Sunday, November 9, 2008

RichWriters Interview with Bliss Literary Agent, Jenoyne Adams

Jeff Rivera: Hello and welcome to the show. I am Jeff Rivera, author of the novel 'Forever My Lady' and I am pleased to present to you Ms. Jenoyne Adams, agent extraordinaire at the prestigious New York literary agency at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency.

Now, Levine Greenberg represents the book Legally Blonde, which of course became a movie starring Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon and Queen Bees and Wannabes which became the movie Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan, as well as the book that is getting a lot of buys called Good Girls Pole Riders Club by Kimona J which you should all run to the bookstore and get it because it is a really great book.

Thanks for getting up; I am staying up so late for [037].

Jenoyne Adams: It feels good to be with you here Jeff and even in the evening and I look forward to a fun time.

Jeff Rivera: You have a long day so, Jenoyne is actually my agent. She is someone I really thank for my making my dream come true of becoming a published author and I am published with one of the top five largest publishing houses in the world and Jenoyne is really responsible for that.

So, one of the reasons I asked to interview you Jenoyne is I really think that you have a unique background as an agent and one thing that is interesting about you is that you are also a bestselling novelist and I think that really is great because it makes you unique and that you are able to kind of look at both sides of the coin and you know what it is like to be an agent and you know what it is like to be a bestselling author.

She is probably one of the most personable agents you will ever meet and she really makes you feel like you are the only client; you will not climb up the 123.6 paragraphs C, subsection D. She has a lot of these thoughts [ph 1:45] tonight so thank you so much, Jenoyne.

Jenoyne Adams: You are welcome. You are very, very welcome and I am definitely glad to work with you and I am definitely not responsible for all of what you have done. If you would not have written a great book, I would not have been able to do it. So, thank you.

Jeff Rivera: Well, Jenoyne really believed in which, if she believes in something she goes for it passionately and that passion really helps spell it. So, let us talk a little bit about, what is it that an agent really does and why is it that a writer is going to need an agent? I mean, couldn't they just do it themselves?

Jenoyne Adams: I've, actually, been approached by several authors over my time who had started the process themselves. I would say that you had started the process, Joan McGuiver [ph], Linda Nieves-Powell, Maria del Toro so actually I think what happens to an author is that you start making contacts with editors if you do start the process yourself and then you realize you do not know all that supposed to happen behind the scenes and I think that is what really an agent does.

They help shuffle your books from proposal or from manuscript to a sold project, to a project that is actually being published, to a project that is being marketed and hopefully being accepted well on the market. So, it is an agent's job. It is multifold and it goes through every part of the process from reading the book, editing the book oftentimes.

In many cases, I would say for security, Levine Greenberg as the agent is the first editor or one of the first editors of the book and we have a very strong policy of trying to make the book the best before we put it in the marketplace that not only reflects the client but it also reflects us. So, in many parts…

Jeff Rivera: Why would a writer need an agent instead of maybe like in an attorney, like a publishing attorney I mean or should they have both or is one better than the other..?

Jenoyne Adams: I mean you must imagine I am slightly biased and that I am an agent and not a publishing attorney and that said there are certain authors that do have those. I have worked with author's attorney. After we have got into the contract stage and I invaded the contract in many cases especially over the last years since our contracts manager has come into the picture.

She studied the contract and then other case and it is also an attorney. That said would probably a big difference and I do not know this about every publishing attorney but many publishing attorneys do not negotiate the deal and that they are not necessarily a part of, when the book is selling. They are not necessarily a part of contacting the editors, placing or calling them, following up, setting up the auction or how it is going to close. That is what agents do.

A lot of times when a publishing attorney comes into play, it is to really do the contract. There could be a character licensing issue. There could be something with trade marking, any sort of legal issue, it is generally where they come in. However, there are some authors where they are under 10,000 books and they really feel like saying "No, the end of street-in and out" and then they rather pay an attorney hourly to do so and that person is hired for that specific task for that amount of time that said an agent, I mean, my days start early and often end late and there is not a time amount associated necessarily with what I am doing for a client is when it is done and when they client say it is done.

Jeff Rivera: Do you know like how is Levine Greenberg Agency different than most literary agencies?

Jenoyne Adams: Well, I think one thing that is unique about Levine Greenberg, that editors often talk about is… one, we have a great proposal and oftentimes it looks different than a lot of proposals that come their way. The other thing is that we work more as a team probably more than most. I wouldn't say others don't but we definitely value the feedback of our colleagues.

We go over the manuscripts together. We help make changes and the other thing is that we are not in any direct competition which I think gives us all the freedom to kind of spread our wings, develop our own areas of interests and not feel like we are stepping on someone else's toes or that we need to make this sell because someone else made that sale yesterday.

