My client Kirsten Krauth’s debut novel just_a_girl was published this week in Australia. I love this cover, don’t you?*
Called “a Puberty Blues for the digital age” and “a Lolita with a webcam”, just_a_girl tells Layla’s story:
Layla is only 14. She cruises online. She catches trains to meet strangers. Her mother, Margot, never suspects. Even when Layla brings a man into their home. Margot’s caught in her own web: an evangelical church and a charismatic pastor. Meanwhile, downtown, a man opens a suitcase and tenderly places his young lover inside.
Over at her Wild Colonial Girl blog, Kirsten has been posting about what it feels like to bring her novel into the world. As in her fiction, Kirsten is nothing if not direct. In her post about what she learned writing her first novel, she says:
I know everyone talks about having an agent, but my personal experience was that it was completely demoralising dealing with agents direct, and almost put me off trying. The publishers and editors were respectful and kind. The agents were aloof, conservative, and often just plain rude (this is when they bothered to reply to my emails). They talked about the market a lot (and I’m skeptical about this kinda talk). I know agents are busy, but so is everyone else. One agent asked me to pay so he could get the manuscript sent to another reader. Come on! In the end, I got a publishing deal, and then sought an agent (note: she was nothing like the above). Not ideal but it worked in a roundabout way.
Boy was I relieved to read to the end of that paragraph. Kirsten and I connected on Twitter after she had already received an offer from her publisher, UWA Press, but before she’d signed anything. So what did I do for her as an agent?
- provided some editorial development advice on the existing manuscript
- read and advised on the publishing agreement (contract), including which rights to hold on to
- helped her consider and respond to the additional editorial feedback from UWA Press’s in-house editor prior to the book going into production
- discussed the options for the book’s cover design
- undertook to seek a publishing deal (or deals) for her in other territories around the world.
Congratulations Kirsten! Here’s her new post with all the details of launches (Sydney: Gleebooks 18 June 6.30pm; her hometown Castlemaine: 13 July) and the various ways in which to find, read, and buy just_a_girl.
*Here’s Kirsten with her brand new book. She admits she likes the cover much more now than she did when it was first presented as one of maybe four or five design ideas.