I have to say something about my agents at Brubaker and Ford because I sincerely hope that all writers may acquire such a fabulous team and such great support.
I read the blogs. I hear the rants and rumours about other agencies and I can only speak from my own experience. But I want to encourage people out there that those rumours are not always true and I'm sure it depends upon the agent and agency.
I often read blogs where writers with agents ask industry questions of the blog host and I wonder - well, why don't you just ask your agent, silly? Perhaps I'm naive or overly-optimistic, but it does seem that some authors don't want to "bother" their agents or are afraid of appearing stupid. Hey, if you're a new author, you're bound to have questions! I've had many.
And I'm not afraid of appearing stupid or silly because one has to step out of one's comfort zone to learn something new.
Don't expect your agents to get back to you any faster than 30 days when you have questions or sometimes at all.
I know this sounds ridiculous, because in what other business would you say such a thing? Yet I've seen it posted on agent's and author's blogs. Perhaps those agents have 100 clients and don't want to be pestered with questions. I can imagine if you were overloaded like that, some overly anxious newbie might get tiresome.
The longest B&F have gone without returning an e-mail or phone call has been about 3 days, and that's only because they were out of town at a book fair. Usually they get back within 24-48 hours. And they never make me feel silly about any of the questions I ask. I try not to pester them, but I do have an honest curiosity and absolutely want to learn how all this works.
Second Rumour: Authors never have a say in the look of the book, as a matter of fact, they probably won't even see the cover until the book is released. The will not be involved in the packaging or marketing of the book.
Also, not always true! I think B&F are exceptions because they are book packagers as well as agents, but even so, they enjoy working closely with authors on all aspects of the process, especially first time authors if you can believe that. They love the enthusiasm new authors have.
B&F and I have spoken extensively about what look we're going for. They have told me that they will not pick and artist without my approval, let alone design a book cover without my input. Of course, I completely trust them and their vision, but it's great to be included.
Third Rumour: Agents are not your friends. Maintain a cordial business relationship. They don't want to hear from you, they don't care if they ever meet you. Do not bother them with personal matters unless it is something that effects how fast you can finish your next book.
Horse nuggets! If B&F are the only agents who share personal stories, get excited about the idea of meeting each other, and even exchange photos, then I feel sorry for every other writer out there. People are people and we are social creatures. We live to exchange stories and ideas. I try not to overburden them with the details of my life, but they know about Baby, our 2 Disapproving Cats, my love for yard sales, and my ambition to build an empire.
Fourth Rumour: Be wary of agents who are over-enthusiastic about your work.
I think this is a strange one, but I've heard it a few times now. Sure, if they're promising things they can't deliver (i.e. a million dollar advance, 5 book deal, 100,000 books sold) then a red flag should go up. But I want my agents to be enthusiastic about my work! B&F share their excitement with me and it makes me excited all over again.
I am so grateful that I found the perfect home for my personality and for Brigitta. The relationship turned out exactly how I had envisioned... but we know how good I am at manifesting what I want. I am grateful that they explain every part of the process so that I know how it works and how long things take.
I also want to say that is IS hard not to call them every day to find out what's going on, but I resist. I do trust them, I know they'll contact me when it's important, and I don't want to take time away from them doing their job.