Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Day in the Life of Literary Agent Natasha Kern

  
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

  1.        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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4.  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.
  5.       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.
  6.      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.
  7. 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.
  8.    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.
  9.  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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12.  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
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15.  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.
  16.  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!
  17. 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.
  18.  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.
  19.   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
"Every Tear a Memory"!!



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!)  :)


130 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Since there's already coffee, I'm adding orange juice and tea.

I'm tired just reading this list.

I have a question. When is the best time for a writer to query agents?
1. When he/she has a completed manuscript.
2. When he/she has something published.
3. When he/she has had a request from an editor for a proposal and complete manuscript.
4. When he/she has an offer of publication from an editor.
5. Any combination of the above.

Melissa Jagears said...

Love the picture Natasha! Haven't seen it before.

And I thought MY schedule was exhausting......gotta get back to it, but wanted to say hi in case you came to the comment section....but with your list, I'd be like, you so don't have time to come to the comment section!

CatMom said...

Welcome Natasha! :)
I am EXHAUSTED just from reading what you accomplished in ONE DAY. Whew!! You must not only be exceptional at your job, but you also must possess a LOT of energy.
Thank you so much for visiting Seekerville.
Blessings, Patti Jo :)

Marianne Barkman said...

Another WOW post. I'm amazed at Natasha's list AND THE GIVEAWAYS. THANKS!!!!!

Missy Tippens said...

WOW! What a day, Natasha! I'm worn out just from reading about it!

Thanks for sharing what you do on a daily basis. I appreciate you even more now!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Dear Natasha,

I will be sending you Bruno the Masseuse. After reading that list, you deserve a good back rub.

Sheesh.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Oh, good grief, I forgot to change out of my fairy tale costume!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Testing. Testing. Back to middle aged writer woman yet??

Terri said...

Natasha, you give multi-tasking a whole new meaning. All I can say is you must love what you do.

Thanks for the glimpse of your world.

Keli Gwyn said...

Natasha, thanks for taking time out of your exceptionally busy day to visit Seekerville and give us a peek at what an agent does. I have a hunch you can relate all too well to the stresses experienced by an author on deadline.

Mary Connealy said...

Wow, Natasha.

Way to go, girl.
I do hope you get some stretches that aren't so overwhelming.

Mary Connealy said...

Also, Chocaholic Alert--that picture is misleading. It is several boxes of candy stacked.
The winner gets ONE.
(And I think I should get one, too, that seems fair!)

Wilani Wahl said...

I amazed at what you accomplish and would not like to have your to do list. You do have a very important job!

Please enter my name into the cat dish

Natasha Kern said...

Helen, all of the above are good times to query an agent. Just don't query if your first ms isn't completed. If you do have an offer you might get an agent more easily who can then manage your career.

Natasha Kern said...

Mary, it does go in cycles.August and Dec are slower months and the spring season is longer so usually less intense than fall. But it isn't predictable. I once received an offer on New Years Eve. I asked the editor why and he said he really wanted that book and knew I couldn't get competing o offers for several days.

Natasha Kern said...

Tina, I could really use that massage. I've converted to standing desk so I don't have to sit all day.

Natasha Kern said...

Terri, I really do love my job! Most of it is fun for me and it truly is a calling. It helps to bear in mind that God is truly the doer of everything. I do try to listen and pay attention.

Tina Pinson said...

Natasha, good heavens, you don't sound like you're busy enough. With all that extra time you could come by help me finish the remodel on our bathroom, Lord knows the hgtv team isn't showing up anytime soon.

;-)

It sounds like your authors are blessed to have you.

Thanks for letting us look at a day in your life.

Suzie Johnson said...

Wow, Natasha, I'm out of breath reading this. My first comment disappeared - so if this shows up twice, my apologies. I was a little surprised that the publisher canceled the contract of the author who had some personal issues. Is it common for a publisher to cancel versus extending extra time? I felt bad for the author, but I totally love your gesture in returning your portion of the advance. Thank you for the inside view.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Natasha, good morning!!!!! LAUGHING AT THE CRAZY WAY WE PUT THIS TOGETHER!!!!

