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Has anyone met their editor/publisher/agent in person?

(22 Posts)
Catonsie Mon 23-May-16 00:09:35

That really. I'm getting my work published (creative non-fiction) as a first time writer, things are well on the way, got a contract. All communication has only ever been by email, sporadic at that. Is it only the JK Rowlings that publishers actually speak to or meet?

MissBattleaxe Mon 23-May-16 09:31:08

I have had an agent since last year and we've only spoken on the phone and emailed.

Congratulations on your contract by the way!

GetAHaircutCarl Mon 23-May-16 12:53:11

I meet my agent regularly and my editor about once per year.

I've also met some of my foreign editors when they've been visiting the UK or I've been visiting their country for work related stuff.

MissBattleaxe Mon 23-May-16 13:24:26

GetAHairCut- do you live in London, out of interest? I was just wondering as I live about 150 miles from my agent.

MissBattleaxe Mon 23-May-16 13:25:32

Actually, I'm not published yet and I see that you are, so maybe I'm not important enough at the moment! grin

GetAHaircutCarl Mon 23-May-16 13:51:17

I live in London part of the time, but even when I didn't, I lived in commuting distance.

TBH, I didn't and still don't really need to see my editors. They usually take me out to lunch but all the real business gets done over email.

I think it's important to meet your agent if possible. You need to kind that they 'get' you and your work. That you have a similar approach, I think.

MissBattleaxe Mon 23-May-16 14:52:28

GetAHaircut- you sound ever so glamorous!

GetAHaircutCarl Mon 23-May-16 16:01:42

I'm sure I'm not grin.

Like most writers I spend an inordinate amount of time in my fleece, on my own, making shit up and writing it down.

I've met my editor, but the work is done by phone and email. She's in London and I'm in Yorkshire so that's probably why!

Catonsie Mon 23-May-16 23:11:37

Thanks for your replies.

GetAHaircut I'm envious - I wish I could be taken out to lunch. I fear I may be considered quite lowly as a yet unknown author. I live in hope.

I really want to write fiction though so I've been lurking on this board for a long while to pick up some tips.

GetAHaircutCarl Tue 24-May-16 08:45:58

cat I've been writing a long time, so lunch with my editor once a year would be seen as normal.

TBH it's not a biggie. We're not particularly close. I much preferred my first editor.

Meeting with my agent is different. We have a lot of on going projects to talk about, and he lives in the city where I work part time, so I often pop to his home (from where he does most of his work anyway) or we have lunch on campus where I work.

Catonsie Tue 24-May-16 23:13:20

I haven't got an agent though will be looking for one for my novel next year. I'm tied to my current publisher for similar works (first refusal) but fiction is outside that, I think, but the subject is close. I'll deal with that when it comes to it.

I made my first ever submission to the publisher I wanted and hey presto, I was lucky. Jammy, I know. The reason I'm thinking of an agent for a novel is because aiming to make more money this time (only a very small advance for my first) and I want a big name fiction publisher with deep pockets grin. From what I gather most won't take unsolicited submissions.

I'm writing historical fiction. After multiple attempts I have finally found my 'voice'. I read that on here, about how people start their novels. I always thought I should plough on, just get it written, but got to the point where I just couldn't move on, it didn't feel right. Then I read a thread which mentioned one author who reworked her first chapter until she had the voice. Lightbulb moment.

GetAHaircutCarl Wed 25-May-16 06:51:19

Sadly the days of large advances are gone, except in exceptional circumstances.

I've keep mine relatively generous because I got my first offer prefinancial crisis and pre digital era ( my first contract made no mention of e-books shock). It would be really churlish of my publishers to drop my advance now, in the light of consistent long term sales.

However, how I really make my $$$ is in foreign sales. Lots of them. This is why I advise writers to retain all foreign rights. Publishing houses sometimes try to buy all rights. ( so they can sell the on). Also, where possible retrain audible rights, large print rights and film and television. These are all extra sales your agent can make.

