Pub Rants

One Path to Career Suicide

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STATUS: Yes, I know. I didn’t blog yesterday. I got back to the hotel too late to form a coherent sentence. I’ll try and make up for it tonight.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WICKED GAME by Chris Isaak

Here’s a bonus tip garnered from an informal agents’ roundtable I attended (otherwise known as the bar). We were chatting about things that might not constitute author career suicide but might come close and that is when an author disses his/her editor in a public forum (be it blog, chat loop, on website, etc.)

This might seem rather obvious as something that might not be wise to do but it’s obviously not for some folks because I heard a number of stories where an author had done just that. So let’s highlight a few things.

1. Know that the editor will always find out. (Just take my word on this. The Grapevine is powerful.)

2. This makes an editor rather disinclined to help that author (or to want to continue with that author).

These types of public proclamations do not forward a writer’s career. Enough said.

On to much more fun topics such as the first RWA Spa Day hosted by yours truly. Yep, it was good to be a Nelson Agency client on Wednesday.

My authors (and their editors who could attend plus some few key guests) had a day of pampering at the Spa at the Crescent.

From left:

Top row: Nancy Berland, Linnea Sinclair, Me, Lucienne Diver, Simone Elkeles
Bottom row: Sherry Thomas, Brooke Taylor, Leah Hultenschmidt, Marianne Mancusi
Several authors/guests not pictured because they were off having amazing massages and didn’t pop into the lunch area until later (or they weren’t willing to be pictured in a bathrobe!) There were 17 of us total.

14 Responses

  1. Reid said:

    Kristen, thanks for the advice. Trust me, when you become my agent, not only will I not snipe at you on my blog, I will go to great lengths to sing your praises. I will write daily haikus in gratitude. I’ll write folk songs about you, and teach them to the native boys to pass along to their families.

    I draw the line at a tattoo of your name, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

  2. Lisa Shearin said:

    I was thinking about you all on Wednesday (and wishing I could have been there). I’ll definitely be at RWA next year. Yep, I can attest to the fact that it’s good (really good) to be one of Kristin’s clients! : )

  3. Laura Elliott said:

    I have a question for a literary agent and without Miss Snark, I don’t know where to turn!

    RWA recently changed their guidelines for publisher recognition. It’s got the online writing groups in an uproar.

    Here are RWA’s words:
    Commencing with RWA’s 2008 National Conference, for official
    publisher participation, a romance publisher must verify to RWA that
    it: (1) is not a Subsidy Publisher or Vanity Publisher; (2) has been
    releasing romance novels via national distribution for no fewer than
    three years, with no fewer than two full-length romance novels or
    novel-length romance anthologies published in each of three
    consecutive years; (3) provides per book advances of at least $1,000
    for all books; and (4) pays all authors participating in an
    anthology an advance of at least $500.

    This is effectively called all e-publishers nothing more than vanity presses.

    As an agent, do you look down on e-published credits in query letters? Are you of the mindset that e-publishers published anything that walks through the door (because they don’t pay advances and costs very little to host as an ebook)?

    Please blog about this, it has me worried.

    PS. You can read the statement from Samhain at

  4. Josephine Damian said:

    Great advice, but what about agents who publicly trash their clients?

    I was at an agent luncheon a couple of years ago (lunch was part of a conference) wherein the agent told a roomful of 100+ writers that her mega-star, best-selling author was an “absolute b*tch” – the agent went on to paint a portrait of this person as a total diva.

    My friend and I went “tsk, tsk,” and whatever fantasies we might have entertained about this well-known agent representing us went away – fast.

    While that author may be famously hard to deal with (for her agent, at least), I doubt they appreciate the agent expressing this in public.

    Email me if you want to know who agent and client are.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Some agents and editors dis readers too. Are we supposed to trust their judgement anyway?

    Seems to me any disrespecting going in any direction ought to be a red flag not to enter a business relationship with whoever is doing the dissing.

  6. Angelle said:

    an informal agents’ roundtable I attended (otherwise known as the bar).

    Can I tell you how much reading your blog sometimes makes me want to quit my job, sell my house and throw myself on some agent’s mercy to let me be their not-quite-middle-aged-slave-I-mean-intern?

  7. Dave said:

    I said this on Miss Snark’s blog.

    I had a business deal go bad. The man involved committed fraud (signed my name to several contracts) and drove the business into bankruptcy by cheating. Before I could sue him, he died of cancer. It cost me lots of money.
    That’s it. I never go beyond that description. And believe me, there are juicy details.

    If you leave an editor or agent, describe it dispassionately and be done with it. Even if it was a fire-breathing, knock-down, fever-pitched event between the two of you, DON’T satisty your “pain” by telling the world. Simple say, it didn’t work out. It was bad business for both of us and we sensibly parted ways.

    I once looked at an aquaintance who demanded the “dirty details and gossip” and I refused. That person is not my friend or aquaintance anymore.

  8. KarenEMiller said:

    I could also add to that, don’t diss your publisher (unless you include that in the editor thing) or your fans. I’ve witnessed both, and it’s pretty revolting. I especially find the idea of someone dissing the people who keep them in print distasteful.

    You want to be a professional writer? Don’t forget to be a professional.

  9. Linnea Sinclair said:

    Oh, spa day was awesome.

    I can’t state that enough.

    Someone once noted that the relationship between the agent and author was not unlike a marriage. So true. Miz K and I just seem to bump along well. Spa day not required. I still think Miz K is top notch. Even if she won’t share her Goth Punk Princess High School photos with my husband (long story…) ::evil grin:: ~Linnea

  10. Anonymous said:

    And then there are the writers who make a hobby of insulting the rejections they get, claiming it’s all for the fun of it. I wonder if they aren’t completely shooting their careers (some do have them) in the foot by doing so.

    I don’t know why their friends don’t tell them it’s a terrible idea.

  11. Anonymous said:

    I’d have to think the grape on the grapevine doing the telling in “it always gets back to the editor” is also committing career suicice…