Now that the new Knight Agency newsletter is out, with an article by Elaine Spencer, an interview with Chloe Neill, an Author Tip of the Month from Tammy Kaehler and other goodies, I’ll post up here my article from the last newsletter, drawn from the panel that Elaine and I did at the Romance Writers of America national conference along with Nephele Tempest, Nalini Singh and Deborah Blake (our esteemed moderator). And so, I give you…
I’ve talked a lot on panels recently about working with others, whether they be critique partners, fellow writers, bloggers or whathaveyou—to improve your work and your reach. This past Thursday this came up at the Romance Writers of America Conference on the panel Beyond Business: Taking the Agency/Author Relationship into the New Era, which featured Knight Agency clients Nalini Singh and Deborah Blake and TKA agents Nephele Tempest, Elaine Spencer and me.
My portion of this talk was about how an agent, a good business manager, helps you navigate through all of the possibilities out there in publishing. In addition to traditional, small press, self-publishing and the hybrid model, there are also subrights to consider, international markets and so much more.
But you all know this.
What you probably don’t know is that agents don’t just sit back and discuss opportunities you bring to them—like what to do with your new romantic suspense novel. We’re always beating the bushes, making the acquaintance of new editors, conversing with those we already know to keep abreast of what they’re looking for at the moment. But here’s the best part: they regularly coming to us as well. Because our agency handles so many well-respected authors, editors will contact us if there’s something in particular they want but aren’t seeing or approach us with proprietary ideas (concepts generated in-house that they feel are particularly marketable and for which they’re seeking out just the right author) or with tie-in work (novels, novelizations, manuals, etc. that tie in to successful media franchises like Star Wars). We can then see what authors might be a good fit, both in terms of material and scheduling, and connect people together.
And it’s not just editors who come to us. More and more, we’re hearing from producers, film people, gaming companies, even musical groups who want fiction based on their work. Some have their own book production arms, some have partnered with publishers or have generated funds and interest with Kickstarter campaigns… The important thing is that there are a wealth of possibilities and big agencies with a deep and amazing talent pools draw these opportunities out and facilitate/negotiate the deals.
Sometimes it’s authors who come to us, putting together an anthology on a theme and wondering if we have any clients who’d be interested or working on a continuity in which they’d like to get others involved.
Then there’s working together for visibility and marketing, of course! As an agency (and as individual agents), we tweet, Facebook and all as much else as we can, but getting authors together to support and promo each other is important as well. With so much out on the market, signals can get lost unless they’re boosted, and social cred (having others enthusiastic about your work and not hearing all about it from the author him/herself) is crucial.
Well, I think I’ve used up my allotment of words, but I hope that you’ve found this informative and maybe even inspirational!