Monday, September 20, 2010
AGENT ERIC RUBEN ON CAREER PLANNING
Many thanks to RWANYC member Anne Elizabeth for “introducing” us to her agent. Eric blogged with us last month on August 16. Here he is again with more helpful advice.
I’m an attorney with experience and contacts in many aspects of the entertainment industry. Accordingly, I help my clients see that there are many ways of looking at their careers. Publishing is only one method in which a writer can utilize their talents. Film, television, theatre, radio and other mediums might be appropriate. Each client is a different person with different talents and life circumstances. Some clients have a clear goal and are looking for me to work with them to achieve that goal. Others know they just love to write and want to get paid to do so but know little about the publishing or entertainment business. Sometimes my role is that of educator, teaching clients what may be possible for them and what they need to do in order to reach that place.
Q: How do you know if an author has more than one book in her/him?
I don’t think there’s any way to know until you read the second book. Also, I have yet to meet an author who wants only to get their one book published and forget writing anything else. Ultimately, I need to read the writing. Unless I’m dealing with an author who has created a series, I take it on a book-by-book basis. Of course, many authors want to create a series because of the financial benefits of a multi-book contract and the opportunities to create a base of readership. A series can create valuable momentum. We’ve seen that happen numerous times. Those series can be leveraged into projects in other mediums. But there needs to be a great hook for the series and the writing has to be strong.
Q: How do you two set up goals? Plot career moves?
Again, because I’m an attorney with experience in many aspects of the entertainment industry, when I begin working with a client, we have in-depth discussions about their goals and what steps we need to walk to get them there. These goals do not need to be limited to the world of publishing. For some authors, they have yet to be published, so that may be their first goal. But it doesn’t need to be. For those who have been published, it may be getting them into television or film. There are so many variables to consider including the genre in which they’re writing and what’s happening in the market.
Q: What should writers be thinking of career-wise ? how do they start? should they do increments of 5 years?
Writers need to focus on the art and craft of writing. Read great writers, sit in the chair, write. I cannot do anything for any writer unless they have actual work for me to sell. I don’t believe in time-related increments. It’s more about accomplishing goals regardless of time. Also I urge clients to be flexible. Unforeseen opportunities can present themselves and you don’t want to ignore them because they’re not a part of your original plan.
Q: What questions do authors always ask?
Many writers who are just starting out want to know the right way to write a query letter or other technical questions. Sometimes they want to know what the next hot trend will be. For me, it’s all about good writing and common sense and courtesy. I would never refuse to read someone’s work if their email was imperfect. However, people who are rude or inappropriate are unlikely to have me read their work because even if their work is good, I’m not interested in working with rude people. Fortunately, I rarely run into them. My experience has been very pleasant.♥
Eric Ruben is an attorney with more than twenty years of experience. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Union College, and a J.D. from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law. He has been admitted to practice law in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and is a member of the American and New York Bar Associations. He currently represents authors in a variety of genres including romance, erotica, graphic novels, health and cooking, but is open to all genre of story. He is also well known to fans of New York Times best-selling author Suzanne Brockmann as the man who suggested she write a series using Navy SEALs as heroes, thus creating the new genre of romantic military suspense. Eric has had a long career as an award-winning performer and writer, appearing in major motion pictures, television commercials, national print advertising campaigns, and Off-Broadway theatre. This experience gives him a unique perspective that benefits his clients.
Eric W. Ruben, Esq.