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Behind the Spine
Industry insights in Texas books and publishing

Sarah Negovetich knows you don't know how to pronounce her name and she's okay with that.


Her first love is Young Adult novels, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty; it's accurate if not exactly motivational. We should come up with a better cliché.


Sarah divides her time between writing YA books that her husband won’t read and working with amazing authors as an agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her life’s goal is to be only a mildly embarrassing mom when her kids hit their teens.

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Part 1: I am a self-publishing literary agent


I have a confession.


My name is Sarah Negovetich, and I am a self-publishing literary agent.


I don’t mean I represent authors who self-publish (though several of my clients have self-published successfully). I mean I am a literary agent who made the decision to self-publish my own novel.


When most authors hear this, they naturally have a lot of question. The biggest one is always, why does someone who is part of traditional publishing decide to self-publish their own work?


The answer for me is simple, and it should be the same answer anyone gives who decides to go indie: It was the right decision for me and my book.


But I’m guessing you’d like a few more details than that, so pull up a chair and let’s talk.


It might surprise some of you to know that I have an agent and that self-publishing was not my first choice. It might also surprise you to know that it wasn’t my last resort, either.


Being an agent means that I know just a tad more about how the publishing business works than your average person. Armed with that extra knowledge, I knew to be honest with myself about what I needed from a publisher and what I could give up. I also had to be honest with what I could do on my own and what would require a publisher to accomplish.


I highly recommend to every author approaching publication, regardless of your situation: sit down and make the same list. Publishing is a business, and while getting an offer can be an emotional high, your decisions need to be based on more than warm, fuzzy feelings.


My agent was actually able to find a publisher for my YA dystopian novel, Rite of Rejection. To be honest, I was shocked. Not that I didn’t believe in my work. But I’m an agent and I know what the market is like. I know that even though readers are still clamoring for dystopian, publishing houses are looking to diversify their lists and editors just aren’t willing and able to take any more of them.


The publisher was a good mid-sized house that has produced some great books. They do very well with ebooks, but their distribution for print is not as fantastic. Print may not be a big deal for some genres, but in YA it’s still a significant part of the market.


Print is also one of the last great barriers for indie publishers. I knew that if I wanted to see my books on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, I needed fantastic distribution. This wasn’t it.


So I had to decide. Did I take a chance with this publisher in the hopes that my book could get picked up by the big buyers? Or, did I give up on print distribution, and risk it on my own for a bigger share of the profits?

*Spoiler Alert* I decided to go Indie.


I’m not going to lie. It was hard to walk away from a publishing deal. Even as the indie direction has become more acceptable, there is still a slight stigma out there that self-publishing is for authors who couldn’t hack it. Every time someone asked who my publisher is, I felt the need to explain that I walked away from a deal in order to self-publish. Maybe I felt this more because of my work in the publishing industry.


Even so, I have never regretted my decision. And not because I’m raking in the dough (though I’m doing pretty well). I’ve been able to avoid regret because I made my decision based on what I needed as an author.


So what does that mean for future books? Who knows. I’d still love to find a home at one of the Big 5 for some project down the road. I know how hard it is to self-publish and I’m willing to give up some of my profits for someone to take over that aspect. But I know that I can do it myself, which means I don’t have to take just any offer put on the table. I can hold out for what I really want and need.


And that’s the beauty of the current state of publishing. There is an option out there for every author. It’s all about deciding what you need and going after it.


* * *


>> Read Part 2:

I am a mythical unicorn


Sarah Negovetich's Rite of Rejection


Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca can’t wait for her Acceptance. A fancy ball, eligible bachelors, and her debut as an official member of society. Instead, the Machine rejects Rebecca.












Labeled as a future criminal, she’s shipped off to a life sentence in a lawless penal colony.

A life behind barbed wire fences with the world’s most dangerous people terrifies Rebecca. She reluctantly joins a band of misfit teens in a risky escape plan, complete with an accidental fiancé she’s almost certain she can learn to love.


But freedom comes with a price. To escape a doomed future and prove her innocence, Rebecca must embrace the criminal within.


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