Pub Rants

RWA Panel Extra (Bonus Material Blog Entry)

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STATUS: Just doing all my post-RWA follow up.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? TEQUILA by The Champs

On Saturday I moderated a panel called TAKE FIVE! Agents Reveal Their Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom for Career Success. Unfortunately, one of the panel members, Deidre Knight, got sick and couldn’t attend. She did, however, email me her top 5 pearls of wisdom and I get to share them with you as an added post-RWA bonus. I think they are definitely worth sharing (although these are just the framework and Deidre would have gone into more detail during the actual panel).

5 Ways That Another Author’s Career Can Sideline Yours–and we don’t mean because they’re more successful!

Here’s the big secret: the power for those authors to harm your career is all inside of YOU!

1) Don’t compare yourself to other authors. Every career, no matter if same agent, same editor, or same house, is unique. Comparison derails you with jealousy and can be toxic in a variety of ways

2) Looking at your friends careers and growing impatient. This is a long haul business and we have seen new authors who rush too hard to get projects out that should have been edited more. Don’t kneecap yourself by worrying about your friend’s recent deal.

3) Don’t decide your career is like anyone else’s. Your career is unique to you. A doctor can’t treat you based on a friend’s illness. Dig in, focus on what you need to do and forget everyone else. Write the books.

4) Soliciting advice from a committee of friends. If an Agent brings you an offer–make your decision with your agent. Don’t poll your pals about the contract, your cover, you name it. Don’t feel every facet of your career is for public consumption.

5) Be careful with your online presence. Don’t join in blog dramas or controversies. If authors are in feud, float above. Be careful how you choose industry friends and use your instincts about who might be toxic and who is not.

And for those of you who weren’t there, agent Lucienne Diver was also on the panel and she posted her topic’s Top 5 on her blog. Here’s the link.

If you were there and planned to share some of that panel info on your own blogs, don’t hesitate to put your link in the pubrants comment section. Some good stuff there so share away.

17 Responses

  1. doortoriver said:

    Ahhhhhhh, words of wisdom! And now, I will wisely not make a comment about them joining together to make Ten Commandments of Writing. You see? I didn’t do it.

  2. The Writers Canvas said:


    I first saw you moderate the ‘Agent Cartel’ panel at the RWA conference in Atlanta a few years ago, and was incredibly impressed by your ability to keep things moving in a room packed with people.

    Seeing the panel again, this time with a few new faces, was another panel worth attending. I found the information useful and informative, and appreciate all the agents’ time.

    Now if I can just get my brain back into the Eastern Time Zone, I’ll be good!

    Elaine Burroughs

  3. AstonWest said:

    Good stuff…I especially get sidetracked with #2.

    Seeing all of your writer friends online getting agent representation and publishing deals while you struggle along is much like all your friends and co-workers popping out babies every couple of weeks while you end up with fertility problems.


  4. Nancy Naigle said:

    Thanks Kristin:
    You did a great job facilitating that session. Your professionalism, smile and warmness were welcome late that afternoon when so many of us were beginning to drag.

    BTW – love the new hair do!
    Nancy Naigle
    Love stories from the crossroad of crossroad and suspense.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Don’t hang onto ‘the dream’ too long. Many of us have our ‘dream agent’, our dream ‘publishing house’. Sometimes you have to let that ‘dream’ go and embrace something else.

    Your ‘dream agent’ may NEVER like your stories of your voice, and your ‘dream house’ may never want to contract your book. Don’t try to write a book to suit an agent or a house, write the book of your heart and you’ll have a better chance of finding both the agent and the editor who loves it just as much.

  6. Anonymous said:


    Thanks for the post. It was very informative.

    However, I have another question you may or may not be able to answer. If not, can you point me in the right direction?

    If I post a piece of work on my blog, does that count as published? Or can it still be sent somewhere and I can tell them that it hasn’t been published yet?

    Thanks for your time,

    Colby Stream

  7. April said:

    I just had to comment because #5 is so true. I used to have several blogs, plus a Myspace, plus a presence on I only have my writer’s blog now, and I’m still on AW. That’s a lie. I still have my Myspace, but I haven’t been active on it for a long time.

    I don’t know how it happened, but on one of my blogs, somehow, I ended up in the middle of this huge drama! I had to end it because 1) it was getting ridiculous, 2) it was wasting time I could have been writing, and 3) I no longer wanted to blog about my personal life. That only caused problems.

    Thanks for this post! Though I have no writing career yet, these tips are so true for any career.

  8. Pema said:

    It’s easy to compare yourself to others and say “They’re better than I am”, and then lose motivation. But whoever said take the easy route anyhow?

    When one works hard, it shows.

  9. Jolie said:

    Oh, excellent post!

    Number 5 could be shortened to: Don’t behave as though you’re in high school. Even if you ARE in high school. But I guess we all do it sometimes, eh? The urge can be difficult to resist if something gets you really steamed.

  10. Arovell said:

    I’m always thankful for advice I’ve never heard before. It’s very nice to hear “Don’t compare,” and I’m surprised about the dangers of the blogging world. Thanks for posting this!

  11. Anonymous said:

    Well, I think Deidre is a brilliant agent, but I take issue with number four. If you have surrounded yourself with successful, savvy friends, then I see no harm in consulting them about the business. I can think of two situations where friends knew more than an agent–not because the agent was not good at her job (or his, as the case may be) but because the agent was new to that genre or subgenre. It was the friends who taught the author what she needed to know…the knowledge then passed to the agent.

    Just to be clear, this didn’t happen to me…I wasn’t the author in question, but I was one of friends in one case.

    That said, my agent is great about wanting to learn what my friends have to say. She may not always agree with them and she tells me so, but she knows that I’m a writer who shares my career decisions with my closest friends and she totally respects that. In turn, my friends completely respect my agent and always want to know her opinion before they voice their own.

    In other words, I think it’s best if everyone learns to work together, particularly if you are an author who does not live in a bubble and has to rely only on one other person’s professional opinion. The truth is, a lot of authors have been in the business long enough to know what’s what.