And I had all these sweet Natasha and Seeker pics to embed...

The numbered list thwarted me! I had them in the original, we tweaked it yesterday, Natasha's numbers went wandering to the left stratosphere of virtuality, I fixed that, and then the pics wouldn't re-insert. I puzzled and puzzled until my puzzler was sore! :) So youse got great prize pics instead of more SEEKER pics!!!!

Isn't this list amazing? And she handles it with the aplomb of a politician (only much more honest) so she can turn the most dire situation into a common sense solution that makes everyone happy.

Smart. Savvy. Dedicated. Energetic. Focused. I laughed when I saw Melanie's lament about going through agents yesterday... I totally commiserated! Poor Natasha, though:

I'm here to stay!!! You're stuck with me now!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary.... That's the box of candy the link goes to, darling....

Check it out and let me know and I can change the pic. No one WILL EVER KNOW.


Laughing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

And it's going to snow here this weekend, so I'm going to have to pull out a more seasonally correct author pic.

Union suits, anyone?

Cindy W. said...

Wow! Just reading your schedule makes me tired. You are quite the busy lady!
Thank you for your post today!

I also like the questions Helen has posed.

Happy "almost to the end" Birthday! This has been a great month here at Seekerville! Thank you all for the fun and informative posts and giveaways!

May everyone have a blessed day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

karenk said...

wow...the everyday life of a literary agent. what an eye opening posting, thanks for sharing :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Mary Preston said...

It sounds like you do a LOT of helping. Got to love that.

The Artist Librarian said...

Wow, you are one busy lady! Thanks for the facinating peak into your life! How did you come to be an agent? Do you major in it at university or ... ?

cathyann40 said...

WOW! You're a busy person. I'd love to win that gift card.

Kara Isaac said...

Wow! That is a big day. Thanks so much for the insight :)

One question - you said that acquisitions pretty much close down after Thanksgiving. When do things usually start picking up again?

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, Natasha! Thanks SO MUCH for making time for us today. You are one AMAZING woman, and I often, often, often thank God that you're MY agent! So amazing, too, how generous you are with your time to help those of us who are newbies to this business because you have a heart for growing writers and helping us negotiate the constantly changing publishing waters. THANK YOU!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Natasha,
What an amazing insider view into your daily work life!I can see why Ruthy loves working with you, you are a real go-getter who really works hard for her clients.

Thanks for sharing all this today and thank you for all the fabulous giveaways!

Rose said...

Whew! Natasha, I'm tired just reading about your day.

What a great advocate you are for your clients.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Is this the time to confess that I was AFRAID of Natasha for a few years? Now I look back and laugh because she's so stinkin' nice and caring, but oh, to hear her teach at a conference.... I thought: EEEEEEEEEK!

Now I'm not a bit scared.

Mostly. ;)

This woman gets things done. And then does more.

My kind of girl!!!

Jackie said...

Love the fruit tray, juice, and tea. Thanks.

Natasha, I've always had a great respect and admiration for agents. After reading about one day in your live, I'm even more impressed. Thanks for sharing.

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Natasha, until you walk a mile in someone else shoes, you never know what is on their plate. Thanks for sharing part of your crazy life. I'm glad to learn about the going on of an editor.

LeAnne Bristow said...

Wow. I'm kind of speechless, and that is very hard to do! I'm guessing that there a jillion other things that happen in between the numbered items on the list. Occasionally we hear about writers who decide to leave their agents for various reasons, but I'm curious...do you ever take on a new client and after the first project decide that you aren't a good match? Do agents ever fire their clients?

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Wow, I wasn't aware that agents had such an intense job! Thanks for carving out time for us, Natasha. The peek behind the curtain is priceless for us newbies. :)

Cindy Regnier said...

Wonderful post. Natasha's list makes me tired. I have recently (just this week) signed an agent contract. I am thrilled, but after this post feel better prepared on how to relate to my agent. Not some big scary person in a far away office but a mentor, advocate and friend! Please put my name in the cat dish!

Mary Connealy said...

