Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Remember Alfred E. Neumann, anyone? His favorite line was, “What? Me worry?”
One of my favorite scripture passages is from Philippians 4:6– Be anxious about nothing. . ..” I confess that I fail at this worry-free existence way too often.
So what causes your agent to worry? Let me count the ways:
- Your agent worries when you’re too quiet with a deadline approaching. If you have read our blog for long, you know how crucial deadlines are.
- Your agent worries when you and your publisher forget to keep him in the loop. Discussions about cover issues, scheduling, money, future projects—almost anything you can think of, should include your agent.
- Your agent worries when you have a new book coming out, but you’re not out there stirring the pot. It’s hard to write and market at the same time, but it’s got to be done. No one can get the excitement going about a new book better than the writer. Keep your agent in the loop so she can talk it up as well.
- Your agent worries when you’re more focused on creating concepts for new books than getting the ones done you’ve proposed. We love creative people, but solid follow-through is what builds careers.
- Your agent worries when you seem to be more focused on writing fast to reach the deadline and/or the payday than in creating a book of substance. The need for money is the bane of art. Oh for the days of good old-fashioned patrons of the arts. Writing for the paycheck is the fastest way to kill a career. Each book needs to be better than the last, if we’re to build over time.
- Your agent worries when the ideas seem to be coming scattershot—almost as if you’re trying to hit the market instead of writing out of your passion. The market is a moving target. If you write the book you can’t stop thinking about, chances are it will resonate with readers.
- Your agent worries when you’re spending more time social networking with other writers than with your readers. Your fellow writers are friends. Yes, you need to play with friends, but your readers are your congregation. Take care of them. Spend time with them.
- Your agent worries about the books you published before you came to her. When they went out of print, did someone request a letter of reversion? (It generally doesn’t happen automatically.) Did you carefully file that letter?
I could go on and on. I’ve barely scratched the surface. So what worries you? And does anyone remember Alfred E. Neumann?