Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One Agent Enthusiastic, The Other Not So Much

STATUS: I have several interesting negotiations going on at the moment. Makes the day rather chaotic when I’m constantly having to switch gears from one deal to the other as editors call.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? CRAZY by Shawn Colvin

As we are often reminded daily when we see a sale in deal lunch for a title we’ve passed on (LOL), agents can have different opinions on the same work. A couple of weeks ago, we got a full manuscript submission that both Sara and I had decided to read.

Sara started before I did and sent me an excited email about how much she was loving it, etc. I started it, read a good 75 pages, and I just wasn’t wild about it (regardless of how well-written the work was).

It seriously just came down to our personal tastes.

Sara had no hesitation so she offered representation and took on a new client. If left up to me, I probably would have passed.

So we mean it when we say “this biz is really subjective.” It also means it’s a good thing that there are two of us taking on clients and that our tastes don’t always match up. It means more opportunity for everyone.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sure Enough—Killed Off In First 5 Pages

STATUS: My To Do list was ridiculous and I didn’t even finish one item on it. In good news, some other fun stuff happened.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? ONE AND ONLY by Teitur

I actually typed up yesterday’s blog entry while at the office. I headed home and then met with a friend for dinner. When back at home, I picked up my kindle so I could take 30 minutes to review some sample page submissions. (On a sidenote, this process is pretty typical for me. I only allocate about 30 minutes to review submissions. Now if something grabs me, then I’ll go beyond the allocated time frame. That’s how I know something is good if I’m “staying up” to finish reading the sample. I’ll ask for the full the next day).

But back to my story. I pick up my kindle and pop open the first submission—a young adult work. Sure enough, the main protagonist dies within the first five pages.

Considering I just literally blogged about that hours before, the irony was not lost on me. Y’all will be happy to know that I didn’t stop reading the submission. It was actually a rather cool premise so I did read the sample pages in its entirety (so about 30 pages). Ultimately I decided to pass on asking for a full. I didn’t connect to that main character and considering she is already dead, I felt like that was a rather crucial ingredient to make this novel work for me despite it’s rather unique setting and concept.

I figured blog readers wouldn’t mind hearing about this. As for queries that have yesterday’s outlined trends, we don’t dismiss them out of hand by any means. But it certainly has to go the extra distance in its uniqueness so that we’ll ask for sample pages.

So keep that in mind.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Latest Trends in Query Letters and Sample Pages

STATUS: Importance of proofreading. I sent out an email with a sentence that featured the same word three times. Sheesh. It's a Monday...

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? ONE FOR MY BABY by Jack Jones

I have to say it’s getting a little gruesome in our query letters and sample pages. We’ve received an inordinate amount of queries where the poor main character has to be killed off before the novel can begin.

(1) Main characters dying and then being sent back to earth to redeem themselves or finish one last task.

(2) Teens dying in car accidents and then narrating their story from the other side.

(3) Main characters that become a ghost and narrate the story from that perspective.

I’m sure writers are simply trying to find a cool hook or an interesting framework in which to tell their stories but in the last month, we’ve seen a hundred of these.

Some other trends?

(1) Greek mythology characters in a modern setting (Thank you Mr. Riordan.)

(2) In women’s fic: 30-40 something women facing a choice between (1) a happy but mundane family life and (2) a new romance/exotic adventure; We assume most of them choose their families in the end. Also, we’ve been seeing a lot of stories about women who have discovered their husbands cheating, getting divorced, and then moving to a small town where they start their own business—like a B&B. They always move to the small town as the key feature.

(3) Adult novels with bipolar characters (not sure if this is relevant since we haven't requested any of them, but it's amazing how many of these queries we’ve seen).

(4) Psychics (both YA and adult) who solve a mystery or save someone or other people’s lives

(5) vampires (still) - in romance and YA (fewer werewolves, but amazingly still those pesky vampires)

(6) people (adult and YA) who "see" things in dreams that are real and lead them on an adventure (all sorts of genres, but same concept).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Funnies!

