Tuesday, June 02, 2009


For those of you following this foray into the novel writing world, and I know there at least three of you lol, here is the latest.

I met with the big time agent who said she loved the book and would give me line by line notes shortly. She didn't get down on bended knee, call me the greatest gift to writing since Jeffery Archer and offer to have my children, but I'll let that slide. Neither did she offer to actually sign me, saying that she never signs a client until the book is ready to go out. Fair enough. It was a good meeting and the broad notes she gave were very do-able. I haven't done anything about them as yet because experience in the trenches tells me that anything I do on the broad notes can easily be fucked six ways from Sunday by the line by line edit.

I got back from the meeting and checked my email. Lo and behold to my great surprise I'm invited to another meeting with another agent. I trotted along and that too seemed to go pretty well. The broad notes were a bit more onerous involving some hefty structural changes that right now I think may or may not change the tone of the book, and again he didn't whip out the papers and ask for my John Hancock.

That didn't worry me too much. With no mention of signing I was free to take or leave whatever notes I wanted and after due consideration go for a re-write with whichever agent I thought best.
Until yesterday
That was when the second agent mailed me to say he had thought about it over the weekend and wanted the old moniker asap.
To make matters more complicated the first agent mailed to say her notes would be delayed as she had to go to LA for most of this week.

So what's a girl to do? I like the second agent. He 's with a good agency, gives good notes, is a nice guy and clearly has integrity. The first agent, I've yet to see substantive notes but liked her and what she had to say and she's with an agency with major international firepower.

I guess common sense has to come in here. There's no way I can sign for the second agent without seeing the first agent's notes. As my mate Dublin pointed out, these guys spend all day pressing the reject button so I shouldn't feel bad about keeping them waiting for a decision. They do what's best for their business and therefore so should I. For my business I have to decide on who gives the best combination of getting the book into shape to sell and then selling it. Two equally important parts of the equation. I won't have all the information I need until I get the second set of substantive notes when the first agent gets back from La La land.

I don't want to piss off the second agent by stalling. As I said, I liked what he had to say, but it's a risk I have to take. This is a business when it comes down to it. And talking of business I feel a bit like a whore working two beds, trying to figure out which one is the more lucrative, but hey, no lay no pay.

I'll stall and I'll wait. If it goes tits up.... well you know me. I'll let you know!

But here is the major difference between book agents and film agents that has only just become apparent to me. Because I'm a bit thick.

A film/tv agent will take you on not because they think they can sell your script, but because they think they can use it to get you other paying work. A book agent takes you on because they think they can sell your book. End of story.

My sense of dramedy kinda likes that.


Charlie Williams said...

Good going ED. And don't have any qualms about protecting your own. What kind of agent would take something like that personally?

Right on re the film/book agent difference. But there's not a lot of paying work in the fiction world besides writing your book and getting it sold. Some, but not a lot (eg Charlie Higson and Sebastian Faulks).

potdoll said...

well done son :)


Steve the Creep said...

What's wrong with telling the first agent that you're considering signing with another? Maybe that'll get her notes to you faster.

Eleanor said...

Hey, hey!

Best of luck with both of them. :)

Jaded and Cynical said...

Is it rude to suggest an approach along the lines of 'fuck the notes?'

If a credible agent offered most of us a contract on a first novel, in this climate, we'd have signed the thing on the spot, in blood, or whatever other bodily fluid carries most legal weight.

I'd hate to play poker against you, ED. Icewater must flow through your veins.

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So the Mayans say we're all going to die this year, but for tradition sake I decided to write up goals just in case the Mayans were wrong.

So I present my goals for 2012:

1) Read. A lot.
I was able to get 57 read this year and I hope to come close to that again in '12. I don't think I'm going to try and top 57 though. If I do, fine, but I'm not going to kill myself (see goal #8). I just want to try and read some every day.

2) Finish edits for Beneath a Broken Sky.

This one is actually very achievable, because I'm almost done. I just wasn't able to get it done in December. This makes a nice easy thing for my list too :-) I like easy.

3) Edit Dagen's story and get it out to beta readers

I really need to come up with a title for this story. The first draft of it is done. Hopefully in the revisions I can find the perfect title.

4) Finish writing 1 1/2 - 2 more novels

I've already got an idea for a sequel to Dagen's story and I possibly have another I can finish. I don't want to commit to getting 2 novel length stories done because I always seem to run into NaNoWriMo and it breaks my stride.

5) Survive NaNoWriMo

And speaking of NaNoWriMo, unless thing's change, 2012 will be my last NaNoWriMo. Both as an ML and as a participant. I love NaNo. I think it's a wonderful idea and it attracts lovely people, but to tell you the truth I think I've out grown it. I've written a couple novels outside of November, I know I have the discipline to write everyday on my own. I don't need the pressure of NaNo to get me to the finish.
I also like my pattern of writing/editing. I write book B while book A is sitting cooling. Then when book B is done, I go back and edit book A. Then I write a new book and the cycle starts all over again. In the last two years NaNo has fallen out of step with my cycle. I really don't like writing two books back to back. I find it draining. I like going back and forth between editing and writing. To do that I need to be on my own schedule, and November just doesn't fit.

6) Stop fussing over the &@^! blog
I like this blog, but it's driving me a little crazy. Sometimes I just can't come up with two or three posts a week to put up here. And I refuse to put up "filler" stuff. I'm sick of fretting over that. It's just not with the time I spend fussing over it (see goal #8). Especially when I could be spending that creative energy working on my next story.
So I'll be putting up posts when I feel like it. My tentative goal is two or three times a month. I might do more. I might do less.

7) Clean the house more then once every three months
Actually my house isn't quite that bad (mostly). This is more of a balance related goal. I tend to get so focused on one thing that I totally forget everything else. So this year I want to try and keep my life more balanced. I've already started doing this, but I want to continue it through the next year.

8) No Stress (This should really be #1)
This is my over all goal. If a certain activity/person stresses me out, I really need to evaluate if it/they are worth my time and mental energy. The answer will probably be no. Life is just too short to put up with people and things that stress me out and drain my energy.

And I think that's about it. I'm sure I'll come up with something else later, but this is enough for now.

Happy New Years everyone!

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