In 2006 when I signed with my agent, Natasha Kern, I was in the middle of a two-book contract with Walk Worthy Press and Warner Books (now Hatchette Book Group). With the demise of the Walk Worthy / Warner agreement in late 2006, I found myself with an agent but without a publisher. For a while, it looked like I might be staying with Warner but by the end of the first quarter of 2007, we knew that was not going to happen.
At that point, Natasha began aggressive action to find me a new publishing home. We talked extensively about the possible paths she saw for my writing career and my personal goals for where I wanted to be. Independently, we came up with lists of publishers that we thought positioned to get me to where I wanted to be. As an agent, Natasha was knowledgeable about which editors would be most inclined to like and appreciate an “Angela Benson” story.
Natasha then went to work contacting editors. The good thing about an agent is that they can do simulatenous submissions. That means they can send a proposal to editors at multiple publishing houses at the same time (letting them know, of course) while authors submitting their own work are required to submit to one publisher and wait for an answer before submitting to another.
The feedback started flowing in pretty quickly. Natasha had conversations with the editors who expressed interest in the proposal. These conversations were crucial in learning the ideas and strategies the editors had for the book and for my career. By early May, we had accepted an offer from Carolyn Marino at HarperCollins.
I still remember the day Carolyn called to welcome me to the Harper family. I was pretty much in awe of her, and still am. She is a legend in this business and has shepherded some stellar careers. I had to pinch myself to have landed her for an editor. If you don’t know her name, just go to amazon.com and do a search. You’ll find her acknowledged and thanked in a lot of books by authors you recognize.
I don’t remember the exact date Carolyn made the verbal offer, but I received the initial contract in late May 2007. The final executed contract, with on-signing advance payment, was received in late July. During that time period, we received the initial contract, reviewed it, submitted changes, reviewed the revisions, agreed to them, and received, signed and returned the final contract. So from the time of the offer to the time I received my advance payment was about three months, I’d say.
I know some of you are wondering how Natasha became my agent. As a multi-published author, finding an agent was pretty painless but I was anxious all the same. I spoke with author friends and did some Internet research to figure out who would serve me well. I e-mailed the top four agents on my list, two didn’t respond. I spoke with the two who did and decided to go with Natasha.
This ends installation one of the Up Pops the Devil saga. The next one will talk about manuscript delivery and revision.