Thursday, December 20, 2012

Strategy Sessions by Terry Burns

This time of the year is all about wrapping things up and coming up with strategies for the new year.

We do an occsasional one book contract but for the most part we are concerned with developing the careers of our clients, not just trying to get a book published. I just asked my clients to answer several questions for me to make sure we are on the same page in the coming year.

First I asked what they would like to see happen in the new year? Publish, of course, that goes without saying, and all of us would like to see the best deal possible. But what deals are they willing to consider? What if they have to start smaller than they had in mind?

Do you have thoughts on places to be submitted that I have not taken you to? I tell clients it isn't JUST my job to get them published, it's OUR job. If they are hearing things or reading things that make them think a market is right for them and I haven't tried that market . . . I expect to hear about it.

Do you have projects to pitch that I don't have yet? This is particularly important as publishers like to know an author has more available if they invest in them whether it is series potential for a project or just more available manuscripts.

What do you have in progress? No explanation needed.

What are you happy or unhappy about in the way I have represented you? If something is not working I want to know about it.

Anything else you would like me to know? Just tell me what is on your mind, or if there is something going on in your life that will affect your writing in the new year.

The responses are coming in and are telling me a lot. It would be better if we could just sit down and talk about it of course, but doing it by email gives me a written record to work with and gives the client time to respond instead of just giving me a response off the top of their head. These questions are just conversation starters, of course and are leading to other areas of discussion. It is proving very productive.



Davalyn Spencer said...

This sounds like a great idea.

Caroline said...

I like that kind of attitude.

Jennifer Major said...

I'm encouraged by your thought process. I'm still floating in an agent-less black hole and doing my due diligence when it comes to professionalism and compatibility. For instance, let's pretend you nearly fainted with joy at my query and dropped the phone in eager anticipation of calling me.
My BIG concern is that the agent have respect for the culture in which I set my work. It wasn't a pretty time in American history and I don't want to offend before I'm even out of the proposal stage. But, I won't back down from being truthful as both sides of history tell the story. I want an agent who'll ride shotgun for me if someone suggests I water down the evidence and be more polite about pointing out the facts.

Terry Burns said...

sounds interesting