Blogger: Wendy Lawton
I addressed this a few years ago but the question that often comes up this time of year is this: What is appropriate in the way of gifts for agents, editors and those on your publishing team?
I speak for no one but myself, but here’s what I think:
- Agent-to-Client—Your agent may send you a card at Christmas, but chances are he or she isn’t going to buy gifts for clients. Here’s why: If an agent has a list of, say, fifty clients it would be impossible to buy meaningful, hand-selected gifts for each one. There’s just not enough time to find the perfect gift. So if I were to buy gifts, they would probably just be a corporate-type choice. That’s not what Christmas is about, so I don’t even make the attempt.
- Client-to-Agent—Many of our clients do buy wonderful, thoughtful gifts, and they are always appreciated. Other clients do not buy gifts. (No, we don’t keep lists of who does and who doesn’t.) I’ve often thought of writing to my clients to absolve them of the need to buy gifts since I know how crazy (and expensive) gift-giving is at Christmas, but I always stop myself. I know some people speak the language of gifts, and I need to receive each gift as a communication of appreciation. I thought about trying to involve clients in my own charitable gift-giving-plan but asking clients to help with a specific project sounded too much like asking for a gift. So the answer remains, a gift is always appreciated, never expected.
- Writer-to-Editor— Many writers buy a personal gift for their editors. This is appropriate and appreciated but never expected. I talked with editors about the gift issue on my last trip. Some editors suggested that a gift at a non-Christmas time might be even more welcome since everyone thinks of Christmas. And whenever gift-giving is mentioned, the subject of chocolate seems to come up. 🙂
- Writer-to-Editorial/Marketing/Sales-Team— This is where it gets tricky. First of all, if you want to send a gift to everyone who works on your books, it can easily get out of hand. Plus you would need to obtain a list of everyone from your publisher, and sometimes they aren’t comfortable giving out all these employee names. The same editors I spoke to recently suggested a gift that can be put in the break room and enjoyed by all. The perfect time to do this might even coincide with sales conference so all the sales people can partake as well. I’ve heard of authors who will foot the bill for a pizza lunch for everyone at their publishing house or provide a huge basket of gourmet cookies. It’s a very nice way to show thanks. A whole passel of Starbucks cards can’t be beat either– it’s like saying, “Take a coffee break on me.”
So what about you? Anyone else overwhelmed with a gift list? Does the question of whether to gift or not to gift worry you? What do you do? What other times of the year might be a fun time to give presents instead of Christmas?