STATUS: I’m off to speak at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists this afternoon. A first for me!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? GIRLS ON FILM by Duran Duran

How authors handle reviews…. From my author Kristina Riggle--who is particularly good at finding me great funnies to share.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Talk About the Money

STATUS: If I read my latest Publishers Weekly magazine at the same time as getting a pedicure, does that qualify as working? Hey, it’s summer time.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? I AND LOVE AND YOU by Avett Brothers

Last weekend I spoke at my local Lighthouse Writers Litfest. They wrapped up two weeks of celebrating literature and authors with an agent panel at the Tattered Cover in Lodo (which stands for Lower Downtown)—and to be honest, agents doesn’t sound overly celebratory to me but hey, they thought that was the way to do it. Didn’t you know that most of us are full of hot air?

One of the questions asked at the panel was how much of an advance can a writer expect for a debut novel.

Admit it. All of you just perked up your ears. Always, always, writers want to know about the dollars involved. The problem is that this question is really hard to answer. Depending on the novel, it literally could go for any amount of money.

When pressed, which happened of course, the audience wanted to know what was “typical.”

Once again, no such thing but if you hold a gun to my head, I’ll say this:

1. Most debut novels will have advances of under 25k per book. I’d say that’s typical.

2. What a debut novel will get for an advance will depend on genre.
a. Romance novels—5-15k per book
b. YA or MG—10-30k
c. Mysteries & thrillers—Uh, no idea. Don’t rep them. Janet Reid, my friend, can you chime in here? I think you are the Queen of repping this genre.
d. Literary fiction—10-30k
e. Women’s fic—10-30k (are you noticing a pattern here?)
f. SF&F—5-25k

Okay, fine. I told you the money—as long as you realize this list is meaningless, we’re fine.

Have I sold a debut romance author for six figures? Yes. Debut literary author for six figures? Yes. SF&F debut author for 6? Not yet (but I’ve gotten really close…).

Etc. It all depends on how many editors want your particularly debut novel. For my part, I often feel the most satisfaction for selling a debut that took forever to place (and the author was on the verge of giving up hope) and the novel I sold for peanuts that then exploded and just sold and sold.

Now that’s the kind of money I like to talk about.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Possible Peril Of A Multi-book Deal

STATUS: Heading out into a glorious day.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? THE OTHERSIDE by Breaks Co-op

I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about this sometime before but it could have been years since my last entry on it for all I know. One of the perils of a multi-book contract is a little detail called joint accounting or cross-collateralizing the titles.

For the record, our agency won’t do joint accounting. All the publishers know that and if they want to insist on it, then we can only talk about selling one book and any multi-book contract is nixed. I see absolutely zero benefit in joint accounting for the author. However, some well-respected publishers do like to push for it—especially for debut authors. Tor being one example. Some houses never practice joint accounting. Harlequin being one example

First off, what is it? Basically, it means that the multiple titles sold are linked in the accounting. Let’s say an author does a 2-book deal. It’s not a series so each title stands on its own. Let’s say the advance was $30,000 (15k per title). In joint accounting, the author would not see any monies beyond the advance until both titles earned out the 15k because of the linked accounting (even if book one has already earned out).

With no joint accounting, each title has its own separate accounting so once the 15k earns out for book one, the author doesn’t have to wait for the other title to earn out to earn royalties on that first title. Or vice versa. Each title is separately accounted.

That’s it in a nutshell. If you are only selling one book, this is never an issue. It’s only a point of discussion if an editor is offering for several books.

As a matter of practice, when an editor calls to offer for 2 books (or 3 or whatever), I always begin the convo with “our agency will not do joint accounting. Given that, are we talking about one book or more than one?” This establishes it before anything else so it’s not even a factor as the negotiation unfolds.

Once again, I can only speak for myself. Other agents might differ on their opinion of this. You might be wondering why any author would agree to it.

