Next, I asked Jolene about finding representation with her agent Lauren Hammond of ADA Management. Then the others discussed how they chose their different routes to publishing . . .
Ranee`: So the next questions will be mostly for Jo, unless someone else wants to chime in, about finding her agent, Lauren Hammond. You said you queried from Feb to June when you signed with her?
Jolene Perry: I found my agent on Twitter, lol.
Jolene Perry: #yalitchat
Ranee`: How many agents did you query before you signed with her?
Jolene Perry: I had queried before Feb, but not seriously - meaning I had NO idea what I wanted or what I was doing. How many agents??? Eek. 40-50? I queried with Insight a paranormal. Got LOTS of requests, but no takers.
Ranee`: How did you end up choosing/being chosen by Lauren?
Jolene Perry: I had three offers on the table (or minor revision discussions) when I signed with her. She loved THE HAPPINESS OF JOY, and then she read Night Sky and fell in love with that one, too.
I signed with her because she was easy to talk to, and I knew she'd feel approachable as we went through the process together.
Jennifer Griffith: Chiming in. I sent to about twenty agents before finding the publisher I ultimately chose to work with. I got a lot of form rejections and one or two non-form rejections. So painful, but whatever. I decided to keep submitting anyway. I’m glad I did. Ended up finding a publisher instead.
Jolene Perry: Two weeks. [Lauren] had JOY for no time at all - it's probably still my favorite book. I put her off for a couple of weeks while I waited back from the other agents that had fulls on the (three) projects I was querying at the time.
Ranee`: What is your agent/author relationship like with her--is she editorial or more hands off?
Jolene Perry: She is somewhere between editorial and hands off. Still easy to talk to.
Let me just say that you really, really need to know what your goals are before you sign with an agent and do your research and never settle.
Ranee`: Very good point, Jo. I've been researching and researching, and have passed on some good agents just because I don't get a feeling we'd click. :)
Ranee`: Okay, so finding a publisher. For EVERYONE :)
First, how did you choose what publishers to submit to?
Jennifer Griffith: I hate to say it but I went on a gut feeling. When I heard through an online writing acquaintance about Jolly Fish Press, and learned that they were agent-publishers (no agent required) and they’d be a small outfit, I just got a strong feeling it was what I should do. Women have this intuition. Haha. I had a very positive experience working with a small press (Spring Creek Books) and loved that the executive editor knew me by name, etc., and that whole big fish in a small pond thing was going on (not that I was ever anyone’s big fish), but I loved the personal attention and the good relationships that develop. I’m a people person, and good relationships go a long way for me.
Sherry Gammon: No brainer for self pubs. Create space and Amazon's kindle. Both are free. Most others you have to pay. I've had friends pay $7000 with other self pub!
Jennifer Griffith: So have I, Sherry. It blows my mind.
Jennifer Griffith: They'll be VERY lucky to get that money back.
Sherry Gammon: None have!! Not even close
Krista: I had submitted a non-fiction project to several LDS publishers, beginning with Deseret Book, then Wind River, then CF. Each time the rejections got more personal and encouraging, but the consensus was they didn't know how to market my book. This is where my writing group comes in. They "made" me try fiction, then after I wrote it, one friend who reads a lot of LDS fiction (I didn’t) thought it would be an excellent fit for Covenant. SO that's where I submitted. Fortunately.
But still, the acceptance wasn't easy. They asked for 5 major revisions. After considering it (and crying), I decided most of their suggestions were probably spot on, so I made four of the revisions, and met them half way on another.
Jolene Perry: Well, I did Deseret, but had NO idea what I was doing. I wasn't sure on Covenant, and knew that CFI was the other LDS publisher. Knowing what I do now . . . I don't know.
Jennifer Griffith: My experience is that Covenant has changed over the years. I submitted to them back before they were owned by Deseret Book, and they had a far different management style. I'm glad to see the changes that have been made. They really do have good marketing for fiction, and their relationship with DB has been great for that. If I were starting out now, I'd try Covenant first for fiction, I think.
Jolene Perry: I'm good friends with Melanie [Jacobson] and hear nothing but good stuff about Covenant, I'm just too impatient and would rather get my stuff out. I may change my mind . . .
Tune in tomorrow for Part 3. Up next: Publishing timelines . . . they're LONG!