So you can read my books

Monday, March 4, 2013


I wish.
do I wish.

But despite all the hype and rightful interest about Kindle Direct Publishing,

I still got your attention didn't I?

Why? Name recognition.

Angelina has it. We don't. But good agents do.

Which brings me to some important points about our need for agents :


You and I are just unknowns, sharpening our elbows to edge into the focus of an agent or editor.

Say Angelina is my agent. I did. Aloud. I got shivers.

Ah, where was I?

Oh, yes, Angelina is my agent. She has worked for 15 years with editors.

And every book from an unknown she brought this particular editor has been a solid seller, and many of them have burned up the charts.

Angelina brings him my book. He'll look at it despite not knowing my name, perhaps even if its genre isn't his usual cup of tea.

He'll look at it because of Angelina's past track record. And that brings us to the next item:


Angelina has brought this editor nothing but winners. Not one turkey.

When he reads my novel, he thinks winner. The context of a situation is a key factor in sales. The tail often wags the dog here.

He'll be excited and enthused, expecting to like it. Now compare to that to an eye-weary editor dropping another dusty bundle of papers from a much too high slush pile.


Angelina has had a relationship with this publishing house for 15 years. She's charming, intelligent, and diligent.

Over the years, she has constructed an "Angelina Template" contract at this house. Little changes to the company's standard clauses.

Never much at one time. But over 15 years, her template contract has significant advantages for her clients over the company's standard contract.

The editor decides to buy my novel. He sends for Angelina's template contract.

Say that for Translation Rights it is a 75/25 split in my favor. What's some overseas translation money going to amount to anyway? The editor got away with just giving me $2,500 for an advance, didn't he?

My novel has a major character : a blonde, nubile fae in a short-skirted school uniform. Japanese businessmen are hot for school girls in short skirts. Very hot. School girls like that sell a lot of books, manga, and animation. A Japanese book company offers $50,000 for the translation rights.

That's $37,500 for me. A manga publisher offers $30,000. That's $22,500.

So I only got $2,500 for an advance. For just two Japanese translation rights sales, I received $60,000. Sure, Angelina gets her 15%. But didn't she earn it?

And that's just Japan. What about France? Germany?

And the other rights like audio that Angelina wrangled a better deal for me. And what if an animation company wants the rights to my book?All right, you say. But that's a super agent. How am I going to find a competent one, much less one like Angelina?

Well, you don't need a superstar agent. All you need is one who has a reputation for professionalism, competence, and a good instinct for winning writing. And how do you find that agent?


{Ah, actually it is, but that's another story for my memoirs.}

You do your due diligence.

You go to to find at least thirty good agents who deal in the genre you write. You read their requirements. You go to their webpage if Agent Query lists it, and scan the number of their sales and find out what the latest one is. Check its listing in sales on Amazon.

You go to to find out more about the sales of your selected agents.

If you don't want to pay the $20 monthly fee, go to PREDATOR AND EDITORS to see if there are any red flags next to any of the names that you're interested in.

You go to the excellent resource with the odd name : ABSOLUTE WRITE WATER COOLER to search the names of the agents in whom you're interested. ABSOLUTE is an excellent forum that discusses all aspects of writing and the business of getting published. You read the feelings and experiences of writers just like you. It's a fun read. Go there and check it out.


Without an agent you approach a publishing house in a fog. There are rival imprints within the same house. One prints genre. The other only literary fiction. Submit to the wrong imprint. BAM! Certain rejection. And worse, you've blown your one shot at that publishing house.

Within the same imprint there are many editors, each with their own particular slants and hates. One loves pretty boy vampires. The other slings a manuscript with one across the room. Do you know which editor is which? Of course not.

But Angelina does. And there are many editors in each imprint. And she knows what each editor likes and is looking for this very minute. It's her bread and butter to know.


If the war is a bidding war. They don't happen as much any more. But they do happen.

"Yeah, but not with my novel," you say. Really?

Agent Jill Kneerim says in her 11 years as an agent she never saw a bidding war like the one for a book on Shakespeare world's. Shakespeare? That was in 2001. Look it up. See what the author got. Wow is too small a word.

Sometimes a savy agent can get you a huge advance just by taking your novel off the table and ending a bidding war for a huge publishing house before it begins. You would never be able to arrange for a bidding war or an "off the table" deal with random submissions.

World Rights. Sometimes a savy agent can get control of those for herself. What? For herself? Yes. And then, she sells, through her own agents worldwide, all those subsidary rights that mean more money to you : translation, audio, film, etc.

And that money goes directly to you -- and not into your publisher's royalty account. If you don't earn back your royalty, that money would never have stained your palms. Ouch! You get more. And you get it sooner.

So when I say you need an agent, you now understand what I mean. Due diligence, of course.

Right now, I'm going to submit my novel to Angelina Jolie. Hey, you never know.

Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew edited by Nick Wilford

A collection of seventy moving and uplifting original pieces - real life, flash fiction, and poetry - about battling against the odds and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. The contributors include Amazon bestselling authors Alex J. Cavanaugh and Kyra Lennon, and the cream of upcoming talent ...

 even letting a wayward gypsy like me slip in through the back gate. :-)

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send the editor's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country of Scotland will not challenge him and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees, thus creating a situation of discrimination.

Help us get Andrew to college by buying a book that runs the full gamut of human emotions, ultimately leaving you inspired and glad to be alive. Whatever struggles you are going through, our sincere hope is that this book will help.

Purchase Links: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Smashwords, and Goodreads.

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also co-running a campaign to get a dedicated specialist college built in Scotland.



  1. Excellent post! You make a lot of sense. Hopefully I get an agent who looks like Robert Downey Jr. ;-)

  2. Misha:
    That would be nice ... and if he had the winning personality that would be even better! :-)

  3. another head and page turner... work would always get done... more stories done, more time spent with my agent whomever she might be. looks like my wife... in my head she still looks like my wife.

  4. Thank you. Friend keep asking why I'm determined to go the traditional route, established agent to publisher, instead of just self publishing. You just explained it for me.

  5. Excellent points, Roland. As advances have become tiny to non-existant and the breadth of what publishers are willing to take a chance on becomes increasingly narrow—I pay the $20 to Publishers Marketplace each month and the scope of what is being published genre-wise is so narrow, it's horrifying—it's important to remember there are still advantages to having an agent. For me, it means not have to query. :)

  6. Jeremy:
    If my agent-yet-to-be looked like Angelina and murmured, "Please, Roland, could you write faster? My fingers would blur into warp speed!" :-)

    The traditional route, even in today's strange new world of publishing, does have its advantages.

    Sadly, the shaky economy has given agents shell-shock. They seldom accept writers unless they have been recommended by a trusted source or in a face-to-face conference meeting. Alas, I do not have the funds or the time to attend conferences.

    So I have given up my hope of ever snagging an agent unless my book ever skyrocket. My ghost cat, Gypsy, just snickered. :-)

    I've mentioned the major advantages of having an agent -- made ironic by the knowledge that I will never get one.

    Your points are salient: the present state of publishing is stifling agents and publishers from taking chances on something -- when something new is the very thing that will become the next Big Thing.

    I wish all the luck in the world in becoming published! Roland

  7. Congratulations, Nick!
    It would be cool to have an agent (can mine look like Kate?) but I've been happy so far without one.

  8. Alex:
    I think an author can do quite fine without an agent -- except for those other rights. But unless you have a blockbuster, those rights probably will never come into play.

    And an agent resembling Kate would be just fine!!