble finding out about how our business works. And I was forced to learn because Rand and Geraldine asked me about assumptions I had made that, it turns out, at the least required some explanation and perhaps required rethinking!

First I told Rand I had an agent to send Geraldine to if she wanted to connect with him. Rand passed me to her. She said that being in Seattle, she was as comfortable with people in NY as with somebody in San Francisco. But, she added, she had already reached out to a number of agents in New York. Some had gotten back. Some hadn’t at all. So, first she wanted to know, is that typical? Do agents often just fail to respond?

. . . .

This is yet another example of how granular publishing is: so many editors, so many agents, and then the numbers of them dwarfed by aspiring authors. In fact, they’re even dwarfed by the number of competent aspiring authors there are. Writing takes time. Reading takes time. Editing takes time. Developing a project takes time. Nobody gets paid until the reading takes place at a publishing house and a buying decision can be made. No wonder so many authors throw up their hands trying to break in and just publish themselves. Even with the best techniques and people with industry contacts to help make introductions, finding an agent is not easy for a writer.

Link to the rest at The Shatzkin Report

More thinking about how author and publisher marketing collaboration should change

14 April 2015

From veteran publishing consultant, Mike Shatzkin:

Because of our Logical Marketing work and our interest in author websites(admittedly just a corner of the author-marketing world, even if we think it is a cornerstone), I did a couple of recent posts, the basic thrust of which was that publishers needed to rethink marketing and the author interaction around it.

. . . .

Now, British author Harry Bingham and American consultant and indie-publishing expert Jane Friedman have published the results of a survey they did asking authors what they think of their publishers. What Bingham and Friedman found suggests strongly that the topic of the author-publisher relationship around marketing will be the subject of attention from a lot more people in the months and years to come.

. . . .

Significantly more felt their books “weren’t really marketed at all” (28 percent) than felt that the publisher made “full use of” their “skills, passion, contacts, and digital presence” (17 percent).

Although half of the respondents were satisfied with the communication they got from publishers, only 20 percent thought they got the “systematic guidance” they needed so they could “add most value” to the overall effort. It is precisely that challenge that my prior posts, in perhaps an unneccesarily roundabout way, sought to address.

. . . .

At the end of last week, we conducted a survey of our own among agents and editors, trying to discern whether self-publishing is a useful tool to get a deal. Much to my surprise, the consensus is that it is not useful. We got far more answers from agents than we did from editors, but the clear prevailing opinion is that publishers don’t know how to interpret independent publishing efforts and, most of the time, trying it does an author’s chances of selling that book to a publisher much more harm than good. Most agents responding said they really don’t want to try to peddle a book that has already been self-published unless it has achieved pretty extraordinary success.

(What’s “extraordinary”? One UK agent suggested that it would take at least 50,000 sales to get the attention of a British publisher. An American agent said in that market the number is about 100,000.)

Agents are less negative about whether self-publishing might be helpful selling anext or different book to a publisher, but, even there, they are far less than enthusiastic about the help it provides. One agent said that publishers care about the quality of the writing and very little about the author platform. (To me, this reflects the same lack of grasp of the importance of the author’s online presence that I was writing about in those recent posts. And whatever failures of understanding there are, they are more widespread among editors in publishing houses than they are among marketers.)

. . . .

So, here are a few conclusions from all of this.

1. Agents are driving the bus. They control the authors; the publishers don’t. That’s not to say that publishers don’t know this; most of them surely do. But this reality — that publisher behavior is channeled by trading partners more powerful than they are — is definitely not appreciated by indie authors and it appeared not to have entered the DoJ’s calculations when they saw collusion in the marketplace a few years ago.

. . . .

4. There are really simple things a publisher could do that would be very evident to authors and helpful to sales. Why aren’t publishers putting some lower-level marketing staff on the task of “retweeting” and “liking” author efforts online? At a slightly higher level of effort, why aren’t publishers evaluating author websites that already exist to make SEO suggestions? The author survey results suggest that doing even little things like this would help a publisher with author loyalty, which should be an objective for every publisher. Publishers should see virtue in the idea that providing authors with knowhow would make them more effective advocates for their own work. It would be very cheap to transfer that knowhow (once it was thought through) and publishers would effectively acquire enthusiastic, energetic and FREE marketing resources.

