Category Archives: Literary agent

A busy year so far

As you have noticed, I don’t write blogs here often. I simply don’t have a lot of time! I had some great best sellers last fall on several lists and I look forward to some more big name books this season. Thank you to the very few of you who have followed my submission requirements to the letter. Most of the time people just seem to harvest our email and send off anything they want to resulting in a loud “no” from our camp. I really don’t understand why people do that.

Anyway, as some of you know, I am also a writer and I recently had another one of my poems published on MadSwirl. I really enjoy their site. Here is the latest one for you. http://madswirl.com/poetry/2016/03/wonder-working-power/

WONDER WORKING POWER

by on March 6, 2016 :: 0 comments

On any Sunday morning in your mind,
Probably in winter, a man steps in
To a large baptismal font, or as we
Much preferred, tank. “The old now cast away
For the new. The old ways of sin now purged
For the new life of grace. Baptism just
An outward sign, but a sign nonetheless.
Let us pray.” The rolled up shirt sleeves, in lieu
Of his normal jacket and tie, tell us
That today a few of us will put on

The incorruptible. “Jason, join me,
Would you?” Jason we have known for years and
Works part-time at the local Petro Can.
Nervous at first, he tells us why he’s here.
“When my mother drank too much, we hid. My
Dad left early. He could not take it, so
My sisters and I, we kept hiding. Jill
Got married and so did Laurie. It was
Just me now, hard to hide when there’s only
You. I came to this church because….” He points

But doesn’t need to. “I… Greg invited
Me.” He motions his head shyly towards
Greg, in the same pew eight years, with the same
Yellow brown tie. They exchange smiles. “This church
Took me in and cared. Nobody else cared.
No one. Then Jesus took away my sin.
It rolled away… and now I am, now I
Am—” “Free,” our pastor whispers into his
Mic, in tears himself, as are many. The
Hurt of only knowing slightly, when you

Should know deeply, stings. A few seconds pass,
Very still. On a nod, Jason pinches
His nose and tilts his head, the pastor taking
Him in his arms, and after he has said
“In the name of the father, the son, and
The holy ghost,” briefly dips him in the
Water. Once Jason is back on his feet,
Winds whip up high. “Praise Jesus! Thank you God!”
He bounds out of the tank and we can hear
A soul leap free forever. A child sees

This and sees the hand of the Lord wiping
Away all tears. Later, when age gives what
You hope is wisdom, you think you’re either
Lucky, born into a family who
Cares, or you have Jason’s mother, in which
Case no sleep is ever sound enough. They
Don’t often baptize at the old church now;
Like speaking in tongues, or singing “There’s pow’r
In the blood of the lamb,” people have moved
On. Perhaps corruptible was always
A better fit. Or they’ve lost the eyes of
A child, who saw grace falling all day
Everywhere, as snow deep in winter.

editors note:Salvation in sanctuary. All god’s chillun jus’ wanna be safe! – mh clay

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A great start to the fall book season

So I have a lot of books hitting the shelves this fall. Just a small note to say that I currently have 3 of my client books on the Globe & Mail Canadian non-fiction best-sellers list. Not a bad way to start the fall! http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/bestsellers/bestsellers-canadian-non-fiction-may-25-2013/article4226554/

the guy on the left tie domi unflinching

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Perfunctory Post

As you can tell by the very few posts on here, I don’t blog much. I simply don’t have the time. The life of an agent never really stops- you are always looking for the next big book, the next interesting client, and of course cold calling. An agent who doesn’t cold call- doesn’t sell books. We are sales people. You can wrap that title up into a billion other phrases or explanations but this simple word is sales. Some writers claim that all they want to do is write books and leave the selling to someone else. And most of those writers shouldn’t be in sales. That’s what having an agent is for. That, and making sure that you don’t get ripped off at the negotiating table with publishers. Not every agent works out for everyone, and I’ve heard horror stories about mismatches. But if you do your due diligence you might find some representation that will help you on your publishing journey.

This year is shaping up to be a big one for me, and who knows, I might just put more stuff on this blog!

Have a good one everybody. Til next time,

Brian

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Starting off 2014 with Tie Domi

domi-236x300

Hello everyone, and I hope you had a great New Year and are trying to get through the February doldrums. For me the year started off with a bang selling the new Tie Domi Memoir to Simon & Schuster and I hope to sell three more books in the next few months. Here is some information for you on that deal: http://www.quillandquire.com/blog/index.php/industry-news/deals/tie-domi-to-publish-memoir-with-simon-schuster-canada/ 

Some of you may be wondering why I have a big football on my blog when all I seem to do is sell hockey books. Well that’s a simple answer. I love the NFL and someday I hope to sell a book about the NFL to a top American publisher. As of right now I haven’t found that particular property but I’m sure it’s out there! But until I find it I will continue to follow my passion for hockey and sell those great books!

