Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nichole, Agents, and a Side Trip to France!

Nichole hosts me today on both of her blogs. Cool idea. Double the fun. And exposure. Thanks so much, Nichole. You'll find a review of TAKEN BY STORM and my answers to her interview questions at Ramdom-ish. Then for her enthusiastic discussion of UNBROKEN CONNECTION and CAYMAN SUMMER check out Star Crossed Book Reviews.

Nichole is a gutsy writer whose agent search has taken on award-winning proportions. She's intrepid. Hang in there, Nichole. I couldn't get an agent for TAKEN BY STORM, but I got a two-book contract with Penguin without one. Agents are sweet--don't get me wrong, but they aren't the only way to get through the front door. My editor encouraged me to get an agent once I'd signed with Razorbill, my imprint at Penguin. She recommended me to some of her favorites--and even they rejected me. I finally signed with one, and he was a disaster. I'm lucky he never sold anything for me so when we broke up it was clean.

Dealing with a gargantuan publishing house is almost impossible without an agent to help you. Oh, the stories I could tell. But, remember, an agent does more than sell your novel. He or she also manages the proceeds from the sale--your money. Publishers send checks and statements to the agent. The agent deducts her 15% and sends you the rest. Yup, that's how it works--for the life of the book. Most books don't realize any funds beyond the initial advance, so its usually not an issue. Writers need to be aware of that, though. I worry about writers willing to sign with just any old agent they find online who offers them representation. Nightmare waiting to happen. Make sure the agent is legit. If you have any doubts, have the publisher cut two checks--one for you and 15% sent to the agent.

My new agent, Erzsi Deak at Hen & Ink, is fantastic. Erzsi was one of the SCBWI fairy godmothers that put on the retreat north of Paris where I met my editor. I should be paying her a percentage on that deal! As soon as I heard she'd started her own agency, I jumped up and down with glee and queried her. I love, love, love working with her. She's keeping me hopping, though. And that's a good thing.

So, in honor of agents and Erzsi and Nichole's intrepid search, let's venture to the Abbaye Royaumont, north of Paris, where I met my Razorbill editor and TAKEN BY STORM found a home--thanks to Erzsi and Ann, and SCBWI Paris. More Michael and Leesie pictures tomorrow.

Welcome to the Royal Abbaye! The perfect place for a writing retreat. If you are SCBWI you should try to go to a Sequester there. It was the best event I'd ever been to.

Here's some interior shots. I love the architectural detail.

Yes, this is an organ.

If I remember right, this was the dining hall.


And now, let's wander around the grounds. 


Now, my favorite. Out the gate, wander down the road alongside the stream to the woods nearby for a contemplative stroll. 

Sweet memories. I hope you enjoyed wandering down them with me. And now, back to Arizona sunshine and loads of work. Read my interview with Nichole to find out what I'm doing today.

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