Good Morning Seekerville!!!!!

What amazes me is all the different things you do. So many jobs, so many details of the different parts of your job.

I'll try and leave you alone.

I probably can, but Ruthy! Who can say????

We've got her on the shortest leash the law allows!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow NATASHA, you remind me of Ruthy. How you do all that is amazing. And how blessed so many of the Seekers are to have you watching out for them. smile

Thank you so much for letting us in on your busy schedule and joining us here in Seekerville. Now we understand why it takes a long time to hear from an agent.

And how thankful we are to have agents like you. Blessings.

Deanna Stevens said...

such fun topics, please enter me into the dish :)

Jackie Smith said...

WOW, what an interesting post from such a busy lady....thanks for sharing!
And those prizes...wonderful...count me in, please!

Victoria said...

Oh my! It's mind-boggling and fascinating to know what your average day looks like. You're dealing with so many different people and circumstances. Is it hard to focus on just one client at a time?

Julie Hilton Steele said...

My question is how much coffee do you need to drink to keep going?

Great post.

Put me in for the drawings. What a pile!

Peace, Julie

Connie Queen said...

I'm feeling pretty down about myself now. I don't get anything accomplished compared to you...

You mentioned "auctions" twice. What's an auction in an agents world?

Mary Hicks said...

Mercy me!!!! I need a coffee break after reading your post, Natadha, you busy girl!

I've always heard that if you want something done, give it to a busy person.:-)

Thank you for sharing your precious minutes with us this morning.:-) Your world sounds SO exciting!

Ruthy, glad you 'twisted' her arm.:)

Connie Queen said...

Feel better now that I'm out of my fairy princess outfit.

Courtney Phillips said...

Wow. You have my respect. I've often wondered about the day-to-day life of an agent. Thanks for the glimpse.

Acquisitions closes down after Thanksgiving? Thanks for that tidbit. I had no idea.

Great Seekerville prizes today!

Cynthia Herron said...

Good morning, Natasha!

I smile when my non-writing friends think we creatives just kick back and relax all day--that the ideas flow like water onto the pristine white pages/blank computer screen.

Thanks for the peek into your busy world. Sometimes, I like to think my agent lives a life of pure leisure, but I know better. :)

Thank you for sharing your time and insight with us today! (I just popped a bonbon for you. Cheers!)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Cindy R!!! Congratulations on the agent signing!

Cindy Regnier said...

Thanks Tina!

Connie Queen said...

Awesome Cindy!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Is it any wonder Natasha is so well-known in this business as one of the best (THE best) agents ever? She works mega-hard. All her clients know this. And she is smart, savvy, and perfectly suited in personality and temperament to be an awesome agent! And no, I'm not brown-nosing up, I am just grateful! :-)

Natasha Kern said...

Suzie, in the majority of situations extensions are granted. Three times this week I got due date changes. One required a contract amendment because it was a multibook contract so dominoes fell--a novella was cancelled (which another client could pick up) and all resolved. In this case,the publisher wanted to cut that part of the list so the author provided an opportunity to do that. She has another publisher and her career is on track. When publishers change their lists, agents figure out what to do for each author. This is where the original negotiation is crucial. What are penalties publisher must pay if they cancel a book?

Sally Shupe said...

Loved this post! It is supposed to snow a little bit here this weekend. Looking forward to it! I hope it's the start of a very snowy season! Very interesting glimpse into a day of an agent. Thanks for sharing!

Natasha Kern said...

Ruthy are you serious? Afraid?? This reminds me of when I was young and guys I dated said I was too intimidating! They wanted gals who weren't smarter,better educated or more successful. Lol. Remember what you said this week about strong women in your novels. I LOVE your new book!!

Janet Dean said...

Natasha, we are delighted to have you in Seekerville. Your "To Do" list is mindboggling! Beyond that insightful peek at an agent's life, I learned a couple things I didn't know. So thank you!

I write for Love Inspired so don't need an agent, but I'm thankful for Karen Solem, so glad to have an agent in my corner.

Janet

Heidi Robbins said...

