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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: agents, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 781
1. New Agency

Newly formed Rising Bear Literary Agency will represent picture book through young adult authors.

http://risingbear.com/about-us/

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2. Stephen Barbara Moves to InkWell Management

S43sJzRiLiterary agent Stephen Barbara will move from Foundry Literary + Media to InkWell Management.

Barbara devoted six years of his career to Foundry. His start date at InkWell is scheduled for January 05, 2015.

Barbara’s full roster of 50 clients will follow him. Some of the authors that Barbara represents includes Rooms author Lauren Oliver, renowned children’s book illustrator Ricardo Cortés, and Edgar Award winner Jack Ferraiolo.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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3. A Day in the Life of a Literary Assistant…GIF Style

Industry Life

by

Jaida Temperly

Hi all! My name is Jaida Temperly and I’m a Literary Assistant at New Leaf Literary & Media. This is my very first post on Pub Crawl (cue confetti), so I thought it fitting that I post about what it’s like to be a Literary Assistant. But in GIF style, of course.

Enjoy!

xJaida

A Day in the Life of a Literary Assistant…GIF Style

Every day begins with a modest cup of coffee…

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..followed by checking and sending email.

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(And there is a lot of email.)

ALOT

There will undoubtedly be questions from clients, editors, and tv/film reps that I’m not entirely sure how to answer…

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…but I’m determined to learn and find answers/solutions…

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…so I go to the other agents at New Leaf Literary for advice. And ask a lot of questions.

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(A lot of questions.)

ALOT

After a leisurely lunch with the other New Leaf assistants (Danielle, Jackie, and Jess)…

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…I read queries. Sometimes, there are queries that make me feel like this:

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But every once in awhile, I find an amazing query that makes me feel like this:

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…which of course is accompanied by another modest cup of coffee for that all-nighter I’ll be pulling to finish reading…

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…so I can take the manuscript to my boss (Joanna Volpe) the next morning and be like:

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Additional duties as a Literary Assistant include: coordinating client events, appearances, and book signings…

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…running the occasional errand…

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…attending publishing and networking events like a boss…

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…reading client manuscripts…

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…and answering more email.

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There’s also New Leaf’s regular Wednesday meeting, where I catch up on all the amazing things that my coworkers are working on…

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…which is not to be confused with my Friday meeting with my boss, Joanna Volpe. (She’s pretty cool. Like Dumbledore.)

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Which is not to be confused with the uber-serious assistant F.A.R.T. meetings (Fabulous Assistants of the Round Table) with Danielle, Jackie, and Jess. (Acronyms are the best.)

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Now, there are some days when I go home feeling like this:

pass-out

But most of the time I feel like this:

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because every day is a guaranteed adventure. (Yes, just like Bilbo.)

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Jaida Website picJaida currently assists Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. Prior to joining New Leaf, Jaida Temperly moved from Wisconsin to NYC to intern at Writers House. Before that, she had a brief stint in medical school and milked cows on her family’s dairy farm. In her down time, you can find her practicing yoga, downing modest cups of coffee, and searching for the city’s secret bars and cemeteries. You can also find her on Twitter.

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4. Agent Move

Lana Popovic has switched agencies to Chalberg Sussman and is actively looking for new middle-grade and young adult clients.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/literary-agent-spotlight-lana-popovic-of-chalberg-sussman

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5. Leaving Your Agent

If you and your agent no longer connect, maybe it's time to think about moving on. 

http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2014/07/when-happily-ever-after-ends.html

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6. Survey Results: What Agents, Editors and Art Directors Look For Online

In prep for my workshop at CANSCAIP's Packaging Your Imagination, I asked literary agents, editors and art directors a few questions about whether they research potential clients, authors and illustrators online and what they look for. 18 editors (some of whom also look for picture book illustrators), 8 agents and 2 art directors responded.

Here's what they said:

QUESTION: When you are considering taking on a new client/author/illustrator, do you ever research them online?

77% of respondents said that when they are considering taking on a new client, author and illustrator, they ALWAYS research them online. The rest said they sometimes do.

QUESTION: If you do online research before signing on a client/author/illustrator, has your research ever made you decide NOT to sign them on?

