Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interviewed by Lazy Day Pub

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of being featured on the blog of new digital publisher, Lazy Day Publishing. Below is a copy of the interview. Be sure to check the initial post for replies to comments left.

We are honored to have Saritza Hernández, ePub Agent with L. Perkins Agency answer some questions for us today!

1. Please tell us a little bit about you.

Well, let’s see, I suppose I should start with the obvious, married with three children bit. Married my junior high school sweetheart at the age of 20 and by 25 had three amazing children who took up a lot of my time. Have worked in the textbook publishing industry for 10 years and in print media prior to that. I’ve always enjoyed the pub industry even with its ups and downs but as the industry changed, I started to look for something more. I decided to go back to school and finish my degree but as many have found, the piece of paper doesn’t always guarantee anything beyond a mountain of student loans.

My passion has always been in representing the interests of the authors whose works I admire, so shortly after finishing my college degree, I started looking for a way to do that. I found the L. Perkins agency and agreed to a mentor-ship where I quickly found myself being the sole ePub agent in the industry.

2. What does an ePub Agent do? How would this benefit an author?

An ePub agent does the same tasks a traditional literary agent performs but with an eye toward the digital era and it’s evolution. In today’s evolving industry, having an advocate who understands both the print and digital sides of the industry and can fight for the author’s rights is crucial.

3. How is an ePub Agent different than a typical Agent?

The differences are subtle. Where my colleagues take out editors to lunch to discuss pitches, I pitch via phone and email. The latter more than the former, to be honest. Everything else is exactly the same. I review contracts, discuss career planning with my clients and most of all, fight for my clients’ to get the best deal for their amazing talent. I also help my clients with their marketing and self-promotion. ePubs generally do not have the huge marketing departments traditional publishers have and much of the promotion for the book falls to the author.

4. What are you looking for in an author?

It’s cliché, I know and authors get tired of hearing about voice but really, that’s the most important thing. You either have the writing ability needed to engage the reader or you don’t. I can help polish a work for submission and often times do when I know the story is salable but I can’t teach you how to write.

I’m also looking for an author who is willing to learn or is already digitally savvy. An author with a web presence, Facebook and Twitter, yes but also a desire and ability to self-promote.

5. Since you are an ePub Agent, will you try to get an author’s book in print?

Absolutely! I always negotiate for print rights in the contract and if these are not available through the epub, I can reach out to my colleagues at the agency to help me place the work with a traditional publisher.

6. What are your feelings on Social Media? Is there one type you prefer over another?

Social Media is an invaluable tool that every author should take advantage of. I don’t prefer any one over the other but I find that Facebook and Twitter open the author to a vast readership. Having a blog is also a crucial marketing tool for any author. These tools allow for your readers to “connect” with you and when the readers feel like they know the author, they buy more of that author’s works.

7. What are your feelings on the future of the ebook vs. book?

I think there really should not be a rivalry but a merging and we are at the cusp of an incredible revolution in the pub industry. While I prefer to buy the epub version of any book, I don’t see how we could be without print as well. To me it’s just another format to provide the reader, hardcover, paperback, audiobook, epub.

8. What do you feel are the genres of today and the genres of the future?

What a great question! Just as the industry is evolving so are the genres. I see more genre straddling in the future than single-genre publishing. Romance and YA are timeless. These genres, I believe will continue to remain strong sellers. Cross-genre fiction, though is what seems to be paving the way in the digital marketplace. Suspense, paranormal erotic romance is one I’d like to see continue to grow.

9. What advice do you have for an author looking for representation?

Write the best book you can, then have it edited by someone not related or a friend. Study the industry by reading Writer’s Market, Publisher’s Weekly and Galleycat. Follow agents and editors on Twitter and read (& follow) their submission guidelines. Then send your baby in and don’t be discouraged by rejection. What one agent/editor is looking for may be (and usually is) vastly different from what another is looking for.

10. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Keep reading and keep writing! If you wake up in the morning with your characters screaming for their story to be told, write it! Don’t focus on what’s selling or not selling in today’s market. If your story is good, there is a publisher out there just dying to publish it!

I’m sure I’ve talked your ear off and you may be cross-eyed by the time you get through this interview but I want to thank Lazy Day Publishing for this opportunity.