Link to the rest at The Shatzkin Files and thanks to Jan for the tip.

Good Agents Geek Out About Contracts

2 April 2015

From The Huffington Post:

I recently watched a video of a panel discussion from the Backspace Writers Conference video archives in which Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency, Scott Hoffman of Folio Literary Management, Suzie Townsend (then of Fineprint Literary Management, now with New Leaf Literary), and Diana Fox of Fox Literary discussed the nuances of publishing contracts.

One of the things I learned is that publishers often change their contracts to give themselves more favorable terms. Agents who are paying attention pick up on the differences and understand the ramifications. Agents who aren’t, don’t.

As an example, the agents explained how a few year ago, Simon & Schuster removed four sentences from the end of the rights reversion clause. These sentences defined the sales threshold, which states that rights will revert to the author if the number of sales drops under a specified amount. Removing these sentences meant that if the publisher also bought digital rights, the book would in effect never go out of print, and the publisher would own the rights to the work in perpetuity.

This created a furor among agents who were paying attention. But not every agent caught the change. Some even let their clients sign the contract, then had to negate that contract and start over again. And some didn’t catch the change at all, which left their authors with no possibility of ever getting the rights to these novels back.

I also learned that agents “geek out” over contracts, as one agent put it. It’s a good thing they do, because as I listened to these agents enthuse over the finer points of contract details, my eyes glazed over. Not that the panel wasn’t interesting and enlightening — it was. Rather, I quickly realized that the nuances of contracts were so not my thing — like signing up for a study course and finding out two weeks in that you have zero interest in the subject.

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post

If agents are so good with contracts, why do virtually all publishing contracts from Big Publishing contain provisions that are so unfair to authors, whether represented by an agent or not?

PG threw in the “virtually” in the previous sentence by way of being lawyerly. He’s never actually seen a contract from Big Publishing that did not include unfair provisions, but perhaps one exists somewhere. In a virtual universe.

PG must have forgotten to take his anti-cynicism meds this morning. He needs to go look at pictures of unicorns for a bit.

Authors ‘more committed to agent than publisher’

10 March 2015

From The Bookseller:

Authors are more committed to their agent than to their publisher, according to early results from a survey of traditionally published writers. However, when asked about the possibility of self-publishing, only a minority of authors were excited at the prospect, with the majority (75%), either neutral or horrified at the thought of taking control.

The “Do You Love Your Publisher?” survey was launched last week.

. . . .

[T]he survey has so far showed that authors are broadly satisfied with their publisher with 80% happy with their cover design, and 70% happy with the copyediting received. But some authors felt let down by the marketing and levels of communication. When asked if they would switch publisher if a similar house came along with the same deal, 39% said they would move, with 31% indicating that they would stay. When asked the same question about their agents, 45% of the surveyed writers said they would stay.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

The Art Of Agenting

4 March 2015

From Guernica:

In Chris Parris-Lamb’s office at The Gernert Company, a literary agency where staff with shrewd cheekbones sip herbal teas while managing the affairs of some of America’s top authors, there is a small en-suite bathroom in which I discovered a minor landslide of running shoes. A couple of pairs looked completely destroyed. A couple of others had the beleaguered appearance of the soon-to-be-dead. There was one pair in the pile that seemed to be brand new—stiff tongue, clean toe-box, untainted laces—but behind their game face I thought I discerned an air of resignation. It turns out Parris-Lamb is a compulsive runner, and at well over six feet in height he must hit the ground hard. “Sixty to eighty miles each week,” he explained. “Which means I go through a pair of shoes every six to eight weeks.” His most recent marathon time is two hours and forty-eight minutes, which in 1908 would have won him the world record.

