Q05: Agent Wishlist

(This question is part of a larger subseries called Perpetual WIPs: Agented Writers. For the remaining questions, see here.)

What was most important to you in looking for an agent? Now that you’ve gotten one, do you still think it was the most important thing?

***

I think the two most important things in an agent-client relationship are trust and communication. With new agents, skills can be learned, and will be honed over time. Relationships can be built over time. Sales can be made over time. But someone who’s not on the same page as you, or not comfortable being completely open and honest – about your project, about the process, about reality and probabilities and limitations and the market and all those other things that are both wonderful and shitty, by turns – well. It’s going to be hard to work with someone that you can’t talk about those things comfortably with.

*

I wanted someone who believed in my book and in my writing. I also wanted a newer, less established agent so that a) I wouldn’t get lost among his/her more successful clients and b) He/she would fight hard for my book. I read about how agent Jen DeChiara was just starting out and took on Brent Hartinger as her first client. She worked like a dog to sell Geography Club, and their careers have grown together over the course of the past decade.

*

Getting my work. I think that’s absolutely essential. I wanted someone who really got what I was trying to do and, not only that, fell hard for it. The second thing was experience. When I wrote [my ms] as a script, I knew I didn’t know a single person in Hollywood and realized that querying a book would be a better fit for me than pitching a script. I knew I wanted someone who knew the business, knew who to contact, and would cheerlead what I created just as much as I would cheerlead my own work at conferences and workshops. This definitely hasn’t changed since signing with my agent.

*

To be honest, I just really wanted an agent. When it came down to making a decision, I chose the one that showed the most enthusiasm for my work (emailing me, Tweeting me about how much she loved it) even though she’d had less/smaller deals made with other projects.

*

I wanted someone who had a good track record sales-wise and who loved my MS and had good ideas for it. Happily, I got those things, and they are still very important to me. I don’t think I would have done anything differently.

*

I used to have this whole vision of constantly bouncing ideas off my agent and of her being someone who was so excited about my work, etc., and I didn’t think all that much about sales, but honestly, once it came down to it and I got an offer from an agent with an excellent sales record, I realized that mattered to me the most. Not that I would’ve signed if I didn’t like her as a person, but I did prefer her to agents with whom I’d certainly interacted more. Now that I’m on submission, all those traits that come with having an excellent sales record are definitely showing themselves and I couldn’t be happier that I made my decision that way.

*

Communication style, reputation, type of agency they work for. Yes. It’s still the most important.

*

Prior sales and communication are the big two. I still think they’re important because prior sales indicates competence in her job and my agent  is fantastic at communication and keeping in touch.

*

Man, this one is tough to admit.  I had a few options when choosing my agent, but I selected the one with the best sales record according to PW. While I love my agent, I wish I would have chosen one who was a little MORE editorial.  She points out the things that are WRONG with my ms, but never gives suggestions on how she’d like to see them changed. That makes revision really hard.  I don’t know, necessarily, that the changes are moving the story in the ‘right’ direction. 

*

A good and forthright communicator, savvy about the industry, confident, smart, and kind. Yes, but I’d also add a heck of a salesperson to that list.

*

I wanted someone I connected with, who loved my book. I still think that is the most important thing. I also think it is very important to find an agent who has good sales in your genre, or at least has some connections with editors (through their agency or whatnot).

*

I thought it would someone I would have a personal relationship with, but I’m finding it’s more important at this stage for my agent to have that kind of relationship with editors.  Those friendships and editors’ respect for my agent means my ms gets read faster and she (and by extension me) gets very extensive feedback. I like to think editors go into the read with a positive/hopeful attitude b/c the editors all seem to love working with her.

***

What do you guys think are the most important traits for an agent to possess?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s