Feb 082005

I’m slightly more than a month into doing my own thing and it’s the best time I’ve had as an agent. Sure, I won’t see royalty checks for maybe a year, and those are the ultimate report cards for any agency, but I have three deals pretty much down, and more on the way. That’s not bad for starters.

I’ve spent much of the first month prospecting, and my first signed contract is with an author I found via her blog. She’s not only a kick, she has great potential for future books.

I have to thank the publishers who have been generous with their time and their wish lists, which really helps me to focus. In fact, I’m in the midst of a big push right now and couldn’t do it without the partners I’ve worked with over the last fifteen years.

Authors always acknowledge the folks who contribute to their work, and I’d like to do the same thing on occasion. I have to give a huge thanks to Harold and Phyllis Davis for their encouragement that I go out on my own, as well as for their longstanding friendship. And I thank Dave Taylor and Deke McClelland for their similar encouragement, and Andy Rathbone, John Mueller and Barrie Sosinsky for choosing to bring new projects to me. And thanks to Joe Hutsko and Phil Reed for numerous referrals.

On the publisher side I’ve had great support from folks at Sams Technical Publishing, Que, Wiley, Peachpit, O’Reilly, McGraw-Hill and many more.

As the header says, this is fun, fulfilling, and creative work for me, and that wouldn’t be the case if I didn’t have such great partners.

And, as regards my foremost partner, there is no way I could do this without the constant support of my girlfriend, Amy.

I’ll have many more acknowledgements to come and I know I’ve missed some folks, but I have to get back to work.

  •  February 8, 2005
  •  Posted by at 12:32 pm
  •   Comments Off on Report Card: this is fun, fulfilling and creative work
  •   Publishing
Jan 192005

Since I mentioned platform before, I thought I’d share this straight from a colleague’s email —

“By ‘platform,’ I mean a president of a company who can buy back books for resale, someone involved with a high-profile website where the book can be promoted, or a speaker who gives seminars (to a significant number of people) where books can be sold.”

When you’re talking about buy-backs to make a book work, it sounds like vanity publishing, and this is from one of the larger houses, but even then some books will break through. And I’d love to work with anyone who meets the criteria above, but it does illustrate that you often need much more than a great idea to make a book work.

Jan 032005

Today is the first day I’ve spent working as Fresh Books. I spent the last week tying up loose ends with Waterside Productions.

It’s a great feeling to have the sense that everything lies before me. I know that segments of the publishing industry are in the doldrums, but I’m confident that I can wrangle up a great list of books, and I’m excited about the new client contacts I’m making even today.

I will continue to represent computer and tech books, and though the numbers are down there are plenty of strong publishers and authors, and quite often the books we do are better than ever.

I will also rep business, lifestyle, and reference titles, and, though I plan to be extremely selective, I may front the odd novel. I’m especially looking for books on sustainable lifestyles, books on popular science (it’s the Centennial of Einstein’s year of breakthroughs — have you noticed all the Einstein books lately?), and books on health, fitness, and medicine that may appeal to the boomers.

Stay tuned to this space for more news about what I find. After 15 years and a great ride with one company, I am psyched to be doing my own thing.

Nov 052004

Probably the biggest misconception I see with first time authors is that a great idea and great execution can guarantee a book deal. Maybe ten years ago this was the case, but today the key question from most publishers is “what’s your platform?”

What the heck does this mean?

Well, it’s publisher and agent slang for visibility. And visibility _really_ helps. With so much competition for shelf-space, advertising space, and reviews, publishers have found that they need authors with pre-existing public platforms to help promote the book. A platform can be as grand as a day-time talk show — as evidenced by the bestseller list — or it can be as modest as a newspaper column, but whatever you do when you plan to launch your book you need to think about how you’re going to sell it.

Continue reading »

  •  November 5, 2004
  •  Posted by at 8:55 am
  •   Comments Off on What’s Your Platform?
  •   Publishing