Between the four of us, we discovered that we know a lot of interesting and exciting people in the writing world, and we’ve enjoyed bringing them here to visit with all our readers. Today we’re particularly thrilled to present Lucienne Diver! *wild applause* Take it away, Lucienne!
“Got to Keep ‘em Separated” by Lucienne Diver
Most people are surprised to discover that as an author I have an agent of my own. This is because I simply can’t be both at once. As an agent with over sixteen years in the business, I’m confident. I know how hard to push and on what points. As an author, I want anyone who makes me an offer to sign on the dotted line as quickly as possible before they come to their senses. Negotiation is a word without meaning. Haggling is right out. Obviously, these two perspectives are at odds, so I need someone to play the agent role when I’m in author mode.
This is how a conversation between my two selves might go. Now, keep in mind that the only author reflected here is my own alter ego. Any resemblance to other authors living or undead is purely coincidental.
Author: You mean Publisher X wants my work?! Ohmagod, ohmagod, ohmagod. Sure, yes! You didn’t have to promise them my first born, did you? I’m kind of attached to him, but I guess as long as I have visitation rights….
Agent: (Laughs) Not so fast. We need to discuss limiting the territories, tweaking the royalty breaks, the out of print clause and high discount language. I want to go over their boilerplate.
Author: If you think that won’t scare them off. I’m just so excited that they want to publish my work.
Agent: It’s called Negotiation. I do it all the time.
Author: Negotiation? Is that anything like Valium? I think I could use one of those right now.
Okay, as you can see, this whole thing might devolve rather quickly into a Three Faces of Eve scenario, a battle over dominance of my mind, such as it is. So, when I’m an author (primarily between the ungodly hours of 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. when I write), I’m an author with someone entirely different and more detached to play devil’s advocate during business hours. When I’m an agent (the other 95% of my time), I’m an agent with someone else to focus on the business part of my career while I focus on my own clients. And never the twain shall meet.
Now, you might say that it’s impossible to keep the two sides wholly separate. We do share a brain, after all. Well, that’s true. My writing informs my agenting in several ways:
1-The promotional lessons I learn from marketing my own work I can pass along to my writers.
2-Learning to spot and overcome certain issues in my writing has made me into a better critical reader and editor for my authors.
3-I have a special empathy for what writes go through with rejections, editorial letters, copyedits, etc. and keep myself to tight turn-around times and open communication accordingly.
Does my agenting inform my writing? Well, yes. I know what various houses are looking for, and while I don’t write to those markets, it helps my agent and I brainstorm over submissions. Also, I have some contacts which aid me in promoting my novel and a perspective on the way the business works and what to expect.
Primarily, though, my two sides are like the night and day shift, waving to each other as they clock in and out, maybe occasionally getting together for coffee and scones. Both sides appreciate a good scone. It’s what brings us together.
Lucienne Diver is a sixteen year veteran of the publishing business. She began as an agent at NYC’s Spectrum Literary Agency and moved last year to the dynamic Knight Agency. She represents over forty authors of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery and suspense. She’s also the author of the young adult novel VAMPED, just released in trade paperback from Flux. She can be found on her blog or on her website.
To celebrate the release of VAMPED, Shooting Stars Mag will be running a “Test Your Vampire IQ” contest throughout the month of May with a goody giveaway. Also, whether you like your author/agents sunny side up or extra crispy, Lucienne will be available for roasting over an open fire on May 7th at Bookroast. Check her website or blog for more gaffs and goodies.