62% said that YES, they have decided to reject someone after researching them online. Some said that while they hadn't yet rejected someone after online research, they would definitely think twice about signing with someone who posts a lot of negativity (see below) or posts "with cringe-inducing syntax."

 

OTHER COMMENTS:

In this section, I invited respondents to volunteer additional comments, including turn-ons and turn-offs, what they look for during online research.

The following respondents gave me permission to use their names.

Christie Harkin, Consultant Publisher at Clockwise Press:

"I have been turned off by authors/illustrators who bad-mouth their editors/publishers/agents. It is amazing to me when I see this on Facebook. Even if you don't mention your editor/publisher by name, it is usually very obvious to whom you are referring. I would definitely think twice about taking on someone who did this. Also, I look for authors/illustrators who are generous in sharing news about others in the community. People who only post promo about their own books (BUY MY BOOK! LOOK AT MY STUFF!) are not generally as well-received or connected with the larger community. If you are a new or emerging creator, you need to be engaging with others who are also plugged in to the kidlit world."

Andrew Karre, Editorial Director at Carolrhoda Books:

"An extent online presence is not a necessity. It's gravy. But . . . I place a certain amount of value on a social media presence that seems human and natural and interesting. A Twitter stream that is full of interesting engaged conversations on a variety of topics--even topics other than books--is somewhat more interesting to me than one that is all review links and retweets. I don't much care how many followers. (Unless, of course, it's a huge number, because I am not an idiot about what that means.)"

Carol Hinz, Editorial Director at Millbrook Press:

"I'm not necessarily looking for something in particular when I look up an author or illustrator. I simply want to find out if the person has a web presence and, if so, what it is. It's also helpful to get a sense of what else they've done, how they present themselves, whether they do school visits, and what helpful connections they may have (whether it's with other writers, educators, booksellers, etc.) when it comes to book promotion." 

 

Other Comments:

NOTE: Most of the respondents answered anonymously but to avoid the awkward he/she decision, I decided to use "he" or "she" randomly.

One agent said she decided not to request material from previously published authors who got combative with reviewers. Another respondent said that while he hadn't yet rejected a project based on online research, he may make a note to discuss proper online etiquette with that particular author or illustrator. "But I believe the day is coming where my online research will make me answer 'no' when I question, 'Do I love this book enough to want to deal with THIS'?"

Another respondent said that online research sometimes makes her ask more questions, change the direction or focus of the conversation, dig deeper ("and not always in a negative way"), sometimes for the benefit of both of them and sometimes in ways that lead to more meaningful partnerships.

"Biggest turn-off: Writers who get argumentative and/or rude with reviewers and bloggers online. I also look at blog and social media posts that see how the writer comes across in their daily interactions. I'm wary when a writer acts rude, cynical, prejudiced, or pessimistic on social media. That's not to say that people can't have down moments, but if their overall feeds are full complaints and abuse toward others, it's an immediate "no." I've been lucky, though, to have found clients who are all positive, dedicated writers open to criticism and growing in their craft."

"I'm usually just looking for more information and/or to confirm my initial impression. I do notice if someone writes extensively about the writing and publication process ("got another rejection today!") or if he/she does a lot of self-publishing. Neither of these are deal-breakers at all, but they present unique challenges. I actually do most of my sleuthing with agents and agencies, and in that case I do judge if I see a lot of awful self-published covers (but again, may still work with them). Also, I assume writers and agents research me online but the less I'm reminded of that, the better—like don't start every email to me by mentioning something I've posted on Facebook. I don't like the feeling of someone friending me on social media in order to 'gain access.'"

"I look for obviously divisive posts, things that I see that I think would turn off a readership. Professionalism online is important, and also gives me an idea of what you'd be like to work with. I also look to see how you interact with others on your blog/twitter/site whether or not you acknowledge people who leave comments or tweet with you."

"Turn offs= being unprofessional/rude/inappropriate in a public online setting. Why would I want someone with that type of behavior linked to me as an agent and the agency as a whole?"

