Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Last Tuesday I posted a blog about what I’m looking for in an unpublished client. Many of the points are the same for the client who is already on his way to a career. Some of those things are:
- A near-perfect manuscript—This is as important for the already-published author as for the unpublished author. Sometimes an author works years on that first manuscript. The next ones have to come on deadline but still have to sing. Each book needs to be better than the rest.
- A distinctive voice—I’m always looking for that unique writer. I want to represent the writer that everyone else copies.
- A professional attitude—This is non-negotiable. My client needs to trust that I’ll always be appropriate and professional. I need to trust him as well.
- An engaging personality–This is very important to me. I want to work with team players who are generous and fun to be with. I want to be proud to introduce them to publishers and editors.
- Good career potential—I must look hard at past book sales and whether they are trending up or down. If I have a client who has suffered regrettable sales and is stalled because of it, we’ll work like crazy to unstick her. However, getting an author unstuck takes a ton of energy, and I’m not likely to sign a new client who’s already stuck. (Stuck means an author is fighting an uphill battle to get a new contract because risk-averse publishers are squeamish about considering authors with poor sales, whatever the reason. They know that the bookstore buyers have long memories.)
- A nonfiction writer who is becoming known in his field. Book sales will reflect this as well as platform, size of social network, and number and size of speaking engagements.
- A growing reader list—A writer should have a method to collect readers’ names and addresses and scrupulously maintain that database. From the first book, you never want to lose a reader.
- A writer who will add to our Books & Such community—This one is specific to our agency. We’ve worked hard to build a collaborative community of clients. We gather for retreats, and we host online forums to communicate and help one another. When we consider potential new clients, we take the whole community into consideration.
If you missed last Tuesday’s post on what I’m looking for in an unpublished author you can read it here. Next Tuesday I’ll talk about the well-published author and the following week, the A-List author.
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