Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Interview with Bob Mecoy

I'd like to welcome our guest agent today, Bob Mecoy. It's a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Can you please give us a little information about your publishing background? How many clients do you have? How many agents? And how many of those agents represent romance? What other genres do you represent?

I'm an independent agent who started on the other side of the desk. I was an editor for mumble-mumble years. In fact, I was an editor at Crown, Simon & Schuster, Avon/Morrow, NAL/Dutton, and Dell/Delacorte which should give you an idea how many mumbles there are there. The agency is just me and my associate and we represent everything from romance to knitting, literature to literary nonfiction, history, science, mystery and even graphic novels.

What fees (if any) does your agency charge? What is your agency's commission rate?

We don't charge any fees, but we do expect a 15% commission on everything we sell.

What's your response time for queries, partials and full manuscripts?

Our response time varies from immediate to six weeks. Email queries we generally get back to immediately and requested manuscripts we try to get done in two to three weeks.

What new author have you recently signed?

A brilliant young graphic novelist named Dash Shaw whose most recent novel, BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON is being generally touted as the best of the year—and maybe the best in several years. We just sold his new novel, BODYWORLD, to Pantheon on a pre-empt.

What new project made you grab for that hidden piece of chocolate in your pencil drawer?

See the above—Dash did it.

What can an author do to grab your attention?

Show me something new.

What houses have you recently sold to?

Pantheon, Abrams/Amulet, DC Comics, Hill & Wang, William Morrow

What do you love/hate most about being an agent?

Hate: Free-floating anxiety—there's always something that should have been done yesterday.
Love: The fact that there's always something new and different to see or do.

What trends do you see for the future of publishing?

Content is king (or queen). What we're selling is what people want—the new question is how are they going to get it.

Any other chocolate nuggets you can give authors looking for representation?

Be smart. Know something about anyone you write to/talk to/consider important. What do they like? What have they done? Know something about every part of the process that you're seeking to become a part of—you don't need to know a lot, just enough to keep from making the obvious mistakes that keep you from getting your story across. Remember that everyone wants to say no—it makes their lives easier. The longer you keep the "no" at bay the better your chance of getting your message, your story, across.

Thanks, Bob!


Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Thanks for posting, Bob. I have to say, this man has taught me so much about the publishing industry during the six years I've been his client. I was a total ignoramous when I started. Now I'm only a partial ignoramous. :-)

Loretta said...

Loved Bob's humor at disguising his number of years in the business. I'm wondering if he represents Westerns? Not historical romance--Westerns.

Tina LaVon said...

Thank you so much for the advice, Bob. I loved your speech at the Desert Dreams Conference.