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Thread: Day in the life

  1. #1
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    Day in the life

    You know, I don't think I've ever seen a "day in the life" story about an agent.
    Specifically, just what kind of hoops do they jump through to get a book published?
    I keep reading that someone's agent submitted the mss to certain publishers. Is that it? Or does the agent do any selling?
    Is an agent's job just to have a good handle on what subjects are hot and what houses may be looking at a year or so from now?
    Does an agent ever go back and ask a pub to reconsider, or is a rejection written in stone?

  2. #2
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    You could do worse than take a look at 'From Pitch to Publication' by London agent Carole Blake to get an idea of the whole process.
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  3. #3
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
    You know, I don't think I've ever seen a "day in the life" story about an agent.
    Specifically, just what kind of hoops do they jump through to get a book published?
    Read the archives of Kristin Nelson's blog, particularly the ones labeled Agenting 101.

  4. #4
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    An agent who has the reputation of consistently submitting manuscripts that sell very well has to do no selling. An agent who has the reputation of delivering manuscripts that lack quality can't do anything to sell teh manuscript.

    Where an agent's power comes in handy is with the contract, and with other rights that pop up after a book becomes a hit.

  5. #5
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    I may have missed it, but I still didn't see much about what goes into a pitch... or pitches.

  6. #6
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Read Carole's book. You'll understand more then.

    Agents sell books to publishers. They do pitch them, in all sorts of ways. But agents do so much more than that: they negotiate contracts, ensure those contracts are complied with, they check royalty statements and payments are accurate, they sell subsidiary rights...

    Just read Carole's book. It's a great guide to publishing, not just agenting, and she's one of the best agents there is.

  7. #7
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
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    Some agent blogs, author blogs and conference presentations have discussed a single work's path from author through agent and editor to published book. These give an idea of an agent's day.

    A quick google search turned up this blog post http://www.rachellegardner.com/2011/12/an-agents-day/

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    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Google (not in quotes) "day in the life literary agent". You'll find a number of informative essays and blog posts.

    - Victoria

  9. #9
    Opinionated suki's Avatar
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    Search for the hashtag #agenting on twitter - you will see all kinds of insights into the daily work of an agent. And within the last year or so on Twitter there was a whole day where agents tweeted what they were doing at any given time, but I can't remember the hashtag. You might come across it while reading back.

    As for pitches, submissions, following up, discussing revisions or rejections, etc....books have many different paths, and agents can be involved in many different activities from drafting the pitch, researching the sub list, making the pitches, keeping up their contacts/communications with editors so they have an idea what the editor might take on, following up on submissions, handling questions, calls with the author, negotiations, auctions, contracts, etc.

    There are many, many steps that can be taken between acquisition and deal.

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    Still looking...

    I'm looking for something like "a day in the life" of an agent. I don't mean somebody's blog about attending a conference or putting off diving into the slush pile. I mean... what exactly does a successful or becoming-successful agent do? How many calls to eds/pubs, how many queries come across the transom that have to be read, how many of these get a second look, how many physical visits to eds/pubs are made in a day or week?

    How about a behind-the-scenes look at taking a newcomer and getting a successful book published? How many steps are involved? How much goes into selling the project each step of the way, or keeping it from being whittled to the bone? Is it like pulling teeth?

  11. #11
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    It would be the good subject of a documentary. Problem is every book is different. Some sell in hours, some years, some don't sell. Ditto the amount of work that needs to be done on them.

    Try this http://www.landaliteraryagent.com/ there's a chapter on what it's actually like to sign with an agent and the timeline.

  12. #12
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    Just culled these from another Ask the Agent thread. They are literal "Day in the Life" posts from agents, but I'm not sure if they'll address all your questions:

    From Eugenie Furniss of Furniss Lawton.
    From Jessica Faust of Bookends, LLC.
    Blog: An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump

    Link to my AW Library Page

    Represented by Lana Popovic of Chalberg & Sussman.

  13. #13
    paralibrarian GingerGunlock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thedrellum View Post
    Just culled these from another Ask the Agent thread. They are literal "Day in the Life" posts from agents, but I'm not sure if they'll address all your questions:

    From Eugenie Furniss of Furniss Lawton.
    From Jessica Faust of Bookends, LLC.
    I just read the Jessica Faust one yesterday and immediately forgot who wrote it. Thanks for saving me the trouble of losing my mind!
    My writing blog: Authorized Musings

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  14. #14
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Read Carole Blake's book From Pitch To Publication: it'll give you a good idea of what it's like (Carole's a friend of mine, but I loved the book before we met; and yes, the book is a bit out of date now but it's still useful).

  15. #15
    knows what she's looking for when she finds it! Absolute Sage
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
    I'm looking for something like "a day in the life" of an agent. I don't mean somebody's blog about attending a conference or putting off diving into the slush pile. I mean... what exactly does a successful or becoming-successful agent do? How many calls to eds/pubs, how many queries come across the transom that have to be read, how many of these get a second look, how many physical visits to eds/pubs are made in a day or week?

    How about a behind-the-scenes look at taking a newcomer and getting a successful book published? How many steps are involved? How much goes into selling the project each step of the way, or keeping it from being whittled to the bone? Is it like pulling teeth?
    But that's just the thing about being an agent -- just as there is no book that has the same path to publication, there is no day that is the same. I do wake up at about 8am every day and start working ... but the things I have on my to-do list are as varied as you can imagine, and they all go out the window as soon as emails come in demanding something different.