Holy moly, what a day! It sounds like quite a challenging career, but I'm sure it's very rewarding. Definitely include my name in the cat dish please!!!

Natasha Kern said...

I worked in publishing in NYC mostly at S&S before becoming an agent. At the height of publisher launch parties I worked in publicity on events for celebrities like Spider man,film stars and well known authors who needed big tours. Think a couple of big weddings per month and a closet full of evening gowns. Also worked in editorial and with my science degree from Columbia University with two Nobel laureates on their virology book. I also freelanced for other publishers which is how I got tobe good at jacket and catalogue copy (that wasn't on my list that day but I commonly revise them for clients) I was busy then too! Lol.

Mz.ZeyZey said...

I'm always so interested when I see anything about agents because this is the one area of writing I'm next to clueless about. Does anyone know of any agents repping Christian romance who are currently acquiring that I can look into? The system to get anything read by the big Christian publishers without an agent is too confusing--and expensive--for me. I am submitting to Harlequin and others that don't require agents, but after reading this list of all they do, I think I may need one at some point. :D

I'd love to win anything but the chocolate, Ruthy. I'm allergic to the stuff. Everyone nearly dies when I say I'm allergic to chocolate and don't eat/drink anything with caffeine in it, but I assure you all I'm still a writer. I just handle my stress and rejections differently. :)

Wendy Newcomb said...

And how many hours do you put in in a day???? Fantastic prizes and love this blog.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

Natasha Kern said...

Janet, Karen is one of the people I admire most in this crazy biz. You are fortunate to work with her.

Connie Queen said...

Oh, and I'd love to win one of Glynna Kaye's books.

Rebecca said...

I am amazed at all you do in just one day. And to think this was an ordinary day! It seems like you do a lot of problem solving/soothing : )

candidkerry said...

Oh goodness, what a list! And what a day. Talk about multi-tasking. Thank you for this glimpse into the (busy, busy) day of an agent and the publishing world.

And thank you for all your hard work on behalf of authors! :)

Kerry

Natasha Kern said...

Kara, August is slow because too many are on vacation so boards don't meet and same at the end of the year. By mid January it picks up again but from mid Sept to mid Nov we have to do a half year of sales. Plus everything else! Spring and fall list are a long tradition because publishing was in New York and the Hudson river used to freeze so spring books could be shipped on barges after the thaw and fall books before the freeze.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

SEE???? NATASHA DIDN'T KNOW I FEARED HER!!!!

And then Mary and I went to hear her session at ACFW a couple of years back and I was wowed by the common sense initiatives she espoused... Because there's nothing scary to me about hard work and expectations, I realized what I feared was "not making the cut"...

And with a kick in the behind from several wonderful author friends, my third agent and I parted ways amicably (lovely, lovely person!!!) and I quietly approached Natasha through Mary... and we talked to see if we could speak the same language (workaholics really need to be paired with others of their kind!!!) and when she offered to represent me, I sent a message to all the Seekers with just one image:

My phone with Natasha's name and number on the display to show them we'd been talking

And it's been wonderful.

SHE THINKS CONSTANTLY.

That's the kind of person I'm a good match with because my brain doesn't rest.

Ruthy "Over her fear" Herne :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love knowing that about the barges!

I'm laughing, thinking of the woman who had the bottom of her ham cut off because her mother always did it...

And how embedded traditions become!

Next time I'm in NYC, I'm going to salute the rivers!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Natasha! I'm glad you love "Back in the Saddle"!!!

I'm tweaking it now, but had to stop by and swap howdies with you!

Natasha Kern said...

LeAnne, yes agents drop clients. I
Rarely do that and have kept clients through fallow periods. If a client wants to write in a genre I don't represent like say horror or erotica we would have to part ways. One agent I know evaluates her list annually and drops those who aren't earning enough. Money isn't my primary motivator in life and my clients are a HUGE blessing in my life so we rarely part ways. I like what they write and look forward to their new books-- and want them to succeed.

Natasha Kern said...

Sandra, you bring up a good point. Current clients must have priority over reading queries. This month I've just had to tell some writers you'll have to wait a few weeks for me to read your work and consider taking on more work. So this too has season s.

