Monday, May 15, 2006

The Ones that Got Away (Part One)

STATUS: Crazy day. Monday always is. I’m finishing up a submission—to make sure it’s all completed before I leave town tomorrow morning. Also, I’m in the middle of negotiating the film/tv rights for one of my books. Flurry of emails going back and forth as we try and resolve some outstanding issues and see if we can settle this down so I can present the offer to my author.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? THAT’S HEAVEN TO ME by Sam Cooke

Just a warning, I’m going to be leaving for the RT Convention in Daytona Beach, FL bright and early tomorrow morning. I actually don’t think I’ll have time to blog. We’ll see. I have to catch the bus to the airport at by 7:30 a.m. Ouch. That’s early folks. (As an aside, this is way too much travel in such a short period of time. I plan to be smarter when scheduling next year.)

I thought it would be fun to rant about what I think is an interesting topic—the projects that got away. I define “projects that got away” in a couple of different ways so it will make a good theme for the week. Also, I imagine that writers might find this rather fascinating. Do we have regrets? The quick and dirty answer? No. Not really. I see lots of stuff that’s publishable but not right for me. Every once in a while though…

Definition 1: The Ones that Got Away can mean the writers whose projects I offered representation to, vied for, but lost to another agent.

This happens. I wish it wouldn’t happen as often as it does but when I see a great project, chances are good that other agents think it’s good too. I offer and the writer mentions she already has a couple of offers on the table.

I am my charming self on the phone. I toot my horn—highlight my terrific sales record, high sell-through, movie deals but alas, the writer chooses another agent.

Darn. The project that got away.

For the most part, there really isn’t any regret. I tried hard for the project and lost. Karma in the world. The author/project wasn’t meant for me (and I know this is corny but I really do think certain agent/author hook ups are meant to be).

Of course, this sanguine approach sounds great until just a couple of weeks later I see the sale on deal lunch that it went in a pre-empt.

Grrr… Then I sigh. Maybe mutter an expletive (but that’s pretty rare) and move on.

I’m happy for the author. He/she deserved the quick sale and I would never begrudge him/her that. Still, it would have been more fun if it had been my sale…