Thursday, August 02, 2007

Where I'll be in 5/10 Years

A challenge was made and I fully intend to meet it. In yesterday's comments I was asked where I see myself in five years and again in 10 years. Ironically I was asked this same question during an RWA pitch appointment. An author met with me not to pitch something (I'd already seen work from her) but to have a chance to talk with me face-to-face for ten minutes. Not a bad idea considering how little downtime I really had at the conference to chat with authors.

Okay, back to the challenge. It's hard to say really. The beauty of starting BookEnds was that Jacky and I did so believing that it would always be something that was fluid. We would never establish what we had to be because that could easily change over time. We originally started as packagers, but in just a short year we decided we needed more and switched our business to agenting. I never saw myself as the agent of erotica, until I noticed the success of ebooks and started reading it. It's been a good fit so far.

In five and ten years I honestly seeing myself doing the one job I truly, truly love. Agenting. I can't imagine leaving behind this business that I'm so proud of and a job that really makes me happy. I imagine I'll be taking on fewer new clients and I hope I'll continue to represent the amazing talent I already have on my list. A client once said to me that she has fantasies that the two of us will be in our 80's together. She'll still be writing and I'll still be negotiating. I have the same dream.

I also hope that in five and ten years publishing takes me in unforeseen directions. I can already see inklings of fantasy in my future and hope that I'll continue to represent strong and interesting business titles. Of course I imagine my workload will get heavier, with all of those bestselling authors I'm going to represent.

Will the agency grow as well? It's hard to say. Right now Jacky and I are really happy with just Kim and Linda our assistant. And of course the interns, but you never know. Maybe someone else (besides Kim) will con us into hiring her. And if it works nearly as well as it's worked with Kim I don't think we'll mind a bit.

In a nutshell I guess I see myself sitting behind this very desk, typing away on my Mac (always a Mac) and staring at walls and walls of "my" books.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years or 10?



loralee said...

Oh, this is a great question, Jessica! First, I just hope I'll BE, period. LOL

Seriously, I see myself continuing to write romances, but published with greater frequency, exploring new genres and enjoying a solid relationship with my agent and editor that is profitable for everyone.
I hope I'm not too late to meet the challenges.

JDuncan said...

Five years...hmmmm. I hope to be published by that time and writing two books a year. In ten years, I hope to see that effort successful enough for me to make a living off of those two books per year. If not, I hope to be teaching in a location I love to live in and still writing. Honestly, I love creative writing more than any other occupation, so five, ten, or twenty I shall keep at it and hope to see my efforts on the bookstore shelves some day.


Sally MacKenzie said...

LOL, Jessica. When you're in your 80s, I'm afraid I'll be in my 100s. (Please tell me I didn't do that math correctly...but I'm afraid I did.)

I have to say I'm a bit fluid, too. (I did like your answer about the agency.) My career at the moment feels just like my writing process--a venture into the mist. If all goes according to contract, I'll be handing in books in January 2008, 2009, and 2010, so I'm thinking I'll be promoting the last one of those Naked guys--whomever he may be--in 2011. So that's four years out. Beyond that? Maybe more regencies; maybe that futuristic I've got plotted out; mabye both--or something completely different. We'll just have to see.

Kate Douglas said... five more years I'll be eligible for social security, but just in case the money runs out, I hope I'm still writing, and Jessica's still getting me great deals.

Lauren J said...

Hope to be a published author, with several novels on the shelves, and the ability to live off the earnings from the sale of my books and my imagination.

Dara Edmondson said...

My wish: In five years I'd like to be published with a big New York publisher and have a fab agent like Jessica;-) In ten years, on the NYT bestseller list with a shelf full of my books.
Husband's wish for me: Five years - make enough from writing so he can take early retirement. Ten years - My books will be made into blockbuster films and we'll have the Spielbergs over for dinner!

Kris Fletcher said...

"Beyond that? Maybe more regencies; maybe that futuristic I've got plotted out; mabye both"

LOL, I'm getting the most awesome image of a futuristic regency here - like a Star Trek episode held on the holodeck, maybe, or Han Solo in regency attire.

