2.25.2006

Under the radar at Publishers Marketplace

Hi there Miss Snark,

I've been browsing the agent deals in Publishers Marketplace, and I was just wondering: do ALL agents post ALL their book sales here? I was researching some agents who I *know* are very reputable, and yet I couldn't see many sales for them. So that got me to wondering if all their sales make it into this source. What would be an agent's motivation for notifying or NOT notifying PM?


PM is the best resource in town but it's not a complete list of deals. I don't list all mine there. I've left off things cause they were anomolies for my list, or cause we had other concerns.

I always have a spike in e-queries when a deal goes up at PM. I'm sure that agents who aren't looking for any queries, or who don't need to build their biz (think ICM, CAA etc) don't list their sales.

63 comments:

Stacy-Deanne said...
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Debra Kemp said...
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Anonymous said...

"I'm sure that agents who aren't looking for any queries, or who don't need to build their biz (think ICM, CAA etc) don't list their sales."

I would not be so sure of this!

While clearly not every big or busy agent is going to list each and every sale, my take on this is that it is not simply a vehicle for
receiving e-mails from potential new clients. There is very much an ego thing as well going on here.

Agents are a competitive bunch just as authors are. And one way for them to clue other agents and authors in to their success is by announcing sales on Publishers Lunch. Most of the well-known agents who no longer need to fish for clients continue to list their sales. And I think ego and public score-keeping having something to to do with why.

Anonymous said...
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jta said...
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Anonymous said...

I know who ICM is, but who is CAA?

I probably know the answer to this already, but I'm drawing a complete blank here.

December Quinn said...

I believe it's Creative Artist's Agency, anon. But I haven't googled it so it's possible I'm wrong.

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JoAnn Ross said...

I've been published for 23 years and have been with Robert G. at Trident since the agency's first week -- before the sign was even painted on the door -- and while it's lovely to see my deals posted, I believe it's more interesting and informative to see what type of books various agents are selling, and what books different editors are buying.

tess gerritsen said...

Some writers don't want their deals publicized, and I'll tell you why. First, it's confidential financial information. Second, it leads to sniping and sometimes reviewer back-lash if said author lands a mega-deal. You'll notice that many, many bestselling authors never have their deals announced, because letting the world know how much money you're making is sometimes not a good thing.

Amra Pajalic said...
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Anonymous said...

So nice to see some real Best Selling authors joining the conversation. Thank you for your input, ladies.

And everyone else, remember this:
It's blogging, not flogging.

Mark said...

"I believe it's more interesting and informative to see what type of books various agents are selling, and what books different editors are buying."

So do I. That's why I get the free lunch.

Anonymous said...

"because letting the world know how much money you're making is sometimes not a good thing."

Very true. Like maybe anyone you don't want knowing your personal (read: financial) business. What a great place for the IRS to check for leads!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Tess Gerritsen is reading Miss Snark. Cool.

Yasmine Galenorn said...

My agent posts some of her deals on PM and she's got a pretty full list. I think that the postings also give authors and other agents an idea of who's buying what, a valuable resource in the markets today.

Mark said...

I thought Ms. Snark didn't accept equeries? Why send them if she states they aren't wanted?

Lady M said...
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Lady M said...
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Miss Snark said...

Miss Snark, Ms. Snark, Ms Stark and Stark Raving do not accept queries of any kind. Why any one sends them is beyond me, but they do.

Anonymous said...

*looks up at all the deleted comments*

Oh, the carnage! Well, it was fun while it lasted, but I agree that it wasn't an appropriate discussion.

(fyi, there's a smattering of similar comments on the "Resending Query Letters" post that should also be deleted. We've been baaaad little snarklings, lately...)

BuffySquirrel said...

With all these deleted comments, I clearly missed something!

Anonymous said...

when the Mother Snark is away, the little snarklings play...and play they did!

Marissa Doyle said...

Thank you for tidying up, Miss Snark. I hope that doesn't happen again. Reading it made my teeth hurt.

Anonymous said...

reading those deleted comments yesterday made me ashame of those who call themselves writers. I was wondering if there was any compassion left among our writers who blog. I applaud you, Miss Snark, for the informative information you share with us and how you manage your blog. I will continue to be a visitor.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I don't feel repentant at all.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel repentant at all.

*snicker*

High-five, Sha'el!

