Posts

Ask the Agent: Earning Our Keep

How do agents earn their 15% commission? Ah, how do we earn it… let us count the ways. 4 An agent can often use their negotiating skills and knowledge of the marketplace to secure an advance that’s at least 15% higher than you could have gotten on your own. It’s nice when they pay for…
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Ask the Agent: Christian Worldview

“You’ve said you’re looking for books with a Christian Worldview. Why do you say that, and what does it mean?” First, almost all agents specialize in a particular type of book they represent. (I am talking about the entire universe of U.S. literary agents, both ABA & CBA.) Some represent mostly romance. Some specialize in…
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Writers Beware – Don’t Try This At Home

Sometimes my in-box turns up the most interesting things. For example, this query I received: r It showed over a dozen agents’ email addresses in the “to” line. r It was addressed to “Dear Sir/Madam.” (I don’t answer to either.) r It was not even remotely related to “Christian worldview” which is our agency’s specialty.…
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Why Are We Doing This?

My writer-friend Richard wrote poignantly last week about the pain of repeated rejections, and how it sometimes makes it hard to stick with this gig. Why do we keep writing? Why do we stay in this business? If you’ve started submitting your work to agents and/or editors, then you’ve probably joined the ranks of the…
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The Glut of Children’s and YA

I’ve mentioned in several places that I’m seeking to represent some YA and middle-grade fiction. But holy cow, I didn’t realize that would open the proverbial floodgates. My inbox is bursting at the seams with childrens and YA, especially fantasy. I’m not seeking to represent children’s books, and I don’t intend to make YA the…
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You Be the Judge

Okay, I’m opening myself up to criticism here. You may already know that I sometimes have a hard time holding myself back from ranting about things that bug me. This holds true even when I’m responding to email. Sometimes I find myself getting a little testy. Then after I hit “send” I experience some regret…
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Going Postal (About Shipping & SASE’s)

Today I went to my P.O. box and found a bunch of manuscripts I’d requested. And as always, a couple of them had been sent Priority Mail or even Express. Here’s my advice: Don’t waste your money! Only send it Priority if the agent or editor has asked you to. Otherwise, sending it Priority is…
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ASK THE AGENT: How I Get Clients

“How do you get most of your clients?” As you know, I’m in a “building” phase of this agenting gig, actively looking for clients. It’s been about three months and I’ve brought 16 writers into the agency. I thought you might find it interesting to know how I got each one. Obviously a great deal…
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FICTION Platform

Today we’re going to talk about platform for fiction writers. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, a platform isn’t necessary in order to sell your novel to a publisher (although it’s a definite plus). Publishers and agents are still looking for great stories. If you’ve written a wonderful novel, everything else is icing.…
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ASK THE AGENT: Paying Back Your Advance

Do authors ever have to pay back their advance? I mean, what if the advance is $5,000 but I only sell 2,000 books? Do I have to pay that back, or is that just the gamble that the publisher takes? No, you don’t have to pay back your advance for lack of sales, or at…
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How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

Last week I told you how book royalties work, and your comments brought up some important issues. One of them was the idea that the publisher makes a significant financial investment in each writer, with no guarantee that the book will sell. This is important to recognize and understand, because it’s one of the reasons…
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