Parris-Lamb, who recently turned thirty-three, shot to prominence within the publishing industry in February of 2010. That was the month in which he sold Chad Harbach’s debut novel, The Art Of Fielding, to Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown for a reported $665,000. It was his first big headline success after several years of assisting other agents while slowly building up his own list of authors. The book went on to become a high-profile bestseller, and since then, Parris-Lamb has proven himself to be an unusually reliable judge of what the market wants, or soon discovers it wants. This past fall, three books by authors of his—Christian Rudder’sDataclysm, Peter Thiel’s Zero To One, and John Darnielle’s Wolf In White Van—all featured on the bestseller lists at exactly the same time, while Darnielle’s was also a National Book Award nominee.

. . . .

Guernica: When you look at your unsolicited submissions pile, what are some of the common problems you see?

Chris Parris-Lamb: I just see an awful lot of people who believe that what makes a novel is eighty thousand consecutive words. I just wish I read more submissions where it felt like the author had taken great care with it, had spent a lot of time on it, and had a better idea—or any idea at all—of the books they saw their own as being in conversation with, as well as of how theirs was unique. Most submissions I see feel like someone checking “write a novel” off their bucket list. Readers don’t want to spend their $9.99, or even their $1.99—though that touches on a whole other problem—on a book that doesn’t give them something. And most of these submissions just don’t really justify their existence, or the time spent reading them. They might do something for the author—and that’s a perfectly good reason to have written it—but they don’t do anything for the reader, which is a perfectly good reason why they shouldn’t be published. Time spent writing a novel is valuable, but readers’ time is valuable too.

. . . .

Guernica: You ended up becoming an assistant at Burnes & Clegg and then moved with Sarah Burnes to The Gernert Company when Burnes & Clegg collapsed. That must have been a strange time.

Chris Parris-Lamb: Yes, very strange. Kind of traumatic, witnessing the collapse of this noble little agency, which had no backlist, and was committed almost entirely to literary fiction.

Guernica: Can you talk briefly about that period?

Chris Parris-Lamb: Well, Bill was a drug addict, as has been well-publicized. He went AWOL at a certain point and wasn’t responding to his clients at all, or to anyone. The clients didn’t know what had happened to him. We at the agency couldn’t reach him. Sarah had to do everything to keep the agency going and I had to try and help with that. All of that has been written about at great length, and there’s no need to say more about it here. But I will say that in that period, Sarah Burnes became, not just a mentor, but a hero to me, personally and professionally. A fact that goes notably unmentioned in Bill’s memoir was that she was six months pregnant when he went AWOL. She had to shut down the agency—which meant that Bill’s assistant and the Rights Director lost their jobs—then move all her clients over here to The Gernert Company, and also help Bill’s clients find new agents. Meanwhile, there were still payments coming in for authors every day and I had to process them while we wound the agency down. I was, at that time—as an assistant earning $23,000 a year—the entire financial entity of Burnes & Clegg. It was crazy.

. . . .

Guernica: It’s been a few years since you sold The Art Of Fielding, and of course you’ve had several other significant successes since. Do you have a particular group of acquiring editors to whom you now send the manuscripts you’re most excited about? What goes into deciding who comprises that group?

Chris Parris-Lamb: It happens fairly organically—insofar as drinks and lunches are an organic part of the publishing ecosystem—and you get to know people’s tastes. I guess the first thing is the natural winnowing process that happens at each agency and publisher. Not every twenty-two-year-old sticks around to become a twenty-seven-year-old with an expense account. This is a business a lot of smart people enter and which a lot of smart people leave, because it’s hard to make your way. But the people who were junior at the same time I was junior have become, largely, the group of editors I send stuff to. So most of the people on any given submission list of mine are people I’ve known for several years. We’ve grown up in the industry together and I know what they like. These were friendships forged in the early years of our careers—working very long hours, spending our evenings reading submissions, earning very small amounts of money, and wondering if we’d ever progress.

. . . .

Guernica: We talked about your disappointment with the majority of the unsolicited manuscripts you receive. Are there too many people writing, and not enough people reading?

