I’m lucky to have many writer friends in the blogosphere, and I chat with them often. Around twenty of them are agented, and more than a few don’t click with their agents. Fortunately, that’s not my case because I *adore* my agent (and, um, I hope she adores me too). Anyway. I’ve been hearing a lot of troubled writers and it makes me sad. :(
So, if you don’t have an agent yet, you might like to hear these thoughts—they may help you decide between offers so that you can land an agent that is great for YOU.
As a big FYI, this isn’t a post about some agents being bad at what they do or something like that!! It is just about clicking together.
For instance, there’s the type of agent who is all like, “I want to handle everything by myself; you just sit back and worry about writing.” So, if you’re a nervous writer who’d like to take a break from the submission process and don’t want so many updates, that’s great. That agent is for you. However, if you like to be on the ball, you probably won’t feel so great with an agent like that.
Then there are the huge agents, who have tons of experience, are close friends with many editors and have coffee with them often, and they have so many six-figure deals on Publishers Marketplace that your eyes go like this:
If you like the wow factor, and you want all that experience from them no matter what, then great. But probably those big agents have a big list of clients too, which means that they won’t have so much time for a new one. And they probably won’t become your BFFs, either.
There are also the agents who are just starting and have all that oomph and energy for new writers, but maybe don’t have too much experience and don’t elbow with editors that often. But they love you, because you’re one of the first authors they’ve ever offered representation to. You are their babies. If you want to be cuddled and self-assured, then that might be a great agent for you. Most likely, they will read your new projects so fast and they will gush about them, apart from giving you notes to make it shine. But then again, they are just getting started, and what if suddenly they decide that agenting is not their thing?
Now let’s talk about their personalities. Some might be shy and sweet. Some might be competitive and aggressive. Some might be very friendly and chatty and some might not. And you have to know what types of personalities you’re okay with. Because let’s not forget: agents are people too!
And then there’s a huge thing that might make an agent/client relationship crack. Tastes. What if the book you wrote that landed you some offers of rep. has a mochachino flavor… but now you’re thinking about writing a book in that same genre, but that has a pistachio flavor? Mochachino and pistachio are very different, right? What if the agent you’re excited about gags when he even hears the word pistachio? So this is why it’s important to know where you want to go as a writer after you’re done with your current book. It’s good to chat about the agent’s tastes and what type of book in the genre they represent they wouldn’t do. And sadly, this mochachino/pistachio problem happens more often than not. And we don’t hear about it openly because no one wants to post their troubled stories on the web.
So. If you’re querying, I say take a long while to research. Follow agents on twitter, feel their personalities. Chat with them. Read their blogs, if they have them. Talk with persons who have met them. Because these agents might be INCREDIBLY GREAT… but not incredibly great for YOU.
I hate to see writers who are going through a rough time, even being “released” by their agents, and that is why I really wanted to write something like this to maybe help someone in their process.
Is there anything you would like to add?
PS: I really do adore my agent. And if this post wasn’t as long as it is now, I’d probably write a few paragraphs gushing about her. ;) What can I say, I’m a really lucky gal!