Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Theme: We're Grateful for Our Rep! (Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams)

I didn't have an agent when Suzanne Williams and I first co-wrote the proposal for our Goddess Girls series. Suzanne did. Since I was in the middle of a cross-country move when we were ready to send Goddess Girls out to a publisher for consideration, the easy thing to do seemed to be to have Suzanne's agent (Liza Pulitzer Voges of Eden Street LLC) represent it for both of us. 
I'd never had a literary agent, but I'd been thinking that a rep might be helpful with the business side of publishing. I wanted a rep who felt like a partner. Inertia and workload kept me from looking for one--plus, I had a good friend whose agent had turned out to be awful. Yikes.

Along with our series synopsis and synopses for the first four books in Goddess Girls, Suzanne and I had written three chapters of book 1, Athena the Brain. When Aladdin Paperbacks expressed interest and asked for two more chapters, Liza was really good at communicating with everyone involved. Through the creative process and then the offer and the eventual contract, I got to know and appreciate her. She is now my agent as well as Suzanne's, and Goddess Girls has grown to twelve contracted books.

What if I hadn't suggested to Suzanne that we try writing together; or if she hadn't agreed; or if I hadn't been moving; or if I'd been scared off agents by my other author-friend's bad agent experience; or if Liza hadn't been interested in adding me to her author list? So many things could have gone wrong along the way to successful representation. I feel truly lucky and grateful that the right rep for me virtually fell into my lap at the right time! 
~ Joan Holub

Liza Voges has been my rep from almost the beginning of my career--for nearly twenty years now. The only book of mine she didn't represent was my very first book, which I sold before I even knew about looking for a rep! I will be forever grateful to her for seeing potential in my earliest writing efforts at the very beginning of my career, when sales were especially infrequent. 

The first time I talked to her, I felt we "clicked." I value her wise counsel. She not only places my books and negotiates the best contracts she can, she also gives me career advice (when I ask for it) and listens to me during moments of angst. While she advises me if she thinks a manuscript isn't ready to send out, she's also unfailingly upbeat when manuscripts she does send have been turned down ("Alas, we'll send it elsewhere"). And I've always appreciated how quickly she responds to my emails and phone calls. (Especially since I realize that I'm not her only client!) It's wonderful to have someone in your corner, doing the work that a good rep does so that you can concentrate on the writing itself. For all the above and more--Thank you, Liza!

~Suzanne Williams






 

5 comments:

  1. Here's to Liza and great agents everywhere, who make the effort to nurture talented writers (like you!) through the ups and downs, and twists and turns, of the publishing world!

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  2. For sure, Trudi. (And thanks for the compliment!)

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  3. She sounds wonderful! And seriously, I need to be reading your books. They sound so fun!

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  4. Yay for Liza from me, too! And both of you. Have your series and went back to my old book club, took book one (what was I thinking not bring the whole series?) Shared it with one of the kids, she borrowed it from me and LOVED it. Now she is hooked and wants the rest of the series which I will lend her if the library doesn't get them in first (has to order the titles.). AnyWHO-it's so great to see kids light up when they talk about books they love, so thanks to you guys for creating those moments!

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