Foreword Literary, Inc has three bloggers turned agent. Book Blogger is how we choose to identify on social media, and therefore that is how people perceive us.
On the day we launched Foreword publicly Ann Kingman asked who was going to do the first story on book blogger agents and is that a viable way for bloggers to get into the industry. My immediate response was hell yes! For others it is a black mark on a record, an immediate outcry of assuming began.
They’d like to see a study in five years, if no one’s making any money bloggers as agents must suck, how do you know they are smart enough to do the job…
You don’t. But you also don’t know that the MFA student that just got a job as a new agent is legit either.
Newsflash, no new agent makes money. Not a sustainable income amount of money. You treat it like a startup, in a few years you earn out.
The three bloggers at Foreword have put an amazing amount of time into learning the business. I myself interned for four years. The first rule of lit agency interning (you sign an NDA) is not to talk about interning. I didn’t take the first agent job offered to me. I wanted to understand way more than I did.
Because being an advocate for an author is a big fucking deal. They need you for way more than to just sell your book. Almost anyone with discriminating taste can make a sale somewhere.
But can they negotiate, read contract language, have a mentor they can go to for help? Do they understand option clause and advance money vs. royalties and escalators? Can they love their author and that book like their own child?
Being a blogger is not the end all of my life. I’m a mom, a wife, a writer, and I’ve help various positions in professional fields. I have a resume, I have skills, and none of those skills have anything to do with me being an upstart blogger.
Blogging prepared me for so much in this industry and this job:
-Knowing imprints and houses.
-Knowing editors of imprints and houses.
-A strong understanding of the market in the fields I would go on to represent.
-A connection to bloggers who will help me promote my books if I love them.
-Complete understanding of a marketing plan.
I don’t think that blogging alone can prepare you for being an agent. I don’t think every blogger is a right fit. But I’m not going to judge someone based on their blog when I have no idea what they do outside of their blog and their in professional life. And I am a firm believer that a certain kind of savvy blogger gets an informal education in publishing whether they mean to or not.
I can’t answer whether I’m a good agent. That’s up to my clients and their works. What I know is that I try my damnedest to be, and that I understand the importance of what I am doing and spend 12 hours a day or more doing it.
When I took my position at Larsen Pomada they sat me down and explained I probably wouldn’t sell a book my first year, and that is totally acceptable and ok.
My one year anniversary is coming up. I made 9 deals for a total of 21 books. I have books coming out in April, June, July, and November of this year.
I’m damn proud of my record and I’m proud that blogging gave me an edge with the knowledge it brought. So I’m hoping we can lay to rest the judging of people based solely on their online presence. And that’s something I’ll have to work on personally as well. It makes you a giant ass.
Anyway, I’ve always been on team book blogger world domination.