Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blog Challenge #9: Dealing with Self-Doubt

I'm sure we have all reached a point in our lives where everything comes into question. Am I good enough? Am I worth it? Do I deserve it? What if I fail again?

Writers deal with self-doubt all of the time and I know because I get those calls from clients when they reach the finish line, when all the words have been written and the book has really taken shape where the niggling feeling of "this is not my best work" comes into play. All it takes is one critique partner to not enthusiastically react to the work the way the author had hoped to send them into a corner, knees drawn up wondering if they should ever write another word.

Writers are not the only ones. I can't speak for other agents when I say this but I can assure you that there are many days where I wonder if I'm good enough. Can I do this? Can I really live off 15%? Can I sell this manuscript to New York? Can I get my client what they deserve? Can I... can I... can I?

My mantra on a post-it note
Truth is, I know I can. I KNOW I can do anything I set my mind to. It's written on a post-it note on my laptop. It's part of what I tell myself every morning while I "center" myself. "I can do this! I can be a better me than I was yesterday. I can do anything I have complete control over. I can. I can. I can." Problem is that self-doubt likes to creep in when circumstances beyond my control force me to change direction abruptly and while I've always prided myself in being adept at maneuvering that treacherous road in the past, I have come to understand that as I get older, it's more difficult to veer off quickly. Reflexes are not what they used to be and emotional reflexes even less so. Where I used to be able to shake off that feeling of uncertainty, now it festers for a bit as I look for a way to turn myself around.

I think the most frustrating part of self-doubt, at least for me, is that little voice in the background saying, "are you kidding me?" See, that little voice is usually broadcasting loud and clear when I'm on my "good" days about how bad-ass I am. There's never a sense of doubt when that little voice gets to take over the mic, center stage and remind everyone of what I'm able to do. It's the voice I allow front and center when I'm talking with clients, editors, coworkers, family and since it never really leaves it's frustrating to know the voice is there and I just can't hear it as loudly as I need to when I need it most.

When my clients are going through these moments of self-doubt and need someone to "talk 'em off the ledge" they call me. I don't always stroke egos but I soothe their minds and remind them of how good they are. We talk for a little while (or sometimes a long while) and I don't hang up until I know they're feeling well enough to get back to their computers and finish the book. I'm lucky to have a husband who is my "talk me down" guy. He doesn't stroke my ego either, just helps me remember who I am. Sometimes that's all we need. Someone to remind us of what we are and what we can do.


How do you deal with self-doubt? How do you combat it?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Announcement: Welcome Belinda McBride to the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Please join me in welcoming speculative fiction writer, Belinda McBride to the Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Belle Starr
That's right! We've signed another client and I'm not afraid to say, I'm slightly smitten with this one. Belinda McBride can best be described as incredibly diverse with a skill to make you forget you're reading a book when immersing yourself in her writing. I first fell in love with her writing when I picked up a copy of Belle Starr when in search for sci-fi romance with a kick-ass heroine. Of her books, it's still my favorite and I may just give her cookies to write me another one. How can you go wrong with bounty hunter shifters in space! ;)

Belinda McBride

Belinda was born in Inglewood, California, but grew up far to the north in the shadow of Mt. Shasta. While her upbringing seemed pretty normal to her, she was surrounded by a fascinating array of friends and family, including various cowboys, hippies, scoundrels and saints.

She has a degree in history and cultural anthropology, but in 2006 made the life-changing decision to quit her job as a public health paraprofessional and stay at home full time to care for her severely disabled niece. This difficult decision gave Belinda the gift of time, which allowed her to return to writing fiction, which she’d abandoned years before.

Belinda’s hobbies include soap making, dog shows, collecting gemstones, travel, and Chinese martial arts. She has two daughters, six Siberian Huskies, a half dozen betta fish, and an array of wild birds that visit the feeders in the front yard.

As an author, Belinda loves crossing genres, kicking taboos to the curb, and pulling from world mythology and folklore for inspiration. She won the Passionate Plume in science fiction for her m/m romance An Uncommon Whore, and the EPIC in paranormal romance for Blacque/Bleu.

Belinda is committed to taking her readers on an emotional journey and never forgets that at the end of the day, she’s writing about love.

