Category Archives: Notes from the Intern — The Agency

Stupid stupid data

I am the biggest fuck wit. Talked the crew into buying a proper database. One that we can record all kinds of stats on that we can gather from social media and other such junk, and then use to target specific readers. It will also help us keep track of our authors and royalties and payments and such. And it will help us keep track of our best performing publishers. Continue reading

You’ll Get There in the End

Last night I had a Skype chat with a wonderful lovely friend in the States. She’s someone I got to know through this blog, and we struck up a friendship over the years.

The conversation last night was difficult because she’s having a rough time of things. Recently broke up with her man, financial woes, and questions about career. Continue reading

How to get a literary agent without a finished manuscript

I was at asked to give a talk at a writing circle recently, and I happily obliged. Please forgive me if this sounds horrible, but those in attendance were of the same demographic I see at so many of these things: retired (or near it), mostly women, upper middle class, bored, know everything. Continue reading

Don’t big yourself up to agents. You’re not doing yourself any favours.

Guess what? Do not try to swindle an agent into representing you. Don’t falsify your Good Reads numbers and do not exaggerate that writing group at the library into the ‘Your Name Here’ Official Fan Club. It won’t work. Continue reading

Stop Marketing First

Val McDermid made some interesting comments about new writers and how the publishing industry is no longer providing newly published authors with the time to build a following. She argues that if she had sold her first book in 2014, she would have failed at the whole endeavour. I agree with her whole heartedly, and, in some ways, it’s now tougher to get publishers to pick up a second or third book, than it is a first. Continue reading

Better than Almost

Yesterday was one of those life changing days. I wasn’t pulled back from the brink of death, or won the lottery. It was kind of subtle, and it wasn’t until the day had passed that I realised everything would be different from here on out. Then again, the change had been coming; I just didn’t see it until it was upon me.

As usual, I should start from the beginning.

Loraine’s words, ‘Loose lips sink ships’ stuck in my head all evening. Did she know? Of course she knew. But if she did, why didn’t she say more?

And there was that test. When I got home last night, I picked it up and took it to the bathroom, but I couldn’t even bring myself to open the box. I talked myself into thinking that I couldn’t pee on command. So I went into the kitchen and drank five glasses of water. I still didn’t have to pee.

I took the text back into the lounge, where it sat in its box. Taunting me. I took it to the bathroom again, but still couldn’t bring myself to open it.

About midnight there was a knock on the door, and my heart sank. I truly thought Fife was gone. I thought he’d never be back. I thought he was finally out my life. I ignored the door. The knocking got louder. I ignored it. The knocking continued. I had to make him go away, once and for all. I’d tell Fife through the door to leave, and then call the police. With my phone in hand, I looked through the peep hole. It wasn’t Fife. It was HarryPotter.

I opened the door and he stepped into the flat without saying a word. He pushed the door shut with his foot, grabbed me, pulled me towards him and kissed me. I wrapped my arms around his neck; I could feel his scruffy stubble across my face. His hands moved up my back, and he pulled me even closer.

Finally he stepped away. I was stunned. He walked me into the lounge. We sat on the floor and he explained.

‘I haven’t stopped thinking about all of this, and I don’t care if you’re going to have another man’s child. I don’t care if you’re not going to have another man’s child. I just don’t care. I’m sick of losing you. This is ridiculous.’

‘But it’s so complicated,’ I said.

‘Do you want to be with me?’

I said, ‘Yes.’

He kissed me and said ‘That’s all that matters. We’ll figure out the rest as we go.’

‘I still haven’t taken the test,’ I said.

‘I know. I’m reading your blog again,’ he said.

Shit, that blog. This blog.

I asked him if he was angry that I’ve been writing about him, and he said, ‘I don’t like it, and it drives me a bit nuts. But that’s who you are, I’ll have to live with it.’ Then he added, ‘By the way. Congratulations.’

‘For what?’

‘Your job? Your promotion,’ he reminded me.

Oh yeah. It was all getting a bit surreal. I asked him how he knew, and he said, ‘I read your blog before I drove over. Actually, I guess the blog isn’t so bad. I’ll always know what you’re thinking.’

Should my friends, families and lovers always know what I’m thinking? What am I doing? Loose lips sink ships. Why do I compulsively write in this blog? Why can’t I just write in a diary like a normal person? I was so angry with Fife for using his novel to write about our relationship. Yet, I was doing the same thing. Why didn’t any of you, my bloggy woggy followers, scream at me in the ‘comments’ section. Why didn’t you shout at me, ‘For fuck’s sake. You’re just as bad as Fife’? Why didn’t I realise what a big hypocrite I was being?

I had been lying awake on the bedtress, curled next to HP, feeling like everything was almost right in the world. Almost. I knew what I need to do to make it perfect. Well, not perfect. But better than ‘almost’.