"When researching someone online, I'm generally just looking to flesh out my knowledge of that person in advance of a possible acquisition. I'm not actually looking for trouble spots, just maybe things to discuss at an IRL meeting with colleagues (sales points) or with the author themselves (small talk). When it's an illustrator, particularly; I do a lot of triage online before anyone's necessarily aware that I'm looking - I use online portfolios to identify leads. I'd advise artists to have as much art available to view online as possible. Use places like deviantart if you don't have a well-maintained personal site or an illustration agent with a good easily searchable site. Probably use deviantart even if you do. The easier your work is to find, the more work you'll pick up. I've been involved in acquisitions where a Google search turned up a certain amount of Internet Drama. It never really influenced the decision - we signed people up each time. I could imagine scenarios in which it would be a deal-breaker - for example, if we discovered that an author was a Neo-Nazi, that wouldn't play well - but none of them has so far come to pass. Incidentally, I think the situation in which duly diligent research is crucial is if you are an author or illustrator being offered work by a publisher or agent. You need to check out the bona fides of the person or company asking to contract with you, because there are an awful lot of sharks out there." - @iucounu on Twitter

"Turn ons - lots of work with the same energy and talent that brought the illustrator to my attention in the first place. Turn offs - samples that look dated, have styles that are very different and less appealing to me than the first sample I saw, very few samples."

"Online turn-offs: people who tweet way too often, people who only speak and don't engage others in conversation, people who are far too self-promotey, people who share way too much of their personal lives, people who are far too neurotic (tweeting constantly about writing woes and insecurities), people who are far, far, far too negative about anything and everything, and the biggest of all: people who feel the need to insult other writers/houses/editors/agents. Oh, and also, writers who quote themselves online. Online turn-ons: people who engage in meaningful discussion (without hitting me on the head with a hammer), people who find that balance between an online persona and being who they really are, people more interested in building a community than shilling their work, people who are endlessly supportive of fellow writers (without being obnoxious about it). What I really want to learn when I research a writer online is what they're after. Did they write the book to jump on the gravy train, hoping it would be the quick path to fame and fortune? Did they write the book because they scoff at the genre they just wrote and wanted to prove anyone could do it? Or is this someone who is serious about building a writing career and not just receiving the adulation of thousands of strangers? THAT'S the writer I want to work with. Someone dedicated to their craft and not their number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers."

(On whether they have rejected someone after online research) "Not if I really, really love the book, but if an author has exhibited abrasive or unpleasant behavior online, it definitely makes me think twice about signing them. When I sign someone, I'm not just signing up the project--I'm going to have to work with the author for a long time, and I prefer not to invite a headache into my life. While a great web presence is a definite plus, I'd never turn someone down for a lackluster web presence. But if I discover combative, difficult behavior, etc, I have to decide if this person is worth the unpleasantness they'll likely bring to my life. Because people are usually consistent--ie, if they're unpleasant to some people, they'll probably be unpleasant to me too if and when any difficulties in our working relationship arise."

-----

Curious about my other publishing industry surveys? Feel free to browse current and past Inkygirl Surveys online.

 

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7. Career Planning

Agents can do more for you than just selling your book. 

http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-role-of-agents-in-career-planning.html

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8. New Children's Agent

Rachel Brooks from the L. Perkins Agency is looking for fun picture books in addition to novels.

http://www.adventuresinyapublishing.com/2014/09/introducing-agent-rachel-brooks-from-l.html

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9. Welcome, Baby Elyse!

As many of you know, we have been expecting a baby, and are happy to announce that our second daughter Elyse Zivoin arrived this past weekend!  Our 3 year old daughter is very proud of being a big sister.  Elyse is doing very well, and we love having her in our family!

Also, the new MB Artists catalog, themed "School", has been released!  Check out my page at the end for a sneak peak at my newest picture book to be released by Magination Press in 2015....
http://files.flipsnack.com/iframe/embed.html?hash=ft9azf3uw&wmode=window&bgcolor=EEEEEE&t=14133790461413379089


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10. KidLit Author Events Nov. 5-10

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We have another crowded weekend, with several events happening Saturday, including opportunities at writing conferences. Good luck to all who are toiling away on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month)!

November 5, Wednesday, 7:00 PM MORTAL HEART by Robin LaFevers
Blue Willow Bookshop
Robin La Fevers, YA Author

In MORTAL HEART (Harcourt Brace and Company), the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFever’s NYT bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind, doesn’t mean she has.

