The Agent-Author Relationship

Every writer out there wants to land their dream agent. EVERY author. Not just the aspiring ones. While attending the COFW conference earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a session where well seasoned, successful authors and agents talked about what the agent-author relationship should be. The session was brilliant, eye opening and informative. I’m going to share some notes I took that day.

First of all, the relationship should be a real one. This is more than just business. While yes, business is what brought you together, with any luck, the relationship will be a long one where the two of you work together toward a common goal. The focus is your career. Not this one book. Not to be shopping besties. Not to sell a series and part ways afterward. You should enter into the relationship with a long term goal. So, ask yourself now if you have one of those and what is it?

You should talk with your agent openly about what you want from your writing career in the short and long term so there’s a path to start down and a direction to head. Where do you want to be in 1 yr, 5 yrs, 10? What are your goals along the way? What can you do to get there? Your agent has a different perspective and can offer advice to help you if you share.

A big mistake new authors make, according to the panel is to NOT contact their agent when something bothers them. Hey, I get that. We walk on glass to land an agent. It took a year to get them from query to partial to full to offer. We are somewhat conditioned to never-ever-never bother the agents. They’re busy. We can’t be needy or bug them. Well, once you sign, that changes. AT that point you become a team and holding back when something’s plucking at you will breed stress and frustration on both sides. If you’re not comfortable talking to your agent, you might not have the right one. It really is a relationship.

A few other items that caught my attention at this session:

Make sure you have markers to measure your success. Don’t set an impossible goal and if you do, set smaller ones along the way so you don’t become discouraged. For most writers, a career in the business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Challenge yourself. Grow your career.

Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. Try not to miss anything in the beginning while you’re building your brand and image. These building blocks are the foundation for what is yet to come. Make em count.

Finally, keep your agent in the know. Figure out what he or she needs to know so they can stay on top of things, not duplicate your work and promote your efforts.

The agent-author relationship is a team effort and working together is the secret to your success.

7 comments to The Agent-Author Relationship

  • [...] Follow th&#1110&#1109 link: Julie Anne Lindsey | Th&#1077 Agent-Author Relationship «Musings fr&#959m … [...]

  • Very interesting! I HAVE my dream agent, I have to say. I try not to bug her too much, since she’s ultra-busy, but our communication is open. I like that. We have a relationship and it’s a great connection! And she’s knowledgeable on top of all that. Rah! Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Literary Agency = the tops!

  • Thanks for the great info! It helped me to take a deep breath and really think about what I want in an agent. I want to find the right one, not just any agent. Sometimes we get so caught up in just getting published, that we may query too many agents out of desperation. I will try to remember to focus on the relationship first.

  • Excellent advice. I love my agent and occasionally email her just to tell her when something odd happens to me, like exploding yogurt in my coat pocket. Luckily, she gets me.

  • Great post and really good information for new writers. As you say, most new writers don’t like to ‘bother’ their agents too much for fear of scaring them away. But I know some lovely agents who *gasp, shock, horror* are only human too :)

  • Thanks Julie for the post. I completely agree and I think most would. Think about it. This person not only has your career in their hands but isn’t our writing like our soul; our hearts. You have to mesh well. I read somewhere an agent commented that if you want her to represent you, she’s not your husband. She’s got one of those. And it made me think. I don’t think I agree, really. Sure I’ve got a hubs and I don’t plan on doing my agents laundry, but I do want to plan with them, share my goals with them, share my dreams with them. Compromises will need to be met as well as tough decisions.

    Anywho, thanks!

  • Thanks Julie for this great advice and tips. I have an almost completed manuscript in my hands, and I’ve been putting off looking into agents so I don’t jump ahead of myself, but this is great informationfor me to keep in mind whne the next step of this journey begins.

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