Tuesday, September 23, 2014

11 Things I’ve learned about being an agent in 2014

So, I was looking through my old blog posts for ideas to repurpose or update on my blog for this month and found my 10 Things I’ve learned about being the ePub Agent in 2012. It’s interesting but those 10 things are still important now and I will likely include them when I train our junior staff but I’m learning new things every year and I fall in love with my profession more with each new tidbit I learn.

If I were to write a letter to my 2014 ePub Agent self here’s what I would add (with gifs of course because it's 2014 and gifs just make everything better):

  1. Your instincts are sharper with time and experience. You trust your gut now more than you did in 2012 especially when it comes to market trends and the commerciality of projects.
  2. Authors will continue to need support and uplifting pep talks but understand that insecurities may paralyze some of them. It’s more important to help them out of that fear than it is to get another book from them. The book will eventually come about but not without the author feeling safe in their creative space.
  3. The author’s SOs will thank you for mastering #2.
  4. Contract negotiations continue to be your favorite thing to do because it’s protecting your author’s livelihood as well as your own.
  5. Respect the business but remember that it IS a business and if you’re not working it, you’re not earning money.
  6. Marketing will consume much of your time regardless of author’s platform or distribution because your first marketing step is the pitch and it can’t be weak!
  7. You don’t have time to do everything and it’s ok to delegate work to underlings who you train to one day be as good or better than you. They are your legacy after all.
  8. Don’t walk into a room with a bat unless you’re prepared to deal with the swing. Don’t let your authors walk into a room with a bat either. There’s no bashing in publishing.
  9. Cry in private and smile in public. No one likes a whiner.
  10. Digital unit sales are important but a mass market print run should be the goal for all of your clients so keep track of those units sold and don’t just take the author’s word for it. Read the royalty statements and ask for those units to be included or ask the publisher to provide those.
  11. It’s not an “us vs them” mentality around here. You’re the advocate for the author but you’re not against publishers (small, indie, traditional, digital or otherwise).