Blogger: Wendy Lawton
If you sent me an email this week you got an out-of-office message. In fact, if you called or wrote anytime since May 27th you’ve probably received out-of-office messages more often than not.
Today I’m at our trade show—ICRS, The International Christian Retail Show— in Orlando. (Rabbit trail: Why do they pick the hottest places for summer trade shows and conventions?)
I wonder sometimes what my clients think when I’m so often out of the office. Since I tend to pick out one or two fun snapshots to post on Facebook—like a group of industry professionals having a cup of tea under a shady tree, or a picture of a meeting held in box seats at a baseball stadium, one might get the impression that the life of an agent is mostly fun and games. As I tell friends, there’s our Facebook Life and then there’s reality.
Your agent’s best work is done on the road. Trust me, if every time you called you found your agent in the office, he’s not doing his job. Face-to-face meetings with editors, publishers and industry professionals are one of the most important parts of our job. Some will argue that with the rise of online communication, it can all be done from our home locations. I couldn’t disagree more. Our value is in the relationships we’ve developed.
It’s when we’re sitting down over lunch that we can best pitch our clients and their work. If we are going to change anything about the royalty structure of ebooks, it’s going to be done by visiting every publisher and sitting down, face-to-face. (One of our missions for 2012.)
It can be grueling work. At a trade show we may have twelve different appointments along with breakfast and dinner meetings— all in the same day. But nothing is more important to our job. When you ask us about trends or what we are seeing for the future, that information is gleaned on the road.
So when you see the fun photos on Facebook of a bunch of agents and editors sipping cool drinks under a palm tree in Orlando, you can smile. You know the rest of the story.
I may not be able to join in the conversation much today but I’d love to hear your take on your own Facebook Life vs. real life. Do you always cook like that photo of a gorgeous plate of food you posted? Is that smiling toddler in the tutu as perfect a child as she seems? Does that picture of you and your spouse on the sand under a stunning sunset really represent your day-to-day relationship?
If we only posted photos that represented real life, mine today would show me schlepping a heavy briefcase full of presentations over miles of trade show aisles and hotel hospitality suites, running to get to the next meeting on time.