Saturday, October 29, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Superagent Natasha Kern

Missy, Natasha and Mary
 We have a very special guest on with us today. Literary Agent Natasha Kern. To Celebrate we are doing a giveaway of a prize fault full of books from Natasha's cliets.
Included in those prizes are books from: Robin Lee Hatcher, Tamera Alexander, Maggie Brendan, Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Patti Lacy, Candice Calvert and Dorothy Love. Also from Natasha's Seeker clients, Mary Connealy (me), Julie Lessman, Glynna Kaye, Myra Johnson and Missy Tippens. We're winding down our Birthday Party month and what a great way to add a splash to the last weekend before the announcement of the big Netbook giveaway.
Winners of todays drawings will be announced on the Weekend Edition NEXT week, Nov. 5th.
And now, without further ado, (which means I'll shut up and let Natasha talk!!!)
here is Superagent (my nickname for her) Natasha Kern.


What Writers Should Expect from Agents
By Natasha Kern
Myra and Natasha
I thought it would be most helpful to talk about what I do for clients and to encourage every writer to get the support, advocacy and expertise of a good agent. In hiring professionals, people are generally aware of what to expect from a doctor, lawyer, architect, broker, etc. They look for degrees or a license. But writers have vague ideas of what agents actually do or whether they are qualified. Since an agent handles your income, it is similar to hiring a broker and you should understand the strategies for your career and how it will be actively managed.

I inform new writers about when to call me about problems by providing an extensive packet of information right away. With all the current industry upheavals and new opportunities there can be a lot of confusion. How can a writer feel more empowered?

Julie with Natasha
One of the questions a writer must ask is: What exactly is the 15% for? According to copyright law, the life of a book contract is now 35 years and the agent will be paid that entire time—so what is she doing after the first year? Think about this. If you hire a plumber or electrician and they aren’t doing a good job, you can fire them and hire someone else. An agent of record will represent you for the life of the contract—at least in terms of your paying them. So choose carefully!


Robin Lee Hatcher with Natasha
 It is widely believed that it is better to have any agent than no agent. THIS IS NOT TRUE! If you get a bad contract, it is difficult to impossible to change it later. Publishers know there are agents who do not read contracts or negotiate them or even read works they are submitting. Agents can receive very different contracts because an agency boilerplate with each house is based on previous work with that publisher and the agent’s leverage.


Natasha and Tamera Alexander
 Quite a few of my clients have had other agents previously and learned to be careful the hard way. A new writer should ask about the agent’s track record, and expect the agent to tell her what her strengths and weaknesses are. She should discuss her future plans, hopes and dreams and if she has other unpublished works, have them considered as possibilities. The agent will need to understand what her career potential is and which editor or house is the best match. If the author has been published, the agent should read some of her published books. The author should not feel rushed or pressured to sign.


Margaret Brownley and Natasha
 The agent should talk with the author about her reasons a published author has for making a change. They should discuss how many books she can write per year, her income expectations, her family situation and how that affects her writing and so on. Some agents feel they should not put any time into a writer who might then sign with another agent. I think a writer should have a chance to ask questions just as you might of any other professional. You would expect to discuss your case with an attorney or plans with an architect or have an initial interview with a real estate agent or even several BEFORE signing with them.

Debra Clopton and Natasha
A writer should expect the agent to go over contracts with her, explaining every aspect to her, both positive and negative. The agent should look at the previous contracts for a published author and tell her what improvements could be expected if she signs.

The agent should provide contact information for several clients so the author can learn more about the agent’s workstyle and interactions with writers and publishers.

The agent can provide examples of sticking with writers through thick and thin because ‘thin’ times are bound to happen. Would the agent drop a writer if there isn’t a sale in the first year? What will happen if the initial work is rejected everywhere?


Patti Lacy and Natasha
 How many other clients are on this agent’s list. If there are few, say under 35, is this agent active enough? If there are more than 75, will a new client get adequate time and attention?

On a recent panel at a conference I attended, we were asked what the most important thing an agent should look for in an author and vice versa and two agents said they expected to have a friend. My comment was that in this day of tight family budgets, I don’t think any writers need to pay 15% of their income for friendship. And what are the expectations of this ‘friend”? Take care of the kids if you are sick? Do you want your broker to be a friend—even if he loses your retirement savings? I do have clients who are close friends, soul sisters, prayer partners—but that is not what you should look for.


Dorothy Love and Natasha
 Several of my clients were earning very low advances when I began working with them and have gone on to hit bestseller lists and earn six figures/year. That takes work, attention and time, and planning aside from luck. Some have film deals or are bestsellers in other countries.

An agent should support and advise you whenever trouble arises. It can come in the form of: an editor leaving; a book being postponed or cancelled; family problems; you cannot meet a deadline; you want to change genres; your line is dropped or publisher goes out of business; market changes; a terrible cover or jacket blurb that could kill the book (I request changes on the majority of covers; rewrite the majority of blurbs); you have a career hiatus; your contract isn’t renewed; there are problems with the marketing plan for your work (which your agent should always review with you and work on with the in-house team) you face personal bankruptcy; your rights are due for reversion and you don’t know how to get them back or what to do with them. Three of my clients have had cancer in the past year and needed amendments or extensions. Who will handle your literary estate? Does the agent have a strong team of co-agents in Hollywood or subagents worldwide? Does she work with scouts, attorneys, auditors and other experts who can support you? Can she help you to publish ebooks as part of her services and part of your career? Some agents do a lot with ebooks and some do nothing. Who will advise you about the smorgasbord of options now available to writers and stay on top of new opportunities?

I follow the precept of Edward Everett Hale: I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I should do and, by the Grace of God, I will do.

Natasha Kern
http://www.natashakern.com/

Mary Again: Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a copy of one of Natasha's clients' books. THE WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN THE WEEKEND EDITION FOR NEXT WEEK, NOT TOMORROW.
I'll draw two winners an hour for eight hours beginning at 8 am for these books:
Within my Heart Tamera Alexander
Deeply Devoted by Maggie Brendon
A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley
Code Triage by Candace Calvert
Her Rodeo Cowboy Debra Clopton
Out of Control and Ten Plagues Mary Connealy
Belonging (Where the Heart Lives) Robin Lee Hatcher
A Horseman's Heart Myra Johnson
Dreaming of Home Glynna Kaye
Reclaiming Lily, What the Bayou Saw, An Irishwoman's Tale, Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy
Julie Lessman Winner’s Choice or any of Julie’s books
Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love
A Family for Faith Missy Tippens

236 comments :

  1. Hi Superagent! ;-)

    Umm wow! I never knew how much agents did. It's really cool for a reader like me to know how much goes on behind the scenes besides the writing of a book! You have some really great clients. You must be good because even before I read this article I knew your name!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  2. Thanks so much for stopping in! Wonderful to know what we, as writers, should expect from an agent when the time comes.

    I have some of the books listed but would give them as gifts if I won them again. And will keep them if they're ones I don't have and I should happen to win ;).

    Speaking of winning - how 'bout them Cards? :D

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  3. Thank you for your insights, Ms. Kern. Are you accepting new authors?

    LyndeeH

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  4. Wow! Natasha, I can tell from the blog post you deserve the title Superagent. I appreciate the insight about what the agent/writer relationship should be.