Well, if you are getting 7-figure advance for two books and the publisher insists on joint? Do you care? Interesting question, no?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The One-Book Deal

STATUS: A nice and productive day. I think I want summer hours though. Leave by 1. Play in the sunshine. I know Chutney is all for it.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? DO YOU SLEEP by Lisa Loeb

Today let’s tackle the single book contract. What are the advantages and disadvantages to doing just a one-book deal? Considering what we discussed yesterday, it seems ludicrous to sell just one book!

Well, not really. Most one-book deals are for literary fiction and occasionally for what we would call the “big” commercial literary fiction. Commercial literary fiction is really just literary fiction that has a commercial hook or slant. For example, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is a good example of commercial literary. Or TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. Or HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET.

Does this make sense?

And there are lots of reasons to do a one-book deal.

1. Literary fiction takes longer to write. Sometimes it’s not feasible to write a second book on a prescribed deadline so authors will contract one book at a time. Wally Lamb (SHE COMES UNDONE) is kind of known for never selling a book until it’s written and then he sells that one book only.

2. A one-book contract can alleviate the pressure on the author. The sophomore effort can be a tricky thing. I know from experience that every author hits a stumbling block with that second novel and it really doesn’t matter the genre you write in.

3. Literary fiction—especially those that lean commercial—often get undersold initially and then break out big later. If there is a sense that that could happen, why lock the author in for a certain amount of money?

4. The author might not have a second novel to propose and he/she just doesn’t want to throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks. And the author might take 10 years to write next literary novel. It happens.

5. If the author’s editor leaves and there is just a one-book contract, it can make it cleaner for the author to follow his/her editor to a new house. One’s editor tends to be really important in literary fiction. There is a certain trust that can be very beneficial to the literary writer.

Now having mentioned these things, you can kind of see the flipside to the argument.

1. A two-book contract might be preferred if there is a lot of hype and a book sells for a lot of money and then doesn’t perform. How nice would it be to have a commitment to two books already lined up if that’s the case? A chance of redemption or getting those numbers back up.

2. A Publisher may delay acquisition of a future book until they have sales figures for the first book. Since books easily take 18 months to publish, it’s a long time to wait to get a new contract—especially if the author is trying to earn a living here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

One Book or Two? Maybe Three?

STATUS: I was “this close” to getting to everything on my TO DO list today.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? MY WAY by Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson

Last year, a fellow agent friend and I gave a workshop on doing a single-book contract versus a multi-book contract. I was a little surprised at how many writers showed up for it. Hey, maybe these would make a few good blog entries.

First Q: When is doing a single-book contract ideal and when is a multi-book contract best?

Answering this question takes into consideration a lot of different factors. Let’s start with the obvious. If you write genre fiction, it’s almost always to an author’s advantage to do a multi-book contract.

For example, if you write fantasy and the first book being sold is the first in an envisioned trilogy, well, it would be better to have the publisher commit to three books. That way the entire series has a shot of being published. It often takes several books for a series to pick up momentum. What’s important is the publisher commitment—even if in the end a series does well and it was “undersold” initially in terms of the advance.

More common case is that a series has to build over time with the subsequent books and then the books start to earn out. Besides, who wants to sell book 1 in a trilogy only to be left in a lurch if the publisher doesn’t pick up the other books? It’s not easy (read "nearly impossible) to sell books 2 & 3 to another house. If sales are sluggish, it’s really unlikely another house will pick it up.

For another genre such as romance, careers build best if an author can release books within 6 to 8 months from each other. That means really tight schedules/deadlines for the author to make that work so doing multi-book contracts make sense. It’s also best to do multi if the stories are “linked” (as in they stand alone but have characters that might have been introduced in first novel).

Is there an advantage or disadvantage for doing 2 books vs. 3 or 4? Sure. Lots of agents differ on their opinion of this so I can only speak for myself. In general for me, the number of books sold at one time depends on the author (how fast he/she can write), on the project (how many books envisioned) and whether I think the author was undervalued. What I mean by that is if the offer was initially too low for a 3 or 4 book deal or if I thought the monies should have been higher in the auction and I don’t want to lock the author in for too many books at the lower rate. Obviously, reverse is true. If the monies are good, then why not lock in for more books as the commitment is strong from the publisher.