I think we are all very motivated so of course we all want to place manuscripts and get books into the marketplace, that is what publishing and agenting is about. At the end of the day but that said we really try to fall in love and like to fall in love with the books we represent and hopefully do a good job with agenting them.

Jeff Rivera: Well, of course, when I speak to a lot of up and coming writers or even writers that have been published but haven't had the best experience with agents. That kind of salivate at the way, I talked about how great of a job you do and they want to know, which I think a lot of people listening want to know "What is the best way for writers to approach you?" I mean, should they purge you snail mail and email I mean what is the first step in order to kind of get a hold of you?

Jenoyne Adams: I personally like emails. I do not like phone calls and it is probably just because I am on the phone so much that when I am getting a query over the phone, it is really hard to navigate and I have to really be aggressive about my phone schedule and calling people back and there is times when I really still fall short.

So, that said a good email and take heed of follow ups every once in a while. Sometimes especially during busy times like now, it is very, very hard for me to get back to everyone and I feel like there is just one of me and I am being pulled in a thousand pieces. So, to person, I never mind a follow up email, just try to keep it nice and I will try to be responsible and we can kind of go from there.

Jeff Rivera: So, what should they say in the query like, if they are going to email you, what is going to be really kind of grab your attention? I mean you probably receive, I am sure hundreds of queries every month so like what makes a query really kind of standout I mean you got a thousand things going on and so you open up your inbox and you see this email, I mean and this particular email is going to grab, what kind of email is going to kind of really grab your attention?

Jenoyne Adams: Right of the back, I can usually say the ones that do not grab me or the ones that, you probably not going to read this yourself and I know you are really busy but I really, I just kind of like, "Cut! No! I don't have the time," but that said, if someone who is passionate, who is sincere, who can really distill the idea of the book, who is able to present it well and charismatically and make me want to read the first chapter right away, that is the author that really catches my attention and what is so interesting is that even reading time is so competitive that it usually ends up being the books that are really amazing, that end up getting the majority of my time and the books that need a lot of work, that kind of interest me but I still I like I have to fix that and this and the other, they end up having to do those beyond the line because they are not commanding the same attention.

Jeff Rivera: So, if they are ready to go and they have really taken the time to really make it as amazing as possible, good chances are that's the email or that's the manuscript that is going to grab your attention.

Jenoyne Adams: Most definitely and the more ready it is the better. I think when if first started, I had a lot more time to edit and even though I still do a lot of it, I scale them considerably. I had lot of time; I used to do kind of like "I am a spot of myself and community service." When I did not like the novel, I would still read 50 pages and give them feedback and say, "Hey, I think this is helpful," it is kind of that is very, very hard nowadays.

Every once in a while, I rewrite someone's speech letter for them and send it back and say, "Hey, I hope this helps you with another agent," but that does even happen very much anymore. So, I think the best thing for an author, a writer wanting to become an author to realize is that every moment they have whomever on the line, whether it is an email line, phone line or it is over the mail one that the time is precious and to really try to make the best of it and the most of it.

Jeff Rivera: So, what should they, in their email, should they include like some sample pages or say they just send the email and that is it and then you will ask for it? I mean what is the best way to..?

Jenoyne Adams: I personally like a sample chapter too, there are certain agents that don't so I think depending on who they are submitting to, they need to follow the guidelines of the agent but if it is a great query letter and I read the first pages and they are outstanding, I get really excited about it so that is fine with me.

Jeff Rivera: So, we talked about what kind of grabs you but what turns you off? I mean you mentioned of course that they kind of have that kind of self deprecating; you will probably read it that turns you off, what else turns you off?

Jenoyne Adams: A person who is honestly very demanding, that will turn me off very, very quickly. Divas are hard to tolerate as well but I think the biggest thing that people forget, people are who are far too worthy and just on and on, "Oh, my gosh! This is the best novel. You have never heard anything like it. It's like everyone in my family loves it including my little girl," and it is like, "Okay, that's wonderful. Let me get to the pages and make that decision, you know, decide for myself." But that said, I think the biggest thing that people forget is that agents are people too, editors are people too. We all have a life. We all have crazy things that happen to us. We all have disappointments and we all have joys, so, kind of dealing with the person on the other line as a real person and kind of not expecting superhuman behavior though sometimes we are acting that we are superhuman because we are handling so much.

Just realize you are dealing with a person and what I hope for in a potential client and a client is what I really try to deal when I am out in the world and I have a customer service issue or I need to get my car fixed, whatever. I mean it is so amazing that sometimes, just being nice to people, I've seen my car when I am getting a light bulb changed, go ahead of other cars that have been sitting there. So, it is kind of like just kind of be cool, be yourself and see what happens.