    Thank you!

    And what a wonderful list of books for prizes.

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  5. Wow! That is an amazing list of clients and books.

    I have a question I hope you won't mind answering. If an unagented author has received a revise and resubmit letter from a publisher, is that something an author should mention in a query to an agent?

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  6. Natasha, would it be forward of me to ask how long you have been literary agent? I am not a writer but it blew me away to read down through the list of all the stuff you do, between you and the author you represent. Frankly, I was overwhelmed. Guess it is good that your job isn't mine!
    It was fun to see the pictures of you with some of the authors you work along side getting their books out there for us who read. I even recognized them: if not themselves, then their names.
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

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  7. Wow, what a wealth of information. Thank you so much Natasha, for sharing.

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  8. Natasha,

    I appreciate the details you provided about what agents do.I assumed that agents read the entire manuscript and am interested to know that might not be true.

    You touched on the concept of agents helping with e-books. I'm not sure what you mean by that. I've heard pros and cons to agents helping their clients produce e-books themselves, with some saying it's a conflict of interest for an agent. Would you mind letting us know where you stand on that?

    Thanks.

    I'd love to win a book.

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  9. Hi, checking in before bedtime and already seven comments. Sweet!

    Walt, I'll throw my opinion in her about contacting agents you've queried. To me this is a good time to send just this polite, tiny email to not tell them to HURRY UP AND SIGN YOU, but rather to just make them aware that you are still alive. And do it in a very polite, "Just wanted to let you know that since I queried you I've got....blah, blah, blah...add the contest you won and the requests."
    Don't be pushy. Don't go on at length. But it's a way to let them know you're still thinking of them and for them to notch you up one bit higher on their to do list....maybe.

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  10. Cathy quit asking hard questions.

    LOL.

    Okay so we all wondered about that question but were afraid to ask.

    BTW, WELCOME NATASHA.

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  11. Mary, I think Walt means the first time he queries an agent. Not a follow up.

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  12. I'd always heard, "No agent is better than a bad agent," but until your sentence:

    Publishers know there are agents who do not read contracts or negotiate them or even read works they are submitting.

    I never really understood why. How sad to be paying someone to do less than what you would do/attempt to do yourself. But then, how do you really know if that's the kind of agent offering you representation? Seems to me someone that does this would not answer truthfully if I asked point blank if they actually read contracts, nor would they give me a list of clients that have left them; the ones still with them are probably clueless.

    Thanks for giving us this information so if we find ourselves with one doing these things we can know that we ought to get out.

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  13. Wow, agents do have a stimulating job. Thanks for the information!

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  14. Mary, Tina is correct. I'm wondering if mentioning that I've received a "revise and resubmit" letter is something I should put in an initial query letter to an agent.

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  15. Natasha,

    Thanks for giving us all a look into what you. It sounds like you take awesome care of the authors you promote.

    And take all aspects to heart.

    Choosing an agent should take some consideration on both sides.

    You sound like an agent any author would love to work. Myself included.

    Blessings,

    Tina P

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  16. Great information, Natasha. Thanks for sharing! There are several things you mentioned that I have never thought about, so it's helpful to know for the future. This is a great giveaway! I'd love to have my name in the drawing. Now...to get some sleep! : )
    Blessings~Stacey
    travelingstacey(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  17. Natasha:

    Love this comprehensive overview of the services a food agent should offer.

    Aspiring authors always have so many questions, it's wonderful to have a professional give us the lowdown.

    Thanks

    Helen

    The coffee pots are set. Have at'em.

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  18. food agent??

    good agent

    Running late again here tonight. Had to watch the Cardinals wrap it up.

    I really like the Rangers and would have rooted for them if they had been playing anyone but the home team.
    Cardinals Rock!!!

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  19. Natasha,

    Your post comes at a timely juncture for me. I recently lost my agent who is easing out of agenting to pursue another line of work.

    At a time when desperation over being agentless threatens, I so appreciate the reminder that I am better off without an agent than with a bad agent.

    Thank you, too, for an exhaustive list of items to discuss with a potential agent.

    Very Warmly,
    Ann_Lee_Miller[at]msn[dot]com
    AnnLeeMiller.com

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  20. Hi Natasha!!

    I've been wondering if there was a list somewhere of things agents help with. I don't think I've ever seen someone explain it as well as you. This post was so helpful to me. Thank you!

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  21. This is the first time I've seen an agent spell out so clearly what she does for her writer clients. Thank you for the info. This post goes into my file for future reference.

    Question: As a successful agent, you must be bombarded with unknown writers' requests for you to represent them. What is it about an unknown's approach that first gets your attention enough to entice/convince you to read her work? (Just curious, not pursuing.)

    Please enter my name in the generous giveaway.

    gilliach(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  22. Thanks so much for this information Natasha, it's invaluable. How does an agent start out in the business? Is there a course/degree?

    Why on earth am I asking? Because the project manager in me read this and thought, "Hey, this sounds like a great job. Maybe I want to be an agent instead of an author!" :P

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  23. Thanks for all the great information. It's very helpful in helping me to look at what is important in choosing an agent. Thanks for the great post.

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  24. For those who want to know more about Natasha Kern check out the blog archive on your right screen. It is my "security blanket" for learning more, and more and more. Hopefully it will always be there for things I have missed, need to know more about or might need some day, like maybe an agent!

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  25. This was a fun post! Mostly for the pics, haha! (Julie, is that your pool??)
    Seriously, I think finding an agent is one of the scariest things I've ever tried to do, even above trying to get published.
    I mean, you're basically saying two things: please like my work and I promise not to be a total psycho. I don't think publishers are as worried about the 'crazy' factor, since they have the agent dealing with the author, too.

    I recently sent a full ms to an agent and she asked for 3 month 'exclusive' reading rights. I hadn't heard of that before, but I guess when your time is very valuable, you don't want to take the time to read it and then find out it's already been taken. I was worried the 'exclusivity' meant publishers, too, since I'd already sent it out, but the agent said it was meant for other agents.

    So many little things to learn!! Thanks for sharing the insider scoop...

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  26. Walt, I've definitely mentioned the places I've sent requested fulls when I query agents. I think it says your work is good enough to get a bite and they might be interested, too.

    Mary, that's good to know because I've had some very nice rejections that sounded like 'open doors', for when I have a better/newer/different project. I've always wondered if re-querying with contest finals, etc. was rude. At least a year has passed so they may not even remember me!

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  27. Ms. Kern, thank you for a glimpse into the work of literary agents. As a reader, I have to thank you for the work you put in to help your authors in their publishing journey!

    Thanks for the chance to win --what an awesome choice of books!

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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  28. Wow! Thanks for such a detailed post, Natasha. I'm impressed by all you do for your authors. It must be gratifying to see them enjoy successes you helped make possible. Navigating the world of agents is an intimidating process. You've given me a lot to think about . . .

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  29. From the comprehensive nature of your post, it is understood you have your fingers on top of everything. What type of historicals are publishers currently looking for?

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  30. First, Natasha is amazing. I went to her common sense and forthright talk at ACFW in St. Louis just because she's a tell-it-as-it-is kind of person, and that's important to me. I like straight up info.