As you can see, lots of factors at play. How does an agent know? We’ve been doing this long enough that we pretty much use our gut sense of what feels right as the offer unfolds. I’ve yet to be wrong.

I’ll talk about single-book contract tomorrow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Funnies

STATUS: Finishing up royalty statement reviews today, concluding a negotiation for a deal, and doing some client reading. Most editors have half-day Fridays during the summer so by 1 pm Eastern time, things quiet down.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? WAKA WAKA (ESTOS ES AFRICA) by Shakira f. and Freshly Ground

Today’s entry comes with a HUGE beverage alert. I’m serious here. Put down the coffee. These two are courtesy of my 15-year old niece. Brilliant!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not The Flashy Stuff

STATUS: I think we managed to conquer my home tech issues.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? 6 O’CLOCK NEWS by Kathleen Edwards

So much of what an agent does on a daily basis is rather subtle and not written into the job description per se. For example, today I changed an editor’s mind. She was only going to offer for one book and I talked her into going back to her boss and getting permission to offer for two.

Now this didn’t happen just because I asked her to. This happened for a couple of reasons: 1) I gave her good ammunition to use in persuading her boss to reconsider and give the okay and 2) because we’ve had a business relationship for years and the editor trusts that I’m not just blowing hot air when I say that I will make XYZ happen.

In all the discussions about agents and what we do, I’ve never heard this particular aspect spotlighted--that part of our value is in our established relationships with editors—and not just in terms of getting submissions read or larger advances offered for projects etc. because that I do hear a lot of times.

Today was not the flashy stuff but equally as important. And every agent I know does this kind of stuff regularly.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wiley (cont.) And Tidbits

STATUS: Is it Wednesday already?

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? LONDON CALLING by Clash

Okay, my wifi at home has gone kaput. Sometimes I don’t get a chance to blog while still at the office so then I’ll pop online via the laptop at home. Kind of difficult when it’s not working. Hopefully that will get taken care of tomorrow.

So many little tidbits to share. Most of them funny and it’s not even Friday yet.

Authors Guild and Wiley continue… Lots of people didn’t agree with the AG stance on Google but I’m still quite glad they are out there being a watch dog for authors.

In the best headline I’ve seen recently:
Cops bust woman, 74, for pouring mayo in book drop

All I can say is there must not be a lot going on in Boise, Idaho. Still, I’m dying to know the motive for this condiment crime spree. (Never imagined those three words would appear in the same sentence together.)

And best for last. You know publishing has hit mainstream when The Onion jumps in the mix. I just laughed and laughed. (It’s TWILIGHT but with Minotaurs!).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wiley Responds and Friday Funnies

STATUS: Where has the morning gone? Eek.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? HEY GOOD LOOKIN’ by Hank Williams

Today Wiley issued a press release asserting the Authors Guild is in error.

Any Bloomberg authors want to weigh in anonymously and comment, feel free.

And to kick off the weekend, the Bronte Sisters Power Dolls (courtesy of my client Laurence)! Bless youtube. Where would I be without them? Enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Publishers Behaving Badly

STATUS: All my post-BEA stuff is done! Yes.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? FOREVER YOUNG by Alphaville

After my blog tirade two years ago when Simon & Schuster didn’t play nice in the sandbox (by deleting the crucial last four lines of their Out of Print clause without telling anyone), you know how strongly I feel about publishers behaving badly.

Sounds like John Wiley & Sons might be doing similar if the Authors Guild strong warning is anything to judge by.

I do not have any authors impacted by the sale of Bloomberg Press to Wiley so I have not seen this letter. And for the record, I have no personal take or stake on the situation but for general purposes, I like to pass on warnings when they occur so they reach as many readers as possible.

If you’re impacted by this, you might want to touch base with the folks at the AG.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

That Author Ecopy Comes With A Hefty Price Tag

STATUS: Man, I powered through my To Do list today. Gosh I love when that happens.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? FREE FALLIN’ by John Mayer

One of things that we always do is make sure the author and our agency have a final copy of the finished novel in electronic form. For the author, it’s just nice to have an electronic copy of the book. I mean, we get the other editions. Why not this one? For the agency, we prefer to use the electronic copy to sell subsidiary rights when we hold those rights.