November 6, Thursday, 4:00-6:00 PM TAKE ME TO YOUR BBQ by Kathy Duval; illustrated by Adam McCauley
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
Kathy Duval, PB Author

Picture book author Kathy Duval will be reading and signing at St. Vincent’s Family Night. In TAKE ME TO YOUR BBQ (Hyperion/Disney) aliens have landed on Willy’s farm and they’re not leaving without a square dance and a square meal! So fire up that grill, lay on the barbeque sauce and snatch up that fiddle. Told in verse, this rollicking story puts a twist on the typical encounter with the third kind.

Kathy will also be appearing for this special story time:
November 7, Friday, 4:00 PM
Barnes & Noble, River Oaks
Kathy Duval, PB Author

November 8, Saturday, 9:00 AM-4:30 PM Sarah Cortez, Councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters
Houston Writers’ Guild Conference
Hilton Houston Westchase
Price: $50 members/$60 nonmembers/$30 student members

All-day workshop: How to Finish Your Novel with Sarah Cortez. Daunted by characters who won’t cooperate inside your plot? Foiled by narrative arcs that don’t end, lost their tension or, worse yet, fail to deliver reader satisfaction?  Come to the Houston Writers Guild, November Fall Mini-Conference session conducted by award-winning teacher/writer/editor Sarah Cortez to learn tips used by professional novelists in these exact situations and more.

November 8, Saturday, 9:00 AM.-4:30 PM Jodell Sadler, Literary Agent
A& M United Methodist Church, College Station
SCBWI Workshop with Agent Jodell Sadler
Cost: $125 for SCBWI members, $150 for non-members

Pick up the Pace!—A Workshop with Agent Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children’s Literary: Story pacing can make the difference between a “nice try” rejection and a publishable manuscript. Whether you’re working on page turns in a 500-word picture book or end-of-chapter cliff-hangers in a 50,000-word novel, Jodell Sadler has tips and tools to help pick up the pace. Join SCBWI Brazos Valley for a day-long workshop focused on pacing and strong writing skills. Register through the event website.

November 8, Saturday, 10:00 AM-Noon
Maud Marks Library (1815 Westgreen Blvd, Katy
Katy Kritique Group and The Space City Scribes
Writing Workshop—Nuts and Bolts of Indie Publishing

Join the writers of the Katy Kritique Group and The Space City Scribes for a free workshop! They’ll help those wanting to independently publish and will provide information on sales channels, covers, editing, marketing and more.

November 8, Saturday, 10:00 AM- NOON, & Sunday, November 9, 2:00-4:00 PM Teen and Middle Grade Authors
Larry J. Ringer Library, College Station
Teen & Middle Grade Authors Event

Teen and tween aspiring authors and adult authors who write for teen and middle grade audiences, talk about their books and about other teen and middle grade fiction, book signings. More info about this event here.

November 8, Saturday, NOON #HASHTAGGED by Kimberly Hix Trant
Barnes & Noble, College Station
Kimberly Hix Trant, YA Author

Join KBB to celebrate the release of Kimberly Hix Trant’s first book #HASHTAGGED (Tate). #hashtagged is a chilling new science fiction novel about a daughter’s journey through her father’s past and into a frightening future. This future is something that Oliver Smith has seen firsthand and for which he has been preparing his daughter, Madeline. After Ollie’s death, Maddy must follow a trail of secrets that leads her into the arms of her first love, Jagger, the only person that can truly help her fight against a future world governed by artificial intelligence.

November 8, Saturday, 2:00-4:00 PM SPACE CTY 6, Anthology
Katy Budget Books
Multi-Author Event

Space City Scribes, an author collective of Houston indie authors, introduce their new anthology, SPACE CITY 6: HOUSTON STORIES FROM THE WEIRD TO THE WONDERFUL, a collection of short stories with a Houston flair.

Attending YA/MG/PB authors: Monica Shaughnessy , Mandy Broughton, Ellen Leventhal, Ellen Rothberg, Artemis Greenleaf, and Kaleigh Castle Maguire.

November 10, Monday, 5:00 PM EVERBLAZE by Shannon Messenger
Blue Willow Bookshop
Shannon Messenger, MG Author

Shannon Messenger will discuss and sign EVERBLAZE, the third book in the KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES series.

