First, I want to wish all of Seekerville a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. What an awesome blog and group this is and what a change in those seven years in both the industry and the growing success for each of the writers. J
I said I would write this blog to celebrate your birthday quite a while ago, months ago. I did ask that my blog come at the end of October because I know what an intense month that always is for me: ACFW is closely followed by the Frankfurt Bookfair (meaning sales packets to all foreign agents) combined with the need to get all fall submissions out in time for editors to read and respond by Thanksgiving. Plus stacks of fall royalties arrive in early October. Plus, plans for Christmas releases and promotions for our e-pubbed books. Gulp! And meanwhile, all the other agency work continues with offers, contracts and even more, unexpected problems of all kinds.
So it wasn’t a surprise to hear from Ruthy and Mary that my blog was due now which, of course, I had not even thought about let alone written. I started to explain to Ruthy what I was doing that might prevent me from being able to write the blog and that my #1 priority had to be my clients. I wrote an off-the-top of my head list quickly because it was what was on my most urgent "TO-DO" list for that very day (not long-term projects or secondary TO-DOs like revamp the website or send group emails to clients about what is happening in the industry and market, particularly with Amazon Unlimited, which I try to do regularly). I dashed this off and sent it to Ruthy and she said: DO THIS!
I think a lot of writers are really vague on what exactly agents do every day and why they seem to be so busy. I said, “It isn’t on the theme of sevens”. She said, “We don’t care so much about that as we do about your insider perspective.” So you can blame Ruthy if you wanted something else! Here it is—the day in my life which was last Wednesday. Of course, some of these things like negotiations flow over several days or even weeks while a few are taken care of immediately. One thing you can discern is that my workday is highly interrupt-driven because I really don’t know what will happen next whether a book will hit bestseller list (and film folks start calling) or submissions are rejected or an auction is suddenly brewing. There really is no routine day and, of course, I love that! J
- I developed an offer from an editor/publisher for a client who had previously been dropped by the house because her sales were not strong enough. She IS a good writer so I talked with her editor about her writing in a different genre under a pseudonym so her numbers would not follow her to a new contract. Today, we worked out how that would happen in a three book deal (at same advance as before
- An author is being dropped by an ABA publisher precisely for lack of enough sales. Her books were published in hardcover and sold more to libraries than through bookstores so they didn’t want to publish a TP edition for her second book or acquire the third. I worked out a delay in making this decision until mid-January because there are a lot of promotions and efforts on the part of the writer that have not yet borne fruit and could pull her numbers way up. AND she has developed a new proposal in a different genre I am sending out immediately before other publishers know where she stands with her mystery series.
- A client had very serious problems with an outside editor who over-edited and even rewrote sentences and paragraphs in her book with disastrous results. I read several chapters of the edits and was appalled. After discussing this with her in-house editor and the publisher it was resolved a) the publisher will never use this outside editor again b) the in-house editor will re-edit this book from scratch and c) I am reading the revised manuscript myself to ensure that we are all on the same page and it can go to copyediting. It turned out that further substantive edits were needed first and happily we all agreed on what they were.
- A client is late on turning in a book. I read the manuscript and sent my notes to the outside editor so we could discuss how best to approach some major revisions and make a firm deadline. I needed to understand the scope of the work before I could assure the in-house editor that the schedule could be met. After an in-depth conversation, our combined notes were sent to the author in a lengthy revision letter, she was given an additional two weeks to execute them and we talked through some approaches. This is MUCH better than postponing the book to a new fiscal year and harming her chances at getting a new contract in a few months and possibly losing some terrific advance orders. This is not uncommon and, in fact, other clients were in the same situation for various reasons with hard deadlines and needed revisions.
- Three clients have books out with subagents worldwide for foreign rights. They each had reviews, endorsements and updates on PR that needed to be sent to all of my subagents that have expressed interest after these books were presented at Frankfurt recently based on pitches/proposals that I wrote. Two of these authors have had six figure incomes from foreign sales in the past and the third has sold in four languages.
- I help clients to get their backlist books published and two books needed covers this week and two were published in the past week. One has already sold over 1,500 copies—our Amazon person was Wowed! The other has gone into KDP Unlimited to help promote and sell the author’s entire list. I provided information including charts and graphs of information on what is happening with Unlimited because we first put books into the program in August and Amazon has a 60 day delay period so our first results in sales figures and KOLL borrows came in yesterday.
- A deal I have been working on with Amazon’s new Waterfall list for about six months finally came through this week. So now the writer has to decide whether she really wants to write in three genres and for two publishers. Is getting a series of her heart published as part of a launch list worth it – or will her sanity be at risk? A second offer yesterday from a small publisher that is launching the first EVER Catholic fiction list. This is an offer on the table for a client who would love to do this. Can we come to terms? This outcome is still unknown as I write this but it is clear some major concessions are going to be made.