    Natasha, this is great stuff. How do you manage all of the plates you have spinning? My guess is you work long hours and love your work.

    I see Mary didn't bring cake, the slacker.

    But we can't go into our final birthday weekend without CAKE....

    So we've got my lemon-soaked layer cake, filled with custard and raspberry drizzle, then topped with whipped cream frosting and fresh raspberries dipped in chocolate.

    Wonderful, if I do say so myself!

    I'm writing today so I'll stop back to annoy people. And feed them. That lessens the annoyance factor!

    Great questions... Cathy, I think everyone is wondering that, about e-pubs and agents and backlists. We're on the cusp of big changes and it's stuff we need to learn.

    Natasha, thank you again!

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  31. Natasha, thanks for taking time to explain the important role of an excellent agent in a writer's career. I'm glad to have my agent in my corner, if I ever need her.

    Janet

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  32. Welcome, Natasha, and thank you for this unique glimpse into the relationship and responsibilities between an agent and writer. Nearly every publishing house now requires an agent for them to even look at your work, so finding an agent is crucial and difficult in itself-- especially for one trying to break into the industry-- but finding the RIGHT agent... Thanks for this list of guidelines and tips!

    What can I say about the lineup of authors and books? Count me in. ; )

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  33. Virginia, I've never heard of exclusive 'reading rights' either. I suppose it's sort of the same as a publisher asking for you not to submit elsewhere until they decide.

    I suppose an agent can ASK. I'm not sure you need to obey. In this industry though, three months isn't too long.

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  34. Oh my goodness you are a busy lady with some awesome authors as clients. This was a wonderful post giving all us aspiring authors an insight into what agents do. I had no idea there was so much involved in representing an author. Thank you for sharing with us all. :)

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  35. FanTABulous post - SUCH a wealth of information! Don't even know where to start, except THANKS!

    PLLEEZZZZ enter me! joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

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  36. In case I need to leave my e-mail to be entered, it's

    wmussell(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  37. Hi Natasha!

    Thanks for your great advice. I'm currently in the process of seeking an agent, and it's good to know what to look for.

    We're off to hike in the Hills today before the snow shuts us out for the winter. Have a great Saturday, everyone!

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  38. Natasha,

    Thanks for being here today and giving us all an insight of what we should consider when signing with an agent.

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  39. Wow, that sure was great information. Gives a writer some things to think about. Welcome to Seekerville Natasha.

    Oh Helen, maybe we all need a food agent sometimes! haha

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  40. What an interesting post! I love that Edward Everett Hale quote. So true! Thank you so much for doing this post, Natasha!

    I'd love to be entered into the drawing!

    -Amanda
    amandabarratt33@gmail.com

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  41. Hi Natasha!

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. It answered so many questions I had regarding the need for and agent and what I should be looking for when sending out queries.

    I appreciate your comment about an agent being a "friend." Honestly, I don't want just a friend handling my work, I want a professional who will work just as hard as I am.

    --Kirsten

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  42. Can you imagine Julie going 3 months per agent as she sent out queries???

    3 mos. X 45 rejections = Julie would be dead and buried before she got Natasha as an agent or was contracted.

    I'm just sayin'...

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  43. Wow, thank you so much for the insights!
    Great info to know.

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  44. Interesting Saturday on Seekerville!!! Loved the post; learned a lot. Would love to win any of those great books offered today!

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  45. More excellent and sobering advice from Natasha Kern.

    Thanks so much for caring about what you do with your whole heart, Natasha. After listening to your workshop at ACFW, I've told so many people how passionate you are for the rights of your clients. That's not only impressive, but a testament to your heart for God.

    Whatever we do, we should try to do our best (to the glory of God).

    Thanks so much for sharing today.

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  46. oh, and I'd LOVE to be entered.
    For anything possible.
    :-)
    pepperbasham(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  47. Ruthy - snicker. So glad Julie didn't wait 3mos between each query ;).

    And I've forgotten who mentioned the 3mo exclusive...

    I read somewhere recently [Rachelle Gardner's blog? Someone on Books and Such or Steve Laube's blog?] that it's not unreasonable for you to respond/"negotiate" with a 30 day exclusivity deal, but that it could vary from place to place, especially if it's the holidays or something like that. 3 months seems like a long time to me, even given the snail pace of things in the publishing industry, unless it's your "dream agent" ;). Then all bets are off :D.

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  48. Natasha, thanks for explaining an agent's job so thoroughly! I had a vague idea before but now I have a clearer understanding. Since I hope to be looking for an agent sometime in the next year, this had made things much easier!

    Have a great day!

    ~Stephanie

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  49. Natasha, this was an insightful post. I'm not at the stage of my journey where I'm ready to start looking for an agent yet, but it's good to know what I should be looking for and to have practical questions to ask. Thanks for sharing those.

    If you don't mind, I have a question. What is the best thing a writer can do to get the interest of a potential agent?

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  50. Natasha thank you for sharing what it's like to be an agent. I had no idea they did so much. Superagent is right :)

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  51. Virginia!!! Three month exclusive?? Not seriously. I thought two weeks was the norm. Maybe Natasha can clear that up.

    And Virginia, didn't you final in the Golden Pen? Congratulations!

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  52. Wonderful! I've learned so much since starting out in this business, and it is due to folks like Natasha who tell the truth about the publishing industry from the inside out.

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  53. I wonder if a good agent would shovel snow for me? LOL just kidding but seriously folks it hasn't so much as flurried here until today when the sky opened up and decided to spit out 3+ inches of the white stuff. Is there anybody out there from the South who'd like a houseguest for the winter?

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  54. Virginia, I was asked for exclusive rights too. She didn't give me a time frame but after speaking with a few of her clients they said three months is her typical turn around, at least for the agent who has mine.

    Now, I've always heard and expected that agents would ask for exclusive right when requesting a full manuscript because of the time it takes to go over a manuscript. I figured it wouldn't hurt at this point in my writing career.

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  55. Welcome back to our village, Natasha! And good morning, Seekerville!

    I did a lot of research on agents long before I was even close to needing one--talked to a lot of writers at conferences and on-line. Kept my ear to the ground.

    For me, it was important that I meet or at least observe an agent in person on an agent panel or presenting a workshop to see if the way they present themselves is someone I would want representing ME to others. Are they someone I believe I could get along with for the long haul?

    Although I knew a lot about Natasha beforehand, I first met her in 2006 at the Desert Dreams conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. I subsequently pitched a book and she asked to see the proposal of my chick-lit-flavored, first-person POV romantic mystery.

    We didn't hook up with that book, but we kept in contact, met again at ACFW, and I continued to grow as a writer--learning much about "story premise" from Natasha. Eventually--as I made the genre transition to "heartwarming small-town romance," the timing was right for us to make a match!

    Melissa J mentioned "how do you know if..." and that when asked certain questions (like about reading contracts and manuscripts) that the agent might not answer truthfully. I think that's where networking is SO important as well as not being in a rush to "land" an agent.

    I think it's important, too, to know what YOU want from an agent. So start making a list. I wanted someone who is industry savvy in both ABA an CBA markets, who understands contract legalese and negotiating. Someone who keeps current on what's happening in the rapidly changing world of publishing. Someone who I can talk to honestly and who can knowledgeably advise me regarding growing my career. Someone who is enthusiastic about me and what I write.

