A View From the Assistant’s Desk

alphabet-15461_640Working for a highly respected literary agency is not quite all it’s expected to be.

Some things I wasn’t fully expecting:

It’s a lot of emails. A lot.

It’s a lot of report filing.

Spreadsheet documents and, oh, spreadsheet documentation.

I am far from bored since I started working for Wordserve Literary and frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

So what do I see from my small desk in the publishing world?

  • Self-help books are really in. True, our agency has a felt-need and a niche in this market to pitch to the nonfiction sector, but it still surprises me how many marriage, parenting, general life/encouragement/devotional books continue to come through our office doors.
  • Book deals really aren’t that awesome. While this didn’t surprise me, as a writer myself, I’ve always wanted to know what dollar amount writers were forever bemoaning. Makes me that much more grateful for the novels I consume on a regular basis and the authors who continue to write them.
  • Social media is huge. Something I already knew, but a platform is so incredibly vital to a writer. It’s the main reason Greg Johnson started FaithHappenings.com. Writers with a great story and no platform are getting passed right on by without that audience to market to.
  • Self-publishing is becoming more and more the norm. Writers who can’t get a deal for their great new book, or who don’t want to wait a year or longer for readers to have their next content, are pushing the “send now” button into the great wide world of indie publishing. It’s not the same as it used to be years ago. Indie is becoming a good opportunity to take advantage of with new cover options, quality printing companies, and more opportunities out there to publish a good product. Self-publishing is walking away, though slowly, from the stigma of poor quality material.

Publishing is a swiftly changing monster. But I don’t need to tell you this. Even if you are not published, the reality is that you can’t be a book lover and not notice that things are always changing. Publishers are trying to find new ways to get their books to capture your attention—and are buying less content. Authors are pounding the pavement harder. Literary agents are pitching the right book to the right house and still hearing no, for seemingly no reason other than “it’s not the right fit for our house.”

Does that make publishing a discouraging business to be in? Well, maybe, if you only look at the negatives of the business. But with changes come opportunities to rise to the occasion and come out on top with a great idea. A great book. The opportunity to impact lives with your words on the page. Because whether publishers are buying or not, a great book is still a great book. And passion for story can’t quell that. Ever.

The gift of a literary agency is the team behind you, believing in your product. It’s not just you. It never has to be just you. So even when the wait seems long and the emails slow in coming, we are behind you. Fighting for this book.

Keep on writing.

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8 thoughts on “A View From the Assistant’s Desk

  1. You said that “Social Media is huge” and I wonder if that implies I need to have a blog (which I don’t) and facebook (which I do) to give greater exposure to my writing. I’m at the point where I would like to consider options of whether to self-publish or do the traditional and get someone to help me. Please help!

    • Hello GeneralKat…

      What social media are you passionate about learning right now? If that is blogging, then yes, I’d study your favorite blogs, figure out what they do that makes them successful and then see what YOU have to offer that is unique and different from the rest of the blogging world. In being a small fish in a big pond, you have to figure out your brand and niche and run with it to the masses.

      If blogging is not something you are passionate about, then what social medial do you want to figure out? Take it in slices. Maybe figure out Twitter next or Pinterest or Google+. Learn to do it well. Then weave in the next media. Keep moving forward from there.

  2. I love self-help books! And novels. And magazines… Well, I love to read! Thanks for sharing what you see. 🙂

  3. I’m so grateful for my WordServe Literary Agency team! Publishing is a tough sell, and knowing I’ve got the team behind me keeps me tapping away on my laptop. Thanks, Casey, for reminding me you’re all cheering me on.

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