Five years down the road for me - ah, who can tell? In my dreams all the kids are in school, I've actually sold a book or two, and I'm happily puttering away at my computer and my whiteboard, with a neverending glass of raspberry iced tea at my elbow. If even that much should come true, I would be a happy writer.

And I'm laughing at how Jessica can keep everything else so fluid, then come out with the "always a Mac" statement. Talk about tempting fate!

Sally MacKenzie said...

LOL, Kate, on the social security thing. I want to see where your Wolf Tales have gone in 5 years. Will they be so hot they incinerate the pages? And can I count that high? (Wolf Tales 45?)

I'm still thinking about this question--well, I actually wrote this once but blogger ate it--and still procrastinating on the wip. Anywho, one reason I think I feel so vague about where I'll be in 5 years is because of where I was 5 years ago.

In 2002 I was in the middle of one of the four or five drafts of my first book, The Naked Duke. I'd stopped writing for publication while I carpooled the kids, and by 2002 the nest was starting to empty and I was facing the fact that it was now or never if I was going to realize my dream of publication. So I went through my stash of Writer Digests and The Writer magazine and made myself push through till I typed "The End." And then I revised and revised. In 2003 I joined RWA, in 2004 the Duke finaled in the Golden Heart and sold, in 2005 The Naked Duke was in bookstores. Now I've got three books out, one in production, and a contract for three more. The last one made the USA Today and the Waldenbooks/Borders lists. Could I have dreamed any of this back in 2002? No way!

Now, let's see if blogger eats this again!

Sally MacKenzie said...

Hey, Kris, there is a Star Trek episode--original Star Trek--where Kirk and Spock and crew went back in time. Hmm. Maybe more than one episode. I think they stayed on this side of the pond, though.

But I'm a purist. I don't like my regencies with paranormal elements. Yes, I'm a dinosaur that way.

Josh said...

Published. Having started in the fantasy genre and perhaps branching out, experimenting with science fiction and subgenres like steampunk, urban, etc. Able to write full-time (or maybe freelance some on the side). Still coming up with too many ideas to work on at once, so there's always something waiting once the last story is finished.

Kim Lionetti said...

Oh sure... I "conned" you into hiring me. Very funny.

Kim Lionetti said...

Oh sure... I "conned" you into hiring me. Very funny.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure my list looks just like everyone else's list:
5 years - huge contracts, USA Today, New York Times, Publisher's Weekly bestseller's lists, lots of $$$, and still having the best time ever writing and hanging with my writing friends.
10 years - A #1 on those lists would be nice, of course! ;-)

~ Bella Andre

Anonymous said...

Jessica -- Whew! So glad to hear that you plan on agenting for many years to come. That means I still have a shot at someday querying you. Seriously, the WIP / query goal time-line is marked in months, not years, but there are days when it feels like it's going to take me years to make that kind of progress.

Sally -- thanks for sharing where you were 5 years ago. It's great to read about people's paths to publication. Also, thanks for giving me one of your Naked guys at RWA. Can't wait to get acquainted with him!


beverley said...

Writing full-time and making a comfortable living doing it. Perhaps even stretching my wings and writing some contemporaries (but of course always writing historicals).

Sally MacKenzie said...

Hey, Chryssa, it was my pleasure. I do hope you enjoy the book.

Kate Douglas said...

Sally, your post made me stop and think, and you're right. Five years ago I never would have imagined I'd be where I am now, because that's about the time I said "to HELL" with selling to a New York publisher and focused entirely on epublishing. Jessica had been unable to sell my contemporary romance, Last of the O'Rourkes and I was disgusted with the whole "NY publishing" process. I'd discovered erotic romance and loved writing it, I was making a good income with my various epublishers and actually enjoying writing again. Then, on a whim--and because Jessica asked if I had anything erotic for her to look at--I sent her Wolf Tales. Life, as I'd always known it and fully expected to continue, changed. I couldn't be happier with the way things have worked out, but the funny thing is, when I stopped looking for that Holy Grail that a NY contract represented, and got back to the pleasure of writing, the Grail found me.

