I've come to the conclusion my writing career is in a constant state of flux. My needs and goals change...and change...and change some more. As 2016 rolled in, I took a hard look at what was working for me and what wasn't--and decided I needed to stir the pot yet again. I don't like confrontation. I lose sleep worrying about it as I suck up the courage to make a big move. This time was no different.
A couple of years ago, my top goal was to get a paperback contract with one of the Big 5 publishers. In order to do that, I needed an agent since these pubs won't take queries from unagented authors. So, I went shopping and collected dozens of rejections until one agent said yes. I was thrilled. But that paperback contract didn't follow. Instead, I signed my Who's Watching Now series with Lyrical Press, the ebook division of Kensington Books.
I've been amazed and excited by the support I've received at Kensington. They actually promote my books. I know, shocker! That's never happened before. After my first two books released, they asked me for a second series, and I agreed. So, for the foreseeable future, I'm pretty well set. If my books do well enough, there's the possibility of a paperback contract with Kensington down the road. We'll have to wait and see, and I've learned the value in not jumping the gun. Building a reader base in the digital market first is a really smart move.
So, I had the contracts and the agent. The thing is, I'm Type A down to my toenails. Every time I had a question or an issue, my agent directed me to go through her. I much prefer getting my own answers. I didn't like having a middleman. And when it came right down to it, I didn't need one. I keep an eagle-eye on everything pertinent to my writing. I'm not afraid to ask questions or stand up for what I want. I didn't need someone who was a heck of a lot more reluctant to rock boats than I am to make requests for me. So, I left the agency. And now that it's a done deal, I'm sleeping again.
Will my needs and goals change again in the future? I'm sure they will. If they do, I'll take a look at my options and go from there. I do feel with each new stage of my career, I go in better prepared with the knowledge I've garnered along the way. I'll have a better idea of what works for me and what doesn't. For now, I'm excited to meet the upcoming challenges!
Every Vow She Breaks, the third book in my Who's Watching Now series will be out on March 1st. It's currently available for pre-order. Until then, the first two books, Every Move She Makes and Every Step She Takes, are on sale for 99 cents! If you haven't checked them out yet, now's the time!
Hmmmm. The only thing I can think to say is YaaaaaaaaaHoooooooooo! You go, Girl!
Sounds like you're doing a great job of managing your business, Jannine. Good for you! I'm glad you're happy with your move from the agency. And I think you're right--you don't need it. :-) I'm anxiously awaiting delivery of my copy of Every Vow She Breaks.
Those decisions can be so hard. Glad it's working out for you. Seems I hear more and more about agents not needed. I had one too and got nothing so departed. But I have some reservations. I'm getting my copy ordered right now of Every Move She Makes.
Margo, thanks for your support while I was stressing over this!
Leah, lets hope I do a good job... I'm excited for Vows, too! It has a few unique twists.
Brenda, some authors love having an agent. I guess it depends on what the agent does for you. Mine focused on editing before shopping the manuscript. I didn't need that, so I didn't feel I was getting any benefit from the relationship. If I ever decide I want an agent again, I'll look for one who will promote my book after the contract is signed.
Word on the street is a hybrid agent is developing (because of e-books and self-pubbing)...so I think you're right to look around for a better fit. Nice that you're in Kensington's view...good positioning! Meanwhile, keep track of what you're learning...and that will be a book you can sell, too...with lots of interested readers!
Hmmm...a hybrid agent? Maybe they have to change if they want to stay afloat, too. Interesting, Rolynn.
I'm glad you're sleeping better now! Even though your former agent will still get paid for the books she sold, you know you're holding the reins. These days it seems that agents are still necessary to get through the doors many places, but after that, not so much. You might (or might not) want to consider looking for a new agent when you're ready to break down some new doors, but who knows how the industry will have changed by then?
I love the way you're taking charge of your career. We have to do what's best for us, and many times, no matter how well-intentioned, an agent can actually hold us back. In the changing industry, the need for agents is definitely changing. A hybrid...hmmm...not sure what they would do, but sounds interesting. Congrats on all your success!
Alison, you're so right about all the changes. Who knows what will happen next in this crazy industry!
Ally, I felt like that...like I could get more from the publisher if I just made direct requests. I guess we'll see how it goes.
Impressive - both your books (which are good reads!) and your career progress. I admire your understanding of your career and where you want to go, as well as your courage in making the hard choices. Here's to many more contracts - especially that paperback one!
Thanks, Glenys. It wasn't an easy decision. I haven't given up on that paperback contract. Let's just hope I get there before physical books go the way of the dinosaur!
Way to go, Jannine. You took charge of your career in a big way. Wonderful!
Thanks, Diane. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!
I parted ways with my agent a year and a half ago. I never thought I would, but so much happened and I wasn't sleeping either. LOL Same agent by the way, folks. Since then I've negotiated my second contract with Random House Loveswept, also an e-book arm of Penguin Random House. While they want me to write exclusively for them under my name, I was able to get them to agree to self-publishing under my name, too. As Jannine said, we need to take control of our writing career and it's always in flux. Our goals change. Our wants change. We need to be able to adjust our career accordingly. Good for you for doing so!!!
Believe me, Vonnie, your experience influenced my decision. And part of the reason I didn't wind up with the same huge deadline problems you did, is because I took control and gave them the dates I was comfortable with instead of the ones they suggested. Even for authors who are thrilled with their agents, it doesn't hurt to keep a vigilant eye on their own best interests.
Congratulations, Jannine, on taking control. Decisions are hard, but totally worth it. Wishing you the best with your books!
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