Usually, this is no big deal and the acquiring editor sends me the final page proof in PDF.

Well, just recently I made my standard request and I received a rather interesting email from the editor in return. (And let me just say right here I feel very sorry for the editor as I know she was simply citing some new company policy…) But basically the editor said that if we wanted an electronic copy in PDF, we’d have to pay a production copy fee of $250.00.

Uh… I rather stared at the email. Is the editor really suggesting that the author has to pay $250.00 for a copy of her already published book in electronic form? No, she can’t be serious.

Needless to say, I voiced my rather incredulous response in a return email.

I’m positive that the company implemented this fee policy for a good reason but in this instance, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Best. Story. Ever. (Part II)

STATUS: It’s been a little quiet. Fewer emails than normal. Let’s me get stuff done!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? DREAMGIRL by Dave Matthews Band

Ah, I just so love torturing my blog readers. Just to be nice, I’m doing my blog entry early today.

So as I mentioned yesterday, the one thing everyone else wants to know is why did the editor change her mind and decide to offer for a book she had initially passed on?

Before I answer that question, here’s another fun facet. A day or two after I got that call from the editor who originally passed but now was offering for the book, this same work received another offer from an editor at another house.

All this after the project had been on submission for a little while. It’s like one offer knocked the universe open for the other.

So not only did we have one offer, we had two. There is no better place for an author to be. So I had the author do phone conferences with each interested editor. Get their vision for launching the title. For us, it just wasn’t about the advance. We wanted to be with the editor who best “got” the book—especially given the unique circumstances of one of the offers. Ultimately, the author did go with the editor who originally had passed.

So why did that editor change her mind?

She couldn’t stop thinking about the project and decided she had been wrong to pass on it. She figured out how to do the book and once that answer was clear to her, she called me to offer for three books—not just one.

The author and I were super pleased. After all, when we were working on the novel, we totally had this one editor in mind for it. We were actually flummoxed when she passed as we thought it was tailor-made for her.

So, I love an editor who can say, “hey, I was wrong. Is the book still available and if so, I’m going to offer right now for it. On top of that, I’m going to show you some serious commitment by offering for more than one book.”

And I’m just saying I’m around today if any other editors want to call me about past submissions they passed on…

Monday, June 07, 2010

Best. Story. Ever.

STATUS: Just another manic Monday. Can’t believe it’s 3 pm already.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? BEMSHA SWING by Roy Haynes

Recently, I had something that has never happened to me before as an agent.

I had an editor ring up, out of the blue, to offer on a book that she had passed on 2 months previously. And she didn’t just offer for one book.

If the term “gaping fish” comes to mind, you won’t be far off in terms of how I looked when the call came in. I was so surprised that I think I even asked: “You’re calling to offer?” As if she were pulling my leg.

All my agent friends want to know how I made this happen.

I replied: “Uh, I answered the phone when it rang.”

And of course, the one thing everyone else wants to know is this: Why did the editor change her mind?

Tune in tomorrow…

Friday, June 04, 2010

BEA Adult Editor Buzz Panel

STATUS: The most frustrating morning with a foreign rights deal!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? RUBY by Ray Charles

Since we kicked off the week with the YA Buzz panel, it’s only fair to close it out by talking about the adult title buzz panel. I have to say the crowd seemed to have responded much more enthusiastically to the upcoming titles then they did for the YA panel.

For the record, I wasn’t able to stay for the whole panel so I missed out on the last two titles: JULIET (shout out to my agent friend Dan Lazar whose book this is) and THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES (great title!). I can’t really give you insight to the reactions when the editors presented them.

For my part, I was very impressed with all the presentations. Here are the titles to get you started.