Sophie Foster is ready to fight back. Her talents are getting stronger, and with the elusive Black Swan group ignoring her calls for help, she’s determined to find her kidnappers—before they come after her again. But a daring mistake leaves her world teetering on the edge of war, and causes many to fear that she has finally gone too far. And the deeper Sophie searches, the farther the conspiracy stretches, proving that her most dangerous enemy might be closer than she realizes.

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11. Waiting to Hear Back

If you haven't heard back from an editor or agent, here are some thing you can do. 

http://www.elawreads.com/blog/2014/9/30/the-art-of-following-up-5-things-to-do-when-you-havent-heard-back-from-an-editor-or-agent

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12. Andrew Wylie Speaks Out Against Amazon

amazon304Amazon and Hachette have been locked in a feud over eBook pricing since May 2014. Many members of the publishing community have spoken out about this situation and some have even mobilized to form the Authors United group.

Earlier this year, several high profile authors including Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, and Ursula Le Guin agreed to join in Authors United’s fight against Amazon. Who convinced this illustrious group to take part? None other than Andrew Wylie.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the veteran literary agent shared his opinion on this dispute. For Wylie, “the issues at the heart of the conflict are both margin and price…Losing the fight over margins would be an immediate blow to the publishers’ profits, but losing control over pricing could be fatal.” Do you agree with Wylie?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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13. Scam Literary Agencies

Don't get taken in by a bogus literary agency. 

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2011/02/do-you-know-how-to-spot-bogus-literary.html

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14. The Agent Call

Prepare before you get the call from a prospective agent so you know what to ask. 

http://writersrumpus.com/2014/09/05/what-to-do-before-and-after-the-call-from-an-offering-literary-agent/

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15. Similar Titles

When looking for an agent, how similar (or not) should your book be to his/her existing clients? 

http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2014/10/how-similar-is-too-similar-in-great.html

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16. a gentle suggestion for literary agents

Photo by Vicky Lorencen Painting  by Sir James Jebusa Shannon, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo by Vicky Lorencen
Painting by Sir James Jebusa Shannon, Metropolitan Museum of Art

I’d like to ever-so-gently suggest a best practice for agents to consider. Writer friends, see what you think of this.

In case you’re not familiar, a best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown superior results. This method can then be used to create a standard way of doing things. Best practices are identified in manufacturing, health care, agriculture and laboratory science, so why not literary representation? I mean, really, why the heck not?

I’m in the midst of my first full-on agent search and I’m experiencing a fairly new practice agents have adopted regarding query responses. In lieu a personal email or even a form rejection, agents specify the number of weeks a query will be under consideration. If no response is received in that time, the author should consider the query declined. I can understand this practice. Really, I can. Like editors, agents are incredibly busy people who need to make the most efficient use of their time. Devoting fewer hours to follow-up on queries that hold no interest equates to more time to devote to clients, networking, considering queries (and hopefully dining, showering and sleeping).

But here’s where I think this no reply practice can be refined into a best practice–I would love to see it become an industry standard to provide an automated confirmation of receipt to all email queries. Receiving this kind of response would let someone like me know, okay, the meter’s running now. She really got my query. I’ll wait six weeks per her guidelines. If there’s no reply, I’ll move on. Without such a receipt, it leaves room for nagging, festering, niggling doubt–what if she never got my email and that’s why she’s not responding. Should I check in even though she says not to? Of course, some authors do, and that just adds to the agent’s Mt. Everest of emails.

To their credit, a number of the agents I’ve queried have provided an automated response. I offer my wholehearted thanks to those agents for practicing what I hope will become a best practice.

To be fair, we writers must do our part to uphold our best practices too, such as:

  • Following an agent’s submission guidelines like we were assembling a nuclear warhead. No fudging on the details.
  • Always, always, always being polite, kind and respectful at all points of contact with an agent. Just like proper spelling and punctuation, professionalism matters.
  • Abiding by the agent’s follow-up rules—if he says to check in after 8 weeks, then do it. If he says no word from me in 6 weeks equals a pass, then it’s a pass. Don’t stand there fogging up the glass. Git along little dogie.

So, that’s it. That’s what I want to suggest–oh so gently–to agents. Thank you again to the best practice practitioners. You are appreciated.

