Monday, April 6, 2009

Please welcome Lori Perkins...Agent, ePublisher, Author

Welcome, Lori. We're so pleased to have you with us today! Lots of great advice here today folks!

WTR: Where can we find you online?
LP: You can reach me at lperkinsagency@yahoo.com. I have 2 blogs, ravenousromance.blogspot.com, and agentinthemiddle.com

WTR: What made you choose your career as an agent?
LP: I was a journalist, and left to become an agent because I wanted to work with both nonfiction and fiction.

WTR: What exactly are the duties of an agent?
LP: We get your book in shape for submission (edits and rewriting), find you the best publisher, negotiate your contract, and oversee your writing career.

WTR: What is the most important thing for a writer to do to catch your eye?
LP: Know what I sell and tell me why I should represent you

WTR: What is the worst thing an author can do to turn you off?
LP: Tell me you have 15 novels waiting for me to read. I can only sell one at a time, so tell me about your best and most commercial work.

WTR: What genres are you looking for at this time?
LP: Right now, I am not taking on new clients (I have 80, but I have 3 junior agents who are all looking for new authors (and I read everything).
* Marsha Philitas (mplperkinsagency@gmail.com) is looking for erotica and erotic romance,
* Sandy Lu (sllperkinsagency@lperkinsagency.com) is looking for thrillers, mysteries, chick lit and literary fiction, and
* EK (EK@lperkinsagency.com) is looking for YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and graphic novels. I oversee everything submitted.

WTR: What are you currently reading?
LP: I read three books a week for Ravenousromance.com, so right now I am reading volume II of VITAL SIGNS, our erotic version of Grey’s Anatomy.

WTR: What is your favorite book?
LP: I have four: 1984, Dracula, Gone with the Wind and Anne Rice’s Beauty Book series.

WTR: I understand you are part owner of Ravenous Romance, tell us a little about the company.
LP: Ravenousromance.com is an ebook and audio publisher of erotic romance fiction. We publish a book a day and a short story a day.
It was started by myself and two of my publishing colleagues, Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn, because we realized there was a growing readership for erotic romance and that epublishing was the wave of the future.
As an agent, I had sold a number of the erotica short story writers into the growing erotic romance market in traditional publishing, but the publishers only wanted one book a year. My authors could write 10, and there were readers waiting for their next book. Epublishing delivers books to readers at the pace they want them.

WTR: How does the current economy affect your views on publishing?
LP: People are getting tired of paying $30 for a hardcover, $20 for a trade paperback that should be a $5 mass market, and close to $10 for a mass market. Books are pricing themselves out of the entertainment budget. When they cost the same as a DVD or CD or a game, it’s a hard choice. A book should be $5, which is what a ravenousromance.com title is.

WTR: Do you think ebooks will ever replace print?
LP: No, people will always want books, but for entertainment purposes and/or high school and college reading, yes, I think people would prefer to download a copy of The Scarlet Letter rather than carry it around with them. And for traveling, I can carry 30 books on my ereader in my pocketbook, which sure beats loading up my suitcase.

WTR: I understand you are also an author, where can we find your work?
LP: On my two blogs, and on Amazon. I’ve written (and published) since I was 17, so I always find time to write. At Ravenousromance, I edit a number of anthologies (I just finished editing SEX AND TAXES which will pub on April 15th). But if I’m inspired, I’ll just get up a half hour earlier to write.

WTR: What does a typical day for you look like?
LP: I work 16 hours a day M-F, and about 5 hours each day on the weekend. I’m up at 7, check email, take my son to school, work-out, work until 6, cook dinner, watch some TV with the family, and then begin editing manuscripts until about midnight.

WTR: What advice would you give for new authors?
LP: Join a professional organization so then you can be mentored by someone further along who knows your genre. Research the genre and niche you are going into. Finish that first draft. Edit. Rewrite.

WTR: What are your current projects?
LP: I’m editing two Ravenousromance.com anthologies – Threesomes and Sex Toys, so I’m looking for stories. Submitting a story to RR is a great way to break in. At least 10 of the authors we’ve published broke in with short stories.

WTR: What do you think is more important, characterization or plot?
LP: Plot. There are some best-selling novelists who use wooden characters, but the plot just drives the story. I cannot think of a single novel where the characters alone can support the story.

WTR: What is your biggest pet peeve with submissions?
LP: Books are that are too long or short. Publishable novels are 70,000 to 100,000 words (50,000 for RR).

WTR: What is the most important thing for an author to consider when searching for an agent?
LP: Whether or not the agent is looking for clients in the area you are writing in and whether or not they are taking on new clients.

WTR: What is the most important thing to consider in maintaining an agent/author relationship?
LP: That your agents has many clients, while you usually have one book. Your agent is very busy.

WTR: What is the biggest mistake a new author can make?
LP: Having unrealistic expectations.

WTR: What are your duties at Ravenous Romance?
LP: I am the editorial director. With Holly Schmidt, the Publisher, we decide what we’re going to buy at RR. I edit three books a week.

