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My Partner in Crime – How My Agent helps me Succeed as a Hybrid Author: SR Johannes

Indie Author Fringe London Book Fair

This post is part of London Book Fair Indie Author Fringe, an online author conference that showcases the best self-publishing advice and education for authors across the world — harnessing the global reach of the Alliance of Independent Authors’s network. Our self-publishing conference features well-known indie authors and advisors, for 24 sessions over 24-hours, in a one-day extravaganza of self-publishing expertise straight to your email inbox.

Enjoy this session, and let us know if you have any questions or input on this self-publishing topic, by visiting our Hot Seat and joining in the conversation.

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S R Johannes IndieReCon FounderIndie Author SR Johannes, tell us of her experiences, and the benefits of working with an Agent, and believes they’re not just for the traditionally published author.

Since indie publishing became acceptable, we —as authors— used to have to choose a publishing path.

  • Did we want the traditional book deal with the Big 5?
  • Did we want to self publish?
  • Did we want to go with a profit sharing model?
  • Or, did we want to sign on with a smaller publisher?

I must admit, I never could choose. Even when self-publishing was going great for me, I still had ideas I felt were better for traditional. At the time, everyone told me I couldn’t do both. I had to choose.

But I wanted to do different things. As a marketing person, I knew that some products would do well on one path, but some products would do better on another path.

Now, authors don’t have to pick a path. It does not have to be one way or the other. They can do it all.

I knew that then. And I worked very hard at self publishing my work as well as creating hard commercial books that would attract an agent.

I finally found Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She had a digital publishing background as just “got it”. I think she was ahead of her time in seeing that self publishing could be beneficial if it was done right and that just because I loved self publishing didn’t mean I couldn’t do other things.

And I feel so lucky to have found an agent as edgy, as good, as open, and as communicative as she is. Now, I have a fabulous agent (friend, partner etc.) who not only helps me make publishing decisions, but who also guides me along any path I choose. My agent helps me choose the best path for each book. Because let’s face it – self-publishing doesn’t work for some books and traditional publishing doesn’t work for all of them. My agent helps with my entire portfolio and she’s worth every penny.

Before I get into the benefits of having an agent as a hybrid author – let me say that I use my agent for more than my traditional deals.

I also use her for all my self-publishing. Some may ask me why? Why I would pay my agent 15% to help me self publish when I can do it myself for free.

A few reasons come to mind:

  • She works hard on all my work. If something doesn’t sell, she gets nothing. So I know that my self-pubbing books pay her something between deals. And she does work on those books too.
  • She helps with editorial work on my self-publishing just like traditional. This ensures my books are the best they can be. I feel better knowing that.
  • She knows digital publishing and I trust her opinion. She’s up to speed on new platforms and changes in the market.
  • If I want it – she can help manage the process of getting editing, covers, and formatting. Sometimes vetting services is hard. If or when I use that service – I pay what I would normally pay for those. She doesn’t get a fee or anything and she doesn’t get her % until I recover my expenses in sales.
  • She handles all the uploading of files. Believe me – this saves me a lot of time!
  • She handles all the financials and I get one check from her. This also saves me a lot of time!
  • She handles changes in sales pricing and descriptions. She also handles promotional deals running.
  • She knows my whole portfolio and we work toward the same goals. My agent is my partner for my entire career – not just one path or book.

My agent deserves every penny she gets. I actually think she deserves way more and I know I will pay off for her (as an author) in the long run.

Keep in mind – not all agents are equal. So you have to find the right agent and agency that truly believes there are viable sales on any publishing path. They need to be experienced in digital publishing and open to any and all paths and opportunities that arise.

Top 10 benefits to having an agent (as a hybrid author) are:

  1. Self-Publishing – As I mentioned above, my agent actually helps me editorially as well as manages payments and uploads my eBook on platforms. She also has great connections with contacts at the various platforms and has gotten me some extra promotional opportunities.
  2. Traditional publishing – This is a given. She just negotiated an amazing picture book deal for me and is subbing my other work best served by the traditional path.
  3. Salability – No matter what book I have, my agent helps me decide what path it should take. Is it timely? Is it commercial? Is it going to sell?
  4. Market Insight – My agent knows the market. She knows what editors are looking for on a traditional side but she also understands the digital publishing market.
  5. Strategy and goal setting – My agent is great in guiding me in my writing goals. She helps me decide what book works best – where, when and how. She helps me set goals and encourages me to meet them. We do this a few times a year as things change.
  6. Partner – This business is tough. And now I finally have a partner who is on my side. No matter what. My agent and I want the same things – to make and sell great books through the best channel.
  7. Editorial Feedback – No matter what path we choose – she is always available and willing to provide editorial feedback and brainstorm. This gives me a sounding board on all my projects.
  8. Contracts/Negotiation – Obviously she helps with traditional but she does more. She reviews terms of agreement and contracts (and helps negotiate them) that may come up in random contests or other opportunities that pop up (Book packaging etc).
  9. Other Rights – She can sell all my rights to anything. She knows the foreign and film market as well as other rights.
  10. Advice/Trust – She is honest and I value/trust her opinion. This is very important to me. My agent always has my back and is always looking out for my best interest. She’s the only person I can say that about in this industry.

You need to decide for yourself what your goals are for your writing career and how best you can accomplish them.

For me, I knew I wanted to have a hybrid career. I wanted to self publish and have control over some of my books. BUT I also had ideas that I felt were better for a more traditional path. I love both paths for different reasons and books. I wanted to be open to any writing opportunity that was available. Because at the end of the day, I just want to write great books.

Having my agent as a partner is amazing. She is someone who I know can help me to become a successful WRITER, no matter what I write or what path I choose. And I’m very grateful for her and our partnership.

#IAF16 How My Agent helps me Succeed as a Hybrid Author @srjohannes bit.ly/IAF173146 #selfpub Click To Tweet

Click here to find out more about SR Johannes


GIVEAWAY

Shelli is offering a 60 minute consulting session to talk to you about marketing and self-publishing.

She’s also giving away a free copy of “Marketing Your Words: The writer’s guide to bestselling marketing and book promotion” ebook. This easy to follow marketing book is for every writer and author who doesn’t know where to start with marketing once their book is done and ready to be published. It is easy to read and gives you step by step tips and instructions on how to do your own branding, social networking, online marketing, blog tours, book signings, and more.

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