And as for my writer friends, just because you’re cute as a button on a ladybug’s vest, I want to give you this. Go ahead. Open it. It’s helpful.

You’re welcome.

I wish to be cremated. One-tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract. ~ Groucho Marx

 


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17. New Agent

Rich Richter has joined the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency and represents picture books through new adult.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/63934-rick-richter-joins-zachary-shuster-harmsworth-agency.html

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18. New Agent

Heather Alexander has switched from editor to agent and is now representing picture book through young adult authors at Pippin Properties. 

http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/11/Kidlit411-Agent-Spotlight-Heather-Alexander.html

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19. When Agents Go Bad

How do you know if your agent has gone off the rails? 

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2014/04/agents-going-off-rails.html

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20. Agent Building List


Leon Husock, associate agent at L. Perkins Agency is looking for middle grade and young adult authors.

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/agent-looking-to-build-list-6/

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21. got the right shoe? what’s left?

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Agent shopping can be daunting. But recently, and who knows how, I connected agent-shopping with shoe-shopping, and the process is taking on new meaning (and making me want a new pair of pumps).

Here’s how I pair my shoe and agent preferences . . .

Must match. Having one fabulous flat isn’t so fab, is it? Sure, it looks pretty and fits like a dream, but unless I’m leaving a ball in a hurry, going half shoeless is no way to go. And just like shoes, I want to be paired with an agent whose genre preferences and approach match my own.

Must be the right fit. This is a biggie, isn’t it? I may have written the most charming picture book or witty MG novel, but if it  doesn’t “click” with an agent, it just doesn’t. Agents are people with tastes and personalities just like anyone else. An agent needs to be flipped over my work in order to be its best champion. Much as I’d like to, I can’t cram my size 10 dogs into a pair of six 6 mules. I can’t, and wouldn’t want to, force an agent-client relationship either.

Must compliment what’s already in my wardrobe. I wouldn’t pick a pair of chartreuse polka dot flats that only go with one outfit. Ideally, I want an agent who can embrace all of my ambitions and not just one part of my writerly “wardrobe.” (It absolutely can work on a one-genre basis, but it’s not the best option.)

Must be supportive. Oui. Oui. I know. It makes me sound like I’ve become what the French call a woman of a “certain age,” but I want shoes that not only look stylish, but feel comfy too. And while I don’t think an agent has to be my best ever friend, I do want someone who can support not only my project in progress, but encourage me as an author as well.

Must receive good reviews. This is a deal breaker category for me. I sometimes buy shoes online, but I never, ever click “Complete Order” until I’ve read customer reviews. I work in marketing and I know that while the description may be beguiling–and hopefully accurate–it doesn’t tell the whole story. I want to hear from those who have walked in those shoes. It’s no different with agents. Whenever possible, I talk with current clients of the agent–politely and discreetly of course–about their experience before I send click “Send” on that shiny query letter.

Must be able to go the distance. Nothing’s worse than trudging half-way across a mall or reaching the half-mile on a hike and realizing I wore the wrong shoes. I want shoes that offer the right fit and support so that I can feel comfortable and confident. As far as agents go, I want someone who would be there for me for the long haul too.

Here’s wishing all of us in search of an agent a perfect pairing soon (and yes, maybe some new sling-backs too).

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world. ~ Marilyn Monroe


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22. Bad Agents

It's true. A bad agent is worse than no agent at all. 

http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2007/06/bad-agent.html

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23. An Agent’s Top Ten Thoughts

Industry Life

 

by Joanna Volpe

We’ve all seen the “day in the life of…” posts.  In fact, the awesome Jordan Hamessley London of Pub Crawl has posted one, too–one of most popular posts on our blog.

What I’d like to do is take that idea a step further and invite you into my brain.  It’s fascinating to see what someone does, externally, on the daily.  But what are they thinking while they do it?  Well, below is what I’m thinking these days.  Of course this shifts and morphs based on external situations and forces.  For example, a few weeks ago I was thinking “Is summer almost over?  How did that happen?  I need to go on vacation, quick!”  and about 6 months ago I was on the red carpet at the Divergent premiere and thinking “Theo James looks rather dashing in his suit!”  But now that I’m back into the the swing of things for work, that’s on my mind most.  So come on over and take a peek and what’s in this crazy thing I call a brain.  These are not in order of priority.  Thoughts don’t work that way!