Chris Parris-Lamb: There’s almost nothing I can say about this that won’t bring a lot of rage pouring down on me from the internet. But, to give a short answer, yes. I try to take a philosophical, and I hope empathetic, view of it all. I mean, we’re all going to die, and we have a short time here on earth, and we all want to achieve distinction of some sort while we’re here. Meanwhile, we all have Microsoft Word installed on our desktops. We all already spend a lot of time typing. One way to leave one’s mark would be to, say, write a great symphony, but most people don’t know how to read music. Whereas more or less everyone does have the means to put down words on a page and save them and share them. That’s a great thing—I’m all for technology eliminating barriers to communication and expression—but it can lead to delusions. Just because you’ve written it doesn’t make it worth reading. And it’s depressing when people forget that you can’t be a good writer without first being a good reader.

I frankly think that initiatives like National Novel Writing Month are insulting to real writers. We don’t have a National Heart Surgery Month, do we? I’m being intentionally provocative there, obviously—being a good or bad writer isn’t a matter of life or death—but I’m also serious. Great writers are as rare as great heart surgeons—maybe even rarer; I don’t actually know anything about heart surgeons. But I would argue that it takes as much time and work to perfect their craft, in addition to having talent to begin with that most people just don’t. What I really object to is this notion behind these initiatives that anyone can write a novel, and that it’s just a matter of making the time to do it. That’s just not true.

To be fair, true talent—the Gift, as Lewis Hyde would call it—can come from anywhere, and if National Novel Writing Month causes one of those talented people to finally make time in their life to cultivate their gift, and something great comes of it, then maybe it’s all worth it. But I am really skeptical of the idea that, but for National Novel Writing Month, those gifts would go undiscovered. I think part of the nature of the gift is that you can’t not give voice to it—having received the gift, you must give it in turn. Which is to say, the people who really do have a great novel in them are going to find a way to write them anyway. If it’s not clear by now, I think every writer should read Lewis Hyde.

Link to the rest at Guernica and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Alternative paths to publishing proliferate but the path for authors most likely to be lucrative is still the oldest one

24 February 2015

From veteran publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin:

The Guardian reports that Big Five British publishers are aggressively courting authors to come directly to them rather than through agents. The specifics cited make this sound more like “toes in the water” than “a change in the value chain”.The Tinder Press division of Hachette is holding an “open submissions fortnight”. The editorial director of Random House imprint Jonathan Cape tweeted a request for submissions one time and got 5,000 of them. And HarperCollins’s new Borough Press imprint is holding its second annual “open submission”. They got a single publication out of 400 submissions last year.

The same story also acknowledges that agents are changing their processes too (and have been, as we’ve noted, back in 2011), specifically pointing to a creative writing program operated by the Curtis Brown agency which has “found 15 debut novelists” (presumably meaning they got them publishing deals) “in two and a half years”. It is also true that many self-publishing successes, including Hugh Howey, use literary agents to help them reach publishers outside their home market or language.

. . . .

The publishers quoted in the story, not surprisingly, indicated that their interest was in getting to promising talent that the agents might be weeding out. But with one of the houses working its way through 5,000 submissions (“three have real promise”, the publisher says, and I have no idea if they see the irony in that statement that I do) and another repeating the exercise when last year they published one out of 400, the data suggests that the curation the agents are doing is a valuable service for the publishers.

Of course, there is a compensating financial element for publishers who do the work to find unagented books worth publishing. They can almost certainly make a more advantageous deal than they’d make with an agent. Not only can they almost certainly secure the book for a smaller advance (a point amply made in the piece), they are also more likely to get world rights.

. . . .

An unagented author is not without cost and complication to a publisher, who would have to take on the agent’s function of explaining the lengthy and sometimes complex process of publishing to the author every step of the way.

. . . .

But even if a house would process its “slush pile” (the long-standing term for the unagented and unsolicited submissions) efficiently, and few, if any, do, it couldn’t be a big winner for the publisher to spend much time with it.

Nothing in the Guardian piece suggests to me that my advice to aspiring authors should change. I always tell them to get an agent if they possibly can. (And I also tell them to use the deal database in Publishers Marketplace to find the right agent.) No agent works with odds as long as 1 in 400 or 3 in 5000 with their submissions. Some of the submissions that got lost in those numbers might have been looked at differently if they’d come from an established agent. It is also extremely likely that those submissions that were agented would have been improved somewhat by the agent before submission. Agents don’t just curate. They also edit.