    For example: Today I am supposed to write blurb requests, do filing, make 'quill pens' for an author's upcoming launch party, read a manuscript, do a ton of critiques, start work on an illustrator mailing, read some slush, go to the post office ...

    oh but whoops, here's an email from one of my authors who is having a problem with her editor and needs me to read something RIGHT NOW, and here's a contract I have to read and deal with, and oh, the phone is ringing, it's a client who needs advice about something, and oh look, the mail came, and there are checks and royalty statements in it that need to be sorted out and OH MAN I FORGOT TO HAVE LUNCH better get on that! ... oh crap I didn't do any of the first things on the list, I guess I do those after 5pm. Or tomorrow...AND THE CYCLE BEGINS AGAIN.
    The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and are not those of my employer, or possibly anyone else. Salt to taste.

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  16. #16
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
    or is a rejection written in stone?
    Rejections are actually written on bricks. First they hit you on the head, then you can pave your garden paths with them.
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  17. #17
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Jessica Sinsheimer did an interview or a post about her daily routine. Try googling her name to find it.

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  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW
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    I posted a reply here, but it didn't appear, so I hit 'post' again when it showed up as i hit my 'back' button and was told I was trying to post something I already posted in less than 5 minutes. It briefly appeared and then disappeared. So I don't know if there are poltergeists here, or if one of the blogs I linked to is verboten, but...

    If you're so inclined, you can find "day in the life" posts on the blogs of Rachelle Gardener, Nathan Bransford (when he was an agent) and Janet Grant (whose post is relatively recent).

  19. #19
    paralibrarian GingerGunlock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    Rejections are actually written on bricks. First they hit you on the head, then you can pave your garden paths with them.
    This post makes me wish I hadn't throw out my rejection letters. A path of rejection bricks would be just the thing out back, once we build the gazebo!
    My writing blog: Authorized Musings

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
    I'm looking for something like "a day in the life" of an agent. I don't mean somebody's blog about attending a conference or putting off diving into the slush pile. I mean... what exactly does a successful or becoming-successful agent do? How many calls to eds/pubs, how many queries come across the transom that have to be read, how many of these get a second look, how many physical visits to eds/pubs are made in a day or week?

    How about a behind-the-scenes look at taking a newcomer and getting a successful book published? How many steps are involved? How much goes into selling the project each step of the way, or keeping it from being whittled to the bone? Is it like pulling teeth?
    I think the books and blogs mentioned to you have the answers you are looking for, but they're not compiled in one tidy place for you, unfortunately, that I know of. (In part because the answers vary so widely by agent, book, etc.)

  21. #21
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Talking



    Just reading along....
    Susan

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  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coupland View Post
    It would be the good subject of a documentary. Problem is every book is different. Some sell in hours, some years, some don't sell. Ditto the amount of work that needs to be done on them.

    Try this http://www.landaliteraryagent.com/ there's a chapter on what it's actually like to sign with an agent and the timeline.
    This was a great recommendation, Coupland. I downloaded the book for free on Amazon and found it to contain a wealth of advice. Thanks!

  23. #23
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    Jennifer,
    Thank you. This is a bit closer to what I'm looking for.
    It certainly does show how chaotic things can be. It also gives a bit of insight into why some good projects can fall through the cracks.

    Could I ask you, though: What's a "blurb request?" And a "quill pen?" (Is this a prop, or a literary term?). Yeah, I know what a blurb is, but what's a request?

    But this brings up another question. Is the agent part of the production process? Do you have a hand in cover art, promotion, editing, signing tours...?

    These are some of the questions that I never see answered in the usual "how to" articles.

    How to Land... seems to be more of the same: the same advice about spending hundreds or thousands on an editor, not querying with inane letters...
    Last edited by DennisB; 08-19-2013 at 07:36 PM.

  24. #24
    knows what she's looking for when she finds it! Absolute Sage
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
    Jennifer,
    Thank you. This is a bit closer to what I'm looking for.
    It certainly does show how chaotic things can be. It also gives a bit of insight into why some good projects can fall through the cracks.

    Could I ask you, though: What's a "blurb request?" And a "quill pen?" (Is this a prop, or a literary term?). Yeah, I know what a blurb is, but what's a request?

    But this brings up another question. Is the agent part of the production process? Do you have a hand in cover art, promotion, editing, signing tours...?
    A blurb request is me, writing to big bestselling authors agents on my author's behalf, asking them to read my author's book to potentially blurb. I do not want my authors approaching for blurbs (unless they have a very good relationship with them or something), as that can be highly uncomfortable for all parties -- so either myself or the editor will approach.

    "Quill Pens" are, in this case, quill pens. I am making them for giveaway/favor for one of my author's launch parties, because a magical quill pen features in the book. Why am I doing this? Because I am nice, and I know how, and I have a hot glue gun.

    As for your other questions - I do not have a PART in the production process, as in, I don't personally edit the book or design the cover or book the tour or whatever - but certainly, I am looped in to these conversations, and help advise my author and advocate for them as needs be.
    The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and are not those of my employer, or possibly anyone else. Salt to taste.

    http://literaticat.blogspot.com/
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