    I feel so blessed to have Natasha as my agent!! So take your time, do your homework, and PRAY for the right match and the right timing of that match. It's worth the wait.

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  56. What a wonderful sharing post! Thanks Natasha!

    Whew, I see Ruthy brought cake.

    All's right with the world and I can get out of bed now.

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  57. A few years ago, a friend of mine felt she was ready to publish her book. When she finally did get an agent (someone said they're hard to get), that agent also asked for'reading rights', even though my friend knew which publisher she wanted to have publish her book, so I hadn't thought a thing about it when Natasha mentioned it.
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

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  58. That's really cool! I never knew agents did so much.
    Rose M.

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  59. Such great information! Thanks for the chance to win!

    jmschwindt0306 at gmail dot com

    Jennifer

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  60. What a great article! and what a great list of books.

    jen.whitney08[at]gmail[dot]com

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  61. Wow - That is a lot of work but Natasha has some great authors to work with. Way to Go Natasha keep up the great work. I would love to be include in your drawing today.
    Thanks
    Debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

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  62. Very interesting! Thanks for putting my name in the hat.

    donnyandshelly at yahoo dot com

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  63. Very informative.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Wendy

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  64. Such a great post!!!! Very helpful information! Thanks, Natasha!

    -krista

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  65. What a great blog. I had no idea that an agent did so much! They certainly earn that 15%!

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  66. I was privileged to meet Natasha at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and shared a lunch with her. It's clear she loves what she does and is passionate about doing her utmost for her clients. Thanks for the informative post.

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  67. LOL Renee, it's amazing how much agents do but that might be pushing it.

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  68. Very informative - I will file this one away for future reference.

    Quite a nice selection of books in this giveaway! Would be great to win any of them.

    Jan Marie
    janmarien[at]embarqmail[dot]com

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  69. Great advice! Especially helpful was a rough idea of how many clients are too many and not enough. Thanks, Natasha!

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  70. This is some good info and as a reader I enjoy learning what goes on before that book is in my hands. Thanks for sharing.
    Some wonderful writers on this list I would love to win any of their books since I have several on my Kindle.
    Wilma

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  71. Oh my stars, my heavens, my gracious sakes to Betsy!

    What a fun party, but hey, man (or woman) does NOT survive on cake alone...

    Although they should.

    BUT.... late breakfast/brunch/lunch deal because in the SNOWY Northeast, it's late morning and oh... I see Captain Jack has decided to set up the food, the slacker....

    Where has he been?????

    Jack, Jack, Jack....

    I see bread pudding (recipe at www.yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com)

    And eggs, any style, Madame Zelda is cooking, it seems.

    And bacon... Ham... Sausage...

    (very low-carb friendly!)

    Potatoes.... country fries or hash browns, yum!

    And fruit.... veggie tray... Coffee... More coffee. Flavored creamers. Enjoy!!!

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  72. YAY!!! NATASHA'S BACK IN SEEKERVILLE!!!

    Have I mentioned she's the best agent in the universe???? (I may be just a teensy bit biased, but the honest truth is I sleep better at night knowing Natasha is looking out for my writing career.)

    Natasha, I don't know if Mary mentioned this, but we have reserved the luxury penthouse suite in uptown Seekerville just for you. Here's the key (gold-plated, of course)--it's yours to use any time you like, for as long as you like!

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  73. Wow such a big list of clients and books!
    Rose M.

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  74. Natasha,
    Great advice! Thanks for being with us in Seekerville.

    Loved the pics. You represent so many of my dear friends. Good for you and good for them.

    Continued success!

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  75. NATASHA!!! One of my FAVORITE people in the whole, wide world!!! Of course it sure didn't hurt that you sold me in a 3-book deal within six months AFTER I racked up 39 rejections on my own (plus the six after you signed me)! :)

    You know, I'm pretty fast in most things (walking, talking, making a fool of myself), but I will be the first to admit how ridiculously slow I was in knowing the full extent of what a gift from God you are in my life. Months before you took me on, my prayer partners prayed for a "divine connection" for me, and YOU were certainly that. But I seriously had NO idea at the time just HOW "divine" you would be in SO many areas. I am beyond blessed ... both to have you as an agent AND a dear friend.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  76. HELEN SAID: "I really like the Rangers and would have rooted for them if they had been playing anyone but the home team. Cardinals Rock!!!"

    Oh, me too, Helen!!! To be honest, my heart was bleeding for the Rangers because God knows we Cardinal fans have been on the losing end WAY more than we like, so I sure felt their pain. I kept saying "aw, I feel bad for the Rangers" last night, and my daughter would say, "knock it off, Mom -- this is Cardinal country here." So, like you, I would have rooted for Texas had I not been a Cardinal fan. I hope they're back next year and win.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  77. VIRGINIA SAID: "Julie, is that your pool??"

    LOL ... don't I wish!! Nope, that was the pool at the ACFW Conference in Denver, I think ... or maybe Texas ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  78. Recently one of Natasha's newer clients told me how surprised she was when Natasha told her to take her time and be sure that she (Natasha) was the right agent for her. This speaks volumes, doesn't it?

    Congratulations to all parties of the Natasha Kern Agency on such strong, sound relationships. It was nice to see photos from the special lunch in St. Louis honoring you, Natasha!

    Oh my, what a list of authors and books. I'd love to be in the drawing and I'll tell you right up front, I'm in the hunt for Mary Nealy's debut novel!

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  79. RUTHY SAID: "Can you imagine Julie going 3 months per agent as she sent out queries??? 3 mos. X 45 rejections = Julie would be dead and buried before she got Natasha as an agent or was contracted."

    LOL, RUTHY ... ain't THAT the truth!! Hey, wait ... are you calling me old???

    And, thank you, CAROL, for your sweet response to Ruthy's snarky remark. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  80. Very Interesting Mrs Kern...Thanks for posting! :)

    Ganise G.Clermont

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  81. I had the great chance to meet Natasha Kern at ACFW this yr. She truly is a dream agent in so many ways. Blessings to you & your clients, Natasha!

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  82. Natasha, thank you for the article.
    Your article Love, Spirit, and Sexual Maturity in Literature resonated so strongly with me when I was researching agents. I completely agree with your stance and after finishing my nanowrimo project, I'm going to do my best to write a manuscript that explores this, hopefully well.

    Seekers, thanks for having Natasha today, and please enter me in the drawing.

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  83. This was a great post. I learned so much. I thought if any agent would accept me, I'd jump for joy. Shows how green I am. I now know to study the agent before contacting them in the future.
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Jackie Layton

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  84. Wow...Natasha must have a full plate 24/7, but I'm sure she loves what she does. No way in the world I could handle a work load like that...gotta get my reading time in, ya know what I mean? :o)

    Would love to be entered for one of the prizes today! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Christy
    southernsassythings at gmail dot com

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  85. Great tips, Natasha. I appreciate your wisdom.

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  86. Natasha,

    Thank you for an insightful post. Most informative!

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  87. This is a fun day for Seekerville!
    Thank you for your generosity.

    Please enter me in the draw!

