Thursday, January 14, 2016

Breaking Down 2015

After reviewing all the stats, I have to say: I kicked 2015's ass. I had a baby; I negotiated a deal while having that baby. I kept turnaround times, contracts, correspondence, sales and pitches moving, all with a brand new baby in tow...because challenge: I THRIVE ON THEE! :)

Here's how my agent life stacked up in numbers for 2015:

Queries (unsolicited) rec’d:

Request rates (based on above):

Partial: .2%
Partial Request genres:

  • MG funny contemp
  • historical romance with mystery
  • YA contemp
  • YA historical magical realism
  • contemp romance

Full: .6%
Full Request genres:

  • adult multi-cultural
  • Chapter Book boy funny 
  • PB author/illustrator
  • PB text only (2)
  • MG speculative
  • MG magical realism/multi-cultural
  • MG funny contemp
  • YA adventure
  • YA historical
  • YA historical magical realism
  • YA magical realism
  • Gritty YA contemp
  • YA fantasy

Offers: .2%
Signed Genres:

  • MG magical realism/multi-cultural
  • YA magical realism
  • Chapter book boy funny

R&R’s requested: 2 (.1%)
Offers from R&Rs: 1

This means, roughly, that I requested a partial on 2 out of every 1000, a full 6 out of every 1000, and offered on 2 out of every 1000 queries I received.

This year, I was 40% likely to request the full from a partial
I was 29% likely to make an offer on a full request

In sum: I was more likely to request a full, though I was not as active with signing and requesting as last year (down from 70% likely to request full from partial, and 59% likely to make an offer on a full).

Avg. response time:
Partial: 7 weeks
Full: 8 weeks

After tracking my turnaround times for several years now, this has been pretty consistent. I always wish I could be faster, but, considering this year I felt like a literal black hole as I adjusted to everything baby, it's an accomplishment to have kept things the same.

Months with most queries: June-July, Sept-Oct (last year March, June-July)

Months with most requests: July, Oct (last year Feb, April-May)

Most active period of offering and signing: Aug-Nov (last year Jan-Feb & June)

With being closed to submissions until May 1, everything shifted down!

12 deals for 17 books
vs. last year, where I had 14 deals for 30 books - HOWEVER, in advances, my growth was 62%!! :D Considering I did nothing but baby time for a good four months this year, I'm pretty dang happy.

My agent resolution last year was to keep up the momentum; I was pretty on par for the deals, but managed overall growth while being shut down for four months, which is a 100% success!!  I pulled in to focus on my fabulous clients, and this year...

My agent resolution: GROW, SELL, GROW!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

On Fan Fic: Food For Thought

Fan fic, or writing fiction based on existing worlds and characters, isn't new - what is new is that it can turn into opportunity.

The Wall Street Journal covered this over a year ago (hey, I had a baby, I can be late to the discussion), focusing on Kindle Worlds and the opportunity it created for fans to legally publish fan fic (because, you know, otherwise it is ILLEGAL - do not publish/post without understanding this!).  The more traditional non-profit approach to fan fic survived low on the radar of copyright infringement primarily because it didn't threaten sales of the real books. KW is done through license deals with publishers; authors can make money, but so do the publishers.

Pretty cool. I guess. As an agent whose client was approached by KW to write for one of their

So here's the thing. Fan fic can be great. But not if it's going to take away from your own career.

What worries me about this new form of fan fic is that it could lead an author too far down the path of writing for someone else. This wasn't something to really worry about before; after all, fan fic could also lead to bigger and greater things like Fifty Shades of Grey, wherein the end new book is original enough it doesn't appear to be a derivative, and bing bang boom a new bestseller can be born.

But because authors are now free to publish without having to worry about masking the elements that were created by someone else, will those same authors, who might have created the next Fifty Shades of Grey, simply...not?

Or will an author so excited to be approached by or interested in KW take up the challenge...and spend time that otherwise might have gone to their own work doing it?

It's been around long enough that I can't really say it's much of a threat. But...something, I think, to keep in mind, the advice of the day on career planning, if you will - for any time spent on fan fic.