Your Agent Loves You – A.K.A. Why You Need One

I love talking shop with people and answering writing and industry questions, but I always feel kind of weird posting about it. But I wanted to expand on something we were talking about in chat last night that I didn’t get to say because I got really hungry and my brain crapped out. I mean, ’cause I ran out of time.

First off, the most common reason I hear that people think they need an agent is because they can’t handle the contracts themselves. This is very true! But it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. You probably already know all the obvious reasons why you NEED an agent (even if you make your sale yourself, get an agent ASAP)–they have contacts and can get you a good book deal, they handle contracts and keep you from getting screwed, etc.

But what you might not know is that an agent–a GOOD agent–is like your mom.

Yeah, you heard me.  Not like your agent tells you to be home by midnight and bakes you cookies or anything, but a good agent is like having a mom around because not only do they handle the hard, grown-up stuff like contracts, but they believe in you.  They always have good things to say about you and tell everyone who will listen (thankfully, unlike real moms, they don’t have embarrassing baby pictures of you).  They’re super supportive of your dreams and your work, and they’ve got your back if the outside world gets too scary or things don’t go how you planned.  They make scary phone calls so you don’t have to.  They can set up play dates phone calls between you and your editor/potential editor.  They’re always happy you called or wrote, they’re always on your side, and they share your triumphs and your downfalls.  And if there is bad news, your agent knows how to tell you in the best way possible, so you still come out feeling good about yourself.

That kind of stuff is invaluable.  I speak from experience, having had both a not-so-good agent who barely spoke to me and gave up on me when my book didn’t sell right away, and having had an absolutely awesome agent who’s everything I just described in the above paragraphs.  Handling the contracts isn’t the top reason for having an agent, it’s icing on the cake.

Tribue to Dani Noir – my Rita Hayworth Impression

Inspired by this quote from page 8 of Nova Ren Suma’s Dani Noir:

Rita Hayworth would toss her hair (red in real life, but in black-and-white it could be any color). Shed blink super slow, like she was underwater. Then shed turn, finally, and settle her eyes on Jessica. It would take a few seconds but feel like forever and you wouldnt be able to stop staring. Then Rita Hayworth would say maybe one word, drawing it out, making it sound like the most beautiful word anyone could say, like, in any language, ever. The word could be hi or mayonnaise, it doesnt matter. And before you know it, Rita Hayworth will have eaten Jessica Alba alive.

In My Shopping Bag

Like the In My Mail Box features, only in a shopping bag. I took a 2 hour trek to the local B&N. My theory is if I get enough exercise walking there, then I’m allowed to buy books. (This makes perfect sense.) Today I went specifically in search of Nova Ren Suma’s DANI NOIR, even though *technically* it doesn’t come out until Tuesday. It was a gamble that they’d have it out already, but a risk I was willing to take. Luckily for me, Fortune favors the bold and my quest was successful.

The first item in my shopping bag, however, is my wrist. I hooked the bag on my wrist to have both hands free and got stuck.

From Drop Box

Then the much searched for Dani Noir:

From Drop Box

I want to read this book SO BAD! I read the first chapter online the other day. Part of me is sad I didn’t discover this book sooner, and part of me is glad because if I had discovered it sooner, I would have had to wait longer.

And then I got this:

From Drop Box

It’s a planner that goes from now until the end of 2010! I’ve been wanting one for a while–you know, to keep up with my busy blogging schedule–but the ones at the grocery store suck. This one is perfect however. It *not only* has sparkly flowers on the front, but cute bees. I am all about sparkly flowers and cute bees. Also the font and layout is way cute, and it not only has a daily planner section, but monthly overviews. AND, as if that wasn’t cool enough, it also comes with a bee eraser, some bee post-its, a bee bookmark, AND a special plastic 3-ring bookmark to keep your place in the weekly planner. I almost got a more sophisticated, grown-up looking planner, but then I turned the corner and saw this and was like “hellz yeah, imma get me somma that.”

