On the Road Again

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

Don’t you love it when you send someone an email, only to receive the dreaded auto-reply saying they’re out of the office? It can be frustrating, but the reality is that travel is an important part of many jobs. And when it’s your agent who is “out of the office,” you can be glad they’re getting out from behind their desk to go into the world and nurture important relationships, make new acquaintances, advocate for their clients and give back to the writing community.

At Books & Such, we frequently discuss our travel schedules and carefully consider each possible trip. We find we serve our clients best when keep a good balance between office time and important engagements elsewhere. I thought it might be helpful to share what we’re up to this spring, so you’ll have a better idea of what that “auto reply” really means. So here’s an overview:

airline travelWendy and Janet taught a major morning track at the Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference entitled “How Do I Get My Nonfiction Book Published—From Idea to Launch Party.” While at the conference, they participated in an agent panel, had individual appointments and heard pitches during meals, not to mention the all-important networking with editors from the publishing houses.

Wendy spent a day in Ventura at the offices of Regal/Gospel Light publishing. She also
went to San Francisco for a day to meet with a film production team, and traveled to two different locales to have meetings with clients.

Janet traveled to the Minnesota offices of Bethany House Publishers, where she met with the publisher, the vice president of editorial, and helped to brainstorm the storyline for a client’s next book. She participated in marketing meetings for her client as well as the marketing meeting for one of Wendy’s clients. These are the kinds of meetings where the agent’s perspective is a valuable and important advocate for the author.

Mary is traveling to visit two different clients in May, and will visit a publisher for meetings as well. She’s also representing Books & Such at the Speak Up Conference in Grand Rapids, where she’ll teach two breakout sessions and take meetings with conferees.

Rachel attended the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal last weekend. She went to dinner with a couple of editors while there, and met with many authors.

In June, Wendy, Janet, and Mary will be attending ICRS in Atlanta. This is the major annual convention of the Christian publishing industry — three important days of meetings with editors to present client projects and to find out what genres they’re seeking to acquire. They’ll support and cheer on our authors at the Christy Awards banquet and support clients involved in Christian Author Network (CAN) events.

As for me, I spent several days in Nashville on a “grand tour” of five major publishers—Abingdon, Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Howard/Simon & Schuster, Worthy Publishing and Faithwords/Hachette. I met with publishers, editors and marketing folks, discussing each of my clients who are already publishing there, and presenting new projects from other clients.

Last week I was on faculty of the PubSmart conference in Charleston, SC, where I met with New York editors, met many new authors, and networked with some pretty terrific publishing professionals. In the end of May, I’ll be attending BEA (Book Expo America), which is the largest and oldest annual publishing convention in the US. I’ll be meeting with editors and authors, in addition to participating in an agent panel.

Of course, as the summer progresses, we’ll have additional travel updates for you. I just wanted you to know that whenever we’re not in the office, we’re either taking a much-needed break, or we’re out somewhere building our relationships and advocating for our clients. I must admit—we’re probably having some fun too!

Do you have any questions about agents’ travel schedules or priorities?

 

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