    Jan K.

    janet(underscore)kerr(at)msn(com)

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  88. As many of you know, I've had two stories with a house for over a year now. I've contacted them three times and they say they are still under consideration.

    This last time they told me if I did fine a house that was interested before they got back to me, to let them know.

    I didn't send to any other houses, but was curious to know what am agent might do in this situation.

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  89. I had no idea how much an agent really does. Natasha does deserve the title "superagent". And what a wonderful array of books. Thanks for the chance to possibly win one.

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  90. Thanks Ms. Kern, I learned so much about what agents do and how to find one, thanks :)

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  91. Hello Everyone,

    As one of Natasha's newer clients (I may well be her NEWEST client, but I'm not positive), let me say working with Natasha is a wonderful experience. She teaches you about writing (that's not always a fun experience when you're doing something wrong, but it's still helpful). Plus she explains explains about the industry and opens so many doors that have previously been shut.

    She's also really great about encouraging you to dialogue with other agents while you're talking to her, because she wants you to make a well informed decision.

    Before I signed with her, she told me I HAD to talk to other agents (and hooked me up with some of her current clients who had been with other agents). That's when I knew I wanted to sign with her. Only someone with a lot of integrity and character would do such a thing. If someone will work for you BEFORE they're representing you, then you know he or she will work for you after you sign.

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  92. You're welcome anonymous..BUT WE HAVE TO HAVE A WAY TO CONTACT YOU. OR A NAME TO YELL INTO CYBER SPACE.

    :)

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  93. Okay Ruth, I'll take some of that bread pudding!!

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  94. Wow.

    I started listening to Natasha's class on the ACFW recording from this year and even just 25 minutes into I learned more about what agents did than I had considered before. What a weighty decision to make when you take on an agent. What encourages me more than anything, is there is no rush. I'm not in a hurry for an agent anyway, but when that time comes I know I don't need to sign the second my "dream" agent says they want me.

    Thank you Natasha--I would definately say that your clients are very blessed to have you in their corner--or rather front and center advocating for them!

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  95. What an excellent post! Thank you for clearing so many things up. I can certainly see why you call Ms. Kern a super agent. If you don't mind, I'd like to link to this post on my blog sometime at the end of next week.
    Amanda

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  96. Hi Mary & Natasha!

    Thanks for all the information Natasha! It's great meeting you here!

    Hope everyone's enjoying a great weekend!

    Only two more birthday bash days left! How did that happen :)

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

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  97. I am so pleased to see your new website! I haven't visited for awhile -- been focused on a show I was in. So proud of all you ladies! Yay!!!

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  98. That's a lot of work that an agent is responsible for...wow:) Thanks for giving your advice on what to look for in an agent!

    would love to be entered for a chance to win a book:)

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

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  99. Let me second...third...fourth Natasha's well-deserved label of 'Superagent'. I'm blessed beyond measure to be one of her clients and as someone who's had her fair share of ups and downs in this industry, I'm glad she has been on my side to help me through.

    Thanks for sharing all of your wisdom, Natasha.

    And Julie, you are certainly NOT old. ;-)

    Nancy

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  100. Ah, my ladies, it is good I brought food, I see!

    Of course, Mary would find me in disfavor if I did not attend to you on this special day, when we have Natasha among us!

    That name....

    Natasha...

    So.... beautiful! Bella! Dolce! Sweetness!

    Ah, but I digress when my singular assignment is to help my friends feed the crowds. I have brought coffee from the mountains of South America... spices from the forests of Indonesia... carrot cake from the Connealy kitchen, but first I helped Mary in the fields...

    Savvy?

    I am here, my lovely ladies of the Island and the Village. At your service.

    As always.

    Coffee?

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  101. Hi, y'all! Natasha, I love ya! And you offer way more than most agents. You are the best!!!

    Julie, I am appalled! You cheered against the Rangers? And I thought you were my friend. ;) We will seriously have to think about letting you come to ACFW in DALLAS next year.

    Hugs,

    Leanna (so sad about the Texas Rangers!)

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  102. Natasha,
    thanks for a great look into what you do as an agent. I appreciate what to consider in my own search for an agent.

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  103. Oh,to have an agent like Natasha!! I will make this a matter of prayer! She sounds awesome. Would love to win the prize(s), too!
    Susan
    jksfamily5@gmail.com

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  104. I've been your client for nearly a decade (though miraculously we haven't aged), Natasha. And was the "slow out of the gate" writer: unsold manuscripts, low advances, big learning curve, struggling to find my niche. With a big genre switch---to the wonderful place I really belong. Having a sharp, savvy, hands-on, truly professional agent has made that happen. You're still keeping a sharp eye on my career . . . and my covers. LOL, I know being forced to view and choose among those handsome headshots for the cover of Trauma Plan (May 2012) was beyond grueling! Thanks!
    This has been fun and I look forward to sending one of the folks who've commented here a signed copy of Code Triage.

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  105. As a huge fan of many of these authors...thank you so much for all you all do to get the books to us!

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  106. I've not really pursued an agent as I'm targeting a publisher that doesn't require one. After reading all that an agent does...I've got some rethinking to do ;)

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  107. Half my day went by already (got up early) and it dawned on me I actually have another question, though I'm not a writer. Seems a few days ago, (correct me if my memory isn't right) I seem to remember someone, won't mention any names, Julie, that sometimes agents contact authors to represent them. Uh oh.. more questions:
    Are you on the lookout for new upcoming authors? How do you hear about them?
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

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  108. Thanks, Natasha! Lot's to take in. I'll have to read it again. This is so timely for me. The Seeker Sisters have a way of always posted relevant things. :D

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  109. Hi Capn' Jack! I'll take a tall caramel macchiato in a grande cup with extra whipped topping...unless you have any caramel apple cider on hand?

    Wait... Knowing you, it'd probably be hard cider. I'd better stick with the macchiato. ;) Today feels like a caramel day.

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  110. So many women...

    So little time!

    Coffee....

    Tea.... Hot and cold....

    I also have a selection of fine soft drinks for your mid-day repose and repast, my lovely ladies of Seekerville...

    And was I correctly informed by my esteemed friends of the village that this is the final weekend of the BIG BIRTHDAY BASH????

    And yet, Jack will return, ladies.

    Although I'm not opposed to a little company on the island as the north winds begin to blow free along the Atlantic.

    Savvy?

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  111. NANCY!!! Thank you, sweetie -- "old," like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, I guess, which is okay if you hang with baby boomers all the time. But around the young pups like my daughter? Not so much. :) Of course, I don't act my age (read: I'm a JDBBB ... juvenile delinquent in a baby boomer body) either, so that certainly helps. :)

    LEANNA!!! SOOOO sorry, girlfriend, but I live in St. Louis in a VERY red (as in Cardinal red!) neck of the woods, so I had NO CHOICE, I assure you. But trust me, I seriously would have been rooting for the Rangers had they been up against any other team. After 40 years and a heck of a season/series, they really deserve a WS win.

    PAM ... Natasha only contacted me because she was one of the 25 query letters I sent out to agents ... uh, and the only positive response I received!! Good thing she didn't know that at the time, eh???

