I signed with agent Michelle Johnson in 2012, and considered her a friend as well as a literary agent helping me with my project. She gave me a lot of confidence in my work and was willing to discuss issues in depth. She was diligent about sending my Bad Fairy book out and got it in front of very big editors, but the stars did not align and the book didn’t sell.
We had some plans to take the feedback we’d been offered about fairy tale retellings and approach publishers with the second book in my trilogy instead since it has the meat of the fairy tale that everyone knows rather than reading more like a prequel. But that’s where things went a little funny with Michelle. She said she was excited when I delivered the manuscript to her and said it was going to be her top priority, and that’s the last thing she ever said to me.
She seems to have vanished under mysterious circumstances. Follow-ups were unanswered and eventually began bouncing. Her accounts went dark and websites disappeared. Other people represented by her also said they could not reach her. Some authors said they weren’t receiving their royalties because they’d been released to her and never got passed on to the authors.
She’d had some health issues toward the end of when we were talking, so I guess I suspect that she became ill and was no longer able to advocate for herself. I don’t think she would have chosen to just vanish under mysterious circumstances so it’s likely something bad happened to her but I guess I will never really know. She never said anything to me specifically (and no one associated with her ever reached out to tell existing clients what they should do), but there were a few posts around suggesting she’d become seriously ill and couldn’t carry on, and all her agency’s agents moved on.
So I thought I should say something here since I don’t want people to think she is still representing my work. In any case I haven’t been pursuing fiction publication lately and I’m sure I’ll just pursue new representation with a new book when I’m ready to try this again.
Sometimes people think the only reason to try to get a literary agent is so you can have a chance at the Big Five or get considered by publishers who don’t take unagented stuff, but there are so many more things agents can and likely will do for clients besides sell their books. Here’s my video about those things. Agent love!
Now for a video on one of the most universal subjects for authors: REJECTION.
In this video I discuss my personal rejection experiences, share my first rejection letter and laugh over my most condescending one, and give you an idea of how and in what capacity I’ve been rejected over the years–from the perspective of a person who did eventually get to “yes.”
I’ve decided to start video-blogging about writing-related things. Sometimes I will post how-tos on things I know how to do in the writing world, and sometimes I will post personal perspectives. You can subscribe to my new YouTube channel at Channel JulieSondra.
Here is my video on writing query letters:
And here is my video on how I got my agent:
Feel free to let me know in the comments of this blog post or the comments of the YouTube videos whether you’d like me to do a video on any particular topic. It should be noted that optional captions are always installed in my videos for anyone who needs/wants them.
My agent, Michelle Johnson, has started her own agency. She has decided to call it Inklings Literary, and I have elected to migrate to her agency with her instead of staying with her old agency. (I already have a great rapport with Michelle, but hadn’t had any interaction with her agency’s president, so I thought Michelle would be a better advocate for my work.)
I’ve signed with the new agency and my book is still being considered by the same editors as before the move. (I’m not talking publicly about who’s considering it, but yes, my book Bad Fairy is in consideration by more than one major publisher.) Everything’s gone pretty smoothly, and I’m crossing my fingers to be Michelle’s first sale as the president of her own agency. 🙂
Edit: She was interviewed here in Writer’s Digest. You can learn all about what she’s like and what she wants to see in her inbox.
Today my literary agent has begun the process of approaching editors to get me a publishing deal.
We’re hoping to score a three-book deal for my trilogy with a major publisher. As of today, she’s contacting appropriate publishers and asking if they want to see it. I won’t make public posts about how it’s going until/unless I get an offer (or until/unless I get multiple offers and have settled the terms), but if I get great news, I’ll make a post about it as soon as I’m given the green light to announce the deal.
I’m considering it a when, not an if. Because I love pretending I’m super confident that it will sell. 😉
Today I accepted an offer for literary agency representation and signed a contract for my novel Bad Fairy. I am officially an agented author.
What this means: Once we get the contract finalized, we will develop some materials to introduce and present my book (and me) to publishers. It’s a lot like authors querying agents to find representation, except that the agent is querying acquisitions editors at publishing houses based on what they’ve purchased in the last 12 months. The goal is to find editors eager to buy books that are similar to those they’ve recently sold. If they like the idea, they’ll ask to see the book. If they like what they see, they’ll offer to buy the rights. Negotiations begin.
We’ll be approaching publishers soonish. I hope to be able to share good news when I have it.
In the meantime, please continue to tune in for blathering on any other projects I embark upon as well as news on this one.
Everyone, please meet my agent, Michelle Johnson. We both like coffee and books and spend too much time on the computer. I can’t wait to start working with her, and I’m so happy that she’s on my team.
I know 2012 isn’t over yet, but I have to stop querying agents for Bad Fairy.
Happily, it isn’t a depressing reason, though (like it was the last time). It’s because I’ve been offered representation.
I don’t want to go into detail because I still have some decisions to make before I sign with an agency, and I have a bit of a dilemma I don’t want to discuss publicly, but I will have specifics ready for you soon.
In any case I thought I’d show you this year’s track record so far, since it stops here.
Agents queried: 20.
Query rejections: 10.
The rest were not rejections.
One was a partial request that turned into a rejection after 100 pages. That agent had puzzling feedback which I won’t share here.
There were also three full manuscript requests. Ffffffffffff.
Once I actually sign a contract, I’ll share more . . . and I’ll be sure to keep everyone in the loop on what happens next. Which hopefully will involve a book deal. (Yay.)