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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Honey, I Shrunk the Blog

Some of you may have noticed that the blog went without posting for over three months...

Well, for good chunks of August and September, JABberwocky was working at half capacity. I'm in LA. Eddie is at WorldCon. I'm in Florida. Eddie is on vacation. The intern is on summer break.

In mid-September, I buy a new apartment, which I might not actually move into for a few months yet. Why? Well, I see the apartment as kind of building my dream home and want to move in when my home is ready. Some think I have a mental block against actually moving. In any case, selecting paint colors and looking for ceiling fans and designing a big built-in bookcase and getting appropriate new furniture and talking to contractors and figuring out how to light the bookcase and all sorts of things like that, some of which I've done infrequently if ever and am hardly expert at, enter my life. It's a little part-time job to go along with my full-time job.

We return to usual attendance levels just in time to get huge stacks of royalty paperwork from DAW, Penguin and other publishers. October and April tend to be the big crunch months for this. I'm actually quite pleased with how efficiently we process these big stacks of paper.

And all the while, we are very busy selling books to lots of people in lots of places, which means lots of contracts and other paper to push around the office.

So even though we're getting it done, there's a real cost. When I head off to Bouchercon in Indianapolis in mid-October, I have lots of reading for my train ride, because I haven't had a lot of time to do anything other than work. And the trip is really nice, and recharges my batteries, but there are all the e-mails I'm saying "well, that will have to wait until I'm back in the office." And then we did such a nice job processing the US royalty statements, but then there's the second wave of foreign statements that start to pour in. Cutting one check doesn't take a lot of time. Cutting checks when you have money coming in from 3 different places each for 6 different authors for a total of 18 payment items going to 10 authors gets to be a bit of a to-do as you be sure all the pieces match up and balance out. So there's a week in the office between Bouchercon and World Fantasy. The three weeks between World Fantasy and Thanksgiving looked so invitingly long, but let's just say no real let-ups. And then I take an extended break for Thanksgiving and actually read a book for pleasure for the first time in over a year (Agassi's Open) and recharge a little, and at least Thanksgiving most of my clients aren't working either but the foreign publishers don't seem to know it's a holiday. So it's around a week and a half of finally catching up after Thanksgiving.

In the midst of this we expanded the staff by adding a 20 hr/week part-timer who is helping out quite wonderfully, but in the meantime it's two months without doing anything on the apartment so when mid-December finally arrives and work finally seems to have died down I get to really start focusing on that. And work does get quiet in December, but we have all the year-end/year-beginning stuff to work on over the holidays and a little this and a little that.

But one thing I realized in the midst of this was that I really did miss the blogging. Some people are really pressuring me to do the Facebook thing, which I'm just not interested in, but I emerged from this busiest-ever stretch in the job with a renewed desire to try and keep the blog going. And I'm still feeling a little guilty on that, because think of all the manuscripts I could have read with the time I've spent making December 2009 my record month for blog posts. But this is the part of the contemporary age when you're supposed to blog and social network and do that modern internetty stuff that I want to try and be doing. I am trying to keep some posts a little shorter, and I'm also trying to look harder for business-y blogging topics that won't get me in trouble. Maybe I should try and track the blog traffic, but why do I think that would just end up depressing me?

Who knows what the future will bring, but I'll be trying to keep up. And as I try and do more posts, maybe some reports on some of these things I was up to from August thru November will make their way in.


brycemoore said...

Glad to hear your recent posts will continue. I had missed them.

Myke said...

What kind of a jerk would pressure you to get on Facebook? Wow. Whoever that is must be a real piece of work.

Unknown said...

I understand your resistance to FaceBook. All this social media stuff seems so trendy for writers, but I keep asking the same question each time someone new pressures me to join the S.M. rat race: Why would I steal from the precious little writing time I have now just to tell everyone I'm eating breakfast, reading emails, going to the store ... ad nauseam?

However, please keep up with your blog. I really enjoy your insights into the industry and almost felt as if I were in NYC when reading your holiday posts.

Bill Swears said...

I'm on facebook, but go a couple weeks at a time without visiting. Nobody seems to care. I have made contact with a couple people from my past lives who I couldn't otherwise find, so that part is good.


Peat said...

Facebook and twitter have had a powerful and measurable positive effect on my career. They have facilitated contact and built relationships with a number of influential people I might not otherwise have known, generated new business, and given me a fantastic way to interact with my readers. It has unquestionably increased my book sales.

This is in addition to reuiniting me with literally dozens of personal friends and family that I had lost touch with over the years. Giving us an unintrusive way to keep up with each other's lives and organize ways to meet in person.

At the very least, it will up your blog traffic a lot, and help you promote your clients to a wide audience that enjoys the types of books you have chosen to represent.

Think about it. Eddie could set up a JABberwocky facebook page in 10 minutes, and teach you to use it in 5.