Agent Love: Get Some
Y’all know how much I love my Suzie T., right? I’ve kind of gone on about her to most of my Writer Friends to the point where they long to shake me and yell “SHUT UP!” in my beaming face.
But they don’t, because they’re Writer FRIENDS.
I don’t just love her because she signed me, though. I have real, definable reasons* for loving her. I’m about to list some of them, and I want to say this: if you don’t think the agent you’re about to sign with – or the agent you just signed with – has these qualities? You might want to polish up that old query letter.
Note: Who knew all Suzie’s clients were writing their own individual love letters on their blogs this week? Lisa DesRochers, author of the amazing and sexy-hot PERSONAL DEMONS weighed in on her blog. Check it out. Nice post, Lisa!
Why Suzie Is So Awesome
1. Communication. Suzie returns emails and phone calls very, very quickly. Even the pathetic, needy ones from writers who can’t bear the thought of yet another revision. She shares all the submission information when you go out on sub, and makes sure to pass on editor comments and feedback as you go. Oftentimes on Friday, so you can more easily drown your sorrows in Chocovine.
2. Encouragement. Seriously, like your mom if your mom knew anything about the publishing world. Which mine doesn’t. Even when Suzie sends back a manuscript hemorrhaging track changes in all its tender margins, she make sure to include all the gushy, positive stuff. And she make sure you know what’s hot and what’s not, so you can write — oh, I don’t know, something an editor might possibly want to publish? Not to chase trends, but if you’ve got a bunch of manuscript ideas you can work on, why not make the next one something (NOT a dirty word) commercial? A good agent can guide you. Gently.
3. Honesty. Yeah, you know all that positive stuff? Sometimes you need to hear the other stuff, too. The “not ready yet” on a manuscript, when it’s (you know) not ready. She does the agently equivalent of telling you when you have toilet paper stuck to your literary shoe. Never underestimate the kindness of the gentle “no.”
4. Editorial Skill. As you can tell from the above comments, Suzie is what they call an “editorial agent.” Some writers say they don’t want one of these. I say that’s like saying you don’t want a unicorn pony that poops chocolate truffles. You can say it, but you don’t mean it. You can’t possibly mean it.
5. Knowledge and Connections. Your agents should be Twitter followers/tennis buddies/Facebook friends of other agents and editors. How will they know to whom to send your Gorgeous New Masterpiece if they don’t have sushi with those people every once in a while? And once they make the sale of your G.N.M., your agent should know all that other agent-y stuff about contracts and percentages and stuff.The stuff that makes me go like this.
6. Love. Your agent should love your work. She should (like Suzie does for me <3) write things like LOVE LOVE LOVE on your editing letters. Or she should at the very least sign those letters (if your work isn’t inspiring love this time around) with something sweet at the end.
Yeah, sweet. Because as you know, Writer Friends, this business has plenty of bitter.
So, now that you’ve read my love letter/list about MY agent, make the list of attributes you want in your own agent, and start looking. Good luck!
* the least important of which is she’s cute as a bunny. But she is!! Even if her agently powers make her resemble this bunny during negotiations.