Jeff Rivera: So, what are you looking for right now, I know one time you are looking for like graphic novelist, you said you are kind of open to receiving that. I mean is there any particular type of novel or nonfiction piece, we are more talking to novelist here so is there any type of novel that you are kind of looking for or anything like that?

Jenoyne Adams: Yes, I am definitely always open to really wonderful book graphic novel. I have not come across it yet and as in YA [ph] or those, I am really up in and probably been more so in YA because of what is happening there. I think a great literary novel can always turn my attention, a commercial novel that really knows its place, that really understands its market, and that really has that niche feel. I think that is great.

I kind of fall in love with things based upon passion like when many people probably do not know but you sent me your, you talked about your book and you sent me a link and I read a little bit and then I went somewhere else and I was like, "Oh, my gosh! I want to read the rest of this," and it is that kind of thing. It is that visual, almost intangible thing that makes me sitting there with a query and I am like, "Oh, my gosh! I'm going to send this to this person and I'm going to send this to that person. Oh, my gosh! This person has been looking for that. They will love to see that."

Whenever my mind starts churning that way, that is usually is a good sign that I want the novel. I also represent writing books and nonfiction women's interests and there are a great memoir that this…that has they laugh, they cried. I would love to find it. I do not take on very much at this time so I think wow me and I can like, "You know what? I'm going to do this one."

Jeff Rivera: Well, you mentioned before that you are getting pretty close to being at capacity so it has to be something that is really going to blow you away because you really sort of want to focus on the clients you have already.

Jenoyne Adams: Yes, I do. I mean, I do not want to be the agent in the tower and at the same time I think as a younger agent and I am still pretty new and I have been doing it a few years that said I would take on a project here and there because I am like, "Oh, my gosh! Well, you know what, they may not get another agent and maybe I can help them," and I find that any projects that I've taken on from a mercy standpoint or I am really trying to do a favor, usually it does not work out. That person ends up being very frustrated with me.

So, I have learned that I really, really have to be in love. I really have to be sold on the author. A perfect example, there was a novel that I absolutely thought was amazing and that person's publicist contacted me about it and I read it, well, they negated to tell me that the person was actually incarcerated for four years and I bring that up because I am like that is a big piece of information to leave out and it really affected my decision as to whether or not I wanted to take that person on because that is a big unknown and it is not to say I never would especially if someone, a political prisoner or I know various authors [1729] who have been imprisoned for their political belief and I think that is amazing but that said I think also the author or representative should be honest with the agent so that we do not tie up another a lot of time, their time or our own.

So, definitely, something I am passionate about and definitely something that makes me want to get it out there despite how busy I already am.

Jeff Rivera: And you've been sort of an advocate for the Latino community and Latino-based stories because I have noticed that quite a few authors and projects that you worked on are sort of that Latino market. We talked a little bit about what is going on there and why the interest and all that sort of thing?

Jenoyne Adams: Well, I love [1818] and I love Spanish, Mexican, and Latino culture. I find it so rich. I find the people amazing and I think it is about various ethnicity that said when I came in to this industry, I found that African-American work was finding their place and I found that, I rarely came across, of course there is Isabel Allende and different people where I read their novels and I am like, "Oh, my gosh! This is gorgeous!" but I found that it was a very small market so one of my mission was really just to and is still to build this area and I think I have been helping. Reyna Grande' 'Across a Hundred Mountains', I am very, very happy about that.

Your work, of course, Forever My Lady and that ones to follow, you guys, Jeff is amazing and you have a tons of books in him, Linda Nieves-Powell Freestyle Chicas and Maria del Toro and there is more so I do not want, if I forget to tell or say your name right now, it is not because I am not loving the book, I am and so that said, I think over the next ten years and I think publishers catching on so many more publishers or several publishers let's put it that way at this time, have Latino divisions and I think it is an amazing market with diverse people and the same language.

So, I think it is right but I definitely hope so many more stories come about not just I mean a wide range of stories from the immigrant story to the multigenerational family story to the Devil Wears Prada in Spanish story and I think there is room for all of them.

Jeff Rivera: Right, when you are reading a manuscript, like how much do they do typically read for you like, "Okay, enough." I mean is it the first page? Is it the first chapter? I mean, what typically would you read?

Jenoyne Adams: I kind of go, each manuscript is different and I definitely have a little internal meter. Rarely do I stop in page one but sometimes by page three, they blast me and I already know. Sometimes on page one by the second paragraph. Sometimes after the first few sentences, I already know. It is like it is not going to happen and sometimes I read it really further just to kind of like prove to myself that and sometimes I even skipped ahead, it is like, "Okay, the first ten pages really aren't working, let me see what is happening on page 56, maybe I'm missing something."

I think every agent hates to miss out in something fabulous but I think the author definitely have to grab you from the first sentences, definitely through the first 50 pages because if I fall in love in the first 50, I am willing to read more and if a few playable passion along the way, I am much more likely to stay in for the long run.

