Blogger: Rachel Kent
When I decide to offer representation to an author, many factors go into making that decision, but the author’s personality is a huge part of it. I want to work with someone who will be a good match with my personality because we’re going to work together for a long time. Knowing what agents are looking for can help you to display those qualities in your communications with prospective agents.
What are the qualities I look for?
1) Professionalism–Authors who display professionalism have good communication skills and are respectful of others. They think before they speak or post online and follow through on commitments. They have an attitude of cooperation and work well with others, including editors and agents.
2) Discernment–Discernment is displayed through an author’s ability to make the most of his or her time and to make wise choices while working closely with editors, agents and publishers. A discerning author will also be choosy in the professional connections he or she makes with others online. That author won’t friend/follow people who are going to be an embarrassment to that author or author’s brand.
3) A Teachable Spirit–Those with a teachable spirit have a willingness to grow in ability and to take advice. These authors are non-aggressive when working with agents, other authors and publishers, and they’re able to accept feedback or discuss it in a reasonable way.
4) Perseverance–Perseverance is shown through the ability to finish a book and to take rejection and use it to make a project better instead of letting it eat away at confidence. Perseverance is also shown in the author’s ability to put a project on the back burner at the right time and to move on with a new idea.
5) Ability to Trust–Trusting authors let their agents work for them. These people aren’t hounding their agents every day with emails to “check in.” They understand that getting answers back from agents and publishers can take time, and they are willing to wait patiently. (Checking in is just fine, but those who can’t trust overdo it.) The trusting author also follows the established communication guidelines set up by that agent or agency.
6) Productivity–Agents like to find clients who can produce projects to sell on a schedule and who are able to write books on a deadline. This is the way publishing works these days, and authors need to be able to keep up and balance writing and life.
7) Enthusiasm–I love to find authors who are excited about writing and about new ideas. If writing is a chore for my client, it makes me feel like the slave driver or torturer because I have to keep that client working toward finishing his or her book. That isn’t fun for anybody.
Did I miss anything?
What qualities listed here are easy for you to show? Which are harder?