WTR: About how many books per month/year does Ravenous Romance publish/plan to publish?
LP: We publish about 250 novels and anthologies a year and the same amount of short stories. Ravenousromance.com is one of the best markets for short stories today. When you include the anthologies, we probably buy 400 short stories a year.


Lori will be available throughout the day to answer questions that you post, so be sure to leave a comment/question for her! She is also giving away two $5 gift certificates to two lucky winners! Just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. Good luck!

19 comments:

Mark Alders said...

Great interview, Sierra. It's fantastic to hear 'the other side' every now and again.

Lori seems like she's *gasp* human...and here I was thinking (as do a lot of other authors) that agents are green, googly-eyed aliens ;-)

*hugs*

Mark

Michael Bulger said...

What is the market like for characters in non-traditional roles? I have 1 book I've complerted in which the hero is a nurse, and the heroine is a surgeon. I have a couple of others I'm working on with similiar situations (specifically the heroine in a non-traditional role). Thanks, Michael Bulger

Mina Carter said...

Having reached the point where I'm considering looking for and agent not, this is excellent advice, thank you.

Ravenous Romance said...

I think traditional romance is definitely ready for some nontradional roles as main characters. And if it's womene;s ficton, it would definitely work. Personally, I would love to read it.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Nice to meet you, Lori. I'm excited to learn about your agency as I am seeking an agent for my paranormal mystery. Looks like Sandy Lu is who I should query at your place.

Alisha Paige said...

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with Wicked Thorn and Roses today, Lori!

I have a YA fantasy I'd love to query. I'll contact EK.

Do you have a main website we can go to?

Anonymous said...

Don't you think sales are the first thing a writer should look for when checking agents? Lots of ineffective agents are taking clients. That doesn't mean they're going to help your career.

Ravenous Romance said...

I've stopped listing sales. I just don't have the time to brag. so, no, I don't think sales mean much.

New agents will have few sales, but that doesn't mean anything other then that they are new.

I think it's more important that an agent be affilaited with an estabished agency.

elliott610 said...

As always I am a day late. Lori happens to be a very nice person and gave me some good advice back in 2004 when I was starting out. She's also correct about ebooks. Fictionwise is or has been purchased by one of the largest book chains in the country.
bill

Dana Fredsti said...

Another thing new authors should know is even with the best of agents and a polished work that the agent is totally behind, it can still take a LONG time to sell a first book. I've been hand-holding a friend who is going through this frustrating process.

Excellent interview, Sierra and Lori!

cmkempe said...

I’ve written (and published) since I was 17, so I always find time to write. At Ravenousromance, I edit a number of anthologies (I just finished editing SEX AND TAXES which will pub on April 15th). But if I’m inspired, I’ll just get up a half hour earlier to write.

Spot on as usual! That's the best advice in a nutshell. If you want to write, you make it a priority. That's it.

So if you've been saying you plan to write "when you have time," give it up and start knitting, because writing simply doesn't mean enough to you.

If you are writing, keep at it. It may take a long time to develop your career, but each reader along the way will be treasured.

kerribookwriter said...

Lori,

Great interview!

Here's my question...what is your best piece of advice about making my query successful? Those letters are literally the bane of my existence.

Any helpful hints?

Thanks so much!

Elizabeth Black said...

Hi, Lori. Great interview! I'm starting my agent search now myself. I'm almost finished an erotic novel that I would like to submit to Marsha Philitas or another agent. I'm also going to submit some short erotic stories to Ravenous very soon.

I heard that it's best to aim for an agent in New York City. Is that advice still sound? Also, about how long does it take an agent to get back to you? How long is the waiting process?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Lori!

Welcome to Wicked Thorns and Roses!

I went to the bookstore yesterday and browsed through the romance section. Nearly half of the books were historical and the other was paranormal. Only a small amount were contemporary romance. What do you think about this trend?

Wendy Ely

Kissa Starling said...

Oh wow, two of your favorite books are also mine. I own a limited edition of Gone With the Wind, which I've read three times cover to cover. And I own the Beauty series as well.

You know, if you think about it, those books are more alike than people think!

Kissa

debrahyde said...

After a hard day writing, I have to say how refreshing it is to come here and discover everyone's enthusiastic for writing.

I love the process myself, although lately my brain seems intent on producing polished text first time through. Mind you, this comes only after writing roughly five or six novels, half of which are now e-books (and two of them are with Ravenous Romance).

Sometimes, I feel like I'm writing at glacial pace when, in fact, I'm doing fine. But I decided after reading Lori's interview that whenever I think my brain is demanding too much of me, I'm going to remember how round-the-clock she is. If she can do it, then so can I!

Best wishes,
Debra Hyde

Tierney said...

Hi Lori,

Thank you Lori! What an awesome interview. Please come again soon.

Tierney

SinlessTouch said...

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Gracen Miller said...

Great interview! Thanks so much for the information. I enjoyed reading how the other side of the writing industry.

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