Saturday, September 14, 2013

How to Say Thank You in Publishing

Any of you who have read my now out-of-print agenting book, THE INSIDER'S GUIDE TO GETTING AN AGENT (yes, I am rewriting it, because publishing has changed so much in so short a time, so keep your eyes open for that news) will know that agenting can be a lonely, thankless job.  We get your rejection every day.  We represent many clients, so multiply the downer you feel when a publisher says "no" by 10 or 20 or even 50.

In my book I advise that authors take the time to send their agents an email or a thank you note when a deal has closed, or they've helped you out with some part of your career that isn't a direct duty related to the job (advice on taxes or senior health care for your mom or ways to save on travel or any of the myriad of things we always get asked).  It brightens our day, which is often quite dark because of the constant cloud of rejection we labor under (seriously).

So, imagine how absolutely fabulous and wonderful and exhilarating it was to see Hope Tarr, one of the L. Perkins' Ageny's clients that Louise Fury brought in (but with whom I've worked with closely on the Jenna Jameson book and have grown to know and love) give a thank you speech to and at the Golden Apple Awards Ceremony of the New York chapter of the Romance Writers of America for her Author of the Year Award in which she graciously thanked so many of the people who have helped her along the way from her agents (all three) to her editors, her writing BFF and her man.

I asked Hope if I could reprint it here because I feel that it is the epitome of a writer's thank you/acceptance speech.  I wanted to share it with you so that when (not if) you are wearing those high heeled shoes of glory, you will know what to do and how to do it.

And, thank you, too Hope for letting me share it and being such a hard-working and thoughtful client.

Last Night’s GAAs & Author of the Year!

Hope Accepting Award_9-12-13Last night was the Golden Apple Awards, the annual industry awards event sponsored by the New York City chapter of The Romance Writers of America. I was–and am–thrilled and honored to have been chosen by the membership as its 2013 Author of the Year. Below are the notes for my acceptance speech, which I managed to complete dry-eyed albeit verklempt.
A career of twenty years, thirteen as a published author, means there are many people to be thanked, so I may not be exactly brief  but I will be as succinct as these two pages permit.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my trio of fabulous agents:
To Louise Fury with whom I’ve been blessed to work since 2010. As some of you know, I first met Louise when she started coming to Lady Jane’s Salon® in our early days and at the time I had no idea she was even agenting. It took me a while but I finally cottoned on. Elizabeth Mahon and I took her out for “a” drink to celebrate a significant deal she’d made, one drink turned into many drinks, and then next thing I knew she was asking me about my books. I’ll never forget her saying, “I don’t know if I can sell it—but I’ll try.” By 1:00 AM I was back home emailing her the files.
Louise has done considerably better than “try.” She has since sold THREE series for me, including my hard cover debut, SUGAR, co-written with Jenna Jameson, which releases from Skyhorse Publishing this October 21st. And that’s not even counting the foreign and audio deals she’s made—all while fielding my many, MANY daily emails, on which I usually forget to change the subject header. Honestly, Louise, I can’t imagine being in this business without you.
To Lori Perkins who wears many hats—make that tiaras—not only as the founder and owner of the enduringly successful L. Perkins Agency but also as a writer and publisher. As you know, Lori launched Riverdale Avenue Books last December and she hasn’t stilled since. I don’t use the word “maverick” often or lightly but Lori is truly that. Lori doesn’t follow publishing trends, she forecasts them. She has brought so many publishing opportunities my way these past years, including but in no way limited to a place in her 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey anthology and for those and her friendship, I thank her.
To Jenny Bent, our Agent of the Year, who launched my career back in ’99 by selling my Regency-set historical to Berkley. A Rogue’s Pleasure was a first romance sale for both of us—and as they say you never forget you first. I was with Jenny through three agencies, and was so proud of her when she went out on her own and founded The Bent Agency, which has added a London office to its home base of Brooklyn.   
To the talented editors with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working over the past 13 years and counting: Cindy Hwang at Berkley, Brenda Chin at Harlequin, Helen Rosburg at Medallion Media Group, Angela James at Carina Press, Stacy Cantor Abrams at Entangled, and now Jenn McCartney at Skyhorse Publishing. I’ve done 25 books and each has been made inestimably better for your talented input.
Hope_Acceptance Speech_9-12-13To the uber talented former O Magazine senior editor, memoirist and now romance author, Suzan Colon for being my friend, supporter, and creative sounding board. Our lunches are not only a treat to which I look forward but a grounding point for me personally and professionally. I am so looking forward to you reading BEACH GLASS at the February Lady Jane’s Salon.
To RWA NYC for your enduring support, friendship, and encouragement. When I moved to New York in the winter of 2008, I knew ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. Attending that first Saturday chapter meeting was akin to grabbing hold of a lifeline. I met both my Lady Jane’s co-founder, Leanna Renee Hieber and past president, Elizabeth Mahon at a chapter outing to Coney Island. Others of you I’ve gotten to know through additional chapter events such as the winter holiday and spring brunches, the online loop, and of course your glorious and enduring support of Lady Jane’s Salon. To Maria Ferrer and Lise Horton and Sarah Tormey and Kwana Jackson…well, I don’t have time or breath to name each one of you but please know that your support, of me, my books, and m/our Lady Jane’s Salon these past five years means more than I can say.
Last but in no way least, to my wonderful and always supportive partner, Raj Moorjani, who daily affirms that Happily Ever After isn’t only the stuff of romance novels—we can have it in Real Life, too.
GAA Trophy & PlaqueThis is an enormous honor. Thank you!