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  112. I LOVE Julie Lessman's books... so thankful you believed in her! I just wish her books were published quicker!! I can't wait until the new one is released!! Jo

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  113. Hey, Jack you crazy pirate. You're back... what tales do Ye have for all us land lubbers.

    I hope the winds don't blow too cold. And you don't get too crazy on that island alone.

    I'd visit if I could. Or you can come see me in Arizona where the winds don't blow cold.

    There a bit of bounty to be found in all the retirement communities too.

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  114. No WONDER I missed out on that point!! Thanks, Julie, for clearing that up for me. When my young son was in Kindergarten, his older brother came home and asked him HOW he learned so much about everyone. He said, "You don't know if you don't ask." I guess that is where I'm at some days.
    Pam Williams

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  115. Wow! That was interesting reading what an agent does. I had no idea. I like to edit books, so it was enlightening to read about the other side of things. Thanks for a wonderful blog!! tscmshupe(at)pemtel(dot)net

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  116. It was wonderful to learn more about you, Natasha. I really admire your Christian work ethic. And I must echo another's sentiments and say THANK YOU for recognizing Julie Lessman's talent! I can't imagine not having the privilege of reading her stories. Not to mention learning from her writing. I finally understood deep POV when I read her work. I hope to be half as good a writer as her someday.

    Thanks for sharing your expertise with us.

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  117. I agree with Susan. Just looking at Natasha's client list here you can see she knows a talented writer when she 'reads' one :)

    *If I sound goofy today blame it on the new blood pressure meds I've started - days before this one...hmmm *

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  118. JACK!!!! How nice to see you! I'll take a soda. If'n yer offer'n.

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  119. WElcome to Seekerville Natasha,
    Thank you for taking the time to share with us and to inform us of good agent shopping tips.

    From what I hear from my Seeker sisters, you're top notch.

    Have fun today.

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  120. Natasha, thanks for the great advice. I had never thought of all the business issues an agent would need to deal with. I've been so busy learning the craft of writing that I haven't been able to focus on the business end with my limited time. I'm sure you bless your clients daily by looking out for them so they can focus on writing their stories.

    One question for you. How would an unagented author proceed in contacting you. A query letter, a partial, or do you only accept submissions based on those authors you've met with at conferences?

    Mary, thanks for inviting Natasha. It was great hearing things from her perspective. BTW- I would love to be entered for the drawings.

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  121. Oh wow you do have your work cut out for you didn't realize how much you ladies do. This list of books sound really good and it a hugh list, thanks for the chance to win one.

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  122. Forgot my email addy.

    lead[at]hotsheet[dot]com

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  123. Hi Everyone, I'm sorry to be late to my very own party! Of course, I'm on the west coast and was up late last night reading a manuscript from one of the Seekers, Julie Lessman-- and how wonderful it was!!! :-) I'll answer all of your questions and then enjoy this sunny fall day which we are lucky to be having.
    Natasha

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  124. excellent inside advice! thanks for being so open and sharing, natasha. and thanks for hosting her, seekers! :)

    jeannie
    the character therapist

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  125. Welcome to the party Natasha! The seekerville girls really know how to throw one!

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  126. There are many things agents do that I did not even mention in my article like auditing publishers, working to change problems in the industry like the Harlequin amendment that is being sent out this week which some agents including myself worked on, or, hey, blogging!
    Natasha

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  127. If Jack's passing out sodas make mine a Pepsi please :)

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  128. Yes, I am accepting new clients. In fact, offering to represent a new client this weekend whose initials are DP! I hope she will accept!

    Walt, you should absolutely mention in a query letter if you have been asked to revise your ms. and resubmit it! Everyone in this business has enough to read and no one asks for extra work unless serious about it. Tell the agent which house and which editor it was.
    Natasha

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  129. Wow, I have reread your post twice Natasha and still my head is reeling. So much is required of an agent and I had no idea how complicated being an author could be. I can see why you are "Super Agent" and your list of clients is awesome. I have read many of these authors books and look forward to reading more.
    Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us the legal side of being an author.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  130. I have been an agent more than twenty years and have sold more than 1,200 books personally and worked on many more when I worked at S&S and for other houses. Another reason I was late today is that I've had an exceptionally busy month with 24 books sold and several deals pending next week! And this is the month of Frankfurt bookfair so foreign deals are going through-- one for Russian rights yesterday. It is also the beginning of the holiday season next week so we were publishing a dozen Christmas novellas for the holidays as ebooks by November (as well as others that were not holiday related but could sell well now). And one of our ebooks published as a promotion for a client reached #9 on the Regency bestseller list on Amazon and #21 on the Historical romance list this week and an offer from a print publisher came through as a result. It's been a busy week!!
    Natasha

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  131. Wonderful information! I wish Natasha was still taking clients. But, I am thrilled with the ACFW ones she's representing.

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  132. Natasha, I am just a reader, but it great to see from the comments today..just how much you are loved and appreciated! So a big thanks from me, too, 'cause I love these great authors....and hope to win one of the books offered today!

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  133. Thank you so much for posting this! I'm so glad I found this...it is such a help and such great encouragement. :)

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  134. Natasha, some of your clients are my friends (don’t want to name drop here) and in the years I've known them, they’ve been adamant in their praise of your work.

    But as Tina said, “Choosing an agent should take some consideration on both sides.”

    Several years ago a friend in the realm of mainstream fiction sent out a proposal to 100 potential agents simultaneously. I asked which one was her dream agent. She didn’t care. In essence, she was shooting buckshot to see who she’d hit, or even trolling for an agent to see who she could hook and land.

    So I wrote a blog post entitled Trolling For An Agent?. In my post, I compared the buckshot or trolling method to the marriage method… Pretend you are single. If you walked into a room of men, would you marry the first one you saw? Or, the first one who asked you? Well, maybe you would, but I would peruse the room carefully...see if there was one among them with that special...something.

    But the respect needs to flow both ways and if your agent of choice doesn’t see or feel the same connection with you, what do you do?

    Glynna said “We didn't hook up with that book, but we kept in contact…”. How do you keep in contact with an agent who says “You’re not ready yet” (without giving any positive signals) and leaves you floundering? If you only have 1 agent appointment a year, do you keep going back in the hopes they’ll invite further contact the next time? How do you know the agent isn’t really saying, ‘Not interested’ without using those words?

    Mary - thanks for bringing your Superagent to the party. Got any of that pop around? I feel like having a root beer. (That's a sarsaparilla to some of you.) :)

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  135. Regarding e-books, I think it is an agent's job to help her clients succeed in achieving their career goals in every possible way. For some clients, this means obtaining reversion of rights so they can publish e-books themselves and working to ensure e-books will support their goals of earning more money and supporting their careers. Several clients are earning $1,000/month/book. Why would I not support that? For example, not good idea to publish backlist titles the same month new print books are being published. I also coordinate this with their print publishers who often cannot do a book quickly as we can and WANT the additional growth in readership. Everyone wins--but cannot be done without agent involvement. We also publish backlist titles for writers who do not want to get involved in the technical side of things but want to focus on writing. I am also publishing ebooks for the heirs of clients who have died who want to keep the legacy of their relative alive.It means so much to them to give these books new life and hear from readers. I think it is not only NOT a conflict of interest but ESSENTIAL for an agent to do these things. I don't see how an agent can avoid work with clients in this area of the business that is emerging so strongly. This week I did my first deal with Amazon's Montlake imprint-- a wonderful, exciting three book deal for a client to be part of the launch of this list-- and it certainly helped that I know everyone there from working with KDP. They have been fantastic to work with in an area where the learning curve is quite steep. What would happen to these books and clients if the agent were not involved?

