Author Spotlight with Taran Matharu

Start from the beginning

It was a very productive chat, but the thing he was most confused by was the fact that I hadn't approached any UK agents. I explained that, originally, I was just looking for advice and I had no idea who the best UK agents were. In the USA there were various websites ranking the best in the industry, so I knew the current offers I had were from good, reputable agencies.

The editor wrote down a list of the three hottest UK agents in my genre. I would eventually receive offers of representation from all of them.

Within a week or two, I had six offers on the table, all from the best agencies in the world. Three were from the UK and three were from the US. I had my next big decision to make.

Choosing an Agent

At this point, I was still uploading a chapter every two weeks to Wattpad and the book still wasn't finished, but I needed to buy myself some time. I wanted to sign with an agent before the entire book had been uploaded online, so I stopped uploading while this was all happening. I had numerous phone calls with the American agents and meetings with all the UK agents.

My first meeting was with Juliet Mushens, an agent who offered representation within three hours. She had read the manuscript immediately and sent me a long email telling me what she loved about it and listing all the books she thought had influenced it, getting most of them right. I met with her and we immediately clicked. I was especially impressed by the great deals she had made for her stable of authors, the way her writers supported each other and met each other regularly and her deep understanding of the book itself. Like me, Juliet was young and driven, not to mention the fact that she had achieved a great deal in just three years of being an agent. I knew that I was just beginning my career and wanted to find someone who would be with me all the way.

All of the other agents had many positive qualities and it was very difficult to decide, especially as they were all highly skilled salespeople and negotiators. It would turn out to be one of the most difficult decisions of my life. The day I had to decide came far too quickly. The night before I changed my mind a dozen times, but the final decision before I fell asleep was Juliet.

The morning after, I emailed everyone to let them know my decision: Juliet was the right agent for me, come what may.

Submitting to Publishers

The weeks that followed were quite anticlimactic. I uploaded two more chapters and told my fans about signing with an agent. They were very happy for me, although many confused this with being published. Later, Juliet sent me a few tweaks for the book, which helped a great deal. We also decided the book would be sold in a three-book deal, as I envisioned Summoner as a trilogy.

Then, I got a phone call from Juliet. We had received a pre-emptive offer from a UK publisher. The figure was far higher than anything I had ever thought possible. Even stranger, Juliet had already decided we should turn it down, as they wanted World rights and she didn't think it was a good enough offer.

I was ecstatic. I now knew that I could support myself as a full time author. At the same time, they had told us that the deal was off the table if we turned it down. Juliet was the expert and I trusted her implicitly. We said no.

A few days later Juliet called me again. We had received another pre-emptive offer, this time from Brazil. It was almost as high as the earlier offer and this was just one territory! Since I am half Brazilian myself, it was especially gratifying, as my extended family would be able to read it in their native language. I also knew that the deal would signal to other publishers that my trilogy was worth considering.

Soon after, my trilogy went to auction in the UK. It was extremely tense, with me checking my email and phone every few minutes. Publishers were bidding against each other without knowing how much their opponents had offered. We reserved the right to go with either publisher, regardless of whose offer was higher. When it was down to two publishers, Juliet thought it best to take me to their offices so we could meet them before their final offers were sent.

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