1.  What do I need to print to take home with me today?  It’s Friday, and that means the weekend provides some serious reading time.  I’ve been more cognizant of having a work/life balance, so I won’t take home 3 full manuscripts this weekend because it’s unrealistic and I will forget what my husband’s face looks like. I’m going to go for: 1 contract for review, 1.5 manuscripts (both which do not need line edits), and a synopsis that I’ve been working on.  And yes, I still print my manuscripts.  What’s it to you?

2. Where are we with XX contracts?  These days contracts are taking longer and longer to negotiate with publishers.  With all of the industry upheaval, each side is trying to look into their crystal ball and figure out the new and vitally important things we need to ensure are in the contracts to cover our needs.  In my case, the needs are the needs of my authors.  Right now I have 7 outstanding contracts on my personal list that I wake up thinking about almost every day, even if it’s just for a minute or two.  Of course I have a badass contracts person handling them, but we go over them together weekly.

3. Damn. B&N didn’t take any (or very little) copies of title X. What can we do to help the book get the exposure it needs for readers to find it?  I can only speak for my agency, though I know colleagues at other companies have the same worries about this.  In this ever-changing industry, it’s getting harder and harder for new voices to be discovered.  We’ve cultivated a Client Care program that focuses on: publicity & marketing (both traditional as well as school & library) as well as educating authors/illustrators to give them the tools they need in today’s publishing world.

4. This work is just not at the level it needs to be for me to take it on submission.  This happens more frequently than I think people talk about, and not just with queried project.  Even with clients I’ve worked with for a long time.  We can both do a ton of work on it, but it Just. Isn’t. There.  And I have to be the one to break that news.  But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I was sending out work that wasn’t up to snuff with the competitive market.  It would be doing a disservice.

5. This manuscript is amazing!  Where am I going to submit? This is always, always going on in the back of my head as I start to approach submission time for a project.  It’s like I’ll be reading and email and suddenly think “ya know who would be perfect for project X….” and I jot it down.  This goes on over and over until submission time comes, and then I’ll sometimes share my sublist with the team to see if they have any thoughts or ideas to add.  I love this part of the process.  It’s all about sharing a great story with the right person.

6. I should tweet/FB/pin/post about that.  “That” is referring to whatever awesome thing one of our clients is doing.  But of course, I don’t want to be just a self-promoter online, so I also try to balance it with enough social media that’s simply for funsies.  It’s a lot of work to be mindful of that balance!

7. What is the next big industry thing to happen?  Of course I don’t always have a prediction here, but sometimes I do.  And in either case, we’re always touching on the big items in our weekly meetings (at the very least) and how they affect our clients.  Right now, it’s the Amazon-Hachette business.  We have Hachette authors, and this whole ordeal has really affected their sales.  This is the kind of thought that will lead me back to thought #3! And of course we’re discussing who is going to be the next publisher that will be in this situation.

8. I can’t make the email stop; make it stop!  Yes, I actually have this thought.  Sometimes the sheer volume of email becomes so heavy that all I can think is “stop!”  At that point I usually take a walk, have a coffee, come back and plow through.  But with it being so easy to stay connected these days, the workload has shifted with a heavy emphasis on email.

9. I wonder if there’s a book in this?  I’ll be reading an article, having a discussion, reading a script, a web comic, watching a youtube video…whatever!  And usually somewhere in the back of my mind there is something connecting dots and thinking about book potential.  If I’m still thinking about it a week later, that’s usually when I’ll bring it up in our weekly meeting.

10. I need to follow up with X person on Y thing.  There is a lovely app called Mailbox, and without it, I would go crazy.  It will pop something back into my inbox when it’s time for me to follow up, based on a pre-determined date/time that I set.  I don’t even remember what I did pre-Mailbox. I think I always had 10 or so To-do lists going at a time (I still do this a little).  Either way, there is ALWAYS things to follow up on.  Where are our cover comps?  What’s the eta on the publicity and marketing materials?  Where is our payment?  Did you lock in that date with the venue?  Have you had a chance to review our contract notes? How are revisions going?  etc, etc.  A lot of the work I do is about keeping things moving.  I don’t want anything to slip through the cracks for our clients.  And also, I have an amazing, godsend of an assistant who takes over most of this follow-up so I can focus on bigger picture items.  Like “how many books are selling for title X?”  And yes, I just snuck in an 11th thought to this top ten list!

