Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Firing Your Agent (Part 4 of 6)

I wanted an agent I liked. Writing is tough and competitive, and I didn't want to deny the human element. Not only did I want to like my agent, I also wanted one that editors liked. I know two highly successful agents who represent top clients, but editors have told me in confidence that they don't like them and hate to negotiate with them.

I'm fairly outgoing and straightforward. That's also the kind of person to whom I can relate. I wanted that magic something called chemistry. The first time I signed with an agent, like any inexperienced writer, I hardly knew what I was doing.

My story goes like this. One day an agent phoned me because a publisher had referred him to me when he wanted a ghostwriter. We talked for nearly an hour and two days later I received a contract from him.

The second time, because I had decided on the kind of person I wanted to represent me, I began to interview agents. I flew out of state and spent the day with one agent, set up tentative plans to drive to see another, and then I had lunch with Deidre Knight, who was then a new agent. Within ten minutes of our meeting, I knew we already had an intrinsic "something" that makes for a good relationship. I have been with her since 1997, and it's exactly the kind of relationship I've always wanted with an agent.

Estimates in the publishing world indicate that over a career span, writers average three agents.

When we remind ourselves that this is a business relationship, then it's no disgrace for the writers or the agency to make changes. Signing a contract with an agency isn't marriage. Writers hire agents to represent them. If a time comes when the employers feel they're not getting what they want for the money they pay, it's time to make changes. That is, it may be time to fire the agent.

"I like my agent and we're compatible."
Can you make that statement about your agent?

1 comment:

  1. I've been enjoying reading this series about dealing with agents. Thanks for the information.


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