Friday, April 4, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Working with Agents & Editors by Kym Brunner

Many (but granted, not all) writers would like to land a book deal with a fabulous editor of one of the well-known publishing houses so their book can get the attention it deserves and can be delivered into the hands of more readers. Traditionally, the only way that’s going to happen is with a literary agent (yes, there are always exceptions). But what’s it like to work with an agent? An editor?

For me, it's a lot like a day spent fishing––it can be exhausting, emotional, and exhilarating.
EXHAUSTING:  Trying to land an agent is a lot like trying to land a big fish. It takes patience and persistence, as well as being willing to experiment with the perfect bait to make them bite your hook. Same goes for waiting for an editor to read your book and make a decision. Of course it’s going to take a long time. After all, editors are some of the busiest people on earth. Many houses need approval from several departments before acquiring your book.

EMOTIONAL:  Getting rejections from agents and editors, as well as receiving some of those promising “nibbles” at the end of your line is a stormy sea of ups and downs. Sad one week, excited the next, disappointed in the end. One day you're sure your work is being used as a placemat on some editor's desk, and the next, you're imagining an editor poring over your book on the subway ride home, accidentally missing their stop. (For the record, I prefer the second mind movie).
EXHILARATING:  The first time an agent asks for your full, you leap around your living room yelling, “Yes!” Then when that same agent sends an email asking for your phone number so you could "discuss" your book, you know things might be even more promising. And finally, when said agent says, “I read your book and it hooked me so much, I’d like to offer to represent you,” you squeal with happiness. (After you hang up of course) And trust me when I say that, when I found out  that Jacquelyn Mitchard at Merit Press offered to acquire WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE, I cried. Literally. Streams of happy tears and mascara running down my face (like the girl on my cover). At work. In front of hundreds of my students. What a day that was.

Who would have known that four months after that, I got another offer from an editor–-this time at Omnific Press––for my YA humorous romance, ONE SMART COOKIE? Was it still as exhilarating? You bet! Truth be told, I've convinced myself that, before my books hit the stores this summer, someone from one of these publishers is going to call me up and say, “Whoops, sorry! We thought you were someone else.” (You see what I mean about emotional?)

Overall, my relationships with agents, various editors, and publishing team have been almost all positive. Nearly everyone in the children's book business is supportive, informative, and hard-working. In return, I do my best to be polite, friendly, and meet my deadlines. There’s no better feeling than to know that these professionals have your back and all have the same purpose as I do:  TO SELL A KICKASS BOOK THAT READERS LOVE––one they bring to the taxidermist so they can mount on their wall. 

Now all that's left to do is wait for the reviews and pray that readers think my books are KEEPERS. I hope you get a chance to reel one of mine in sometime soon. Until then, hopefully I can see you around at the Facebook or Twitter ponds.

Kym Brunner

WANTED:  DEAD OR IN LOVE, Merit Press / June, 2014 (available for pre-order at Amazon / Barnes & Noble)

ONE SMART COOKIE, Omnific Publishing / Summer 2014


Kym Brunner's method of creating a manuscript: write, procrastinate, sleep, repeat. She's addicted to Tazo chai tea, going to the movies, and reality TV. When she's not reading or writing, Kym teaches 7th grade full time. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family and two trusty writing companions, a pair of Shih Tzus named Sophie and Kahlua. She's repped by Eric Myers of The Spieler Agency.


  1. Great analogies, Kym. Can't wait to read both of your books this summer!

  2. Thanks, Katie! Right back at ya! ;)

  3. It is an emotional roller coaster. Great post! And I'm excited to read your books! YAY you!

    1. Thanks, same for yours! :) I think they need to sell some Dramamine (I just noticed it has the word "drama" in it) for Authors. :)

  4. You captured the three E's perfectly. Can't wait to read your books. =)