This is the last day of our Thankful To Our Readers giveaways! Thanks for sticking with us this month
Leave a comment for a chance to win Eggnog Murder with holiday novellas by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross AND a book by Liz Mugavero! (And it’s Liz’s birthday today, too, so leave lots of comments. Ssshh, don’t tell her I said so…)
It’s unusual for a group of writers who blog together to have the same agent but we Wickeds do. It’s John Talbot of the Talbot Fortune Agency. Today we are sharing stories about working with John.
Liz: We all pretty much share the same story, so here goes. Back in 2011, John reached out to Sheila Connolly, then-president of Sisters in Crime New England, and asked her if she could refer some writers who might want to work on cozy mystery proposals with him. Not wanting to pick and choose, Sheila put the word out to the whole chapter, and a bunch of us answered the call. I emailed John and he got back to me right away. Within a few days we were on the phone discussing how my interests might fit into something he could sell. We brainstormed and came up with the gourmet pet food idea, and the rest, as they say, is history! Thanks, John, for being such a great partner in this crazy business.
Julie: There are three things I appreciate about John. First, he helps me think about my career arc. What is a good next step, what should I be thinking about. Like Liz, I feel like he’s a partner on this journey. Second, he has opinions, and shares them. You don’t just hand him a proposal–he works with you on it until he feels like it is ready to send out. Third, he’s a good guy. This is too crazy a business to be on a ride where you don’t like the other person in the car with you.
Edith: Same story as Liz’s, except with me he sold the Local Foods Mysteries. I’ve now sold four series via John Talbot, and I agree with everything Julie says about him. Another thing he helps with is understanding the nearly undecipherable royalty statements from one of my publishers. The statements come twice a year in tiny print. After Barb alerted us to read them very, very carefully, I found an mistake in one of mine, which John got straightened out with the press. It was their error, of course, not his (see Barb’s first item below). But I wouldn’t even know what to look at without his help. He also picks up every time I call. I don’t phone unless I really need to talk to him, and he realizes that.
Barb: Here are four things I treasure about John.
- He’s as honest as they come. I never worry, ever, about the publisher sending him my money and him passing it to me. I have been in other relationships (never with a literary agent, but in my past professional life) where that wasn’t the case, and I can tell you it stinks.
- He’s approachable. I was terrified of my first literary agent. I’m sure that was a lot more about where I was at during that time in my life than it was about her, but it does not make for an easy relationship.
- He shares. John goes considerably out of his way several times a year to update us on trends in the publishing industry and how they might affect us. Some agents are of the “mushroom” school of managing clients (keep them in the dark and spread manure). I can’t say how much I appreciate being treated like a grownup and having this important information.
- He’s committed. Many readers know there has been upheaval in the mystery publishing world over the last couple of years. Watching John work his tail off to keep his clients in print has been a wonder.
Sherry: John became my agent when Barb told me he was looking for someone to write a garage sales series — that’s the short version! And ditto to everything Barb said (except the first agent business — I’ve never had another agent). As a first time author John walked me through the process and answered all of my anxiety-ridden questions. I’m thankful for John because he makes me laugh when I’m down about something or frustrated. Like Julie said he wants us to have long and fruitful careers and goes out of his way to help make that happen. He is frank with his thoughts about ideas for new series. His advice has been invaluable and I feel blessed to be part of his team.
Jessie: Considering the business we are in, it delights me that John is a great storyteller. I won’t be a bit surprised if one day he writes a book of his own. I also appreciate his enthusiasm. I always know when he feels I have handed him a sure thing because of his response. He doesn’t hold back about how much he likes what he sees and how well it will fit with an editor he has in mind.
Readers: Who has helped you either personally or professionally?