Natasha Kern said...

Victoria, this is simply not a one thing at a time job. After all, I can have a dozen or more submissions out simultaneously and field responses and questions on each as they arrive. 100 emails each day is not unusual and most are important so I usually respond to quicker things first and then complex ones. A rejection I can just forward to a client with a comment. An offer initiates a chain of events and they often come by phone. Problem solving usually means a phone call to the client to plan the solution.

Valri said...

Fantastic post and fantastic prizes! I would love to win anything except that I already have all the Glynna Kaye books! Thanks for the post, Natasha!

Chill N said...

Mercy! My to-do list looks so puny now ...

Thanks for sharing what an agent's typical day is. I don't know that I'm up to reading about an unusual day :-)

Nancy C

Becky said...

Wow, your list made me tired! I'd love to win :)

Natasha Kern said...

Connie,an auction means more than one publisher wants a submission. The agent must then advise her client to accept a pre-empt or set up auction rules which means the date time and proceedings. There can be requirements for single best bids or rounds with the number specified. After each round bidders are notified of the amount required to proceed. Too complicated to explain here but I like to elicit pre-empt s because my goal is the best long term outcome which could mean ideal editor, best PR, distribution, the list and other factors aside from money. An unearned advance is not a good career launch. Auctions are fraught with risks and have to be carefully planned and executed.

Debby Giusti said...

Natasha, you're an inspiration! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your life.

I hear nothing but praise from your clients. They love you. I can see why.

Thanks for all you do to build up the industry. You're a voice of reason and a strong advocate for your writers. They're lucky to have you. Seems you feel the same about them.

For all those looking for representation, that's the type of relationship you want with an agent.

Jeanne T said...

Natasha, that's a crazy amount of "stuff" to work through, and just this week. :) It sounds like you stay very busy helping your authors. I'm sure they are most grateful for your continuing efforts on their behalf!

Hearing all that is going on for authors and that there are still many publishing opportunities gives this pre-pubbed writer hope. :)

I'd love to be in the drawing. :)

Thanks, Seekerville, for all the wisdom you share with us still on the island! You are such a blessing on this journey!

Connie Queen said...

Thanks for explaining the auction. I guessed it was something like that, publishers fighting over my submission, but it sounds both scary and exciting.

Natasha Kern said...

ZeyZey, Sue Brower at this agency is currently accepting new clients. FYI editors acquire, agents offer representation.;-)

Lyndee H said...

Natasha,
What a great overview! As a former Realtor, I often found people had no idea what I did to market and sell their homes. It was a sweet pleasure when they thanked me at the closing table. Thanks for sharing your day.

DebH said...

Natasha
thanks for sharing your day with us, despite your lack of "spare" time for it. you are impressive and the schedule you keep wears me out just reading it. i'm nowhere near ready for an agent - but i definitely have greater respect for what y'all do.

name in the cat dish please, Ruthy. Although I've already pre-ordered the Seekerville collections. Wouldn't mind a shot at Missy's book though... or the other cool stuff, for that matter.

Janet Dean said...

Natasha, I know Karen would say the same about you. All your Seeker clients rave about you.

I love reading and writing historicals so loved the little nugget you dropped about the freeze and thaw of the Hudson River determining the release of books.

Janet

Julie Lessman said...

Okay, I'm sorry ... I'm going back to bed!!!

HOLY FREAKIN' COW, Natasha, when I talk to you on the phone, you NEVER, EVER rush me, acting like you have all the time in the day to discuss whatever question I have.

You are obviously FREAKIN' AMAZING and sleep less hours than even Mary Connealy, or else you couldn't POSSIBLY get everything done!!

I promise I will not bug for the rest of the year ... ;)

Love you and SOOOOO appreciate you!!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Rachael Koppendrayer said...

Wow. So being an agent has officially landed on my "never ever consider" list of potential jobs. But God bless you for all the work you do! It is needed!

Sherida Stewart said...

Whew, Natasha! What a list of activities! I identify with your "interrupt-driven" style. Thanks for sharing your day!

