Medeia Shariff has a new YA contemporary book, 52 LIKES, recently released. Here's a blurb: After a
brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie will have to follow ghostly entities, past victims of her attacker, contacting her through a social media site—why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he’ll put up a fight to remain hidden.
And a few links:
Today I'm thrilled to have debut YA author Susan Adrian and her agent Kate Testerman here to share about the author/agent relationship. And there will be a query critique by Kate and a book giveaway of TUNNEL VISION, Susan's new sci-fi thriller. Details of the giveaway will be at the end of the post.
Here's a blurb of TUNNEL VISION:
TUNNEL VISION is a young adult sff thriller with psychic spies, graveyard chases, Call of Duty, Buffy and Veronica Mars references, and a stubborn little sister you'll wish you had, even if you are an 18-year-old boy.
Doesn't it sound fantastic? It's definitely on my list to read this year.
Now here's Susan and Kate.
The Agent/Author Relationship: Working Together Successfully
Susan: The agent/author relationship has been described many ways: as like a marriage, a friendship, client/service provider…but honestly none of those quite hold up for me (especially the marriage one, unless you're married to 20-30 people at a time). I see it as a partnership. Each partner brings skills to the table that are required to not only sell a book to a good home, but manage the complex process and relationships after that sale. I bring the books, ideas, and a willingness to work hard, compromise, and promote myself. I am so glad to hand the rest of it over to Kate. Kate, what would you say are the main things you, and agents in general, bring to the table? And how do you typically view the author/agent relationship?
Kate: An agent – well, a GOOD agent – brings experience and contacts. In this internet age, anyone can call themselves an agent, hang out a shingle, and offer representation. A good agent has years of experience – if not in an agency, then in a publishing house, dealing with the other side of the business. They also need that time to build a reputable list of contacts, so that when a client comes to me with a new idea, whatever it is, I can respond with a list of editors looking for something just like that. And if there is nothing JUST like that, I can come up with editors who’ll groove on something totally new and different.
I absolutely view our relationship as a partnership. Neither one of us can be as successful alone! It’s also helpful to know that there can be ebbs and flows in our relationship, and that it doesn’t need to be entirely exclusive. (I mean, yes, you should only have one agent, but…) While you’re on submission, while I’m reading, or waiting on a contract, as you work with your editor on revisions, or I send the manuscript out to foreign publishers – there are times when either one of us may be less important to the other in the road to publication, and a good agent knows when to step aside, when to let someone be, and when to throw their muscle around.
Susan: I definitely think there is a balance between asking your agent questions, and for advice/support, and being too "needy". I try to be respectful of your time and not fire off an email every time I think of something, especially if it's just something that requires patience (ha!), but many times I just feel so much better when I do follow up, just so I know what's going on. Or asking when I don't understand something. I feel like a lot of authors are hesitant to bother their agents, which sometimes can cause unnecessary stress. Have you found that different authors need different levels of communication from you? How do you adapt to that?
Kate: Before I sign a new client, I try to have a conversation with them and figure out what their
The one thing I must add, though, is if you have a question for your agent – ASK! Don’t be afraid of them. If you are, maybe they’re not the right partner for you. I never feel like I’m being bothered by an email or a call from a client – that’s what I’m here for. And if I can save you hours worth of stress over something I can answer in five minutes, that’s what I’m going to do.
Susan: One thing I do really enjoy about our relationship is that we have a lot in common, and can talk about kids/tv shows/other books etc. But I don't want authors to think that's necessary in an agent. What I value most is the work you do for me—for us—as an advocate for my books, and I know the business side is always more important than the personal side.
Kate: Again, this is where the experience side of things comes into play. But in truth, I do love all the rest of that stuff, too. I was speaking with a colleague earlier today, and stated that my business plan was to work with people I like. And I firmly believe that's true. Your manuscript may be the hottest thing on the planet, but if you come across as a pain in the butt from our first correspondence? Then you’re not someone I want to be in business with for the long term. And the agent/author relationship IS long term. The speed of publishing is glacial, and it may easily be two years from writing “The End” to publication day. You want someone you’re not going to get sick of in three months.
Susan: This interview comes at a pretty significant time for me: a week from the publication of my first book, TUNNEL VISION. We've been through a long road together with this book. It's the one you signed me for, and it wasn't an easy sale (a full year on sub!). I've greatly appreciated all you've done with me to get to this moment. How does it feel for you, when you see a debut author's first book come out and know you were a huge part in making that happen?
Kate: It’s one of the best feelings in the world. I trot out this story quite a bit, but I remember one of the first sales I ever made, at a previous job, and while the advance was tiny, the author was still thrilled. One of the other agents, used to six figure, multi-book deals for major bestsellers, scoffed at my tiny deal, and asked “Is this worth our time?” And I remember responding with a vigorous “Hell, yes! I just made someone’s dream come true.” Every day, every time it’s a book’s birthday, I still feel that way.
Kate: The first thing that struck me was the male voice of the main character. Coldly, calculatingly, I wanted a balance to my YA list, which I saw was lacking a male voice. But Jake wooed me into caring with his love of computer gaming (how I met my husband), his persistence, and his complete love for his family, especially his sister.
And you set me up with this last question, because you know my answer: Myka. Hands down, Myka. I want Myka’s novel next, please!
Bio of Kate Testerman: After a dozen years working in publishing in New York City, Kate moved to Colorado and formed kt literary in early 2008, where she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction. Bringing to bear the experience of being part of a large agency, she enjoys all aspects of working with her authors, offering hands-on experience, personal service, and a surfeit of optimism.
Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Ellen Booraem, Stephanie Perkins, Susan Adrian, Carrie Harris, Trish Doller, and Matthew Cody, among other exciting and acclaimed authors. Kate is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Honors Program, a former cast member of the New York Renaissance Faire, and an avid collector of shoes, bags, children, and dogs. Her interests cover a broad range including contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, adventure stories, and romantic comedies. She is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR.
Bio of Susan Adrian: Susan Adrian is a 4th-generation Californian who somehow stumbled into living in Montana. She danced in a ballet company and worked in the fields of exotic pet-sitting, clothes-schlepping, and bookstore management. She’s settled in, mostly, as a scientific editor. When she’s not with her family, she keeps busy researching spy stuff, traveling, and writing more books.
Susan is represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary (firstname.lastname@example.org). For film/television rights she is represented by Jon Cassir of CAA. She is a member of SCBWI, SFWA, and ITW.
Barnes & Noble
Susan has generously offered a copy of TUNNEL VISION for a giveaway. And Kate has very generously offered a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through January 24th. If you want to me entered for the query critique as well as the book giveaway, you must let me know in the comments. I’ll announce the winner on January 26th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. The book giveaway is for US and Canada. The query critique is international.
Here's what's coming up:
On Wednesday I have a guest post by Robert Kent and a giveaway of his new middle grade book, BANNIKER BONES.
Next Monday I have a fantastic guest post by Dianne Salerni on writing a trilogy and an ARC giveaway of INQUISITOR'S MARK, the second book in her middle grade fantasy.
And the following Monday I have an interview with follower and blogger friend David Powers King and his co-author Michael Jensen and a giveaway of their fantastic YA fantasy WOVEN.
Friday that week I'll be participating in the Favorites Giveaway Hop. I'll have a lot of your and my favorite books to choose from and will also offer an Amazon Gift Card if you don't see a book you want.
Hope to see you on Wednesday!