I don’t update my blog that often, but if you do come here then I thank you! And remember, if you are submitting a proposal to my gatekeeper Doug, please be respectful not only of his time ( because he gives it freely) but also in the manner in which you communicate. We won’t tolerate bad manners around here and it’s one sure way of getting your name out into the public the wrong way. Thanks everyone!

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What to do during the summer months

Well, I see it’s time for my yearly blog update. Summer is a quiet time in traditional publishing. For the most part, editors and publishers go on vacation like other business people do, and proposals and manuscripts sit quietly waiting to be read and discovered.  So for the month of July I usually work on proposals, sourcing new clients and I take a few days off to enjoy the sunny weather at the beach  in Vancouver. If you have a manuscript or proposal that you want to send out to an agent for representation, July is the month to do it. That’s when we have the most time to review work and when we are looking for the next big deal.

On that note I would like to reiterate my submission requirements because for some reason I keep getting people submitting to me in the comments section of this blog. If you do that it’s a big fat NO.  It’s really clear on my page  who you need to send your work to, and HOW you need to send it. If I can’t trust you to read that small part on this website, then what makes you think I could sell your book? And if I get one more submission with my name misspelled I am going to have to shut this sucker down. My name is BRIAN- B-R-I-A-N  not BRAIN- B-R-A-I-N. Do everyone a favour- throw out spellcheck and read your work manually for mistakes. If you have an error in the first line of your manuscript – I toss it!

Yes, that sounds cruel, but remember. Agents don’t get paid until they sell a book. And then it’s only 15% . We do a lot more behind the scenes than most people think. It’s not just pitching, selling and doing contract negotiations. We act as a mediator when problems come up, distributors when you need help getting your book in the stores or online, and yes, in some cases a therapist when you need some support.

So this summer polish up your manuscripts and proposals (make sure they are typo free) and then follow my submission guidelines. And who knows maybe we might work together in the future.

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Visiting Toronto

Just got back from a quick trip to Toronto. It is not easy to see everyone in 3 days, but I did ok:
Wed–spent the whole day at TSN, meeting clients and potential clients
Thurs–Penguin, Mclelland and Stewart, Knopf, Doubleday, then two clients of mine at Sportsnet, then a Leafs game
Fri–HarperCollins, Anansi, Wiley, then a potential client at CBC, then a fellow agent (Rick Broadhead).
Sat–potential client, meeting at the Ritz Carleton.
Then I flew to Ottawa to meet some clients of mine, then flew back to Vancouver.
I sometimes wonder whether these trips are worthwhile, because they seldom result in a sale. Generally I pitch stuff and publishers tell me if they want a look or not. And I do personal follow-ups on pitches in progress (offer, counter-offer, signing, etc).
But most of my sales are an indirect result of these trips. In fact, since 2009, all of my sales have been to Toronto-based publishers. So I think they do pay off….eventually.

I’d like to close with some advice for people who are considering me as their agent.

Please follow the submission guidelines TO THE LETTER, and please double-check your work. You would be astonished by the mistakes I see, even people misspelling my name, which isn’t easy.

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It’s 2012, has the world ended yet?

Now that’s a tricky question to answer. Why? Because in this last year it seemed like the world of publishing had indeed started the  slow march to extinction. They are being faced with changes that are now starting to effect their bottom line and they are going to have to really dig deep to stay viable. So what does that mean for us agents?

Well, it means we are going to have to change the way we do business as well. We need to source the best manuscripts we can to sell. So if you are thinking of submitting a book, it’s now more important than ever to produce the best work you can. And look at all your publishing options.

Remember, just because you want to self-publish doesn’t mean there isn’t a contract involved. There is. And that’s where  agents are valuable. We are here to negotiate the terms so that you don’t get screwed out of sales. After all, if you are going to spend money on producing a book- why not make sure you get the best deal you can?

Last week I sold a book directly to Kobo- a digital edition of a book that had been out of print for a long time and now has a chance to be read and bought on e-readers. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to embrace change and sell the best writing we can to all the publishers out there. As much as I dislike a lot of the technology out there ( Cell phones) there are some good opportunities for readers and writers to get their work into print.

Agents aren’t just around to sell books. We are top negotiators on the side of the writer.

So, that’s my short blog about stuff. Just got back from L.A and I really wish I could have stayed longer. The rain is sure coming down in Vancouver right now. SIGH.

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