Also when I was looking for Dani Noir, a saleslady asked if she could help me find something, and I actually said YES. (I am normally shy and lie like crazy to salespeople when they ask me if I’m finding everything okay.) I asked her if they had Dani Noir, even though technically it’s not out yet, and she looked it up and helped me find it. (I was looking in YA; it was in MG.) The whole time I wanted to find a way to blurt out “I’M AN AUTHOR. I JUST GOT MY BOOK COVER. DER.” Except, you know, in a calm and sophisticated not-blurty way. I couldn’t think of anything, so I chose to stay silent like a ninja… for now. They only had one Dani Noir on the shelf–spine out >:/–and I got it. I’m sure they have more in the back, but maybe me asking for it and emptying the shelf so fast will prompt them to put out more.

I’ve actually noticed about our local B&N that the YA section is flashy and out in the open, and all the new books are on a special shelf, face out, and even most of the YAs on the shelf are face out, and they have multiple copies. But the MG section is stuffed away in the back. There seem to be more titles overall, but they are crammed together on the shelves, one copy each unless they’re super popular, spine out. There is a shelf where they put some MG titles face out, but it’s definitely not the majority. This bothers me because there are so many awesome MG books, and I think I end up buying more of those than YAs. Though as a YA author whose name starts with C, I think I have it made on the YA shelf.

Speaking of random school memories, I remember once in 9th grade science class the teacher was telling us about how in olden days people thought the world was made of the four elements, air, water, earth, and fire. But nowadays we know that’s not true. (Implication that people in the past were a bit stupid and definitely very wrong.) Now that we have science and are smart, we know that’s dumb and that the world is made of gas, liquids, solids, and plasma. O__o

***

Also last night I dreamt I was hanging out with the kids from My So-Called Life (this is what I get for trying it out and watching two episodes–I still can’t decide if I love it or hate it; I kind of like the story but can’t stand any of the characters), and I kept getting mad at them and trying to get across to them that I’m TWENTY-SEVEN and know way more than them. Also someone in the dream accused me of having a minimum wage job, and I was like, “I’M TWENTY-SEVEN I MAKE MORE THAN MINIMUM WAGE!!!” Thankfully it ended after that. Never realized I was so proud of my grown-up-ness.

Random School Memory

I remember some time in elementary school our school got a button machine. We were each allowed to design our own button, and then that button got us special privileges. I don’t remember what the privileges were. Nothing *too* special, just, like, getting to use it as a hall pass to go to the bathroom when we wanted or an extra minute of recess or something. The catch was that if we got in trouble or talked in class or did something wrong, we got our button and the privileges that came with it taken away for a while. At first, everybody had their buttons, but after a while they started dropping like flies. I think the buttons were only taken away for a day or a week or something, but there was never a time when everybody had their buttons except the first day or so. Eventually nobody cared about trying to keep their buttons because it was so random who had theirs anyway.

I WAS THE ONLY KID WHO NEVER LOST THEIR BUTTON. Seriously. I had my button and my “special privileges” that I can’t even remember what are anymore the whole freakin’ time. I never did anything worthy of losing my button. And it’s not like I was trying or anything–I guess I was just natural born button material.

Note: this did not make me popular, but it didn’t make me any more unpopular than I already was, so there you go.

Random Musings

So you know that song that goes like, “If I was invincible, I’d just watch you in your room?” Or something like that. Anyway, up until today, I’d always heard it as “If I was INVISIBLE.” This greatly changes my feelings towards this song.

Also, I am beginning to wonder if my book cover actually exists. I feel like the emperor in the emperor’s new clothes. When I finally get to see it, it’s going to be blank and everyone at the publishing house will be all smiling and like, “Isn’t is beautiful? We worked so long and hard to make this perfect cover for you.” And I’ll be like, “Uh… I don’t see anything…” And then they’ll scowl and be all, “What, are you a FOOL? Only fools can’t see this gorgeous book cover!” And I’ll be all, “HA HA. J/k, guys–totally awesome,” but secretly I will be thinking this: O__o