Anonymous said...

so, let me see if i understand this--it's perfectly fine for Miss Snark to call people nitwits and to tell them to fuck off and die, but when an immature woman presents herself as more than she is through hyperbole and blatant lying--and then others jump on her case and call on it, this is something to be ashamed of?

paleeze! the fact that the comments were deleted does not mean they were unwarranted. Had Miss Snark been here, she would most likely have made her own comment to the "international best seller." We haven't had enough enough lying and deception lately with the Frye fiasco? We should sit back and let some self-promoting kid take over the site and make no comment? gimme a break!

Anonymous said...

Last anon,

I agree with you, and I suspect your post will soon be deleted too (along with mine). Maybe Miss Snark - to whom we all owe a great debt, I'll be the first to admit - should post some guidelines on this blog, like they do over at Forward Motion. I'd like to know what is considered stepping over the line. And whatever became of the blog of some weeks back where Miss Snark famously told a guy (who deserved it, IMHO) to fuck off and die? Are we sanitizing around here? Or am I just terrible at finding past posts on the blog?
C.

PS Nice word verif: bodfog

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Isn't it a case of protect children, the mentally challenged, and the defenseless and weak?

I don't mind that the posts were removed. When I wrote that I was embarrassed for her, I meant it. Some things are just painful. That was one of them. We’re about learning to write and be published. We’re not about hurting every thought-process-challenged person who stumbles into Miss Snark’s Blog. Are we?

I don’t think she was self-promoting. I think she was really trying to help. Didn’t keep her advice from being bad, though, did it? Some people just don’t comprehend well. I think that was the case here. Her book was published by what is a half step away from being a Vanity Press. She’s listed on a web site that promotes Black authors. She thinks that means she’s a best selling author. This is painful, but from her perspective, it’s recognition she needs. We all need some recognition at some point. It helps to see it for what it really is, but that’s not always possible.

I approve Miss Snark removing the posts, and I approved her removing similar posts a while back. I still don’t regret my note to the woman whose posts we're discussing. It was good advice. I hope she takes it, eventually.

Anonymous said...

We have every right to shoo the unmentioned one away for being a nitwit, but there's no reason why those posts have to be preserved for posterity afterward. They might be interesting, but they don't provide any advice or information to writers, which is what this blog is mostly about.

As for the F.O.A.D. post, if you go to the wonderful new snarkives (thank you, Miss Adventure!), at: http://snarkives.blogspot.com/
You'll see that it's still there.

Bernita said...

Um, anon, we don't have "every right."
This is Miss Snark's blog.
We may have "the right" to post, but Miss Snark has the right to determine if they should remain to be read.

Miss Snark said...

There are no guidelines because this isn't a "public forum'. it's my blog. If I don't think something should be on it, I'll take it off, and I don't have to have a reason or defend the decision.

That said, there's a lot of good info that percolates up in the comment section. Generally if something is wrong, I'll make a comment that it's wrong, not delete the post.

The problem here is that the really good, and useful comments were lost in the sea of venom. I viewed it more as cleaning up debris than making a comment about what crosses the line. Dog knows I'll cross every line in the book at least once a year if not once a day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for explaining your M.O., Miss Snark. Your blog - your call. Fair enough.

For my edification, could you please explain how a blog - which is available for anyone in the world (and probably outside of it, too) with internet access to read and post - is not a public forum?

C.

Anonymous said...

For my edification, could you please explain how a blog (snip) is not a public forum?

That doesn't seem like a great mystery to me; it's because we get to comment here only on the sufferance of the benign and goddess-like Miss Snark. If she wants to turn off commenting, she can. Therefore, a blog is not a public forum in the same way that my front porch is not a public space. I can allow complete strangers to walk up, sit down and have a chat with me, but that doesn't mean they have a right to be on my property.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Ummm ... we're guests in Miss Snark's online house. She may invite us in, but that doesn't mean it's Grand Central Station. It's her home. She can clean it and arrange it how she wishes.

It's not a public forum. We're here by invitation only. She just invites a lot of people to the party.

Amra Pajalic said...

Thanks Miss Snark for the clean up. By leaving the comments it just encouraged a continuation of the same and I agree with Marissa Doyle's "it hurt my teeth." It really, really did.

Michael Cader said...

Perhaps it's out of order to actually post on topic here, but I'll take the risk since various forms of this question/issue come up all the time.