That said if you loose me by the second paragraph, the chances of you regaining my interest, it is really hard especially when there is another manuscript that needs to be read right behind it.

Jeff Rivera: Right. And now, like how many, like what kind of mistakes do you normally see writers making in those manuscripts like in the first 50 pages?

Jenoyne Adams: I think honestly a lot of people want to start exactly at the beginning and they want to give you all the back stories they needed to write a novel and I made that mistake with my first novel. I, literary, my first book was probably a 172 pages of back stories and maybe 60 real pages so it is something that is really easy for a new writer to make…it is a real easy thing for a new writer to do, it is the real easy thing for someone who is not familiar to writing novels A person who maybe published as a nonfiction writer or a poet.

It is really easy not to understand the tenet of this particular medium and to just kind of like go all over the place but they definitely need to nail the beginning. I suggest that writers start in the middle. Start it where I have to catch up, kind of trick me, let me wonder what I am missing, "Oh, my gosh! This happened? Oh, my gosh! What is this?"

I like that. I mean do not have me out in the twilight zone like, "Whew! Where are they going?" Do not feel like you have to give everything on the beginning. Feel free to kind of tantalize the reader and I say think of your agent reader, think of the next reader who is after that, your editor reader and then think of the reader at large who is going to be the person buying your book in Barnes & Noble and the independent bookstores.

Jeff Rivera: Right. So, now when people send you a manuscript, when should they kind of expect to hear back from you? I mean, what is the rhythm of period before they should start worrying whether or not you even got the email?

Jenoyne Adams: Well, I definitely say that is a very hard area for me and it is one that I am constantly working on and trying to be better at, that said, if it is not, if it is a little bit quieter and I have more time then sometimes many people have heard back from me in a couple of weeks.

Sometimes, I literally sat down with the manuscript and I felt really bad because I only have the manuscript for 25 minutes and I already know what to know. So, usually I try to send the rejection letter the next day so they do not think, "Oh, my gosh! This is just the worst manuscript in the world."

So, that said, many times it is several weeks so a lot of times I give the writer what I expect the time to be, hopefully I am able to stay in that timeframe. Sometimes, I am just not and it is not because I want to disrespect them or their book is not important. It is just because I have not been able to get to it or I had not been able to read enough. At once, just busy with submissions, it is amazing how everyday if I just do phone calls, I can do nothing else. That can be my entire day.

So, to get anything else, a pitch letter written, a manuscript out, to send the submission list, to manage an option, all those things that things that have to happen in conjunction with just the normal everyday madness and energy and wonderful things happening.

So, that said, what I am really open to, there is a colleague of mine, Regina [ph], who is an editor for Essence and she told me one day at lunch, she said, "You know what? This is one of the best compliments that I have ever been given from someone and it is when she was a freelance writer primarily."

That person said, "You called often enough so I didn't forget about you and you never called so much to where you are bugging me," and that is what I think that is the difficult balance to strike. That is why I am always open to someone following up because maybe sometimes I maybe I did not miss it, it did not get lost.

Usually, it did and I am like, "Oh, my gosh! You know what? Let me give you your response," or "You know what? Hey, I'm going to need a few more weeks," whatever it is but I think like we talked about earlier, realizing that an agent is a normal person who is probably pretty done overwhelmed and they are really trying to do their best.

There are sometimes like when I send the manuscripts out and it is an editor who I usually hear from in a pretty good amount of time, I actually had it and this was recent where I had sent out a manuscript back, I do not know, it had been a few months and an editor had just gotten to it and usually, I hear back from editors just like in very good response time, within days to a couple of weeks and that gives you like, "Oh, my gosh! I just got to this! I really like it, it is still available?"

It happens for agents too. If you send a query letter and the person does not respond to the query letter, chances are because the agent you are querying is getting too many, you cannot, I mean it is very, very hard. I would not say it is impossible but it is very hard to even respond to every query because it is a lot of time and it is a lot of people.

Jeff Rivera: Well you say like maybe after two to three weeks, they can send the follow up email and say, "Hey, Jenoyne, just wondering if you got my email yadiyadiyada…I mean".

Jenoyne Adams: Sure and I will try to be as realistic and specific as possible especially if it is something I am very interested in. I try not to request something if it does not have something that really could work for me. I do not want to waste the person's time. That said, sure, I think it is fine the follow up and sometimes even with editors; I follow up several times before I get the response.

I feel it is fine for a person to do that with me and very, very rarely, you have to really work at it to tick me off.

Jeff Rivera: Right. You are a very patient person but now, like it is obvious that you are very, very selective shall we say about who you represent especially recently because you really have a particular taste about what you really think will sell so like may I ask like approximately like how many clients do you represent and how many more you are looking for or that sort of thing?