Unknown said...

WOW! And...how much coffee did you need to get you through that day?!? That's intense, let alone insane! What a day! Thank you!
Blessings,
Kelly Y

Jamie Adams said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Natasha. I love when you stop by. I'm wore out just reading about your day!

Dawnelle Anderson said...

Crazy day and great prizes

Myra Johnson said...

WELCOME, NATASHA!!!!

Of all the days to be out all morning on errands and such! Hubby and I went to the library this morning for early voting so had to run the gantlet of election propaganda and then wait in line. Then a quick stop at Walgreen's, and then on to a lunchtime small-group meeting at church.

Hmmm, my day sounds pretty tame compared to Natasha's! (Slinking away now.)

Kate said...

Wow! Great prizes! Hoping for a win!!!! JUst a question - how much sleep do you get at night????(o:

Marilyn Johnson said...

Wow, I'm not sure how you will have time to answer any of the questions, let alone read them. What an exciting life and great giveaway. :)

dlkamstra said...

Oh my goodness! I can't even fathom trying to pack that into one day. I'm truly astonished....

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Wow! Natasha might need a novel if she wrote what she does in a week :) Loved the look into her life!

Deb Kastner said...

Natasha!!!! I love this woman, and there are so many reasons why, starting that she is just a lovely, lovely human being. As for her work as an agent--just WOW. Three words: Saved. My. Sanity.

Myra Johnson said...

AMEN, DEB!!!

Julie Lessman said...

TINA SAID: "I will be sending you Bruno the Masseuse. After reading that list, you deserve a good back rub."

You have my address, too, right, Tina??? ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Elaine Stock said...

Thanks for the insight to an agent's day!

Missy Tippens said...

Myra, I've been gone all day too. This is my first chance to drop back by.

Natasha, I know you couldn't explain fully what an auction is. But just that tidbit is interesting! I've always wondered how they work.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Natasha! I am in awe of all you do and even more honored to be part of this wonderful agency!

So neat to get a peak into your busy life!

Say hi to Sue B!

Cheers,
Sue M.

Boos Mum said...

Wow. What a schedule and busy day. I would love to be entered for Myra's books. Please throw my name in the cat dish. Thanks. And Happy Birthday Seekerville.

Myra Johnson said...

Love the profile pic, BOOS MUM! So cute! Is that Boo???

Richard Mabry said...

Happy birthday to all the writers making up the Seekerville community. And thanks, Natasha, for letting us see how busy an agent can be. That's a week's worth of work, not just a day's.
Thanks for sharing. (And if you have any man-type gifts you're giving away, count me in).

Myra Johnson said...

Man-type gifts, DOC? Like, a Swiss army knife or something?

We'll check the Seekerville closet for you--LOL!

Sandy Smith said...

Natasha, you certainly do have busy days. I thought this was fascinating to learn about all you do. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share with us. What a great group of prizes you have. Please enter me for any of the prizes except Missy's book The Guy Next Door as I have already one that. It is next on my pile of books to read!

Becke said...

Natasha,

The entire time I read the list, I kept thinking breathe.

Thank you for that perspective. I will stop whining about my day job for a while.
b

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sherida Stewart! Thank you for that beautiful review for "Running on Empty"!!! You made me smile, sweet thing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Richard Mabry, chocolate and Amazon cards transcend gender....

But we've got a couple of awesome guys who read romances...

What do you think??? "Richard Reads Romance".... Most alliterative!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Boos Mum, you're in for Myra's books! Isn't that cool that she offered the whole trilogy????

Kellie Coates Gilbert, Author said...

This post only cemented how blessed I am to be your client, Natasha! Blessings on all you are juggling right now . . .

(Happy birthday, Seekerville!)

Debby Giusti said...

Such a fun day.

Thanks, Ruthy, for hosting Natasha!

Thanks, Natasha, for making our birthday celebration even more special!

Barb D said...

WOW! You sound like a very disciplined person! If you could have "help" would you pick a house cleaner, a cook, or someone to do your grocery shopping, and other errands!?
I'd like to read Pine Country Cowboy!

