Before I had an agent, I always wondered what an author-agent relationship would be like. How often would we talk? How would we mesh? Would we be able to build rapport?
I knew I’d enter the working relationship like any inexperienced employee: grateful, humble, and teachable. I’d labor hard, earn respect, and try to one day make my agent glad she took a chance on me.
I’m not there yet by any means. But in the few short months I’ve worked with my agent, it's my hope that we're off to a mutually satisfying partnership.
I’m sure there are no two author-agent relationships that are identical. But here's a glimpse into what my life's been like with my agent so far:
For very important communication we talk on the phone. Sometimes we may talk a couple of times a week when there's a lot going on with my book proposal, and other times a month may go by. This week Rachelle gave me a call and patiently explained a few publishing terms I didn't understand.
For less urgent communication we use email. On average, I receive one or two emails per week from Rachelle or WordServe. Of course this is a hectic time planning for the ACFW conference as well as working out details of my book proposal. Once I’m past this busy stage, I don’t expect I’ll need to communicate with Rachelle as frequently.
For every-day exchanges we stay in touch via twitter. Sometimes when I tweet, Rachelle will respond to me, most often through a direct message. There are times when I respond to her tweets the same way. It's a quick and fun way to stay in touch.
One of the things I appreciate most about Rachelle is how quickly she responds to any of my concerns. Night or day, weekday or weekend, Rachelle always emails back. And she's gone out of her way to talk to me no matter where she's at. One time she was literally driving out of town to go camping with her family and she still took the time to chat about my proposal.
Among agent blogs, I've run across the term HMC (high maintenance client). I'm not exactly sure what classifies an author as high maintenance, but I'd hate to ever deserve such a label.
If we exude confidence, take initiative, and work diligently, then maybe we can avoid burdening busy agents. Most of all we need to realize when they take on a new author, they're not getting paid to help us, at least not initially. So, I don't believe we have any right to be demanding, but every reason to be extremely grateful.
I'll have the opportunity to meet my agent for the first time next week. We'll both be attending ACFW in Denver. I'm really excited that I'll be able to finally thank Rachelle in person for all that she's done for me!
What do you expect in an author-agent relationship? What's the most important quality you hope to find (or have found) in an agent?