Knowing the industry

We waited all day yesterday for Giles. Around 3pm I asked the Intern to text him. In fairness, she was none too please with him as she was supposed to have left hours earlier. I told her that if she needed to leave for class that was fine, but she insisted on staying. Giles finally texted back that he wasn’t coming over to Dundee, and that he’d be in sometime during the week.

This morning when I got in he was in the office and in a huff. He’d been there for an hour (supposedly) waiting for everyone, and he was really put out by having to wait. (Later the Intern told me that he gave her a lift into the office this morning and they’d only been waiting about ten minutes when I got there. Patch and MacDraggyFeet arrived shortly after.)

So, the gist of our meeting was this. Giles took on what I’d said about Patch meeting publishers without doing any research or having a clue whatsoever he was doing…sort of. The new rule is that MacDraggyFeet and myself will handle all the clients, with MacDraggyFeet working on non-fiction and me working on fiction. Patch, King of Kings, will work with the publishers.

I explained that that’s not how it works, but he dismissed me and continued. MacDraggyFeet and myself would work with the clients to build their portfolios, work on promoting book tours, acquire new clients, and so on. But, when it’s time to take the manuscripts to the publishers, Patch would do it.

Right. I can understand the division of labour to a certain extent, but if you haven’t been working with a client can you sell him/her to a publisher? And, Patch knows nothing, I mean nothing, about publishing. I spent a long time shadowing Lorainne in sales meetings, doing research and speaking with agents. I spent at least a year reading over old contracts. Does Patch know about Grant of Rights, Subsidiary Rights, and how this is different than Copyright (it’s a pretty obvious difference, but a lot of people don’t know about it)? Does he know how to get a more favourable clause for delivery and acceptance of a book? Because I do. And then there’s the money side, advance, royalties and payment. Does he even know how the selling process works, and how to get a bid started?

He doesn’t. I know he doesn’t because I grilled him in the meeting. Or at least I started to when Giles cut me off. ‘I bought this agency because it doesn’t things differently. Because it is forward thinking. Now you’re telling me that you just want to do things the same old way as everyone else? Try thinking out the box.’

Speechless. I was speechless.

And, but it gets better.

Since Giles wants to ‘think outside the box’ I asked what we were to do about a lot of the new projects we’d been working on before the sale (I’d been continuing on with them) such as pairing new authors with established authors to build the new author’s presence, the author blogs, working with self-published authors on new forms of distribution. That sort of stuff.

He said, ‘I can find no evidence that these tactics will work in this market, so I would ask that you put them on hold until we find sufficient evidence of success.’

‘But the fact the Agency was making money is evidence that it works. And we didn’t just jump into it. We have been researching new forms of publishing. What’s been dying in the field and what’s growing. Paris and London developed a lot of our new work. They have years of experience…’

This time Patch cut me off. ‘I think we should research new forms of publishing. Take the time to look up what’s not working in publishing. What areas are growing.’

‘Great idea!’ from Giles. Then he looks at Intern, ‘Why don’t you head this up. You can make it part of a school project. Get us a report on this.’

The Intern looked at me in a panic. I gave her a nod, and she seemed to look less worried.

I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I don’t care what Giles says, I’m not going to change my process. I now make a salary, but I’m also getting commission. Plus, if this business tanks, then I have nothing. So, it’s in my best interest to make this company work.

As Giles was leaving the Intern went over and talked to him quietly. I could tell she wasn’t happy with his response.

She came back to her desk, and I told her to not worry about that report he wanted. The former Agency had already done all that research. It was in bits and bobs of paperwork in the shared drive. And when Giles first noted an interest in buying the Agency, we had to put together a ‘strategies and objectives portfolio’. All she had to do was collate it all.

Then she said, ‘Thanks. I appreciate it. I also asked him if I could bow out of this festival over the weekend. I’m really behind in Uni work, and I mean I’m really appreciative for this opportunity. And I don’t want to upset Giles he’s done so much for me. But I can’t fail my courses for this internship.’

My heart went out to her. I swear they’re sleeping together. It’s the way he touches her and the way they interact. But she doesn’t seem too happy with the situation. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to feel like sex is the only way you can repay someone.

I told her she didn’t have to do ANYTHING she didn’t want to. That she should take the rest of the week of work. And that I’ll sort out the festival. She didn’t have to go.

‘But Giles…’ she started to say.

I knew where she was going with this. I had no say over Giles’ ridiculous decisions. But one person did. MyAuthor. The whole point of going to the festival was to accompany MyAuthor, and this woman was not going to put up with a bunch of silliness. All I had to do was get MyAuthor to tell Giles she didn’t want, or need, to be accompanied by the Intern. And we’re sorted.

The Intern just left. She may be useless, but I do feel sorry for her.

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