Friday, May 4, 2012

Agent or not, the writer stays the same

A few months ago I announced that I accepted representation with an agency to represent my entire career in my I'm A Hybrid blog.

Why would a successful self-published author sign with an agent? Easy...
1) It's part of my dream to see my book in Target, Walmart, any book store.
2) It has nothing to do with money. . .obviously.
3) I can still self-publish.
4) Self-published authors have so many options now.
5) It's still my DREAM!

Well. . .I've learned a lot over the past few months. I gave my agent my straight cozy mystery series, The Divorced Divas, Strung Out To Die novel to shop around.

But that didn't stop me. I didn't rest on my laurels and drum my fingers until I heard who she submitted to, I wrote another book, A Charming Crime and started the second Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery Novel. I didn't pay attention to The Divorced Divas series because I had committed to that series as my debut traditional series.

I heard from my agent that they decided they weren't going to represent PARANORMAL STUFF, but straight cozies, inspirational, and women's fiction.

Hmm....I was in a pickle.
I had a decision to make. It is my career! The Divorced Divas is a straight cozy and I write women's fiction, but a major part of my career is my cozy mysteries with paranormal elements. I wasn't upset or mad. I still really like my agent, but I had options. That is something writers didn't have a few years ago.

1) I can stay with the agent and traditional publish my straight cozies and women's fiction. Self-publish my paranormal novels.

OR

2) Tell the agent thank you, but I'm going to step away and look for another agent who will represent everything I write. AND continue to self-publish.

If you noticed, both of those include self-publish. HOW GREAT IS THAT????? This is why I wasn't upset or angry. My career is and will always be in MY hands and choices are there that weren't a few years ago.

My decision. . .I walked away.

Some writers shudder at the thought of getting an agent and then even think about letting them go. But I wasn't going to settle. I've been writing too long and had too much success to settle for second best.  I know I'm going to continue to be a successful self-published author. I will continue to live the true life that I set out to live with or without an agent. And it is so reassuring to know that I did the right thing.

What I learned out of this...I have a clear vision of MY career. I value my work. I value myself. AND I won't settle. Embrace the options that we have because those options weren't here a few years ago.

I'm still on target to self-publish the four novels and two short stories this year. SPLITSVILLE.COM is contracted and in the hands of a producer to make it into an audio book. Plus I started my STREET TEAM.  AND still on the agent hunt. I didn't let grass grow under my feet! Strung Out To Die is in the hands of four agents and I'm still going to pursue my dream of filling the traditional route.

Would you be able to walk away from an agent?
I'm giving away a copy of THE TRICKED OUT TOOLBOX to one lucky commenter. Check back to see if you won! You have one week to claim your prize.


36 comments:

  1. Brava, Tonya! I'm proud of you for having the courage to get back on the "query coaster" and find your ideal match. You wouldn't believe how many writers I talk to who are unhappy with their agents, but refuse to do anything about it because they're afraid to take the next step.

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! I know a lot of writers who would never question their agent. I don't get that. I want my agent/client relationship to be open and honest just as you would in a marriage!

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  2. I definitely agree with your decision. Once you've made the commitment to become a self-published author and have established yourself successfully, it just doesn't make sense to affiliate yourself with an agent who cannot meet the entirety of your needs. Writing and creating are so personal; when your product is a little piece of your soul, why on earth would you settle? You and your writing are worth far more than that!

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    1. I DEFINITELY still want an agent. I DEFINITELY want to be traditionally published, but I will do it all. All areas of publication. Why not? We have that option now and it feels GREAT!

      I'll keep you posted about agent journey:) And you're so right....no need to settle!

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  3. I applaud your courage. I think many would be reluctant to stand up for themselves like that. I admire your courage and wish you all the luck in pursuit of your dreams!

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    1. Thanks so much, Marguerite! I wanted to let authors know that there are so many options for us and when you think you are going down a road, keep what you want in mind, not someone else.

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  4. You are so solid in your belief of yourself (something I think is the most important thing for a self-pubbed author), and I admire that so much.

    I always learn something from your posts. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!!

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    1. Alannah, thank you from the bottom of my heart. This blog is just that. Letting everyone know the twists and turns in this industry, but to keep going.

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  5. I think now more than ever, an author has that option. Would I have walked away? I think I most definitely would. I currently have a manuscript subbed to an editor, and part of me is hoping it is rejected in the next month, so I can have it ready to self-publish in the fall.

    I wouldn't say "never" to an agent. I wouldn't say "never" to any option. It's not quite clear yet what's going to come of the publishing world, but it is clear that authors have more power now than ever, and they're using that power to build careers.

