I have been a literary agent for more than two decades, and I've had many auctions and six figure deals. I've had a number of books on various best-seller lists, but most of them have been one-shot or celebrity books or books that the author and I knew would sell a zillion copies, but the publisher didn't, so we received a low advance and waited two years for the royalty check to come in (reserves against returns).
I have watched many authors thank their agents who have believed in them for years as, after 10 or 20 years of writing in diligent obscurity, or even a dedicated fan niche, they suddenly are out and now everyone knows their name - Lee Child, Charlaine Harris, Lisa Renee Jones, to name a few off the top of my head.
And now it has happened to Cecilia Tan, who is one of my best friend and a client.
I love Cecilia's work. When she sends me an outline, or I have the privilege to edit her (I signed 4 Harry Potter-esque fanfic turned "real" novels by her when I was the Editorial Director of Ravenous Romance, as well as a really hot baseball novel), her work often brings me to tears. I would fangirl her so hard if she wasn't my client and friend.
And now the whole world knows what an awesome writer she is thanks to the amazing Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Erotic Romance for Slow Surrender, the first book in her amazing trilogy.
Cecilia took my advice when I called her and said, "this is your moment. You've been writing erotica for years, and the world is ready for you. Give me a contemporary BDSM light series that will show the world what you are made of," and she did.
We did not get a lot of money up front from Grand Central. We didn't even get a full promise of print, but we had an enthusiastic, great editor in Latoya Smith, and I urged Cecilia to take the opportunity and see where it would take her. The books were awesome, and got wonderful reviews, which promoted Grand Central to get it on the '"If You Liked 50 Shades" table at B&N, which made it sell.
Fast forward a year later. We have had some amazing foreign sales on the Slow Surrender trilogy, and two concurrent trilogies at two separate houses.
I can proudly state that Cecilia will be chained to her desk writing for the foreseeable future, which is what she has always wanted to do.