Jana Vanderslice said...

I think I love birthdays!!! This has been a fun month!
Please enter me in the drawing!
Thank you!!!!

Donna said...

Natasha, you must be incredibly organized! It seems like you really look out for your clients.

Please enter me.

Sherida Stewart said...

Thanks, Ruthy! :) And thanks to all of SEEKERVILLE for this fun birthday month!

Pat W said...

Happy Happy Birthday Seekerville!

Natasha, I'm in total awe of all you do on a daily basis for authors. Thank you for taking the time to show us a glimpse of your day.

I have to agree with Rachael K. I don't think I could ever consider being an agent. Much too stressful for little ole me.

Audra Harders said...

OMG, Natasha! I needed an extra cup of coffee TONIGHT about half way through your list! Amazing, true amazing.

Thanks for carving out a slice of time for Seekerville today. It's truly mind-boggling all the different hats you wear for your clients. I stand in awe of your ability to keep all your tasks and commitments straight.

Thank you, Natasha for sharing your wisdom with us!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jana!!!! I've been missing you! How are you, dear girl??????

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Isn't Natasha marvelous? When you hear her speak in person, she addresses the common sense of every situation...

And calls out people (not by name) but by association... that they should work as hard for their clients as she does.

Her work relationship with editors is nothing short of amazing, and when you think of the different authors/editors/industry professionals, I see Natasha like our choir director, able to juggle the alto undertones while lifting the spirits of the sopranos and guiding the tenors, while making sure the accompanist doesn't let the choir slow him down.... and in the end you have beautiful music!!!!

Dee LeRoye said...

Yes, please throw my name in the cat dish. I do miss my black Panther, but I don't miss his long hairs here and there about my house. And it would take me a month to do what you do in a day, Natasha. You rock, honey. Incidentally, the two little boys with the toad in my ID grew up, each found his perfect princess and between them they have 8 little princesses and a rocking prince!

Dee LeRoye said...

Just have to share this with someone. Yesterday I rec'd a note from a new reader.....a macho man who admitted to being a "closet Christian romance reader." Are there any statistics as to how many men enjoy our writing? I know ONE who readily admits to reading our stories....MINE....Mine 48 years next month.

Carolyn Chambers Clark said...

Wow, you really are so busy. No wonder there isn't that much time to take on new authors or even read queries. This puts things in better perspective. Thanks for sharing.

Patsy said...

Oh my, what great prizes! I'll take a cup of coffee and chocolates please! This is my birthday month too, so I'll take all the chocolate I can get.

Terri Wangard said...

Sounds like agents have to be good jugglers, with many more than three balls in the air at a time.

Deanna Stevens said...

Whoa... what a schedule, If I had some chocolate I'd give it to you :) please enter me in the draw, what a great giveaway ! ! !
dkstevensne@ outlook dotcom

Ruth Ann Dell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Ann Dell said...

Hi Natasha I thought my days as a preschool teacher were busy until I read your blog. How do you keep track of everything?

Please enter me in the draw.

Thank you.

bonton said...

Thank you for taking the time to write that interesting post, Natasha!!

I'm a reader who enjoys learning more about the field of writing, all that it involves and all who are involved in it. I'm a little overwhelmed by your typical day and wondering how long you have been employed in the writing industry??

I've heard/read so many wonderful comments about you and after reading your list - just pray that if I ever decide to earnestly pursue a writing career, I am fortunate enough to be one of your clients!!

Thanks for the opportunity to win some wonderful prizes!!

bonnieroof 60(at)yahoo(dot)com
Shared post!!

Janet Kerr said...

WoW that's SOME day!
Jan

Pamela Murray said...

Hi Natasha,

Thank you so much for sharing what it's like to be a literary agent. Your post mentions the "first EVER Catholic fiction list." Could you provide some more details about that? I'm interested in finding out about the submission guidelines.

Thank you!
Pam Murray

Jill Weatherholt said...

Wow, Natasha,I'm exhausted after reading your schedule. Although any work that has to do with writing and books must be invigorating. Sorry for the late response, this just came through my email. :(