Even the lead author in the Guardian story doesn’t prove the case. Yes, she got a deal with HarperCollins after having had a few agents reject her. But might another handful of agent submissions have gotten her representation that would have resulted in a better deal than the one she got? Or, put another way, what are the chances that a competent agent would have failed to submit to HarperCollins? And then, what are the chances that as an agented author she would have gotten a better offer than what she got?

. . . .

But even an exponential increase in the number of self-publishing successes or, now, in the number of authors going directly to publishers without an agent, doesn’t change the realities of book publishing. The big money almost always goes to the agented author whose work is sold to a big house. The rest of it is, from an overall industry perspective, still a sideshow.

Link to the rest at The Shatzkin Files and thanks to Andrew for the tip.

Publishers bypass literary agents to discover bestseller talent

23 February 2015

From The Guardian:

Publishers are playing literary agents at their own game, seeking out new talent for themselves and cutting out the industry’s powerful middlemen.

Executives within HarperCollins, Jonathan Cape, Little, Brown, and Tinder Press are inviting “un-agented submissions”, marking a dramatic cultural shift for an industry having to readjust to developments such as self-publishing, as well as the often huge advances demanded by agents for coveted titles.

Next month Tinder Press, Headline publishing group’s literary imprint with authors such as Andrea Levy and Patrick Gale, is holding an “open submission” fortnight. Although its publisher, Mary-Anne Harrington, said the company was not abandoning agents, she added: “It could be that, between us, we’re perhaps drowning out other fresher voices.”

Acknowledging that publishers have suddenly become proactive, she added: “We all feel that it’s incumbent on us not just to sit waiting for agents to send us things. We have to take the initiative.”

. . . .

Katie Espiner, publisher of HarperCollins’s new imprint, Borough Press, held an open submission after wondering why she was allowing other people to make decisions for her: “I wouldn’t do that in any other part of my life.”

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Meryl for the tip.

Best-Sellers Initially Rejected

5 February 2015

From Literary Rejections:

Some writers continually submit the same manuscript until it is accepted. Others chose to do a more polished draft before sending it out again. A select few learn from the lessons ofsubmissions, to write a completely new book.

What they all have in common is a persistence to never give up on their dream; a dream that has elevated them from writer, to best-selling author.

They have written some of the most critically praised and commercially successful books of all time. In some cases their enormous sales were so consistent that they even kept their publishers afloat.

Yet in spite of this phenomenal success, every single one of these best-selling authors was initially rejected.

. . . .

After 5 years of continual rejection, the writer finally lands a publishing deal: Agatha Christie. Her book sales are now in excess of $2 billion. Only William Shakespeare has sold more.

. . . .

Louis L’Amour received 200 rejections before Bantam took a chance on him. He is now their best ever selling author with 330 million sales.

“Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” A rejection letter sent to Dr Seuss. 300 million sales and the 9th best-selling fiction author of all time.

. . . .

“It is so badly written.” The author tries Doubleday instead and his little book makes an impression. The Da Vinci Code sells 80 million.

. . . .

5 publishers reject L.M. Montgomery‘s debut novel. Two years after this rejection, she removes it from a hat box and resubmits. L.C. Page & Company agree to publish Anne of Green Gables and it goes on to sell 50 million copies.

Link to the rest at Literary Rejections and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Sure, I Trust You

29 January 2015

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Here’s the one sentence response that I expected to last week’s post  and didn’t receive:

I know some writers have had troubles, but my agent [editor/publisher] would never do something like that.

Am I optimistic enough to believe that writers—traditional and indie—are finally getting the message that they’re business people? And, as business people, they should operate under the trust-but-verify model?

Or have I simply trained the people who respond to my blog not to put that sentence on here? (And if that’s the answer, then how come I didn’t see that sentence in the comment threads on other sites?)

In the past, I’d put up a post challenging the numbers coming out of traditional publishing and half a dozen writers would defend traditional publishing, their agents, or their editors.

But so far, no one has—at least in the venues I’ve seen.

