Thursday, April 15, 2010

An Agent's Confession

I have a confession to make. The minute the final published book from a client lands on my desk, the second thing I do (after oohing and aahing over the cover) is check the acknowledgment section. It’s a little embarrassing to admit this, but I’m always curious about what the author has to say. And, let’s face it, I want to know if she credited me in any way. It’s not that I feel I need to be acknowledged, it’s just that I want to know if I am and, if I am, what the author said.

Well, the other day I got Paige Shelton’s debut novel, Farm Fresh Murder. A book that I am very excited about. I spent a little more time than usual oohing and aahing over the cover because I absolutely adore it. Once I was done showing it around, I flipped it open and read the acknowledgments. She did a fabulous job of thanking all the people who helped her, including the many people at her publisher who guided her through the process. Nothing about me though. That’s fine. I was a little disappointed, but really, the important thing is the book is out, and since I just did a brand-new deal for Paige for an entirely new mystery series, I have nothing to complain about. But then I had a thought. I didn’t really believe she would do it, but I checked the dedication page anyway. And there it was. She had dedicated her debut novel to me. I was so touched I teared up. I can only think of one or two other authors who have dedicated their books to me and I wish I could find the right words to express how much this means to me. I feel honored, thrilled, and truly undeserving. I’m proud of every book I sell and I don’t need an acknowledgment or a dedication, but man, when it comes, I really feel humbled.



Anonymous said...

Jessica I not only will dedicate my first book to you, I will acknowledge every cell in your body. My main character will be Jessica,(not Jennifer), Jeez I'd name my first born after you except my first born is almost your age and I'm DONE giving birth. Honey I'll kiss your ever loving ass. My dedication to you would not only create a tear, you would be doing the ugly cry. And to think all you would have to do to be my hero is READ my book.
You read my was a no go...but you are still my agent because at 8am your blog it what I read makes me try again.
Thanks babe,

Jessica Nelson said...

Awwww, that is so wonderful and sweet! I would feel humbled and happy too.

Anonymous said...

The first comment was... weird.

Nevertheless, for sure it must be an welcoming felling when something like this happens. You must have become friends along the way of publishing, and that is exactly what I dream for me and for my "dream-agent". Hope I'll get there.

Thank you very much for sharing this.

Sophie Playle said...

Aww, that's lovely.

I'm but a humble editorial assistant at a publishing house and I've yet to be in the acknowledgments section. Then again, I've only worked here six months and most books take longer than that to go through the full cycle.

Anonymous said...

Anon - I thought comment one was funny not weird.

J, it just goes to show you how important you are in the lives of the people you validate as publishable.
I'm buying the book.

Hepius said...

That's awesome! Very kind of her.

My novel will be dedicated to my wife.

(It's a self-preservation thing)


Melissa Sarno said...

That's so cool, congratulations. Must be an amazing feeling.

I believe that ALL authors should acknowledge their agents! As an aspiring author, if I read a book that resonates with me, I'm dying to know who represented them. hehe.

Kristan said...

Aww, that got me all teared up!

I have to admit, my first book will be dedicated to my mom (and maybe my dad and boyfriend -- ugh how I struggle with this), but I will definitely acknowledge my agent (who does not yet exist -- well, s/he exists but not AS my agent yet!). And by acknowledge, I mean profusely thank and grovel and worship. Hehehe.

Anyhoot, I'm very happy for you. You must be a great agent to warrant that. :)

Ellen Brickley said...

I like knowing that you always check, Jessica, it's pleasingly human :) And that dedication is so sweet, you must be very proud!

Vivi Anna said...

When I sell my YA, my fab agent will be the first person I acknowledge because she has worked with me on the book for the past 6 months and has pushed me to be better and do better. She kicked my ass when I asked her to and held my hand when I needed her to.

Some agents go above and beyond for their clients.

Paige said...

What a nice surprise this morning! Thanks, Jessica. Truthfully, it never occurred to me to dedicate it to anyone else.



That is so flippin' awesome. And I'm sure you deserve it, Jessica!

Inda Lauryn said...

I thought the agent's acknowledgement was the commission.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

Jessica, Congrats to you for being such a wonderful advocate for your clients. I also love Paige's comment - says it all.

I look forward to acknowledging my Awesome Agent on every book I write. It's a partnership, and I can't imagine the journey without her. Every time I talk to her, I thank the writing gods. I'm sure Paige feels the same way about you. ;-)

Stephanie said...

Yeah...that first comment is a bit scary........

How awesome for you!!! Congrats!!! I can imagine these books are like your little children...sending them off into the world. I can identify with the hope that a small "thanks" is sent your way! :)

Nicole said...

Dedication or acknowledgement, either way the second I get an agent that gets me published, they're in.

Spy Scribbler said...

Awww, that is so sweet, Jessica and Paige! I'm sure it's well-deserved.

Oddly, I absolutely love reading acknowledgments and dedications. Sometimes, I'll wander through the store just reading acknowledgments. I don't know why.

Neil Gaiman still stands as having the best one, in the book that he dedicated to his readers, but in his usual clever and funny way.

Mira said...

Well, if we're voting, I thought the first comment was disturbing.

But moving on from that, this is very heart-warming.

You know, Jessica, I don't always agree with what you write on your blog, no surprise there, but I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that you are first-rate agent. Honest, forthright, patient, supportive, and extremely helpful. Your clients are lucky to have you as their advocate.

p.s. I also like the cover - it's beautiful.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Aw, now you're going to make me cry! That's really sweet.

And btw, I don't blame you. I'd head straight to the acknowledgement section after I admired the cover, too. :)

Lisa_Gibson said...

That's so wonderful! It's very touching. Agents are important to authors but it's so nice to see that in black & white.
I often read acknowledgements to determine who the author's agent is for future reference to query possibly.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Whoa, that is a big deal. I check the acknowledgments not only because I want to see how profuse their thanks are, but also because it's a good way of finding out who reps books you like if they thank their agent!

Anonymous said...

I wrote the first comment. I was trying to be funny not weird or scary.
I broke my first rule of writing, write it, wait, rewrite and then send. I wrote and ran off to work.

Sorry Jessica, sorry bloggers.

Congrats for the dedication, you more than deserve it. Your advice on this blog has been a wonderful resource.


Vicky B said...

That is so sweet! Talk about a good day!!

Anonymous said...

Now I'm all teared up!

Congrats, Jessica and Paige :)

Nathan Robert Brown said...

That reminds me, Jessica ... has Jacky seen the dedication page for CIG to Zombies? I dedicated it to her.

Nathan Robert Brown