There you have it.  And that’s just the Top Ten (11)!  I’d love to hear about what goes through your mind on the daily, too.  Please share in the comments!

Joanna Volpe

Joanna Volpe is a literary agent who represents all brands of fiction, from picture books to adult. When she’s not reading, she’s either cooking, playing video games, or hanging out with her husband and chihuahua.

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24. Picture Book Agents

Not all agents represent picture books. Here's a list of some that do. 

http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/mondays-with-mandy-or-mira/100-picture-book-agents

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25. What are agents looking for? – David Thorpe

I had the pleasure last month of attending the Agents' Party at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London, organised by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

It was called a party, but I'd say that's stretching the term; despite the free wine and nibbles, gratefully received, this was a place to pay full attention.

The agents attending were a good cross-section. Those on the panel were:

  • Ella Kahn DKW Literary Agency
  • Jo Williamson Antony Harwood Ltd
  • Julia Churchill A.M. Heath Literary Agents
  • Lauren Pearson Curtis Brown
  • Penny Holroyde Caroline Sheldon Literary Agents
  • Yasmin Standen Standen Literary Agency.

There were also other agents in the room:
  • Alice Williams David Higham Associates
  • Bryony Woods DKW Literary Agency
  • Elizabeth Briggs LAW Literary Agents
  • Eve White and Jack Ramm Eve White Literary Agent
  • Hannah
 Whitty Plum Pudding Illustration
  • Louise Burns Andrew Mann Literary Agency.
In the assembly were up to 80 of us writers and illustrators. On the way in we were handed two badges to fill in and stick onto our clothing: one saying our name, and the other our favourite children's character.

I spotted at least one person who'd chosen a character from their own book. There's confidence for you.

Who did I choose? – Skellig, the brilliant creation from David Almond's beautiful novel, a broken winged human found in a garden shed who, maybe, has miraculous powers. I thought he might bring me good luck.

Thus protected, I entered the airy new seminar room on the top floor of the wonderful new bookshop (they've moved a few doors down the hill away from the Crossrail engineering works. I went to the old bookshop first by mistake – shows how long since I was last there!)

(ASIDE: I remember the days when Foyles was completely disorganised, full of dusty piles of randomly assorted books that the overworked staff never got around to sorting out. If you wanted a book, it could take you days to burrow through them, like looking for a diamond in a snow drift, you'd have to take a whole week off work. While the old bookshop was definitely Dickensian, the new one is well into the 21st-century.)

Yes! There were a few familiar faces, very nice to see some old friends I hadn't seen for ages. (I confess I am a lapsed SCBWI-er, recently returned to the fold.)

So first of all there was a panel with Nick Cook as the ringleader, and lots of questions being asked about what agents are looking for, and how they make their choices, and then we could queue up to talk to them individually.

Here's what I took away from it:

In the younger age group, humour is popular and perhaps something with a strong literary bent. Others are looking for something more quirky, but above all they are looking for a powerful voice, something with attitude, strong and moving. Some of them were looking for a paranormal story, some for something with lots of twists.

Other keywords for older readers included dark, emotional,  historical, with flow, written from the heart, and another interesting thing was said by Ella: "I know it's ready to be submitted to a publisher when I get lost in it".

That is really important in the context of answering the question: "When do I submit? – Either to a publisher or an agent". The answer is, don't send it in until you are absolutely sure it is ready for publication; is it in the form that you would like to see it in print? Because if it is, then the agent or editor receiving it will stop looking for mistakes and become absorbed, as if they were reading a book that had already been published.

And then all the agent has to do is send it straight off to their favourite editor. With absolutely no work for them. What could be better?

In connection with this, another piece of advice was: take your time. There's no rush to submit, not even when an agent gets back to you and suggests some changes. It's far better to get it right than to get right back.

That certainly good advice and probably the best thing I took away from it.

Website: davidthorpe.info. My new book, Stormteller, is out at the end of the month.

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