August 28th, 2005

books

making my list and checking it twice - a work in progress

Based on the comments offered by various people, here is the current composite of the perfect agent:

*makes best efforts to sell the individual client's work, but not to the detriment of other clients; has sufficient time and resources for each client
*must be enthusiastic and passionate about each client's work, but not in a gratuitous way, and also be willing to be constructively critical as needed
*must read said work in a "reasonable amount of time"
*must be honest and trustworthy and have a good reputation
*must be competent and act professionally
*must communicate and be responsive to client communications, and as part of that should be available to discuss career direction and listen to the client's goals and desires for said career and make suggestions to bring that vision closer to reality without superimposing their own iron-clad will upon it (especially should not suggest the writer work in areas for which they are not suited)
*knows the market and proactively informs clients about new opportunities
*ideally, should have a compatible personality

Boy is that a lot to live up to, and that last one is probably the most subjective of the bunch, though there are a few others that sound that way as well. I've summarized, of course, out of necessity as several of these requirements repeat throughout the comments. So, is anything missng?

For me, this is food for thought. (Heck, it's more of a feast for thought.) And, I know I said something about trying to post what my vision of the ideal client might be. I haven't really put that together as yet, but it occurred to me as I was staring at the list above (and telling myself that, yes, I'm a goddess and I can do all that), to turn it back and paraphrase it as the same qualities can and do apply to writers. Just to give everyone something to snack on with me.

*makes best efforts to sell their work, by concentrating on improving the craft of their writing (for future works) and spending time and energy to promote currently published works (e.g. book signings, mailing lists, web site maintenance, etc.); realizes agent must spend time and resources on each and every client
*should be enthusiastic and passionate about their work, but not in a blind way, and accept constructive criticism
*must deliver their work in a "reasonable amount of time" (e.g. make deadlines, or give plenty of warning when deadlines might need to be adjusted)
*must be honest and trustworthy and have a good reputation
*must be competent and act professionally
*must clearly communicate their needs, desires, goals to their agent, acknowledge their agent does not have psychic abilities in this respect, and be willing to listen to and seriously consider the agent's suggestions for how to make that vision a reality
*should be informed about how publishing works and keep on eye on the current market
*ideally, should have a compatible personality

Now I just need to figure out what's missing from this list as to what else one might expect from a client....
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books

my thoughts....

...are with all those facing the current wrath of nature known as Katrina, and particularly agent Pam Ahearn, who works from an office in New Orleans, and all the many fine writers from the area that I've met at conferences over the years. May you and your loved ones all get to higher ground and safety.
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