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    1. Oh, Cherie! It's the time thing that KILLS me....I've said so many times "Strung Out To Die could've been released four months ago." Self publishing is instant gratification, but I'm waiting. I want all routes to publishing. Why not?

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  6. You certainly make a case for following one's own heart.

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  7. Tonya,
    You are a pioneer in this industry. I know that couldn't have been an easy decision for you to make, but I'm so glad you made the right one. And I'm so excited to see where your career goes from here! Sky's the limit! :D

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    1. Thanks, Lorie! You know me...I called my critique partner and they listened. It was great to hear myself and realize that I won't settle for MY career. If I don't find the agent I want, I will continue on my journey. It really is a great time to be a writer!

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  8. wow, very brave and inspirational decision!

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    1. Thanks, Katie! How's the stalking agents going??? Got any tips?

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  9. I admire you, Tonya. You've got what it takes to make it really big in this industry. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Sandy. I think its knowing exactly what you want that helps with the drive.

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  10. Congratulations on continuing to keep your career in your hands, Tonya! If an agent doesn't represent everything you write, it's not a great match. When I was going thru the decisioning process, I had to make some hard choices for that very reason.

    Way to go!

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    1. It's a bitter sweet process, Jenn! You think it's going to be an easy decisions, but it's not.

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  11. Brava! (I'm standing and clapping). Well Done. I would have walked away too. You are the captain of your own ship and you should never settle. Would you marry a man who only sort of liked you - NO. NEVER. Then why would you ever stay with an agent who only represents a portion of what you write. I think you made a great move. BTW, I just got Tricked out Toolbox (Thank you so much, Tonya) and it's great! I'm making notes and setting up my marketing plan. The book is awesome!

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    1. Great analogy, Gerri! I'm so glad you like TOT!

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  12. Gutsy call, Tonya.
    I probably would've just gone with the flow ... and tried to make the best of it.
    I don't have one-tenth of your energy!

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    1. Jeff, if you aren't true to your heart, your muse will die and you won't be able to write. So I bet you wouldn't stay. Life is too short to settle for second best.

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  13. Well it's certainly clear to me that I need about half the cojones you have, woman! Good for you! This is pretty inspiring actually.

    I think success (as you're experiencing) would make the decision much easier for a lot of people when faced with the not too pleasant firing of one's agent. I don't know. I can only hope that WHEN I'm as successful... :-) ...I am as determined to stick to my career path.

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    1. I'm not sure if it's the success as much as realizing that we have so many options that makes me feel better. But I do know that when I do have the right fit, I will give 110%.

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  14. Thank you for continuing to remind us of all the options we have as writers.

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie. Sometimes we forget in the rigmarole of it all.

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  15. It's a long road, and all of us who write have so many decisions to make. I applaud you very much for sticking with your dreams even if that meant walking away from something we've all strived to get - an agent. You rock, sweetie, continued success.

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    1. Thanks so much, Linda! Life is too short to settle for second best.

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  16. Hi Tonya, I guess I'm what you called a Hybdrid writer too. I have self-published one of my books, have contracted a series to an digital and POD epublisher and I have an agent because I still dream of the traditional deal with print run. So far, my experience has been great, but I've also been able to maintain control over my career. If it ever gets to a point where I can't publish in all capacities, including self-publishing, then it will be time to rethink my career path too. Good luck! I'm sure you'll get everything you've wanted soon enough!

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    1. Hi, Heather. It's so important to realize that we do have control of our career and what path we take. With that said, I know that we have to give up some control as we go traditional, but that's okay because you can do both, hands down the best time to be a writer.

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  17. A writer friend walked away from her agent...to sign with another agent who sought her out. I'm thrilled for her. She worried about the ethics of leaving, but the first agent hadn't given her a contract, which meant either of them could end the arrangement at will. I think the best path is the one that stays true to yourself and your work.

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    1. Wonderful story, Mary! I had the fear that the other agents might think I was hard to get a long with, but it had NOTHING to do with that. I still love my old agent and greatly respect her, but I want an agent to represent every single genre I write. Unfortunately that agent did until a couple weeks ago....and I did realize it was a decision I had to make for BUSINESS not personal. Because writing is a business now.

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  18. STEPHANIE!! You are the winner of a copy of THE TRICKED OUT TOOLBOX!!! email me through my ABOUT ME page! You have until May 14th to email me.

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  19. Lots of the authors I know have been through more than one agent before they got to the one that was right for them. I've had moments of doubt about mine (as a match for me, not as an agent in general) although things seem to be going better lately.

    Good for you!

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