Thursday, August 09, 2007

Q & A Thursday

I'm BACK!!!! Anyone getting sick of me yet? I hope not! Once again I shall hang out on the TKA blog today answering your most daunting questions.
Over the last couple of weeks I have gotten a handful of questions that have REALLY strong reoccurring theme's - IF you aren't a regular blog visitor here at TKA, I encourage you to check out our Archives and see what we've chatted about recently.
I also challenge everyone to really think outside the box - what questions have you been dying to know, but have been too afraid to ask. Nothing is off limits, I'll answer anything about everything!
First five questions in the gate get an answer! Last week you all got lucky, we had an extra question sneak in because I forgot to mention the limit . . . Silly me!

Alright - whacha got!?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Elaine! I'd better type fast so I don't get left in the dust... Once you take on a client, what's your philosophy with that author crossing genre lines. Assuming they write a lot and that they write quickly, do you prefer they establish a good foothold with one audience set before you see them branch off?
Thanks! I hope you are well!

Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 11:15:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Katie said...

I have a question that I haven't seen answered yet.

I'm writing time travel romance, but I'm also working on a contemporary inspirational. If I get offered a contract on the time travel books by a publisher who does NOT have an inspirational imprint (that I can find)... should that make a difference? ie: is it better to have one publisher that can publish all my stories, or is this something that only a newbie (like me) would worry about?


Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 11:59:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If a potential client has an offer in their hand and they would like an agent to negotiate and handle the deal. How do they go about doing that? I've seen some agents say it's okay to call, some say e-mail. If there is an offer on the table, how does an author let the Knight Agency know? Email a query and say an offer has been made? Would it be okay to put an please answer by this date on it? What if it is a novella that was sold/acquired by Kensington for their Aphrodisia or Brava line? Does the Knight Agency rep novellas? I know the submission guidelines say no short stories but I thought a novella was different?

Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 12:26:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous urbansherpa said...

When you sign a new author, you've obviously read their work. Do you have an editor or editors in mind or do you get the book in shape and sit down with your list of favorites. How do you find out who is looking for what?

Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 1:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger beverley said...

Do you think for an unpublished author, that it's easier to get an editor look at your work, then to nab an agent?

Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 1:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Thats the end of questions - I'll be back later to answer - I'm trying to keep you all on the edge of your seats . .. Ok I'm not, I'm just a little swamped at the moment :)

Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 3:19:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a question but I wanted to thank the Agency for sending me the copy of "The Lure of the Wolf" which I just received today.

I won it in a contest and am looking forwarding to reading it.



Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 3:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Crossing Genre Lines -

This is really a question that is handled on a case by case situation. Prior to taking a client on I always talk about all of the things that an author is working on or that they have on their radar. Then we develop a game plan of how to proceed. We never try to box anyone into one specific area if they have broad goals in several genres.

We definitely don't want to "muddy the waters" by tackling too many different things at once. However if an author already has finished manuscripts and some clout within several areas, I wouldn't be opposed to taking them into different areas simultaneously.

This is a hard question to answer though, so much of it is based on the specifics which would be unique to every case we look at.

Sorry if this is vague, but it isn't really a question that has a cut and dry answer.

BTW - Hope all is well with you! The new website looks GREAT!!

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 8:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...


This is nothing that you should worry about. We have many authors that write for different publishing houses.

Whenever you have an established relationship with a publisher and an editor, it is the professional thing to offer/let them know about your other projects - if they aren't interested or don't have the capacity to publish these additional ideas, it is no problem to look at a wider field of options.

Keeping things "in house", as we call it, can make it easier to manage pub schedules and other things like that, but that's what an agent is for, we handle those details for you regardless.

Basically, in short, don't be concerned about this. If you get an offer, move forward accordingly – try to find an agent that can assist you in answering all of these questions when they become more important during the journey.

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 8:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Anonymous - you snuck in a few questions on that one, let me see if I can get em all -

If you have an offer on the table my advice would be to send an email with "offer on the table" or "offer pending" or something of that nature in the subject line. This should get the agent's attention right away.

If you have specifically seen where an agent has said that it is ok to call them, well then call them. Introduce yourself politely and calmly, and then tell them **BRIEFLY what you write and who has made an offer. However, if you haven't seen where an agent has said it is ok to call, I wouldn't call on a whim. Stick to email.

At the Knight Agency, the email route works, we keep a close eye on all emails that hit our boxes and will get back to you in a timely manner.

If/When an offer is made and you know that you are going to hunt for an agent one thing is VERY importany that we advise all authors. By no means do you want to start negotiating the deal on your own. Avoid saying, “Sounds good” or any other words of implied acceptance, at all costs. Just say, “I want to have an agent handle this. I’ll be back to you very soon, and am grateful for your interest.” They will probably give you a time frame, if not say "I will touch base with you in a few days" -

As to your question about Novella's, we do represent Novella's, but only in the case of authors that are publishing in other arenas as well.

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 8:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...


This question depends on what shape the manuscript is in when we sign the client on. Sometimes it is all ready to go and we don't need to shape it up, other times a little work needs to be done.

In both cases we have an idea of who is looking for what in terms of editors. We get this information by studying sales, chatting with editors, having meetings with publishing professionals, exchanging information with fellow agents, a TON of different ways. We make a selection off of this research and what we know each individual editor is looking for and has time for.

It is also important to note that we have personal connections with MANY of the editors that we work with. We get to know them on a personal level so that we know, “OH this is a story with Horses, editor x LOVES horses”. I know that may have been a lame example, but really, we try to place titles with the editor who has the most fitting personality to the writing.

I have said it a million times. This business is about networking, and that is JUST as relevant on our side of the fence.

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 8:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

It is better to get an agent first without a doubt. I can think of few agents who would say otherwise unless it is someone who is just looking to make a sale. The more editors that you show the work to ahead of time, the fewer places we can get it in the door once we have our hands on it. Once an editor has rejected a manuscript its chances at that house are done, regardless of who brings it to the table.

Going back to the question above from “urban”. We know these editors and we know their styles and their tastes. If you show it to an editor just because they happen to be the one at a conference (or something of this effect), they may turn it down because the idea is not up their alley. The problem is, it could be a great piece of writing that is suitable for that same house, just under another editor’s umbrella. But, if its already been seen, we never will have the opportunity to find out.

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 8:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Thanks for being patient everyone! Have a great weekend! Ciao!

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 8:49:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Merci, Elaine.
The website thing was a bit of a jump for me... But I learned a lot from you. Happy Summer. Deanna

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 6:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Carol Burge said...

I heard that Western Historical's are coming back. Is that true?



Saturday, August 11, 2007 at 11:59:00 PM EDT  

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