Ep 153 Do you need an agent? Am I a real writer if I write children’s books?

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podcast-artworkIn this minisode of So you want to be a writer: Should I get an agent if I can negotiate myself? How do I respond to friends who don’t think I’m a real writer when I write children’s books?

Got a question for Val and Al? Ask at podcast [at] writerscentre [dot] com [dot] au

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Review of the Week
From Never End!:

The most helpful thing you can do for your writing career with minimal effort. It is the perfect car companion for writer’s with a day job. It eases me in every morning and revamps my motivation every afternoon. It is a great way to stay connected with the industry and gives helpful, practical advice for writers who have zero hours under their belt to writers who have a lifetime. There is always something new to learn and I love the humour injected into each episode as well. I hope recording of these gems never ends, but even if they do, I will listen to the backlog on repeat as there is always something new to gleam from each episode. Thank you very much for creating some a great podcast! Speaking of day jobs, I better get ready for mine, thankfully I have my trusty podcast to listen to on the commute!

Thanks, Never End!!

Listener Questions

Kate asks:

Hi Al and Val.

Firstly, I love your new mini podcasts where you answer listener questions. I’ve listened to the first two and loved them.

My question relates to agents, particularly in the Australian environment. I’ve recently signed my first book contract (yay!) and negotiated the contract myself after getting third party advice. I found the process to be quite stressful, although I do feel a bit (really, just a bit) better equipped at the end of it than I did at the beginning to tackle the process again in the future. I am in the position where I’ve had some interest in some of my other manuscripts and am hopeful of being able to land another contract without needing an agent; however, I’m wondering whether there are greater virtues to having an agent over and above simply bypassing the slush pile. For example, will they be able to negotiate a better deal for me, or is their expertise valuable in other ways, will they help in some way with promoting my book, building my profile among publishers, strategically placing me in the market or getting movie rights? In your opinion is an agent worth the 15% that they charge, particularly where signs are positive for being able to get publisher interest without an agent?

Thanks for your advice.

Valerie and Allison answer your questions in the podcast. You might also want to check out our course Inside Publishing.

Kat asks:

Hi Val and Al,

Absolutely love the podcast – I’ve been listening for almost a year now and it has become my weekly (now bi-weekly!) highlight on my commute to work.

I’ve recently finished my first novel, which I had only told a few friends, a very supportive writing group, and my partner about. My problem now, as I start thinking about approaching publishers, is the reaction of a wider group of friends, colleagues and family.

You see, I have written a young adult book, and I’ve found many people feel like this isn’t real writing. In general, reactions have been a bit on the patronising side, like “Oh, it’s just a story for children, it’s not like you’re a real author.” It makes it very hard to promote my story when I feel like it’s not going to be taken seriously, just because it’s not high-brow literature.

My question is how do you respond to people who think that young adult and children’s books aren’t “real books”? How do you remain confident in your work when people tell you your genre is a waste of time?

Keep up the amazing podcast!

Val and Al answer these questions in this minisode. We hope you find this useful!

If you have a question, email us at: podcast [at] writerscentre [dot] com [dot] au

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@altait

@valeriekhoo

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podcast at writerscentre.com.au

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