Blogger: Wendy Lawton
I’m going to let you in on a secret that my clients already know: your agent needs to be spending his or her time working on your behalf. Time spent with clients is often time taken away from the activity that makes money for our clients– selling their work and keeping connected with all that is going on in the industry.
I had a client (now a former client) who asked me to call each week. She said she needed that kind of input– she needed to be updated and to know what was going on. This was a client who was contracted well into the future. The truth? When a client is under contract not much new will be going on unless a problem crops up. Had I spent an hour on the phone with her every week, talking about her projects and about the industry, I would have been cheating her and other clients. That’s what your writing buddies do, not your agent.
It’s like your doctor. You can find a doctor who has a gentle bedside manner and lavishes attention on each patient but if you end up with a stubborn illness you’re going to go looking for the doctor who can move mountains to find you a cure– one who has stayed current with every new treatment.
I do have to backtrack a little here because although the above is strictly true, there are some notable exceptions:
- We need to spend serious time with our clients when it comes to strategizing career decisions.
- We will be 100% client-focused when a problem arises.
- There can be a lot of back-and-forth when we are working up a new project or proposal.
- At contract time we will need to consult with the client as we work through the details.
- Often we will want to get involved in marketing decisions.
- We like to be copied on anything having to do with the book– covers, titles, etc.
- At Books & Such we also believe in offering in-depth client services like webinars, retreats and get-togethers at writers conferences.
- Truth be told, after a time, many of our clients become friends and we check in on them on our time. 🙂
Okay, so there are more exceptions than rules but I thought it important to mention that if you call your agent and get a busy signal or if your agent is on the road, count yourself fortunate. She’s working hard on your behalf.
Your turn. How do you picture agents spending their time? (I know. . . eating bonbons, lying on a beach reading a manuscript that’s sure to be the next great American novel, right?) What do you expect when it comes to contact with your agent or your future agent?
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