Dear Agents Everywhere Part 2

Thursday, May 28, 2009
Signing with an agent is a lot like getting married. You make the most educated decision you can, trust the other person, and jump. And I mean jump. (Fortunately, my agent has been great so far.)

So what does an author want/expect? I can't answer that for everyone, but I'm going to give a general list. (Unfortunately, agents expect you to ask these questions. IMO, we shouldn't have to ask. After all, they're the expert.)

1. Tell us what you'll do up front. Really. Vague isn't helping anyone. Are you planning to do an edit? If so, how extensive? What houses/editors do you plan to send to? How many do you plan to send to in the first round? Second (if there is one)? How long should I wait for a response from you? Would you like to work with me on more projects, or are you a one night stand type of man? Nothing sours a relationship faster than colliding expectations.

1.5. Answer our questions.

2. Tell us what you expect from us up front. As far as contact goes, how often is too often? How often do you want to see another MS? Do you prefer we call, email, stop by your house with a cattle prod and a horse whip?

2.5 Answer our questions in a timely manner.

3. Expect to "be there for us." Especially if your taking on a newbie. While you might be a seasoned pro, we aren't. Expect to teach us a few things about the industry. Don't like it? Tough. It's part of your job.

3.5 Answer our questions completely.

4. Give us some idea of what to expect. By the time we've put our MS in your hands we're feeling way overdue anyway. If we have realistic expectations up front, it won't be so bad.

4.5 Answer our questions. Really. If it's stupid, answer it anyway.

Notice something? Most of this boils down to communication. So treat it like a job interview. Tell us your part of the job and ours. Negotiate any stalemates.

And answer our questions!


  1. This should go for publishers too. Why are they so vague and noncommunicative? It is very frustrating for newbies.

  1. The thing that kills me is that it doesn't have to be that way. Things would go much smoother if it wasn't. So why does it persist?

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Ah, see, this is a female author's POV. As for me, I don't want to know. Just sell the damn thing and tell me when and where to show up. Otherwise, leave me alone to go off and write. That's all the communication I need. :)


  1. Fred:
    You're probably right about the male/female thing.
    You should write a book about it. :)

  1. Yes, communication is key in any good business relationship. It's part of the professional thing. I won't be able to work with an agent who doesn't communicate, no matter how desperate I am.

  1. At its worst, finding an agent is like an unholy variation on blind dating.

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