- Editors requested a proposal from a client at ACFW. She went on a two week trip outside the country and then had to meet a deadline. So her new proposal arrived yesterday. I read it. It had problems. I told her what to do about revisions and she sent it back today—and it will go out tonight or early tomorrow because there are only 4-5 more weeks to generate offers in the fall sales season since acquisitions shut down after Thanksgiving. Further, she had received a revision letter from an editor and had only two weeks before her due date. I called the editor immediately to get a reasonable time period for her to write this novel.
- Talked today with an editor of a client about her IDEAS for a new book/new contract. I wanted to be sure that the editor liked the locale, the hooks, the story underpinnings before my client wrote a proposal to submit. Happily a green light on this project. A second concept presented to an editor received a red light. I told my client and talked through how she could keep her general idea, the period and locale but work with the board’s objections.
- A client was late turning in a book to her publisher because of personal problems. Her book is being dropped and the contract cancelled. How can I help her get back on track? First, a contract with a different publisher. Should I repay my portion of the advance when I did do all the work on this contract. Client said no. But we will do that.
- Client needs to know urgently whether the promo, a free promo of one of her books is a good idea. Should she agree? My answer: No. first, the previous book that was promoted needed to be pushed more. Second, their suggesting was a book mid-series that won’t help that series. Three, I am running a promotion for an indie novel connected to her series and we want to see how that will work plus Unlimited before giving away more books. Some to and from with the marketing manager at the publisher to resolve how this will be handled.
- A client wants to sell a book to ABA—thinks her new books are more suited to a broader readership and I think she is right. What do we do about her option with her current publisher? If we fulfill it, will they make an offer? If they do make an offer will the non-compete be extended so she cannot write for another publisher? Can she handle two publishers and the due dates? These issues were resolved, her proposal is out and I think there could well be an auction developing from the reactions of the ABA editors
- Two clients want to terminate their contracts to go indie. Is this a good idea for them or not? For one it is a good idea, but not for the other. They need to understand why. For the first writer, I’ll be letting her editor know we are terminating and she will repay the advance. For the second, I am renegotiating the contract with different due dates and even a different genre so it will work well with her indie books and produce more income.
- An editor tells me a proposal is going to their board next week. I had to contact all of the other editors who have this proposal and let them know that I have an offer pending so they will read it asap. Several requests arrived for more info about the author’s sales, her current obligations, her future plans. Needed to send all of that out immediately so everyone has a level playing field.
- An author emailed me that she has interest from Russia in one of her indie published books. Is it legit? What should she do about it? I know this publisher and have sold to them before and I’ll involve my subagent who can then also contact publishers in all Eastern European countries to generate offers.
- Meanwhile a publisher is making an offer for 3 books and a strong advance for completely unknown books, deciding the proposed books are not what they want to do next but they LOVE this author. YAY!
- Meanwhile I’m sending out emails to all the editors who have submissions to check and make sure they are being read. I discover one editor is expecting and will be on maternity leave soon—should a different editor be reading this submission? She says no, she loves the concept. I’m letting clients know about rejections the same day they come in to keep them up to date and also make sure they have a list of all the submissions that are currently out for their books and what is happening.
- All of the above were things I needed to do on the same day—but it wasn’t everything. I also got to check in with Sue who was at the Surrey Writer’s conference about some great opportunities that came up suddenly for her clients, read more proposals and reviewed manuscripts, wrote up Deal Memos for the offers, checked with accounting on all the payments that had arrived to make sure they were correct, reviewed two marketing plans for client’s books, updated spreadsheets with due date changes and submissions. And twice in the past week I got to eat a combined breakfast and lunch before 2:30PM.
- So when I was reminded I needed to also write a blog for Seekerville, I was not wild about it. Considering the events of my week, I thought of writing one titled Seven Ways to Leave Your Publisher ;-) I’ll save that for next time.
Ruthy here!!! Natasha, thank you for that overview of "A Day in the Life"! It always amazes me what you're able to pack into twenty-four hours. And Seven Ways to Leave Your Publisher... Oy vey, I can't wait to see those, LOL! I'm going to guess that there are some very big "DON'TS" on that list!
Hey, we've got punch and coffee, I've set out fruit trays and veggie trays and a dessert table laden with fresh pastries! Try those meringues, oh my stars, they're amazing!
AND HAVE WE GOT PRIZES FOR YOU!!!! We opened the Natasha client prize vault and today we are giving away these lovely gifts:
$20 Amazon Gift Card!
2 e-copies of "Hope for the Holidays" Historical Collection!!
2 e-copies of "Hope for the Holidays" Contemporary Collection!!
2 copies of Missy Tippens' "The Guy Next Door"!!
This amazing box of chocolates!!!!
2 copies of Julie Lessman's "Surprised by Love"!!
From Glynna Kaye: "A Canyon Springs Courtship", "Pine Country Cowboy" and "High Country Holiday"!!
And one copy each of Myra Johnson's: "When Clouds Roll By", "Whisper Goodbye" and
Stop by, ask questions, leave a comment and we'll throw your name in the meticulously clean cat dish in honor of our wonderful guest!!!
(I really scrubbed it good this time!) :)
(I really scrubbed it good this time!) :)