Jenoyne Adams: Yes, sure. It is funny, I used to just say how many clients I represent at these panels and it was not a big thing to me and now I am really of the mind that I want every client I worked with to feel like they are the only person I am working with so I have kind of refrained from that so much but I will say I have a few clients. I have more than I would count on my hands and toes.

Jeff Rivera: Okay.

Jenoyne Adams: And I am…but I am not aiming for too much more than that. I definitely am kind of in a place where I want to love every single thing. If it does not sell the first round through 100 rounds, I want it to be something that I still want to work on that I still want to stay right away and so that is part of my test. Is it something that I am going to want to work with even if it does not place that first and second round like I would hope that whether or not to expect that to?

But actually, I would imagine with almost every agent, unless their brand is link and new, I just suggest that writers know that the person has a busy and aggressive workload and unless they had started three months ago, they have a lot of stuff going on so just know that you are…it is kind of like if you are entering a marathon or a sprint, you are not going to expect to just kind of like lowly guy on the sidelines. You are entering fast traffic. You are entering movement so just know that that is where you are and the other thing to know is that and I tell authors this particularly all the time and it is probably because I do write as well that I really have a keen feeling about this is that you really only need one agent.

So, you love that agent. They did not love you book, it is not the right person and whatever happens, you are looking for the right agent. There is a colleague of mine, Noel Alumit and literally he has told this story many times, I do not have…I do not think anything about saying it but he is like, "You know what? I was looking for the right agent and literally I got to V [ph] in the agent book," and then he ended up being represented by Ackerman [ph 31:05] and interesting enough, he ended up being the person who represented Montgomery Clift's first book if I am recalling correctly which was part of the subject matter of his book and I am like, "Wow! Isn't that kismet?"

Jeff Rivera: Right. So, suppose people are fortunate enough to get signed by you and they are signed and they are ready to go and with your workload and what is going on, what is like a realistic, like how can I put it, like how often should they follow up with you? I mean how often they should kind of say, "Hello? I'm here." I mean, where it is not obnoxious to you where you like, "Oh, you know…"? I mean that is probably something that someone wants to know really from… no matter what agency they are with or maybe because you are an agent you can kind of answer this like how often should they follow up with your agent?

Jenoyne Adams: Well, I usually suggest to a person to follow their internal meter, sometimes our internal meters are broken so every other day but that is not what usually the case is. I found people that are pretty down respectful so I kind of what happens for me sometimes I try not to use it but it still happen, I have something I need to do for a client or it is something I have already done even at times that like, "Okay, I'm going to email them back so I need to give them all these details or I need to call them," and then I go on to the next thing that I need to get done and sometimes, a few days has passed and it is like, "Oh!" I may remember or that person is like, "Hey, Jay! Did you?" and I am like, "Oh, yes," or "You know what? I didn't. Hey, you know what? I'm going to have this to you in the 14th, does that work?" that type of thing and so, I think human expectation and human consideration and I cannot stress that enough so I think it is fine to like if feel like you have fallen off by radar, hopefully, you do not feel like you have fallen off my radar after two or three days but if you feel like you have fallen off, I feel like we are a partnership so you can keep me in mind and I can keep you in mind so I really do not have a big ego where that is concerned, definitely not everyday unless it…sometimes, there is a situation that I had it today where a client we've been tracking down a check and for all you who have not entered the publishing world yet, that first check, advance check usually takes months to get to you.

And every once in a while, there is a situation where the author needs it more than the next author needs that and so, I then literally tracking down the editor and the editor is probably like "Please, please forget my email so I kind of have to remember these things like how authors and so there has been a case over the last few weeks, we communicate a lot because we are trying to get the check and finally, "Yehey! The check is in the editor's hand." So, it is like hallelujah happy day. So, just be realistic and be a little forgiving.

Jeff Rivera: Maybe a like a couple of times in a month is enough, would you say that you...

Jenoyne Adams: Sometimes but two projects are at different stages. Sometimes I have given you my edit. I have done a really detailed edit. Sometimes an intern has done the edit for you as well. Sometimes an assistant or someone who has done it, the editor one of my other colleagues so it is kind of like sometimes people have heard from a couple of different people so they have enough to work on to where it is like, "Whew! You know what? I did the perfecting." And bring it back to me when it is perfect. I love to see finished products. I love to see, I have given notes and now it is done.

I am not really great with the piece meal along the way all the time because it is kind of like I gave you the overall arching idea and I want you to carry it through. That said, sometimes we are in a selling situation where your manuscript or proposal is going out and you going to hear from me all the time because sometimes I need that piece of information and I really try to pick your brain and get all the little tidbits you have written about yourself and about your book and I try to have some information that I can pretty much fill any question. That said or something great happens when editor is just totally in love, I do not want to send that on your email. I want to track you down so I am using cell phone number one, cell phone number two, home number and then reluctantly, lastly I send an email.

