Friday, April 1, 2016

Format Changes; Story Lust Remains

I was watching TMNT (2014) with my husband tonight*. And at the end, he said: you know what’s sad? Our son is going to see this and think, man, the older versions SUCK!

And I said: so?

A reader of romance today vs. a reader of Jane Austen of yesterday will not necessarily like it the same; and yet that doesn’t discount either of the books. It doesn’t discount them in the same way that Homeric tales passed around a fire are no less valid than TMNT (2014).

People fear change in publishing; when I tell people what I do, they say…oh. And…what will you do when books go away?

Books won’t go away. The format may change. But stories will always remain. That is publishing. That is the world I’m in.

And if my son connects to it in a different way than I did, I don’t care. Because he’s connecting. And that is what matters.

That is why as an agent, I embrace change and challenge. 

*on our first date, I picked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to watch. I still think that was the moment that sealed the deal for us. :)

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!!