Again, I’ve known Lois Winston for years via the Internet and have always been awed by her multifaceted career. She is an author, (with two names!) and a crafter and a literary agent. Wow! How does she do it?
Most recent release: Mosaic Mayhem
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes romance, romantic suspense, mystery, chick lit, women’s fiction, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois at www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. Follow everyone on Twitter and Pinterest!
Tell me about the Ashley Grayson Literary agency:
The Ashley Grayson Literary Agency was established in 1976 and handles both literary and commercial fiction, children’s fiction, and some non-fiction. Genres we specialize in include mystery, romance, science fiction, urban fantasy, young adult, and middle grade. Our client list includes bestselling authors John Barnes, Bruce Coville, Christopher Pike, and Carrie Vaughn, among others.
How did you go from author to Literary Agent?
After my first book sold in 2005, I was invited to join the agency. I had helped several friends polish their manuscripts, which led to them being offered publishing contracts. Ashley recognized my editing skills and thought both agency clients and potential clients would benefit from my input. I started out reading the slush pile, then began working with authors, and eventually took on some clients of my own.
That sounds like a ton of work! How do you juggle writing and agenting?
It helps not to sleep much! I actually juggle three careers. Along with writing and agenting, I’ve never stopped designing. It’s all about prioritizing and making every minute of every day count.
I have heard the term hybrid author bandied about a lot. What does it mean to you?
A hybrid author is one who runs on both gasoline and electric. <G> Seriously, though, there’s a simple definition. A hybrid author is someone who is both traditionally published and is also indie (self)-publishing. Some hybrid authors are only self-publishing their backlists. Others have begun to publish new works on their own.
In your opinion, what is the best way for authors to take advantage of the changing publishing landscape?
Be open to all the possibilities that are available to authors right now. I will add a caveat, though. Not everyone should self-publish or self-publish just yet. You first have to have written a publishable book. Too many people are self-publishing books that are definitely not ready for prime time. Learn your craft first. Fiction writing is a skill that needs to be mastered. You may have a long career in journalism or technical writing, but fiction is an entirely different animal and requires different skills. Also, just because Great-aunt Agnes thinks you’re the next Nora Roberts, unless she’s a retired fiction editor, her opinion is worthless.