More about books

I’ve been thinking about my last post and about books and reading and how it affects my life. Or can or has or whatever. I remember two years ago, when Harry Potter 7 came out. It was the end of an era, and also the summer I graduated from college (after a measly million seven years there). There was no way I wasn’t going to read HP7 as soon as it came out–I’d learned my lesson about being slow with HP and hearing spoilers–but I was also really relating to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, venturing out on their own. I’d graduated. I’d lost my Dumbledore, though not through death, and my Hogwarts, and I didn’t really know where to go from there. Maybe that’s why I liked all the camping scenes my friends got bored with, because I felt just as lost. I’d never not been in school, never not had some place to go or thing to do. With my spouse still in school, and with me not even trying to get a job in my field, we weren’t leaving town. I was looking for a job to survive, but I knew what I really wanted to do, and what I’d hoped to be able to do by the time I left college, was write for a living. That obviously hadn’t happened. I was good, I had 7 novels under my belt, and the last one had even been good, but I wasn’t making any money at it.

So I read HP7 not just for the story, but also searching for some kind of guidance. I felt like Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and I were kind of in the same boat. Kind of. They were trying to stop Voldemort, though they didn’t necessarily know how. They were without their mentor and their institution, all alone, trying to figure things out. And so was I. I don’t remember what my conclusion was about myself in comparison to the HP kids by the end of the book, but I do remember it helped just relating so much to everything. And I also remember writing Renegade X at the same time as reading HP7. I don’t remember which one I started first, but they were pretty close together. It was probably a coincidence, and it’s not like I’ve never felt lost again between then and now–it took me a long time to find a publisher for Renegade X, so there were plenty of opportunities to agonize over whether or not I’d made mistakes, failed completely, and gone absolutely nowhere. But reading the book when I did certainly meant a lot to me, and I believe it made a difference in my life and how I dealt with things. Sometimes the only one who really understands what you’re going through in the book you’re reading.

Reading!

After reading only a measly 24 books so far this year–*ducks to avoid tomatoes*–I’m on a reading kick! Okay, it might be too soon to tell since my reading kick just started last night, but I want to just sit here and read all day, and that hasn’t happened in a long time. Reading has become something I’m reluctant to do, even though I know I love it–kind of like exercising. I don’t know when it happened, but I think my brain got lazy. I’ll sit there with a book feeling antsy, like I should be doing something else, even if I really like the book.

Last night I finished Blood Promise, book 4 in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. I won’t say anything spoilery, but Oh. My. Freakin’. God. It was amazing. That’s not spoilery because all of Richelle’s books are amazing. Each volume of the series has me gaping for the whole second half of the book. It happens every time, each book even more gape-worthy than the last. Blood Promise did not disappoint, and I’m glad there are two more books in the series. (What will I do when it’s over? It’ll be like not having more HP all over again!) But I sat down and read 200 pages last night, knowing there was no way I could put that book down and go to bed without knowing the ending. It reminded me why I LOVE reading and writing.

Reading is so amazing. It lets you into the mind of another person in a way you can’t get anywhere else. It comforts you about your bad experiences. It helps you process life. It’s like dreaming for the conscious part of your brain–it lets you sort everything out and put it into perspective. It lets you build up a limitless supply of experiences and feelings. And there’s nothing like an awesome story that won’t let you put it down.

After finishing Blood Promise last night, I wanted to pick up another book and start reading. Except it was late and I was still reeling from the awesomeness of BP. This morning though I picked up Shiver from my TBR pile–I never used to have a TBR pile; I thought people were joking when they talked about it–and I’m 30 pages in and have felt goosebumps the entire time. I look forward to reading all day, which is something I haven’t done in a long time.

My cat makes loud noises

FINALLY caught on video, this is my cat Teisel making Teisel noises out my roommate’s window. Teisel talks A LOT and makes some weird loud noises–not that he’s ever not loud and not that he’s ever not weird–but he is notoriously quiet whenever the camera is on, or when visitors are over. He’s kind of like that singing frog on Looney Tunes. (Note: the video gets good about 30 seconds in, and especially good at around second 44.)