Friday, January 22, 2010

About Me

I have always had a passion for the written word. It didn't matter where I happened to be, if there was a book, a newspaper, a magazine, a cereal box, I was going to read it. As I got older, I found myself editing restaurant menus, newsletters, my parents' work memos... anything with text, line spacing and graphics. But it was during a school field trip to the Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich building in Orlando, Florida, that I really fell in love with the industry. Watching and learning how textbooks were made and seeing people working in offices that smelled of printer ink, glue and wax with that slight hint of stale coffee in the air pretty much did me in. When I got home I told my mother that I would one day work in the HBJ building.

In college, I pursued a mass communication degree and was the editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Learning to edit, design and manage a weekly periodical prepared me for the work that was to come... a call from Harcourt School Publishers to come work for them! In the ten years I have been with the company, I have learned the "ins and outs" of the textbook production process while meeting and befriending folks from the various departments including the Editorial groups for the textbook divisions.

Realizing that the publishing industry was transforming and moving into the digital space, I started looking for a way to help friends of mine whose writing talent was shared only among the few of us in critique groups, fan fiction sites and writing circles. For many of these authors, the idea of sending their manuscripts to large publishers was not only daunting but practically impossible as their work did not fit the print niche. For others, the idea of making a living out of a passion was (and is to some extent) a pipe dream. Many of these authors have large fan bases in their niche of the digital worlds they occupy. I started thinking of how I could help them transition from writing for fun to writing for profit and soon after I started researching ways to represent their interests to publishers in the digital market.

Today, I am the first ePub Agent dedicated to helping those authors gain pub credits in the digital arena and wade through the waters of the changing Publishing landscape.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What a day!

Working a nine-to-five (or 8-to-four-thirty for me) and trying to get a business off the ground is hard work! I mean, there are only so many hours in the day, right? Not to mention being a wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend... I often wonder how so many successful women manage it all! I'm certainly no Kelly Ripa, I assure you and who IS these days, really! But, I digress...

The workday was rather hectic which, of course, leads to a rather frazzled end-of-day-drive home during rush hour, which thankfully, Erasure's Greatest Hits helped me to get through. I'm sorry but you just can't get road rage when you're singing The Neverending Story at the top of your lungs, you just can't! But, again I'm pulled from my own wandering thoughts by my own... wandering... thoughts... Ah, yes... hectic workday that was not just productive for work's sake, it also brought with it, the lovely Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents. I love big books and I cannot lie! Seeing this behemoth of a book (at 1094 pages, it's rather well-endowed indeed) gave me goosebumps. All that power in my hands was rather heady! I've started categorizing my spreadsheet of contacts based on the information provided and updating contacts I already had information on. Totally excited!

Things I still need to do:
  1. Name the LLC. I'm tossing a few ideas in my head. Need to get them on paper.
  2. Work on company logo, design.
  3. Register EIN.
  4. Open bank account in company's name.
  5. Edit agreements and send off to lawyer for review.
  6. Buy Quickbooks for Mac.

I'm sure there are a million other things I still need to do but just have not been able to find time to get to but I will. Much of what I also want to do is research and reach out to people in the industry for advice. Especially since what I want to do, is rather different in today's pub market.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Two Roads Diverged

Decisions, decisions! Having spent the better part of my day and night reading blogs, articles and twitter chats between literary agents and authors, I'm still unsure of whether what I would like to do for my authors is feasible and tangible. Learning how to traverse the waters of the publishing industry in the trade market after being in the textbook industry (and the production side of that behemoth, to boot) is becoming a full-time job. Not a complaint, mind you. I have always enjoyed learning and researching topics of interest but this topic is not just one I want to know about for the sake of attaining the knowledge. This topic of interest is one I want to eventually make a living out of.

A few things I'm still unsure of:
  1. Is it possible to be an agent for digital pub (epub) work only?
  2. Because print runs in the digital marketplace are traditionally less than in print (as in copies printed), is it possible for the agent to also be the publicist if only working with epub clientele?
  3. If working as both an agent and a publicist in this fashion, what is the best way to bill the client without hurting either party financially?

The more I think about what I enjoy doing and what I'd like to do for my authors, the more I want to stay with digital publishing while preparing and helping authors "land" agents in the print industry when they are ready to make the leap to big publishers, for example. I just don't know who to talk to about this for advice.

Currently reading: The Replacement Guitarist by Lori Toland.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lessons Learned Late in Life

I was talking to my best friend via e-mail today and realized that much of what she and I say to one another is what I'd love to tell all of my friends on a daily basis. Friendships, regardless of how or where they are borne are our most treasured assets and losing them, any part of them, makes us feel less worthy.

Today's discussion between us was about our "what-ifs". Here's a bit of that discussion:

There have been so many times in my life that I've wandered "what-if". What if I'd waited until I finished college to get married, what kind of life would I lead now? What if Millie had never died, would my husband be the same man I love today? What if he'd never lost his job? Where would I be right now? Every answer leads me to an image of a rather embittered woman, alone and possibly heavily medicated. Every bad thing I think has happened in my life has been God's way of reminding me that my life is truly in His hands. I can push and pull and seek to do my own thing, but at the end of the day, it's really up to Him what ends up happening in my life.

Strange, huh? That we have to go thru so much pain before we finally just give ourselves up to those powers beyond our control who ultimately guide us to a greater existence.

We are best friends because we have always been able to go to each other with our joys and sorrows without feeling like the other is going to hold anything we do or say against us. You've taught me how to be a good friend and I love you every day more and more for that above all else. At the end of the day, what are we worth if we are without friends?

So much of what I am and who I am I owe to those who have shaped my life. At every turn, I find new people who guide me and inspire me. Many of those people I have never met physically. I know them by an online handle, an e-mail address, a picture on the back of their book. Each one has been extremely influential in my life and every day I thank God for each and every one of them.

At the end of the day, what are we worth if we are without friends?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Can You Feel A Brand New Day

With the birth of a new decade comes the birth of new possibilities. While many make New Year's resolutions that have likely already been broken (been there, done that, have the t-shirt) I chose to begin the pre-teen years of this new decade with a renewed sense of purpose.

Goals for the year include:
  1. Selling first manuscript for up-and-coming author.
  2. Launch literary agent career.
  3. Gain experience and contacts in the coming year.

New blog, new direction, a new course set on the path to success!

Currently reading: Fur and Fang by Sean Michael.