STATUS: Having great fun. Started a new deal negotiation this morning. How is that anything but fun?
What song is playing on the iPod right now? STILL CAN’T by The Cranberries
I think I’m in love with Library Diva. She is having an all Ally Carter weekend on her blog. Big smooches LD!
To wrap up yesterday, you folks did a great job analyzing the Cheryl’s covers. No one caught one of the changes but to be honest, I think the cover pictures were too small to see it. In the first cover version of THE WINTER PRINCE, he is holding a cane. In the second, the cane has morphed into a sword.
Yeah, little hard to see.
Today I’m going to rant on behalf of my assistant Sara—and maybe for all assistants at agencies everywhere. I think writers are sometimes dismissive (“oh, it’s just the assistant reading my query” or “oh, it’s just the assistant who screens my sample pages”).
My suggestion? Don’t be. You know why? Because if an assistant is good (and Sara is terrific), you might just be getting read by a future agent.
I figured that maybe, just maybe, writers don’t really know how it works with an assistant, so I’ll share.
First, I hired Sara because I was tired of being way behind. It wasn’t fair to the writers, and I was missing out on good projects because response time was too slow.
Given that, I made a new commitment to respond to queries within one week and respond to sample pages in two weeks (and by the way, we aren’t quite there but really close. I’m actually the wink link in the chain at the moment).
Physically, this would not be possible without help—without training someone to screen incoming queries and sample pages.
It’s that simple.
So, I hired Sara and my first order of business was to teach her to think like me. For her first week, we sat down together, side-by-side and read queries—for two or three hours. Without saying anything, I would let her decide whether she would pop it into the folder for me to review or if she would send our auto NO response.
We did this for two days. On the third morning, I sat with her for maybe 30 minutes but it was obvious to me that she was having zero problems knowing which query I would want to see and which ones could have the NO response.
I mean it folks. Zero mistakes.
Then we tackled the partials inbox. She would take a big stack home to read (20 or 30 partials) and make a comment on whether she would forward it to me to read or whether she felt confident saying NO.
I would then read behind her. If I thought there was a partial I would have liked to have seen but she wouldn’t have forwarded it, we chatted about why etc.
By the fourth big stack of her reading (and my reading behind her), she wasn’t missing.
Because she’s that good.
And wouldn’t you rather have a quick response? Well, without assistants, that simply wouldn’t be possible.
I feel blessed that Sara loves her job. I feel doubly blessed that I don’t have to slog through bad partials or queries. Because of Sara, I get to devote real attention to reading the good stuff.
And more of it!