Monday, July 9, 2018

Tip Time

This month's tip is about how to choose an agent, whether after an offer or querying!  I feel like it would be better to figure this out during the querying stage (always better to be ahead of the curve!), but this tip is also helpful if you've also just received an offer of rep.

When I was in college, my career center advisor gave me a really great tip for how to determine what kind of job I wanted.  She told me to write a list of all the things I wanted and all the things I didn't want in a career...basically a pros and cons list.  What I ended up with was something like this:

I Want…
I Don’t Want…
To work with authors
To do the same thing every day
Something that utilizes analytical and creative skills
To work in a super corporate environment
Flexibility with work hours
To travel regularly
Something that can feel moderately competitive
Something that requires me to hit a certain goal (e.g. with sales, etc.)
Something fairly autonomous when it comes to day-to-day work
Something phone-heavy

In a similar vein, I think it is essential to work out the things you do and don't want from an agent.  For example:

I Want…
I Don’t Want…
Someone who shares my vision for my books/career
A project-by-project agent
Someone moderately editorial
Someone who shelves a project after one round
Someone who communicates mostly over email
Someone who isn’t open to me writing in other genres
Someone with an open communication-style
An agent who isn’t open to occasional brainstorm conversations on the phone
An agent with a strong record of sales in my genre
An agent at a small agency
Willing to try different things, e.g. Radish

A POC agent

Organizing your thoughts and gleaning what you want from interacting with agents can help you realize what kind of person you want to team up with.  It's always best when an agent and an author have a similar working style and aligning goals, and sorting out what those are up-front can save you a lot of heartache or wasted time down the road.  I hope this tip was helpful--happy list-making!