There's been a lot of concern about how I will juggle the roles of agent and editor in this new venture, so we've worked out a system where any potential conflict of interest and/or the appearance of impropriety is nipped in the bud.
So here are the rules:
I will not take a commission on any sale of work by one of my clients to Ravenous Romance. The sale will be handled and overseen by one of my two agent colleagues at L. Perkins Agency. Jenny Rappaport will handle those authors who fall more directly into the romance side of erotic romance (which is one of her specialties), as well as any of my horror/fantasy clients who have ventured into this arena. Marsha Philitas will represent my authors who lean more towards the erotic, which is her specialty. Jenny Rappaport can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Marsha Philitas can be reached at email@example.com.
Both Jenny and Marsha will receive 100% of the 15% commission on these sales.
I will continue to represent my erotica clients on existing deals and their options. New material in this genre, whether it be for Ravenous Romance or another publisher, will be handled by either Jenny or Marsha. Although I will be available for consultation, these will be my colleague's deals.
I will continue to represent my clients on their non-erotica deals.
I my some day take on a new client, but I am pretty full at the moment, so new clients to the agency will be directed to either Jenny or Marsha for the immediate future. However, I'm reading everything that is sent to me.
I will not edit my own clients' work at Ravenous Romance, unless they ask me to.
No writer is required to sign with the L. Perkins Agency in order to sell to Ravenous Romance. They may remain unagented. They can sign with Jenny or Marsha. They can sign with another agent.
Jenny and Marsha are not required to take someone on just because they've signed with Ravenous Romance.
Ravenous Romance will gladly buy books from other agencies.
OK, so why am I doing this? Especially since I am losing a substantial amount of my income by transferring my writer's commissions to Jenny and Marsha.
I have put my money where my mouth is. I believe that the future of mass market is epublishing and that the market for well-written erotica for women is still largely untapped. I am lucky to have two publishing colleagues who agree with me and have put their experience and resources behind this belief.
I have always been an entrepreneur. I owned a neighborhood newspaper in Manhattan when I was 22. I started my own literary agency in 1987. It is my nature to start things when I feel there's a need.
I feel there is a need.
Some writers believe that being an agent is all about making money. That has never been the case with me, as I come from a journalism background. It's about getting published. Most of my writers are "working writers," which means they support themselves from the craft, so they write at least two, if not four books a year. Few publishers want four books by one author, so they use pseudonyms or write in two fields.
I have always thought of myself as a "writer's fairy godmother." When people unfamiliar with publishing ask me what an agent does, I tell them that I am a writer's manager. It is my job to keep writers writing, and published. In a market that is changing as radically as publishing today, that's not easy.
Ravenous Romance will keep writers writing, and eating. While they wait for the next big book to place and/or figure out what the new trend in the marketplace is, Ravenous writers will be building an audience and getting a royalty check that has no reserve against returns.
Ravenous Romance is for all writers who would like a more immediate return on their writing investment and who want readers a few months after the book is finished.
There's more than enough to go around, as we are buying over 400 books a year and at least 365 short stories.