GetAHaircutCarl Wed 25-May-16 06:56:40

As for unsolicited subs. I dunno if they'll accept them.

Currently, publishing houses want more and more debut authors ( who they then don't support, but that's another thread). So you'd think they would take unsolicited stuff.

But then again, they're using agents very much as the gatekeepers these days. And agents are pretty cautious about taking on new clients and books, protecting their reputations with the houses.

MissBattleaxe Wed 25-May-16 10:05:13

I wouldn't send an unsolicited MS to a publisher Catonsie, unless it was a very small press and their website says its OK. For commercial fiction, you'd be looking at a bigger press though, so you're right to think about agents.

Good luck getting an agent. I'm sure a track record of published non-fiction won't hurt at all if you put that in your submission letter.

CuteHoor Wed 25-May-16 10:13:26

Are you happy with being tied to your publisher for all future non-fiction? That sounds quite restrictive - surely it's not in perpetuity? Did you have the contract checked over before signing? Even if you don't have an agent, the Society of Authors I believe can handle that kind of thing, though this is exactly what an agent is for, as well as selling your work.

Agreed that the days of big advances are largely in the past, and that having an agent is crucial. You could start compiling a list of likely agents who represent the kind of thing you do as you are getting your novel to the stage where it's ready to send off.

In answer to your original question, my published friends see their agents far more than their editors, and when a book is about to come out, especially if it's topical, they are more in contact with the publisher's publicity department staff than either.

GetAHaircutCarl Wed 25-May-16 10:17:52

That's true about the publicity department. I have regular contact with whoever is in charge at the time.

There's always a huge turnover ( probably because as a job it's shit pay) and it's always a posh young woman grin. They tend to lecture me about twitter for a while and then give up!!!

CuteHoor Wed 25-May-16 10:30:01

That sounds pretty much exactly my friend's current experience with one major independent publicity dept, Get - there's a new posh young woman in charge since her last novel came out, and this one is (she says) terribly enthusiastic, and has set up laudable numbers of interviews and festival things, but is despairing of her social media profile. Which consists of one rarely-updated blog... grin

ImperialBlether Tue 31-May-16 17:50:12

I've met my agent and I've met my UK editor, too. She's co-editing with the US editor and I hope I get to meet her sometime. Everything's done by email and phone, though - I can't imagine what it was like when people had to use a typewriter and Royal Mail!

I'm tied in for two books - surely they can't tie you in for an unspecified number of books, OP?

DownHereInTheHorridHouse Wed 01-Jun-16 17:04:54

I've met my agent - and all my previous ones! Probably once or twice a year - don't live in London so have to go to them. We email/text most weeks and have a chat on the phone for an hour or so, probably monthly. I work on quite a few books/proposals at a time though.

I have met a few editors, but usually only if they want to see me ahead of making an offer or if they want me to go to an event associated with the book. It's much nicer when I know them in person and makes us all a bit more settled I think.

I do non-fiction OP (I'm a ghost), but each proposal is new and nothing is committed to a previous publisher. They often ask for first refusal from the person whose story it is (although sequels in this genre are rare), but they can't ask for it from me.

I'm thinking of doing fiction too smile - good luck!

HollySeddonAuthor Tue 07-Jun-16 11:52:01

I met my agent when she'd first expressed an interest in signing me, and then on and off over the years. I lived in Kent so it was easy to get into London but now I'm living abroad it's less often. I've met my UK publisher a few times now and I made a trip over to the US to meet my American editor but if I hadn't gone over, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet her. For what it's worth, as nice as it is to build a face-to-face rapport, it's not caused any problems for me not living in the UK and not seeing them regularly.

CaoNiMao Thu 23-Jun-16 15:01:19

I'm pretty close to my agent. I live abroad at the moment so I stay with her when I'm in London. She's a bit of a mother figure!

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