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  136. Some thought provoking comments by Natasha Kern. What a comfort it must be to have a agent who understands the business of publishing so that her clients can focus on writing.

    Thanks for an opportunity to win a book. It doesn't matter which one as all of the authors listed are great.

    A J Hawke

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  137. Thank you for the great advice and information. I'm going to bookmark it so I can read it again.

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  138. Yes, we get a lot of queries--around 5,000/year. And yes we look at all of them and I read quite a few although my assistants do remove those that are in genres I don't even represent. What gets my attention? The writing!!! For those of you who can't get to ACFW because of the cost or family responsibilities, etc. don't worry! We don't read much at the conference and when I read something that I fall in love with via a query EXACTLY the way you fall for a new writer and want to read all of her books-- I go after that writer. I know it is a new client when I immediately worry they will sign with another agent before I can reach them! :-)

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  139. Wow, this was a very informative interview. Natasha sounds like a committed and experienced agent. I know several of her clients, and I have always heard great comments about her skills, wisdom, and insight. Thanks for visiting Seekerville and sharing with us!
    Blessings,
    Carrie T.

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  140. I never ask for an exclusive. I think hiring an agent is like hiring any other professional, a lawyer for example. You SHOULD check out other options and compare credentials. I like writers to feel empowered and feel they should have the write to choose such an important partner and not just agree to marry the first person to ask them to dance. Yes it has happened that I've read something and the author has signed with someone else-- that's the risk I take but a reasonable one.

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  141. Natasha - so fun to see you at Seekerville! Thank you for sharing - it's a great post! I have always admired the enthusiasm your clients have for you and it is a tribute to the hard work you do and the nurturing you give!
    Warm hugs, Becky

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  142. Elizabeth, I could of course answer your question but I think this is the wrong way to go about things. I believe strongly that each writer (or painter, or musician, or scientist) must develop her own gifts-- must tell the stories that God lays on HER heart. Trying to match yourself to the market can result in works of 'craft' but not works of art or works in service to God. I am not interested in pursuing that myself. Can you imagine me telling, say Tammy Alexander that Amish fiction is hot right now and she should switch to write that? Or Mary Connealy? I do know agents who do exactly that--push their clients to write in a particular genre and are looking to represent the book of the moment as an easy sale-- I am not one of them.

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  143. Forgot to leave my email. It's been one of those days.

    A J Hawke

    ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com

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  144. Thanks for this post...it is very helpful!

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  145. Natasha, the exclusive thing is good to know for future reference.

    Christina

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  146. JO!!! You are SO adorable, you sweet thing you!! Oh, honey, if all my readers were like you and Sue below, I'd be cranking out those books like Mary Connealy!! Well, I can dream, anyway ...

    SUE!!! I do believe you and Jo kicked my day up several notches, which is saying something 'cause the Cards won last night and Natasha's here today, so I'm floatin' HIGH!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  147. I love that!! Imagine asking Mary Connealy to write a book that didn't involve killing a secondary character. (ANARCHY)LOL.

    But the point you are making is to write to your God given strengths, don't chase the market.

    Brava!!

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  148. Reading your comments are very helpful Natasha. How blessed your clients are to have such a supportive agent.

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  149. NATASHA!!! I canNOT believe you are reading Steven's story!!! I just figured you were off the hook because I didn't get it to you in time before the due date to read/suggest, so I am BLOWN AWAY! Like you have the time, my friend ... THANK YOU!!

    I would LOVE your input (it can be brief 'cause I know you are pretty swamped) to see where you think I can trim to get the word count down.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  150. Oooh, Natasha, you just posted a response to Elizabeth that has been weighing heavy on my mind. I noticed that some agents do sell almost all Amish or all Western etc., I've only queried one agent and received an exclusive, full request. It's nerve wracking to send your ms out there in the first place, but I'm constantly wondering if I'll be asked to change my genre. How do we know if the agent is trying to do what's best for the client's story by suggesting the change? If an agent begins to pressure a potential client against the grain of the writer is that warning sign for the writer?

    Thank you!

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  151. Tina,an agent wouldn't be in your situation of course. We would submit to multiple houses for one thing and would not wait a year for a response. If they are waiting to find out there is other interest (and some editors do this when they are overwhelmed with submissions)that can't happen if you have not sent it elsewhere. For an agent it is easier to just call the editor and ask "Are you REALLY interested in this writers work or not?" Sometimes editors say they will look at a manuscript if the writer can get an agent. Since agents are a screening service for publishers among other things, they are expecting agents to determine if it is worth their time. It is especially easy to say this at conferences simply because they haven't read much if anything and pitches can sound appealing. There is zero correlation between the skill of pitching well (which often is an attribute of those in sales or acting) and the skill of writing well. I expect writers to be nervous or shy when pitching and it doesn't affect my interest in their work whatsoever!

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  152. Tina I'd read just about anything Mary was willing to write. It would be interesting to see how she copes with a book without guns and cowboys. She might have to write it under a different name :)

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  153. Ah, Natasha!

    This pirate heart beats faster now!

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  154. Diana, writers can send a query through my website natashakern.com-- the requirements for submission are spelled out clearly. I want a new writer to have completed a manuscript first. I think it is a HUGE mistake to be submitting or even entering contests and getting critiques if you only have a synopsis and a few chapters. It can ruin a work because the author can be steered in different directions prematurely when the story is not clear and the writer does not yet know where it is going, the character arcs etc. First do the work with God-- write the story you have been given. THEN get responses from others that can help you to learn the craft. And expect it to take just as long as it does to succeed in every other profession-- 4-5 years is usual.

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  155. Love the way Jack says Natasha... it sounds romantic.

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  156. Hi Natasha,
    Hope you get a chance to go enjoy your nice fall weather. We've actually got a snowstorm here in NYC today. Rather bizarre! But makes for a great reading/writing day.

    Thanks so much for hanging out at Seekerville today and sharing so much of your passion for writers and their stories.

    I wasn't able to make ACFW but my CD arrived this week so I'm looking forward to listening to your workshop.

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  157. "There is zero correlation between the skill of pitching well (which often is an attribute of those in sales or acting) and the skill of writing well."


    THANK YOU!! From the bottom of my introverted heart.

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  158. LOL Tina, I almost quoted the same thing!

    Phew!

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  159. Christina, the answer is YES. If you are feeling pressured to write something that is not where your heart or talent are, be very concerned. This is common sense really. You can only be YOU. God in His wisdom has created us all in our uniqueness-- everything is one of a kind. You can try to be a knock off Rembrandt or Picasso or Vermeer but it will never work. You can learn from great artists and works but you can't BE them! You have to be YOU and write the way YOU write and learn to polish that talent. It is the agents job to be a midwife for your baby-- not to suggest the baby should be of another race or gender . ..
    Natasha

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  160. Thanks everyone for coming to the party!! Seekerville ROCKS! Hi to Becky and Naomi and all of you. Yes, Julie I will talk with you about Steven!! Yep, the ending did surprise me!!!!!! And thanks for the cake-- so yummy and calorie free too! Have a great weekend.

