Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Morning Musings

Agent/Author Negotiations

Monday Morning greetings. I hope your weekend was fun and restful. I usually get a Sunday afternoon nap, even though our Sunday’s are pretty busy with church activities. We are blessed to attend a wonderful church here in our area. God has given us many friends and we are thankful. It’s a pretty large church but we’re involved in a lot of small groups, which is the key. Also Jim, my dear husband, is one of the seven pastors.

I recently read an article on the Writer’s Digest web site newsletter. Their web address is I recommend subscribing to this newsletter if you don’t already. The author of this article, Howard G Zaharoff gave 5 quick tips for Writer/Agent negotiations. I thought I’d answer the points he made with information regarding our agency policies.

-The first was “Watch for Red Flags” Of course the most obvious is “does the agent charge reading fees.” Our agency has never charged reading fees, nor do we charge any upfront fees. We work on straight commission.

-“Excessive commissions.” We charge 15%, which is standard. For movies we charge 20-25% because we work with sub-agents and have to split the commission.

- “Commissions on speaking fees” – we do not charge commissions on speaking fees, the only exception might be is if we acted as a speaker’s bureau for you.

-“Control over expenses” – we rarely bill for any expenses. We pay the postage for any manuscripts sent out, we do not charge for phone calls. Most of our work is done via e-mail. The only exception would be manuscripts sent overnight. However, that is rarely necessary because most manuscripts can go to the publisher via e-mail.

- “Timely payment of royalties” – Our policy is to pay within 10 days. Fortunately, most contracts today are written so that the author’s royalty payment (85%) is sent directly to him/her. The agency commission is sent to the Pittsburgh office.

Some other things I cover in my agent workshop are:

- Communication – does your agent answer your e-mails or phone calls?

-Is your agent keeping you up to date on proposals sent out and rejections?

-Does your agent keep you posted on all conversations concerning your book?

If you don’t hear back from us, please try again. Our e-mail load is pretty heavy and sometimes we look at the e-mail intending to get back and answer it. We can get distracted and not get back to it. Or, sometimes messages get lost in cyberspace. Don’t be afraid to check back with us if you don’t get an answer.

If you have any other questions you’d like answered here, we welcome them.

Blessings to all,

Joyce Hart

1 comment:

Jeanette Levellie said...

Wow, seven pastors. What a blessing! Does your husband specialize in one area?

Thanks for filling us in on how you operate, and the link for Writers Digest. Is the newsletter different from the print magazine?