Isn’t that what I’ve been giving you all along? An inside look into the world of BookEnds? How we think? Why we make the decisions we do and how you can get your foot in the door? Well, yes, but today I want to give you some details on how BookEnds works. What really goes on behind these closed doors and how we make the decisions we make.
While we call ourselves the BookEnds team and rely very heavily on teamwork and the knowledge and opinions of each other, we also work incredibly independently. BookEnds agents are never required to get “permission” to take on a new author or submit a new project. On the contrary, we can act as recklessly as we want. If one of us discovers something that she absolutely loves and must have, then she is free to make that offer of representation without even telling anyone else. However, more often than not we share information and let everyone know what we’re doing or thinking as it’s happening and, more often than not, we discuss hooks, authors, and the potential marketability of a project before making that offer. And yes, every once in a while we’ll ask one of the other agents (or everyone) to read a proposal or manuscript to hear what they think.
Typically we all work in fairly solitary environments in our own offices. Chatting throughout the day via phone, IM, or in person. Each Wednesday morning we meet for a breakfast meeting. This is where the true cooperative work happens. We discuss submissions that have come in that we’re excited about or questioning. We’ll ask whether others think the hook is strong enough or hear other opinions on second reads (asking someone else to give you another read on something). At these meetings we also discuss market news, trends, interesting information, and lately we’ve been doing a full contract postmortem. In other words, we are reviewing all of our boilerplate contracts to discuss points that need to be changed, altered, or renegotiated, as well as highlighting issues of concerns with various publisher contracts. And yes, there is a different issue of concern with almost every contract.
In talking with other agents through the years I feel very lucky that BookEnds does in fact have a team. I know there are a lot of agents out there who started on their own and I marvel at that. I have depended so much on Jacky and Kim over the years for their advice and guidance on everything from giving a second read to helping mull over questions or concerns I might have on everything from a manuscript to a contract to an author or editor relationship. So while I am very independent in many ways, having the backing of terrific coworkers helps give me the knowledge and strength to be continually better at what I do.