    Natasha

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  161. What? My comment is published twice - once with errors and once without? Is blogger still having issues or... Capt'n Jack? Did you spike my sarsaparilla?

    Where's Tina... or Mary... Julie? ... where's a Seeker when you need one? Can somebody please delete 1:47 comment? The one without the spaces ... pretty please with sugar sprinkles on top?

    Quit laughin' at me, Jack!

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  162. Thank you Natasha,

    I hope they do have some interest in the stories, they did accept a short of mine, so maybe there's hope.
    but methinks I should start looking for other venues as well.

    Sounds like I should have done that in the beginning.
    I guess a part me thinks you're not supposed to send to different houses. Don't know where I got that from and I'm not always sure what to do on that matter.

    I have reworked the story I sent to you before and would love to send it back through for another look.

    Again, thanks so much for your advice.


    And you're right an agent would have handled it differently and had the answers already.

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  163. Hi, I'm in and out today but the drawing will go on for the book giveaways.

    Natasha thanks for all your comments besides the post.

    We're learning from a master.

    And if I did write Amish, well, Amish people needed food right? they'd need to hunt? Thus guns. And if trouble came up well someone COULD get shot.

    I can see I might have trouble with all those pacifist tendencies, but I'd figure something out.

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  164. On another note. I really think Mary should write Amish romance, it would curb her appetite for mayhem...

    Of course she'd just go get herself another alter ego.


    :')

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  165. Welcome Natasha! And thank you for sharing all this great information---WOW! You truly are a SuperAgent! I honestly didn't know that agents have so many responsibilities, so this is good to know.
    Blessings, Patti Jo Moore

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  166. I have been reading faith based books ever since my mother introduced them to me. Thanks for helping the writers that work with you. We need more books like these.
    I would love to win one of these books, after I read it mom would get it next.

    Sherida D in Fla.

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  167. Lucky you Natasha getting to read Julie's manuscript...I'd be tempted to do something very bad for that opportunity LOL!

    XOXO~ Renee C

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  168. Mary,

    you can't use guns in any form in Amish stories. I thought the Amish hired people to hunt for them because guns were taboo.

    ;0)

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  169. Thanks for your postings, Natasha, really, really informative.
    One question: Are you still only looking at queries from within North America?
    Jo Graves.

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  170. Jo, I will consider writers from other countries-- I have certainly represented writers who live outside North America-- as long as it is not another planet! :-)

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  171. Hello Seekerville,
    I am just checking in to see how the hourly giveaways are going!
    Jan K.

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  172. Anita Mae asked: "How do you keep in contact with an agent who says 'You’re not ready yet' (without giving any positive signals) and leaves you floundering?"

    Well, Anita Mae, that's pretty much what Natasha told me with one of my earliest submissions to her (except the "floundering" part--I did sense a glimmer of hope on the horizon).

    So I continued to polish my stories for another couple of years while also keeping the lines of communication open--an occasional email update, meeting her at conferences, etc.

    Eventually I asked permission to resubmit, and that's when she saw enough promise to accept me as a client--though there was STILL a lot of work to do on that ms.!

    That's the great thing about Natasha. When she recognizes potential, she really works with you to bring it out. You know from the outset that she will be brutally honest but also unfailingly encouraging and supportive, and that's why I trust her implicitly.

    So whoever your "dream agent" is, make sure he or she is someone whose knowledge and opinions you respect, someone with a proven track record and an impeccable reputation in the publishing world.

    Then send the best work you're capable of, and pray for God's perfect timing.

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  173. Not that it mattered to anyone but me, but thank you, dear Seeker. Ya want your sprinkles emailed? LOL

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  174. But, Tina, I like Mary's mayhem.

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  175. Oh goodness, I knew I shouldn't have slept in this morning --there are over a 100 comments since I last checked! =)

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  176. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 29, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    Thank you for sharing Natasha. I had no idea what an agent does for an author. It is amazing all the work you put in to all of your author's works. I love learning all the different parts and people involved in publishing a book. Thanks for all the great advice.


    fantum2004ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  177. Oh my, I had no idea agents did all that. I absolutely love getting a behind the scenes look! Natasha Kern is a well known name...congrats on all the success!

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  178. Wow, these comments are awesome!

    And be still my nervous heart! I wish I would have known that bit of a gem of a news bite when I pitched this year at ACFW. Thank goodness it is ultimately the WRITING that speaks. Thank you Natasha!

    (and p.s. can I trade places with you for a few hours so I can get that chance to read Julie's latest novel?? :))

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  179. Hi Natasha!! Just taking a moment away from two Nov 1 deadlines to say how much I value your expertise, encouragement and passion for my work.

    I'm so lucky to have you as my Superagent.

    OXOXOXOX Dorothy

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  180. Like Mary, I'm in and out today on posting. Must get ready for concert at church. My husband and I are running the sound for a young lady in our church who is have a concert. She's raising money to go on a mission trip.

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  181. RENEE AND CASE ... trust me, you don't want a raw manuscript like this because you guys will find out just how bad the first draft can really be!

    Although I've been to the proverbial woodshed with edits more times than I can count, all I can say is: THANK GOD FOR AGENTS AND EDITORS!!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  182. What an informative interview! I will definitely be looking at this again. Thanks for all the helpful information and a chance to get to know a superagent and her insights :)

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  183. Since I was blessed to photograph the party your clients surprised you with during ACFW in St. Louis, I got a unique glimpse at the love, respect, and gratitude these authors have for you. Their praise for you and the quality of their books are testaments to the exceptional work you do. Thank you for sharing a bit about what your job entails. Most of all, thank you for your dedication to excellence and your love for God. You are a blessing to your clients and a priceless asset to the publishing world!

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  184. So glad I came back to read the comments. I'm learning and laughing . . .

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  185. The discussion here is really helpful. Thanks to Seekerville for hosting Ms. Kern. I've learned so much and it's still early in the day.

    LyndeeH

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  186. Maggie Brendan, so nice to SEE you among the little girls' fun!

    I loved running into you and Kelly at ACFW... If I didn't tell you that I love your work, let me say it now...

    And if I did, it's worth repeating! Look for this around comment number 535 OR SO....

    children...

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  187. Girls, try some of the lemon cake...

    It's wonderful.

    Really.

    And Jack's got some colas over there. Near the playground.

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  188. Ruthy, I agree. Maggie Brendan's work is great! Thanks for stopping by Maggie!

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  189. KarenK, thanks for stopping by.

    What a crazy day in Seekerville!

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  190. LOL, Anita. You just eat your sprinkles in our honor. We love you as well.

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  191. I was hoping you'd get by today, Nancy. I was going to email you and tell you to make sure you checked out Seekerville today. : )

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  192. Im back home and getting back into things.
    This is really interesting. I didn't know much about agents. Thanks for the info. looks like a busy day too.

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  193. Hello Natasha, It was really interesting to read all about an agent in todays blog, I am a avid reader and would love to win some of the books you are giving away, thanks for sharing. I love to read comments from many of the authors that I read here,
    Paula O(Kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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