Most importantly, in our experience, there is no single reason people do or not not post deals to PM.com, and to try and simplify that process will only lead to incorrect conclusions.

Relative newcomers should understand that PM.com itself has had a transformative role in how deal information is viewed and used, and that process is still very much underway.

Deal reports used to be almost entirely ego and/or initiative. Which meant they were both sparse and inconsistent (among other things). Our driving idea from the beginning was that there were multiple important business purposes to be derived from a consistent presentation of deal data, distributed widely throughout the community. "Transparency" is not something the book business was immediately comfortable with, and there are still many who resist it--even as, over time, the abundant benefits become clearer to those who participate rather than simply make assumptions.

So when we started, the deal flow was small. For five years now, it has grown month after month--and still, as Miss S. notes, it comprises only a slice of overall activity. (Let's say it was around 4,000 transactions in 2004; 5,000 in 2005; headed for 6,000 or more in 2006; etc.)

Reporting parties are not just agents; we get deals from editors, publicists, authors themselves, foreign purchasers, sub-agents, and film agents. Over time, deal records become a big part of the functional resume of agents, editors, and other licensors; they signal your buying interests (and client styles) to the market; and most importantly they drive collateral activity--foreign sales; film/tv interest; media leads; submissions; and more. And in the macro sense, a more transparent marketplace is a smarter and more efficient marketplace, in all kinds of ways.

No disrespect to Ms. Gerritsen, but my sense is that the main reason certain big authors (and it is not all by any means) don't have their deals reported is because they are often renewals of existing contracts, or they have multi-book deals in the first place, or the web of relationships--foreign publishers, interested film parties, etc.--is already so mature that eliciting additional interest and attention produces unwanted leads rather than driving productive contacts. For better or for worse, there's little that's hidden about the finances of the most successful authors (even though I empathize with the impulse); you could learn a lot more about the earnings of a big author by running a few simple calculations from their Bookscan figures than you would ever get from a PM.com report--where our quirky deal scale is designed to encourage a useful level of financial information, without requiring full disclosure.

Yes, there are a small number of agents and agencies who will not report as a matter of longstanding (e.g. pre-PM.com policy), though even those agencies will sometimes have their deals reported by the publisher, or the author, or a foreign buyer. But no agency of scale does not participate--run a search on ICM, William Morris, Trident, Writers House, Janklow & nesbit, Inkwell, Sterling Lord or others and you will find ample entries. Not their entire line of business for sure, but still a large number of reports.

Anonymous said...

My concern here is not Miss Snark's management of her blog. She does a damn fine job all around. My concern is with the language, specifically my understanding of the expression 'public forum'.

According to dictionary.com, a forum functions much like a bulletin board; users submit postings for all to read and discussion ensues. Or, a forum is a medium of open discussion or voicing of ideas, such as a newspaper or a radio or television program.

As for 'public' - I can't think of anything more public than a post on the world wide web. Seems to me that a blog fits all these criteria. So how can it NOT be a 'public forum'?

Anonymous with the porch: while I would need your permission to enter your property, I need no such thing to read and comment on the blog. I can - and do - sit all the way out here in Rabbitania and visit the blog anytime I like, and comment when I wish to.

Sha'el, re "We're here by invitation only..." While I appreciate your attempt to clarify, and I agree that I would need an invitation to party at the house of the estimable Miss Snark, she neglected to send me an invitation to read and comment on her blog. I just barged in all on my own. As for "that doesn't mean it's Grand Central Station" - with 394,627 hits the last time I checked, and approx. 100,000 of them occurring within the last month alone, it sure looks like rush hour from where I sit.

My word verif. is pttfe. So pttfe to you.
C.

Anonymous said...

Porch-anon says:

Yes, C., but the point is that Miss Snark can turn the comment function off. This is the thing that makes a private blog distinct from a public forum. You and I don't have any say in whether or not we're allowed to leave comments here; Miss Snark does. The fact that we've been allowed to make comments so far doesn't mean that it's our right.

My word verification is dbqhili. I like pttfe better! :-D

Carmen said...

As for the "Are we sanitized here?" comment -- hmm, where'd the pictures next to our names go?

Someone's offended by one, they all disappear. I imagine it's because, just as in this case, all the related hubbub drew attention away from the real questions and comments.

The world goes round and round just the same.

word verif: xytaps. Tap dancing on a xylophone.