So, there is sometimes where I am contacting you constantly and you are hearing from me all the time and that is particularly during a selling situation. I try to get the author, any information I have within a couple of hours of the time I get it, at the most within 24 hours after I get it so, a couple of times a month to more depending on what is going on.

Jeff Rivera: Right. I know it like for example in my case, we talk pretty often. In fact, if you do not hear from me in a few weeks like, "Hello?"

Jenoyne Adams: Yes, I have to so I am like, "Jeff is the world okay?" and I haven't heard from you and it is like you poke my rhythm and like, "Okay." So, yes and I did since you have to if I have not heard from someone that I usually kind of hear that certain things and kind of like, "Okay, is everything alright? How is it going? What is happening with the book? How is the tour going?" or if I just feel like I am out of loop or sometimes I get this inkling that something just is not right and then I will find out that this happen with the book tour or something and I am unable to like or something has been cancelled and sometimes I am able to come back and get it restored depending on what the situation is.

Jeff Rivera: Right, now suppose just a manuscript and you send it out to editors like when should they expect to hear back from an editor on their manuscript?

Jenoyne Adams: It depends, it really depends because a lot of times editors respond within days if they are really, if it just catches them but sometimes we actually take into consideration holidays especially like during this season. It is a little bit harder to calculate when something is going to close.

Interest, where it is fitting into the market? Is it something a really high value at that time or is it something that is a great book or topic but it is considered a little bit smaller. All these things kind of affect, also the submission list, how closely is that book or how closely are the editors were chosen for that book aligned with that book? Maybe sometimes if something is interesting as this book is about the Midwest and I know this person was born and there is like, "Oh! They were born in the Midwest." "Yes," or there is so many different reasons why an agent will match an editor to a book and thinks they are the right person for it.

It is almost like sometimes an agent is a shopper or like you consider like a close in shopper for someone, you are trying to make sure they have the right cover at the right fit, the right style and the right fees and all of those things. So, I would say anywhere to four or five days to normally two or three weeks but sometimes it goes even longer and it still sells.

Jeff Rivera: Right. One thing I will mention to the listeners who are listening, really having an agent is a really, really wonderful thing because in my case, with my book which is originally self published, Forever My Lady, I send out to editors and they kind of just sat and sat and sat on their desk for a long time but once they heard that Jenoyne was involved then the situation changed, then we start to hearing back from them right away. So, it really does make…

Jenoyne Adams: I think the offer was four days later?

Jeff Rivera: Yes, we had an offer within seven days. Yes, I mean for example in my case with Warner Books, I mean my editor had on the books for quite sometime and we had an opportunity to interview her and she said that it happens that it will sit on her desk for months but if she has a good relationship with an agent just like the case with you, Jenoyne then it can be a matter a days. I mean, they will read it over the weekend so that is why I really, really recommend if you can get an agent, get one and quite frankly, if you cannot get an agent, good chances are you are not ready yet.

I mean it is not true in every case but good chances are it is not quite time yet and maybe need a work a little bit differently.

Jenoyne Adams: And also to, there had been projects where I've had them, I send them out a couple two or three different lists and it was just the wrong time. It is like my eyes knew that it was an important book but it was at the wrong moment and literally a year later, it is like the perfect moment.

So, in some cases, the book is not ready. In other cases, it is just like the timing that you never have it in lined the [4100] and you what is in lined back there. It is the perfect time and you send it out and it is like an editor might be mad at you because you take a preemptive bid or something.

Jeff Rivera: What does that mean, a preemptive bid?

Jenoyne Adams: A preemptive bid means basically that the book has not ran its full process like they were not closing rules necessarily sent out at that time, how the book is going to close, whether it is going to be an auction, whether it is going to be tiered, is it going to be.., all that kind of stuff, I do not get too specific but all that kind of stuff.

So, it usually happens that in a preemptive bid situation, someone keeps it. They liked it. It is may have been out like a week or less or maybe a little bit more depending and the editors are like, "You know what? I really love it. I want to offer XYZ." And they put and for whatever right territories all that stuff,, they put that on the line and then what the agent does is they try to aggressively close it from that point especially if it is a great editor and a great offer and you can really see that client, that writer working well with this person. It is like, "Okay." It is like happy day.

So, from that point, I have had a book, I may actually, I have more than one, my voice is going out a little bit, it has been a long one, Jeff, where literally we have had several preemptive or two, different preemptive bids and it is kind of like, "Wow!" so it is like it is just not getting to the sell. They want to take it off the table before it gets there and that is basically what it is so if the author accepts the bid, the agent accepts on the author's behalf and you never went to the more formal closing process.

