Wednesday, September 14, 2005

LAUREN BARATZ-LOGSTED SINGS A PAEAN TO PAMELA HARTY AND ALL THINGS KNIGHT

By now my past history with agents has becoming notorious in certain circles. Before I met Pamela Harty, I’d been with five agents to various degrees during the course of my career. Interested parties can read a detailed account of my saga in a long little essay titled “Misadventures in (Mis)representation: My Life Among the Agents” by going to the June 29 entry at Mad Max Perkins’ wonderful and now sadly defunct Book Angst 101 – http://bookangst.blogspot.com/ . I’m told the phrase “read it and weep” was originally invented by someone who prophesied that I would one day live to tell that sorry tale.
Not wanting to re-tread old ground for readers familiar with my story, or those who are intrepid enough to read through the entire entry at the above link, let me just point out that prior to signing with Pamela Harty of The Deidre Knight Agency, no agent ever sold a book for me. I’d sold my first two-book contract to Red Dress Ink all on my own and when they offered me an additional three-book contract before the first had even pubbed, I did hire an agent to negotiate the contract, but no agent ever sold a single book for me…until now.
Having signed with Pamela on June 20, less than two months later, on August 17, Pamela sold world rights to VERTIGO, a novel set in Victorian times with erotic and suspense undertones, as part of a two-book deal to Bantam. Then, just three weeks later, on September 7, she sold another two books on my behalf, this time an earnest YA called ANGEL’S CHOICE and another title to be determined, to Simon & Schuster.
So how did Pamela succeed in selling so many books in such a short period of time when none of the prior agents had sold any???
For starters, rather than behaving in the adversarial manner that so many agents affect these days, behaving as though working in publishing would be just wonderful if only pesky authors didn’t get in the way, and rather than trying to play Svengali by editing my work to the point where I no longer knew if I was proud of it or hated it, she actually made use of my own strengths – that I was a former independent bookseller, Publishers Weekly reviewer, freelance editor, sort-of librarian and gutsy woman who’d sold five books all on my own steam – and recognized that I might have a sense of where my career was, where I wanted it to go and the strength of the material I had to sell; and she also listened. And once she had done all that, she submitted my work widely, ensuring I’d get the best deals possible.
A lot of agents act as though they’re doing their authors a favor by representing them. And then there are the more egotistical authors who view their agents as lackeys. But with Pamela, I feel I’ve found that rarest of all things: a true partnership where we respect one another’s talents and vision.
Oh, and we also have a lot of fun together.
So here’s to Pamela Harty and all the other amazingly wonderful people at The Deidre Knight Agency: this Veuve Clicquot is for you.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Shelley Tougas said...

Congratulations on your sales. This is a lovely tribute to the agency!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at 8:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

What a lovely letter, Lauren! I bet I know one Georgia girl who's feeling a little misty right now...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at 9:59:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Thanks, Lauren! What a wonderful note!! Pamela is a fabulous agent, and I'm so glad you've had the opportunity to experience that firsthand. She takes a great deal of care with all of her clients, and is also very motivated on their behalf. YEA, LAUREN! Way to go on your sales!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at 12:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Marley Gibson said...

What an excellent post, Lauren! And congrats to you and Pamela for finding each other. The agent/writer relationship is very special and it's great that you've found someone who gets you and understands what you're doing. It seems to be working out beautifully for both of you!

Marley = )

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at 7:36:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Janice Lynn said...

Oh Wow! Lauren, this is fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing your story & for singing Pamela's praises. She is wonderful!! &

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at 10:37:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Wanza Leftwich said...

This is awesome! I went back and read your agent story. Incredible. I'm glad you have an excellent agent NOW! All blessings to you.

Friday, September 16, 2005 at 11:55:00 AM EDT  

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