Category Archives: Social media

On my way east- the glamorous life of a literary agent

Well, it’s that time of year again,  the pilgrimage to Toronto-the land of broken dreams and hard to reach publishers.   About twice a year I like to go and meet face to face with the publishers that I sell my books to, and set up meetings with prospective new clients. I also like to remind them all that there are amazing authors outside of the GTA.

It’s odd, but after all these years  there still seems to be an invisable force field around Toronto that some editors refuse to look past when it comes to buying manuscripts from Western Canadian writers. Some of the strongest writers in Canada are out here just waiting to be discovered, but don’t get a chance because Toronto doesn’t know who they are.

But that’s why I encourage so many writers to consider putting together a publicity platform before they start sending their work out to editors and agents. If Toronto knows who you are, there is a greater chance they will buy your book. Because in the end it’s really not the editors who are making decisions, it’s the sales people.

You have to convince the sales people that you can market and sell your book, because they are the ones that hold the purse strings. An editor can love your work, but if they can’t convince the sales people that they are going to make money, then forget it ( and a good scotch might not help).

Of course, some will just say “go to the U.S ,” there are plenty of publishers there who will take your book. Indeed, I know a few writers who have managed 3 book deals for fiction and can’t wait for their books to come out. Of course, most of those people have been writing for years and have an impressive writing resume. New novelists and writers, the ones that show up with blockbusters are one in a million. I’m not saying that you aren’t that one, but you also have to live in reality. That’s where I live. Actually I live in an apartment waiting for royalty checks to arrive.

But that’s another story. If you think you are going to make any money as a writer, think again. Think about publishing your book, doing a great amount of publicity, seeing some sales, and then getting paid maybe ( if you are lucky), a year later. And don’t forget, while you are waiting- so is your agent.

Your agent doesn’t get paid until you do. I sold two best sellers last year and I’m still waiting to see a dime from them. Yes, that’s right. Don’t expect anything for a really long time. So if you are into writing your book for money- do it online and focus your marketing that way, because retail sales are going to take a long time to show up.

Anyway, enough on the soapbox. I’m looking forward to visiting family, friends, and business partners in good old Toronto. And I hope to do some deals. I love that part of my job.That, and the fact that FOOTBALL is back on.

In the meantime, check out my submission guidelines ( Don’t submit through here- I hardly ever check my comments) and I look forward to discovering the next great best seller.
Oh and check out my associate Rachel Sentes and her site www.gal-fridaypublicity.com. She’s one of those people that can help you with your platform.

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An Agent at the Olympics

Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve written on here. I guess I’m not cut out to be with the blogging trends. A lot of people chastise me for not jumping on the bandwagon of twitter and flickr and all those other social media sites, but to be quite honest, I’d rather spend my time working with clients then talking about it online. Is it really necessary to know every little thing about everyone?

Everyone’s lives are now sound bites less than 140 characters or 30 seconds of visuals. No wonder it’s getting tough for agents to sell books. I’m proud of resisting the temptation to spend more time online. Not that I don’t waste a lot of it fooling around on Facebook. But then again, that’s how I have connected with several new clients. So I can’t knock all of social media…at the moment.

And for those of you who know me, I finally broke down and bought a cell phone. For emergencies only. And no, don’t ask me for the phone number. You won’t get it. Not even if you buy the best scotch on the market. Well maybe you’ll get it after I drink the scotch, but not before!

So, now onto my topic. Being a literary agent at the Vancouver Olympics. It’s been crazy here,but the best part of being here during this time, is that 3/4 of my clients and potential clients are here working. It’s been an amazing time.

I am a huge sports fan, and this last week I’ve been able to meet some of my hockey heroes and enjoy the stories and inside scoop about the games and events being held here. This really has been a turning point in my career, and I am looking forward to selling more books this year. The life of a literary agent can be  be extremely frustrating. There isn’t anyone to bill when people don’t show up for meetings or miss phone appointments. But I have to say that this past week has made up for all of those missed deadlines and phone calls.

It’s been pretty exciting.

If you read my blog and feel like submitting some cool sports book or cook book, then please send all queries to my associate Rachel at rachel@gal-fridaypublicity.com. She’s pretty cool.

So until I find the time to write again. Enjoy the rest of the Olympics!

Oh, PS- Click on this link to read a great column by Kevin Blackistone- with yours truly mentioned!!
http://olympics.fanhouse.com/2010/02/22/a-kick-to-canadas-collective-gut/

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