Aimless Writer said...

Published with a great agent who loves my work.
Successful enough to quit my day job.
Writing two or three books a year.
Giving the talks instead of listening to them.
A house on the beach with my dh, a couple of dogs and a parrot named Elvis.

Sharon Page said...

A very good question, especially since my goal 2 years ago was to go to the 2011 RWA conference and pitch to agents and editors. And then everything changed within a month and I sold. My first print book came out 5 years before 2011.

5 years from now, I'd love to be on a bestseller list (USA Today, NYT), and making a living from writing. And I'll have gone to the conference :-) Yet, I suspect many things won't be a lot different than today. I'll still be working hard, doing proposals, searching for that "perfect" idea, and honing my craft. And I suspect that staying fluid will be just as important then.

I can't even picture 10 years from now!

Petrina said...

This is a great question. Five years from now I hope have a great relationship with an agent and editor. I'd like to be finishing up the Esmerelda Gray series and starting on something completely new...given that the series sells sometime in the near future.

Since I'm also an artist, I'd like to do a cover for one of my books. Then maybe auction the original painting for charity.

After that I'm open to new ideas and experiences.

Mark Terry said...

Always a frightening interview question.

You know, I'm not sure. I'm SO living the life I dreamed of, it's hard to go crazy wishing for more (gluttony, and all that). I worked a job I hated for 18 years, and now that I'm a fulltime freelance writer and novelist, it's hard to imagine it being much better.

I would like more or all of my income to come from my novels. (And no Monkey's Paw shit here, either. I don't want to lose all my nonfiction contracts and try to have to live on a couple thousand bucks a year from my novels). I would like to publish more than one book a year. I would like to live anywhere from as comfortable as I am now to, well, filthy rich (not required, but I'm sure I'd find a way to spend any money that came my way).

I'd like to stay healthy and happy, etc. From a realistic point of view, I would like to build my current novel-writing career to a point where if I wrote a novel, publishers would at least have to say, "Well, we know he's good, we know he sells a lot, let's look at his manuscript and really decide whether or not we want to publish this."

Yeah, I'd like that.

Becky Levine said...

Five years from now is one of those big change years--my son will be old enough to drive. Frightening and freenig all at the the same time! :)

Where I would NOT like to be is using that freedom to sit back in a cubicle office in someone else's building, doing something that is only "okay." Which means that, by then, I want to have built this writing career to a point where the income is close to what that cubicle would pay. Not tons, just enough.

So...the middle-grade mystery I'm sending out this summer will have turned into the series I envision. The nonfiction book for kids that I'll be writing (for PUBLICATION) this fall will have lead to more work of the same sort. I'll be doing two projects a year.

I'll be doing my marketing--hopefully I'll have that figured out by then--school talks and gigs at writers conference and actively helping to sell my books, keep them in print, and keep me in work!

Thanks for the chance to put it in writing, Jessica!

Anonymous said...

In five years I WILL be revelling in the fact my book is in the window of every airport bookstore, and under umbrellas at the ocean, propped up on the tummies of every single soul hooked on the latestMaggieO'Reilly mystery,suspense/cozy/great read.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah ...and number one on ALL the lists ... and what the heck, fifty pounds thinner, too.

Allison Brennan said...

To be honest, I've never liked making long-term goals. I like to focus on one thing and when I achieve that, move to the next thing. So first, it was to find an agent. Then it was to sell. Then it was to sell another book. Then to hit a list. Then to hit higher.

In five to ten years, I definitely plan to be writing romantic thrillers of one sort or another. I'd like to write something else as well. In five to ten years, I'd like to be at the point in my career that if I want to try something different for one book (like, for example, a historical suspense) that I can do it without my readers deserting me.

Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

In five years, I'd like to be well-established with an agent who gets my voice and stories. LOL

BTW, Allison, I'll read your historical suspense any old time you want to branch out.

AstonWest said...

Where do I truly see myself in 5 and 10 years?

Still writing manuscripts that neither publisher nor agent want anything to do with...

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