Pub Rants

Category: new clients

Accidental Children’s Agent

STATUS: My hand is tired but the holiday cards are done!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN by Chris Isaak

Two years ago I didn’t even represent anything in the world of Children’s publishing. Now it’s what I’m starting to be known for.

I should have realized this. I love high school movies with a passion (as my husband can attest). I would say that half my DVD collection is high school movies so why it didn’t occur to me that repping young adult and middle grade would be a natural fit is a mystery. I’m just glad that Ally Carter and Jennifer O’Connell insisted on writing for that market and forced me to get savvy. Now I love it.

So genres for the 8 new clients (and funny enough, quite the leaning toward children’s!). If they’ve sold already, I used their name.

Brooke Taylor—young adult
Sarah Rees Brennan—young adult fantasy
Jamie Ford—literary fiction
Helen Stringer—middle grade fantasy
Client 5—young adult
Client 6—young adult fantasy
Client 7—young adult
Client 8—women’s fiction

And you guys know what I want more of, don’t you? Adult science fiction and fantasy. I’d love to take on more romance. I’d love to take on more literary fiction like Jamie.

I don’t suggest querying now (because we close on the 19th) but come Jan. 2nd, bring it on!

TGIF! I’m out.

Make That 8!

STATUS: It’s supposed to snow again tomorrow. This could hinder our holiday card wrap up!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY by Harry Belafonte

You won’t believe what I did today. In fact, I can hardly believe it myself. I signed a new client. And that makes 8! Truly an agency record for the year.

I finished reading the manuscript last night and called the author first thing this morning. And here’s the funny part. I had to leave a message on the voicemail. I always feel a little silly saying “sorry to miss you but I’d like to offer representation so give me a call back.”

Still, that’s what the voicemail is for. I don’t think I’ve ever signed a client so late in the year. And I still have three more fulls to read by next Wednesday. I’d better get cracking.

I’ve been talking to a lot of editors this week. Most will be in next week but Thursday or Friday will be their last day in the office until the new year—that is unless they didn’t take holiday for those 3 days in between. My guess is that most will be out or working from home.

Me? I hope to be sitting on my couch eating the yummy treats my clients have sent my way (thank you!) and drinking holiday cheer (nod to Linnea) for two weeks but something tells me I’ll be tackling the new accounting system with the bookkeeper instead. Still, 2007 started off slow but it’s ending with a bang so I can’t wait to see what 2008 will bring.

Wafer-Thin Mint?

STATUS: I’ll be working late tonight to wrap some things up but come tomorrow morning, I’m officially on vacation until next Monday. No blogging until then. Happy Turkey Day!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? MARGARITAVILLE by Jimmy Buffett

As y’all know, I’m not one to answer questions posted in the comment section as a general rule but for John, I’m willing to make an exception (we did dine together after all). It’s a great question and I haven’t tackled this topic so why not.

Is there such a thing as adding one more client to a roster and that addition tips the balance into the unworkable in terms of a client list being too full?

Boy this is a loaded question because it’s going to depend on the individual agent and extenuating circumstances. Let me see if I can explain.

If an agent works for a larger firm where all he/she has to do is work with the clients and find new ones (and not manage the company, oversee contracts, accounting and all that jazz), I can easily see an agent managing a 100 plus clients successfully without stuff falling through the cracks.

And I imagine the number of clients an agent has would also depend on that individual agent’s time management ability and organizational skills. Not all are created equal in that arena let me tell you.

For me, because I’m the CEO of the company and oversee everything as well as being the principle agent, I imagine my client roster would be full around 40 clients—maybe 50 depending on how many authors were under contract or actively looking to sell new projects. That feels like the tipping point between taking on too much (just a wafer-thin mint) and feeling sane and happy working with the clients I have.

But ultimately, that’s not a static number either. I may take on another agent at my agency. I might hire full-time person to oversee contracts or marketing or whatever and thus freeing me up to focus more on the client roster.

So in this sense, there is no magic number to determine capacity (although I’m sure an algorithm could be created to try and determine it!).

I’m out.

Snooze I Lose

STATUS: Tomorrow is my last day in the office for this week so it’s a scramble to complete things (or as complete as they can be) before heading out of town on Wednesday.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BUBBLY by Colbie Caillat

If a previously published author comes my way because they are looking for new representation, it’s not an automatic yes.

Taking on a new client can be a big deal. Sure it helps to have an already established track record of sales (and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a sale imminent) but for me, I still have to love the work and be excited about these future books to take on a previously published author.

And sometimes, it just comes down to a matter of timing. This week is a great example of that. I had an author come my way whose stuff I liked and whom I also liked personally. Should have been a no-brainer but seriously, I just ran out of time with everything else going on. I ended up not being able read and get back to the author in a timely fashion. Two other agents offered to take the person on and making me too late to the game.

Snooze I lose.

Now I’m not so happy when that happens but ultimately, I already work crazy hours and there is only so much I can humanly do in a day (or over the weekend) without burning out, which means I might lose a client opportunity here and there.

It is a nice reminder to get moving for the next one that comes along!