Jeff Rivera: That brings of a really good, a big question I think a lot of our listeners are wondering especially those who have not been published before. They want to know, "Okay, what is realistic? How much can a first time author make on the first sale?" I mean, you probably say it depends but I mean what is like the price range?

Jenoyne Adams: It really does depend because and I will give you kind of a loose range but it really, really, really does because if he is a first time author and it is an amazing book, you are talking well into the six figures if the interest holds up that way. So, it is really hard to tell like what Cherlyn Michaels' Counting Raindrops through a Stained Glass Window, I definitely would not say that was a normal first book purchase necessarily.

There is other people, I just would not say it was a normal first book and that said, I think I do not know, I would say anywhere from I mean, I would say kind of like an average that you want to kind of like think about possibly. It is maybe around 20, maybe less, maybe more or maybe 25, maybe 35. It really depends that more because I sold them for more.

So, what you are really talking about is what the interest level is? What is the demand for the book? And what is the interest level for the book? Those two things are going to decide more than anything else and also the quality of the book and all that but what it sells for and sometimes it can be like a good book and it is not like that is really great book but it is a really good book but the concept is just amazing and the timing is amazing so, it sells widely.

Jeff Rivera: Right. Now, I just have one more question I wanted to ask you. I mentioned in the introduction that you are also a bestselling author as well and that was something that was really at first I was kind of concerned when I heard that because I am like, "Oh, okay. Well, is she going to be so wrapped up in it?" but I really found it to be a real asset because you really know both sides of the coin. You know what the author is going through and you know you are really sympathetic to those things so that really made really, really…and also you are not so wrapped up in your writing career that you neglect your clients so I think that is a real advantage but the reason why I brought that up is that I wanted to know, you are a bestselling author and one of the things you did was a living room tour. Can you mention maybe a few things including living room tour that you did in order to sell so many books?

Jenoyne Adams: One thing I need to say it is so funny that sometimes I do not get the right time. I usually write on my long vacation. I had initially thought when I started agenting, I will write in the evening then in the weekend, that is funny to me to right about now but usually I write pretty fast so I am able to still get things done and hopefully with a good quality to where I am happy with the one of the things I did was a living room tour where literally I worked very heavily with Michael Datcher in a lot of these events where literally we would bring our book seller. That is the home of the friend and they would invite people. We would have wine and cheese or what have you and we just have a hood of a time and sell books.

I definitely think and I think you are amazing with this as well, it is kind of have to think out of the box. Yes, certain things have already been done but what you can think to do that is going to be different with what the last author did and then the other thing is there maybe something amazing that was for this author over here but it does not work for you at all.

So, you definitely have to invent yourself and then keep reinventing yourself. Chances are, with every book until you just totally catch.

Jeff Rivera: So, that is sort of with I mean I think what is really interesting in this living room tour is because you have sort of this friends of yours who already have a group of people and did you do a line up of living room tours or this is just a selection of them or..?

Jenoyne Adams: We did a good selection. We were not like doing it everyday and not even necessarily every week but we did a good selection of living room tours. We did them sometimes we did them in various states so it is kind of like know your friends, know your audience, talk, acts. It is like what the worst someone can say is, "No," and "Wow!" did that kill you? It did not. Well, I do not know, I am thinking what else to say about it…

Jeff Rivera: You obviously you are very successful then I think you made a good point of kind of thinking outside of the box and doing what will be best for your particular style of book.

Jenoyne Adams: Most definitely. Most definitely, think about what your book is what it is about; who your market is, what friends' qualities, etc. might be able to help you with that. It is kind of like they are I think one thing that authors do and I think many of us are gauzy of it, we think we get this great publisher with this great name and they are just going to save us and do everything for us.

They are going to do a lot but the biggest things they are going to do is have you a printed a book that you are able to sell and I would suggest that authors consider themselves in partnership with their publisher. It is not all in the publisher and nine times out of ten maybe a lot more on the author than they really anticipated initially.

So, you definitely have to rock and roll, move and shake to make a book even sell 20,000 copies, it is not a small fee. But if you are selling hundreds of thousands, you are doing something really pretty neat.

Jeff Rivera: Right. That brings us to one more question I thought I wanted to ask you, many of the listeners are considering or have done self publishing and that is something that I did. What are some of the dangers they have think about on self publishing and as far as what your concern with in agenting and what are some of the advantages of self publishing is?

Jenoyne Adams: Well, I can speak…I spoke to an author colleague about this just a couple of days ago. One of the really big… specially if people self published through kind of "vanity presses," one thing you really have to worry about is contract.