I needed to take the test and I need to stop blogging. Or, stop blogging about my life, my work, my friends, my loves, and my family. This will be my last personal blog. I’ll still keep in touch. I’ll still talk about publishing and interning and agenting. But it will have to be general, about the industry — not about me or my life in publishing. I’m sorry, but I can’t do it anymore.

HarryPotter has suffered through me. He asked me to stop blogging about him, but I continued, and he loved me anyway. I owe it to him. I owe it to Loraine. And I owe it to Conspiracy to stop. I owe it to my friends. So, I shall have to stop.

But don’t worry. It won’t end until I’ve told you the results of my test. That wouldn’t be fare to you, my bloggy woggy followers, who have supported and consoled me along the way.

I slipped out of bed last and walked lightly to the bathroom. I didn’t want to wake HarryPotter. I finally opened the box. My stomach was rumbling with nerves, and I wanted to begin crying before I even knew the results. I read the directions and opened the foil packed the stick was kept in. It was time.

I pulled down my pants and discovered that the test wasn’t needed. In the night, finally, I started my period.

It’s funny that for your life to change, sometimes things just need to go back to the way they should be.

Loose lips sink ships

Today, the moment I got into the office Loraine asked to speak with me. She had that severe look on her face. The last time I had seen that look, was about a month ago when she told me that she would be shutting down the Agency – in a month.

This is it, I thought. Despite all the hard work, how we’ve all pulled together as a team, the massive amount of income that had been generated in such a short period of time, this was it. She would be shutting down the Agency.

She sat me down at the kitchen table, and she began by telling me how much she appreciated my hard work. How much I’ve grown and learned in such a short period of time. Without my help she could have never had coped. That she appreciated everything…

That was it. I was waiting for the ‘but’. ‘But’ I’m closing down the Agency. ‘But’ this still hasn’t changed my mind. ‘But’ it’s still not enough money to pay all the bills, my house is being taken away from me, you’re a big failure.

But the ‘but’ never came.

Instead, she said, ‘You’ve done a lot to remind me why I love my job, and that even if the industry is changing, it doesn’t mean that I’m too old to keep up. That’s why, I’ve decided to keep the agency open.’

It hadn’t quite sunk in. What was she saying? That all was well? Was I correct in hearing that? After months of hard work, I wouldn’t be broke, unemployed and pregnant? Holy shit. Was I hearing this right?

Loraine could tell that I was a bit confused. She stopped, and said again, ‘I’ve decided to not shut down the Agency.’

I didn’t say anything.

‘I know what you’re thinking,’ she said.

I don’t think she did.

‘There’s been so many changes, how can you be sure I won’t change my mind?’ she said more like a statement than a question. She then said she was going to go ahead with the original plan (if it was okay with London, Paris and I) where we all pool our agent fees, and share in the costs. The last few months when London, Paris and I all worked together has proved that we can do this. She doesn’t think we should take on any new clients for awhile and really focus on pushing those we have. Then she said, ‘I’m going to take a slight step back, but I’d like to list you as full agent.’

It really wasn’t sinking in. An agent? Me? I have no idea what I was doing. Me? An agent?

I expressed my concern, but she waived my apprehension away by saying, ‘Don’t worry. You’ve proved yourself.’

She had spoken with London and Paris the evening before, and they were extremely happy with the situation. It was sinking in slowly, but I wasn’t quite there yet.

The afternoon was spent working on stuff for the US deal. Since they did a three book deal, they essentially bought a book that hasn’t yet been sold in the UK, so we had to do some editing.

Later in the day we’d heard from RRManager who’s sent us over figures and other rights aspects – such as merchandising, serialization and so forth. I was keen to keep Conspiracy out of it until we’d completely negotiated the entire deal. However, he specifically told us that he wanted final say in the script. I knew that was going to be tough negotiating, so I passed the whole thing on to London. She thinks we can get a certain level of control over the script, but not casting maybe casting. And final control will be difficult as it would mean that Conspiracy would have to be on set, as sometimes scripts change all the way up to shooting. London is in the processes of putting all this together.

Six o’clock rolled around, and it was time to leave the office, just like every other weekday for the last five months. It all felt so normal, despite the big changes. I had a job and the potential to make a lot more money as an agent. But, as is the way with life, nothing felt different yet. Maybe it was because, at home, sitting on my lounge floor was that pink and blue box. My period was quite late by this point, and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. With all the potential for change it was time for me to find out. It was the night.

I went to leave the office, but Loraine stopped me. ‘You know, with the film deal there may be a confidentiality agreement,’ she said.

‘I’ll talk to [Conspiracy] about it tomorrow,’ I said.

‘No. I’m talking about you. Loose lips sink ships,’ and with that she left the office and went into the front part of the house.

Shit!

I’ve been home for hours and I still haven’t taken the test. I can’t. I just can’t.