Pub Rants

Tag! I’m it.

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Status: I read one client’s full manuscript last night (stayed up late to do it). Then I had to send a huge abject letter of apology to another client because I’m only halfway through her novel and gasp, I’ve had the darn thing for a month. That sounds bad but this novel is already sold and she delivered super early—her deadline to her editor isn’t until November. So, even though I was reading avidly, I had to interrupt with the other manuscripts that had deadlines in the next 2 weeks. It’s a poor excuse I know. I plan to stay up late tonight and finish it!

Today is a positive rant.

I want everyone in the blogosphere to know that Deidre Knight is my hero.

She just rocks as a person, as an agent (her dedication to educating writers puts even me to shame), and now as a new author (if you love paranormal romance, check out PARALLEL ATTRACTION). She was one of the first agents I “met” (in quotes because originally we had only ever talked on the phone) and when I started at my own agency in 2002, she was a great cheerleader and mentor. Still is. I stay sane on the tough days because of Deidre, my gal pal.

So she tagged me this morning and it’s a call I can’t ignore.

1. First thing you did when you woke up today?
I snuggled up next to my husband, basically mashing Chutney in the process, because I had set the alarm for 5:58 a.m. to get up and work out. Brian pushed me out of bed at 6:15 and yes, I did the elliptical trainer in my building’s gym.

Upon my return, even before I showered (because New York is two hours ahead of Denver), I emailed an editor who I’m in the middle of negotiating a deal with. We are almost there. One more outstanding issue and we can close this deal.

2. Last book you read for pleasure or are currently reading for pleasure?
DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larson. It was my book club book. I was reading MARLY & ME by John Grogan before that (I’m a sucker for dog stuff). I just read and loved TRANSFORMATION by Carol Berg (run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore or computer to buy that great book!) I just finished book 2 of George RR Martin’s SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. Loving that series. I need to get book 3.

On my nightstand is Susan Carroll’s THE DARK QUEEN. I only just started it so not far enough along to make judgment.

Truly, can anyone who loves books just cite one title?

3. Something you’re excited about in your job today?
Finally closing this deal. Finishing my client’s manuscript so I can ditch my guilt.

4. Something you’re dreading?
Reviewing just-received royalty statements for accuracy. Not my favorite thing but has to be done.

5. The worst conversation you ever had with an editor?
In 2003, I did a negotiation with an editor who I had heard could be a little unpredictable. I was still taken aback when she started yelling at me during the negotiation. I literally had to hold the phone away from my ear. Eventually I said that we couldn’t discuss this now; I would call her back later and hung up.

The deal happened, and it was fine. I have not sent anything else to that editor.

6. The happiest conversation you ever had with an editor?
There are so many. How to pick just one? Okay, here’s a story. There is an editor who just recently bought one of my authors so finally we have a book together but for four years, she promptly read every submission I sent her, gave excellent and detailed feedback on why she was passing, was always open to seeing future stuff from that author or from me, and was generally just a joy as a human being—in person and during every phone conversation.

In the early days of my agenting genre fiction (especially since we didn’t handle that at my old agency and I had to create all these new contacts), it was such a pleasure to be respected and taken seriously.

7. A habit you’d like to quit?
Ignoring my query email inbox until the number waiting for a response is astronomically high.

8. A habit you’d like to acquire?
Reading faster, faster, faster. Also learning how to delegate more.

9. Greatest strength as an agent?
Nicely tough.

10. Greatest weakness?
Over-analyzing. Manuscripts, recent deals, you name it. I tend to analyze things to death when just regular analysis will do.

11. Favorite book of the past year?
GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson

12. If you weren’t agenting you might be…
retired and eating bon-bons.

13. You tag??
Nadia Cornier (because I know she blogs), Jenny Bent, Jeff Kleinman, Janet Reid, Roberta Brown (none of which have blogs (that I know of) but can guest on mine if they get the tag)

10 Responses

  1. Deidre Knight said:

    Aw, sweetie, YOU are MY hero too!! This is such fun!! 🙂 And what a great plan to get these other agents to post their tag on your blog! Let’s nudge ’em.

    PS. I *knew* you’d love Transformation! What a wonderful book.

  2. MTV said:

    12. If you weren’t agenting you might be…

    retired and eating bon-bons

    HA! Kristin – this what you think you’d be doing. From reading your past blogs – hmmm… I rather doubt it… For people like you or me, there is no retirement… when you love what you do why retire???

    You dear agent, even though there are bills to pay – really, really enjoy this and bring a lot to it – including your wonderful self!!

    By the way I did Landmark Forum also, and if you take it on seriously as you well know – it drastically changes your life – to the point where you freely reveal yourself to others –

    What a GREAT GIFT to ALL of US!!!

    THANKS –

  3. The Beautiful Schoolmarm said:

    I love Transformation. It’s one I reread every so often (I think I’m due to pull it off the shelf again soon and study everything she did right). I put George R. R. Martin on my demi-god list last year when I found A Game of Thrones (I’ll warn you, he can be absolutely brutal. Major characters dying right and left . . . oh the carnage. He’s wonderful.) I put you, Deidre and Miss Snark on the list too, btw.

  4. Ewoh Nairb said:

    It is the little thing like this list of questions that really brings home the person behind the agent. Thanks for taking on the questions and for puting it out there for other agents to play with. It is nice to see once more that you are human rather than the feared agent that an unpublished writer might see you as (yaknow, but not me of course).

    Good point by mtv as well. The more you take on transformation of your life, making it into the life you love every moment of every day, the more everything will show up like that in places you don’t expect… like your inbox, the slush pile, etc.

    I for one would love to hear about the possibilities that you have created. That would just be fascinating.

    Keep up the great work, and even though you are not my agent I’ll be rootin’ for ya.

  5. Eileen said:

    If you aren’t careful we’re going to start thinking of you as a real person versus goddess agent. Careful about giving up that goddess status.