I have had a situation where a woman wrote a really lovely series that was right at my alley and she had a seven year contract or something really insane and amazing was her basically, I mean it was a little bit different in a vanity publisher, they paid her a little bit of money but really they had just garnered all of her rights so when I wanted to take it on to sell it, I mean, it was just an impossible situation where it just was not going to be worth the time, energy and effort because I have to buy all the contracts that way before or from one publisher to another publisher.

It is really complicated when that happened and there's a lot of people involved so when the situation occurred, I was completely gone shy and like, "No." So, one thing, be aware of vanity presses, I mean and I am sure there are some that are amazing. I have not looked into all of them, I am only aware of the few. Be aware of signing your life away as the old adage goes.

You do not want to do that especially when you are putting a lot of efforts behind that. If it is your life blood, start your own company. Do it yourself. Use your own money and hopefully, you are able to benefit from that by getting your book out, getting your name out.

If you are picked up by a major publisher later, wonderful if that is your goal. If you continue on with your company, wonderful if that is your goal. One thing I noticed about a lot of self published authors and I worked with Cherlyn Sherwin who was initially self published you, Tracy Mitchell Louise [ph].

It is kind of like a lot of authors interestingly enough use stormy still out of 5,000 copies, people get exhausted. They are like, "Okay. I package every single book. You know, I've been in charge of the distribution. I had to contact everybody," and it is like it is a whole lot of work and there are whole lot of small pieces down to collecting your money and so, a lot of people go mainstream because it is such a hard job.

That said, we know about them, Victoria Christopher Murray, various people who have been able to sell googobs of copies staying on their own and it put them and just a wonderful position with mainstream and when they went on to the other goals and aspirations because some of them did not stop there, Vickie Stringer, Carl Weber has done some amazing things.

So, it is kind of thing where you know yourself, you know your strength. If you do not have the strength, maybe there is someone around you who has that strength so I am definitely not against self publishing but one other concern I will say is that sometimes, if a book has sold certain copies, editors can get concerned that it is already met it threshold.

Meaning it is already done what it is going to do and it may not do much more so there is that kind of concerns as well but if I were to start between vanity publishing, maybe not getting an agent or not getting the mainstream offer I wanted, I could think of self publishing as a possible interim procedure or maybe it is something I might do longer. I think what gets people tired is that it is really hard work.

Jeff Rivera: But if they do self publishing is it important that they show the publisher… show the agent in your case that yes, I've sold "X" amount of copies but look there is a huge market out there that I haven't scratched the surface of and with your help, I think that we can sell a lot more books.

Jenoyne Adams: Most definitely, most definitely. You kind of… everything at a certain level is going to be about marketing yourself, marketing your book so it is like if you think of it in terms of product, you are part of your product. Your book is your product I mean I hesitate to say it that way but that is one basic bottom line but the other thing I want to add to balance it, is that most of the people who come into publishing are doing it out of some love and vision.

When I came into agenting from being an author, doing very well as an author but it was not like, "Oh, my gosh!" just destitute. It was like, "You know what? I really want to change the landscape of publishing." I really want to bring some books then that may not have otherwise been published and I feel that I definitely done that. So, that said, at whatever point a self publish person goes forward. When your self published market to help out yourself and when you go mainstream, if you go mainstream, do the same darn thing.

Jeff Rivera: Right. Well, thank you so much for your time, Jenoyne. We really, really appreciate you have a lot to say, you really know what you are doing obviously because you are so successful at and you have actually, I do not know if people realize this because you started agenting a few years ago, your agency did not expect you to sell anymore than like maybe one or two books and you sold like, excuse my French "but it is shit load more" so you obviously know what you are doing.

Jenoyne Adams: Well, I would say to them, I think they were definitely rooting for me and hopeful but it sometimes hard to sell your first book in your first year and I do not know how many more I sold in that but I definitely sold a few more than that so it is kind of like the thing were a "Whoo-Hoo!" and you just kind of keep it going. It is book by book, you are changing the landscape. You are hopefully getting some amazing books out there and hopefully like Forever My Lady is going to be a bestseller, you just keep working on those projects you love and they will go through.

Jeff Rivera: Thank you so much, Jenoyne, we appreciate it. Thank you for your time and once again, I am Jeff Rivera, author of the book Forever My Lady and we were talking to Jenoyne Adams the agent extraordinaire at Levine Greenberg Agency. If you want to get a hold of Jenoyne Adams, you can reach her through the website which is or you can reach, Jenoyne, what way? What was the best way to reach you?

Jenoyne Adams: The website has my email address and everything so if you want to look me up or if you want to look at one of my colleagues, just get to and we look forward to hearing from you.

Jeff Rivera: Sounds great. Thank you very much for joining us and thank you the listeners who are listening and if you have any other questions, feel free of course to contact me via my website which is Thank you very much.

Jenoyne Adams: Bye, Jeff. Get some sleep.

Jeff Rivera: Okay, bye.