ROOM by Emma Donoghue
WEST OF HERE by Jonathan Evison
JULIET by Anne Fortier
BAD SCIENCE by Ben Goldacre

For my take, the crowd really reacted to ROOM. It’s got a Lovely Bones element and is potentially the kind of story that you might say “ick, I don’t want to read that” but then you get caught and can’t put it down. I bet you’ll hear people talking about it this fall. I did snag a galley of this one. Love the cover.

I enjoyed the presentation for BAD SCIENCE as I like narrative nonfiction that illuminates the world we live in. In this case, the work tackles scientific misinformation. My book club loves this kind of stuff so my guess is that we’ll probably read it at some point.

BRUNO is exactly the kind of literary fiction that I can’t stand but I’m usually alone in this sentiment and the novel will probably be wildly popular. Just not my cup of tea.

I’ve heard amazing things about JULIET but alas, wasn’t there to hear the reaction. Sara snagged a galley so we’ll be reading.

WEST OF HERE is an Algonquin book (they did Water For Elephants) and the editor is the same, Chuck Adams. I have a lot of respect for his taste so even though the book didn’t stand out for me per se, I’ll willing to bet on it because of reputation of Chuck and the publishing house.

If any blog reader was there, feel free to chime in on the comments section.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

BEA Pics

STATUS: Working on the To Do list.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? BEAUTY IN THE WORLD by Macy Gray

The life of an agent is indeed a hard one—as you can tell from the following BEA pic. I really took one for the team in doing that shot with Simone and Alex at her signing for RULES OF ATTRACTION. *grin* Alexander F. Rodriquez starred as Simone's character of Alex in the RULES OF ATTRACTION trailer.

Here are two shots of Alex and Simone signing in the Walker Booth:

Here's a shot of Simone posing with a Fan in the Flux booth during a signing for RETURN TO PARADISE:

In that same Flux booth is a great poster of REVAMPED, an upcoming release from NLA client Lucienne Diver:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

BEA YA Editor Buzz Panel

STATUS: Post-BEA madness. Seriously, I have a TO DO list 3 pages long.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? DANCING QUEEN by Luke Bloom

I’m back! I had the worst internet connection at my hotel. It made trying to be online beyond frustrating. I ended up only responding to emails via my iPhone and forget about blogging! Yesterday was a bit of a crunch as well so sorry about that.

So let me start filling you folks on BEA tidbits. Most of it is relevant post-show so not to worry. I think the YA editor buzz panel tends to be a nice barometer of what editors will think is “hot” in the fall. In a sense, the editors may be highlighting trends that they think will continue to be strong. Whether that’s true or not I really can’t say. I have followed the “big” books highlighted in past buzz panels and some have gone on to be huge and others have caused just a faint ripple.

So, here are the titles from the panel. Links to them online if you want to read short plot synops:

PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow—Fantasy
INFINITE DAYS by Rebecca Maizel—Vampire/Paranormal
MATCHED by Ally Condie—Dystopian
FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan—Dragon/Paranormal
THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger—Contemporary YA

I could be totally wrong but my general sense of the crowd’s reaction was one of ennui. I also asked a bunch of other people I knew there and they agreed with my assessment so it wasn’t just my imagination. The crowd was listless and didn’t perk up until THE DUFF was mentioned (which by the way, my latest NYT bestselling author Simone Elkeles read for a blurb and loved it so maybe put it on your Wish list).

I think booksellers and librarians are kind of tired of paranormal novels (TWILIGHT but with….). Now having said that, I don’t think teens are and I do think these books are worth watching and may hit solidly this fall. If you were also there at the panel, feel free to chime in on your own assessment of the crowd’s reaction.

I have not read any of the above except for MATCHED as we saw that one on submit, offered rep, and alas were one of 7 agents who offered for it. Needless to say, didn’t land with us. Sold for big money so we were rather sad but hey, went to a great agent that I like so at least we were in the game.

So now y’all can watch the releases this fall and see how they play out. Is the paranormal trend over or still going strong? The next couple of months will be telling for that. I’ve noticed some strong non-paranormal contenders hitting the NYT list as of late. That could be a sign as well.