Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Agents are, by nature, an optimistic yet cynical bunch. We believe we can sell projects despite economic free falls, yet we’ve been in the business long enough that we aren’t surprised when contracts are canceled because of economic conditions. Somehow we mentally balance it all.
I wake up optimistic about each day. I have a fresh 24 hours, and I’m sure I can accomplish herculean amounts of work. By the end of the day, the cynic in me tells the optimist, “See, I was right; you were silly to think you could make it to your to-do list, let alone mark off anything.”
Yes, some days I don’t even get beyond looking at what’s on the list. Phone calls can start as soon as I walk in the door, and emails can thrust an emergency into my day that causes me to rush right past that to-do list and into client triage.
This week, I’ll give you a peek into a day in the life of an agent. Fasten that seat belt, honey. Who knows what crashes await us…
Today begins calmly. I go through my morning rituals of twittering, checking that the daily blog entry posted okay, and reading comments that have come in. Then the phone rings and the to-do list is shoved to the side.
The client on the other end of the line wants to talk through an offer I had received on her behalf for eight books to be written over a five-year period. I view this as an economic stimulus package for the author and for the agency. The author has cold feet. That’s a big commitment, and she’s nervous about the level of the publisher’s enthusiasm for her work. (Did I mention that writers are an inherently insecure lot?)
The counselor in me kicks into gear. This author needs assurances that the deal is a good one; this is a gift in hard times; this is employment; she can do it; the size of the offer is a statement of belief in the author from the publisher. Plus I’ve negotiated decent advances, great royalties, and other protections for the author. An hour later, the author and I have worked through her fears and concerns, and she is ready to move forward. Who cares about a to-do list when you can assuage fears and provide a living for someone all in one phone call?
I hang up the phone and start in on my emails. Who know what lurks in the more than 200 messages that have accumulated overnight? We’ll find out in the next blog…