Ask Me Anything: After the Sale

I have a new question:
Hi, Suzie! You quoted The Janet Reid as saying, “Any idiot can sell a book. It’s all the hard work after the sale that makes you a good agent.” Would you mind sharing what that post-sale hard work entails for good agents? I've always wondered what happens AFTER the sale! Thanks so much for answering our questions. Your Tumblr is a gem!
First, I have to acknowledge The Janet Reid's wisdom. She taught me quite a bit.

But to answer your question, I'm going to give you a rundown of a number of things that I do post sale. For the sake of argument, I'm including negotiating deal points and then the contract into the "sale" category.

Edits: I read my clients' works at every step of the process. If there are any edit questions or discussions, I'm there to weigh in on them.

Subrights: audio, translation, film, merchandise, etc. These are all rights that can be licensed after the US sale (or sometimes before/during).

Brand Building: I talk to my clients a great deal about what they want their brand to be. This may sound silly, but for all the books are an art and a passion, they're also a business and a product. With so many books out there, it's important to establish the author so that readers know what they'll be getting from that specific author's books. This is an overarching conversation that leads into a lot of the other things I do....such as:

Cover: Does it attract the right kind of readers?

Positioning: Does the copy and the publisher's plans reflect the target audience? Where are the readers who will love this book--and how do we make sure it's visible to them.

Long term career planning: What steps do we need to take in order to get there?

Other Projects: What's the best follow up project to our first one? What's the best project to help break an author out? etc. I'm often very involved in future projects.

Publicity/Marketing: What is the publisher going to do for publicity and marketing in trade and also in the school & library markets. Once we know that, I discuss with my authors what their plans are, what I think their plans should be, and how New Leaf and I can support them...and even how we can include the publisher on all this too. This is a big conversation.

All the Details! I've negotiated and set up events, I've helped clients organize their calendar and coordinated with their domestic and foreign publishers, I've books speaking engagements and school visits, and worked with freelancers (school and library, publicity, etc) to facilitate client promotion, I answer a lot of questions or find the answers to them, I put out fires or mediate issues, I talk to authors, editors, publicists, or anyone else who's involved in the book. I've even designed posters, advertisements, and swag.

There's more too, depending on the book, author and what comes up! I pretty much tackle it all.

For a look at a day in my life as an agent, read this article.

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1 comment:

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

And this is why I'm looking for a good agent. I honestly don't know how indies go it alone.