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Mikki Kendall @Karnythia
, 17 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
A couple of people have asked about finding an agent & so here's what I did. I only looked for agents that repped what I wanted to sell (I didn't submit to any that were mono focused YMMV) & I asked friends who are writers about them
I also talked to other people in publishing. Admins, marketing, folks who hear all the dirt. It's amazing what people will say in front of admins by the way. I was one. I know. Admins know everything.
I had an agent before Jill & Charlie. She was very nice. She was not necessarily effective & I didn't want to get bogged down again. So I only looked for sharks. Polite sharks. Charming sharks. But sharks. YMMV
I stacked the deck in my favor before I ever started looking though, hence all the articles in all the places. This is over 10 years of platform building to get to my personal goal. Your goal might be different.
But for me I had a goal & I knew the odds of reaching it without my own platform was pretty much nonexistent. So, I did that work first even when people thought I was taking too long or I was missing chances. I knew what I wanted.
So when I pitched to agents (note my book pitch was written, polished, rewritten a few times, send out your best work) I was holding a lot of cards. And I didn't solicit anyone who wasn't an editorial agent. I like being edited rigorously.
I bitch about it, but I know my brain doesn't work like everyone else's all the time. So, embrace that aspect of this process emotionally before you start it. You love what you wrote? Great. It could be better.
Now, once agents start to respond to you, you need to get on the phone with them. Your list of agents you solicited should only be agents who do what you do, who have good reps & a solid track record. Do yourself that favor.
Between friends & writing community gossip I knew a lot, but if you aren't social like me then use the internet. People review agents all the time. You can type their name into Google & find the trackers. No results? Keep it moving. Not for you to risk IMO.
Anyway, once you get on the phone? This is a job interview. For both of you. Their job is to get you the best deal. You're hiring them for that. But they need to make sure you're worth that work. So embrace the awkwardness & get to know them.
I was already working with Charlie on a graphic project. But we didn't have a representation deal & I was super up front with everyone that I was looking for someone to rep Hood Feminism & that I needed a comics agent & a lit agent. Again all kinds of awkward. Embrace that
All of this may change for me. You may not need what I need. Etc. I talked to a lot of people. Jill gave the best notes & the best gut & she's so friendly & charming you almost miss the shark. Almost. Like I said, I wanted a shark. I got one.
Does this mean Charlie could not have repped me for both projects? No. He's great. But it wasn't right in the same way & my gut is my gut & I do what I do. I go my own way a lot & so does Jill & HF needed that energy. It worked out.
In many ways the "significant deal" aspect of this is wild & out of left field. But not totally. I had a goal number that was exceeded but that's about auction & timing & a shark. I don't need an agent to coddle me. I need them to secure the package.
What do you want to do? What do you need from an agent? Where do you want to be published? You should know those answers about yourself. I went into this wanting the book to be famous. Not for me to be famous. You might want the opposite. That's fine.
But publishing is a business. Never forget that. Art is great, art is wonderful, the selling of it is business & you should make sure you're doing good business for yourself. Any other questions?
Keep in mind I am working class Black & all of this was about the reality that you can't always change the impact of class & race but you can lessen it & all of my advice is from that place.
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