Does that finally mean that events of the last few years have proven to writers that traditional publishing does not hold a writer’s best interest at heart?

. . . .

It doesn’t matter how much you trust your editor or your agent, they’re not the ones handling every aspect of your career. You are. You are responsible for your career. And as such, you need to trust but verify.

In other words, you need to run your business as a business.

When I negotiate contracts, I always imagine that I’m negotiating with someone worse than the person I’m actually negotiating with. The easiest way to do this is to imagine that the person handling the other side’s negotiation gets fired or dies or moves to a better job, and gets replaced by a savvy spawn of Satan. That spawn of Satan will take every innocently drafted clause of the contract and twist it to his advantage.

My job, if I do it correctly, is to make certain that the clauses can only be interpreted as written.

. . . .

But there’s more to trusting and verifying than audit clauses or even a fiduciary responsibility.

There’s an attitude.

When I started in the publishing business, long-time professional writers told me that my relationship with my agent would be like a marriage. I was startled, because at that point, I had just come out of a divorce, and frankly, I didn’t want another. What I didn’t realize was that about six years hence, I would fire my then-agent and the experience would be lots worse than the divorce.

. . . .

Your editor might be nice, but the publishing company she works for is a corporation attached to a large international conglomerate. Whose attitudes do you think will triumph inside the corporation when it comes to dealing with your business relationship? Your nice, salaried editor’s or the corporate legal department’s? Your editor may be on the communication end of the contract negotiation, but you can bet cash money that she’s checking with legal before responding to your requests. She has to, or she’ll lose her job.

So, if something goes awry, your editor will not be able to help you. A lot of editors go dark when things go badly, and forward emails and paper communications directly to legal. Some editors try to maintain the relationship with their authors, only to lose their jobs in the process.

When it comes down to it, the business decision for the editor is pretty simple: Do I defend my author or do I keep the job that pays for my home and feeds my children?

. . . .

Imagining that these powerful people are protecting us is quite parental, isn’t it? And it’s flattering to think that our talent is so great that important people will do things for us so that we can concentrate on “what we’re good at.”

Only…they’re not doing these jobs for us. They’re doing the job for money. Agents get more than 15% for the work they do. Agents are only as powerful as their clients, so if they have powerful clients, the business grows. And many agents work hand in glove with publishers.

Agents run their own businesses, and again, that trumps anything they do for you. Given a choice between the good of the agency and the good of a single writer, they’ll choose the agency every time. (And so would you, if you were an agent.)

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch and thanks to Bruce for the tip.

Here’s a link to Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s books

Your Publisher Is Your New Best Friend. Not!

19 January 2015

From agent Janet Grant:

I’ve been thinking about an author’s relationship with his or her publisher recently, and it occurred to me that some of my clients have learned how to successfully maintain that relationship the hard way. So, to save some of you from those faux paus, lean in and listen (er, read) carefully.

. . . .

Here are five assumptions and behaviors to avoid since your publisher is not your new best friend.

1) Do not assume that what you say to one person stays with that person. (This is not Las Vegas.) Everyone at the publisher’s works daily with everyone else. Okay, that seems obvious, but think about the repercussions of, say, complaining to your editor that the person who wrote your back cover copy is lame-brained. Why, that  might be the individual the editor has lunch with almost every day. Hmm, your editor might not view you quite as favorably as she did a few minutes ago.

. . . .

3) Do not confess that you don’t read any books in the genre or category you’re writing in. You have just proclaimed that you’re writing with blinders on. That you don’t even particularly like your genre. Especially if you admit this to your editor, red flags will start snapping in the wind for her. Oh-oh, you don’t know the “rules” for your genre; how can you produce the best manuscript? Just how much work will she have to do to pull you from the brink of disaster?

. . . .

5) Do not divulge that your party-laden weekend left you debilitated on Monday and unable to work. Sure, you noticed the person you’re talking to on the phone or writing an email to has an active social life on the weekends. But your job still requires you to be working on your edits. You accepted certain responsibilities when you signed the contract, and the publisher handed money over to you to further motivate you to do your work.

Link to the rest at Books & Such

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