You can find Belinda on the web at her website, goodreadsFacebook and Twitter.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Announcement: Welcome Tere Michaels to Corvisiero Literary Agency

Please join me in welcoming GLBT Romance author, Tere Michaels to the agency! Tere's highly successful M/M romance trilogy Faith, Love & Devotion have consistently hit the Amazon GLBT Top 20 and have been dubbed the "gateway" books to the gay romance genre. Her contemporary romance titles also include her very hot polyamory title Three to Get Ready at Ellora's Cave and Personal Shopper at MLR Press. I have been a fan of Ms. Michaels' work since I first read Faith & Fidelity in 2010 and have not-so-secretly fangirled her ever since.

You can find her at:
Welcome to the Corvisiero Literary Agency, Tere!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blog Challenge #8: Reasons for having representation in ePub market

Just a few of my clients
As the writer conferences continue to fill up and folks start to make appointments with various agents and editors to pitch their work, I hear the proverbial "you don't need an agent to query epubs" and I sigh, turn my iPad sideways and start writing a blog post about why, yes, you DO need representation.

So... here are just a few good reasons to have an agent in your corner when publishing in ePub or otherwise.
  1. Sale of sub-rights - You still need an agent to do this. Audio, foreign language, movie/TV, etc. are still managed through agents. If you're not aiming for the sale of these rights for your work, then yes, you may not need an agent. If you're aiming high, get an agent!
  2. Contract negotiation / Advice - Yes, you can do this on your own and those who understand contract law (specifically publishing contracts) can negotiate the contract without having to pay someone 15% commission but if you're not sure about what you should do, contact an agent or pay someone a consulting fee to help you review the contract and advise you on negotiation points. This is your livelihood you're talking about! Wouldn't you prefer to have someone in your corner who is as invested in your success as you are?
  3. Brainstorming - Authors helping authors brainstorm ideas can be a beautiful thing but are you getting saleable ideas or are you just hashing up ideas based on a "trend"? I use air quotes around the word trend because, in reality, what hits the shelves today was sold several years ago and while epublishing has a shorter pub schedule, what is found on their shelves today was likely purchased anywhere from 6-18 months ago.
  4. Career Planning - A huge part of my job consists of helping my clients prepare for the future. What are their financial goals, can the reach those with their current publisher? Are there opportunities in previous contracts to exploit rights not exercised by the publisher? Is there a market the publisher is not exploring? Are you happy with your career prospects at your current publisher?
No, you don't need an agent to get in the door to some of the ePublishers out there but it does make it easier for you to manage your career when you have a partner in the business as invested in your success as you. You need someone out there who is working for you. Who's out there, every day, working their fingers to the bone for you!
I am out here for you. You don't know what it's like to be ME out here for YOU. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok? - Jerry Maguire

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blog Challenge #7: New Office

Cartoon by Andrew Fowler (@gumshoo)
Usually, on the first day of a new job you get to meet the HR manager who takes you on a tour of the building you'll be working in, introduces you to your immediate supervisor and welcomes you aboard with a stack of papers to fill out. Carrying your little box of personal effects to your new cubicle with your supervisor in tow, you are likely introduced to a few coworkers on the way and left to settle in before someone from IT calls to help you get your computer access and voice mail information. You're given a few minutes to store your personal belongings away before your supervisor knocks on the cubicle wall, tells you of a meeting you're both late for and walks with you to the conference room telling you a little about what to expect and apologizing for not being ready for you. At least, this has been my typical first day at new jobs in the past but it's been 10 years since I've started a new job and even longer since I've had to do so outside of a virtual environment.

Picture by Alan Levine
This week was my first week at Corvisiero Literary Agency and while it would have been interesting to walk into a new building and greet the staff with Marisa in tow, sitting in a Google Hangout with the lovely ladies of the staff was much more fun! We really have an incredible staff of interns, agent apprentices and junior agents I'm very excited to be working with.

Another very different aspect of a first week when you work in a completely virtual environment is the need to ensure your files are well organized to help you access information on the fly while in the middle of a virtual conference or simply while getting acclimated to a new work environment. Our staff is pretty awesome in this regard too. I have spreadsheets for everything and seeing that the staff already had similar ones made this first week that much easier for me!

I still have a ton of work to do to get caught up on the week but this transition has been so smooth and invigorating, I'm like a kid in a candy store... or me in a bookstore. Giddy as all get-out!