Pub Rants

The Hardest Person To Shop For?

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STATUS: What’s there not to like? I’ve been munching on homemade cookies sent by my lovely client Shanna Swendson. It’s perfect nibbling as I try and wrap up queries, partials, and requests for fulls today.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! by Harry Connick, Jr.

Today’s blog is a little smorgasbord of thoughts—not unlike the box of cookies sent my way (and if anyone makes a Forrest Gump reference I’ll scream).

Tis the season for a little inspiration so I wanted to share a tale courtesy of Therese Fowler (and with her permission).

Feel like chucking this whole writing/publication dream? Before you do, check out Therese’s story. A Fairy Tale ending, auction and all but “overnight” success only took five years, nine months, and three manuscripts.

Sometimes writers really need the morale bolster so indulge.

If you’re in the query stage, here’s a thought. Try to refrain from writing that “your work weighs in at…” Chances are good if you feel the need to use that language, your project exceeds the word-length expectation of the genre you’re writing in. In this case, it was for a women’s fiction work that was over 105,000 words. That’s long folks.

And last thought of the day, did you agonize over whether to get your agent a holiday gift or not?

Don’t worry. You weren’t alone. So what’s the answer? (This might open a can of worms because I can just imagine my clients reading this blog and then rushing out to get me something.)

Stop! This is not a guilt-trip inducement because I work for you and honestly, I don’t expect or need anything. A card (if that) is just fine.

But what if you truly want to send something? What to get? Oh please, like I can answer that for every agent living. But I can give some suggestions. For me, if it’s practical or edible, it’s unlikely to go astray. This could work well if you don’t know your agent well.

Who doesn’t like home-baked cookies? (Your diabetic or diet-obssessed agent for one.)

Flowers or a wreath? (Fine unless the agent is traveling for the holidays)

Perfume or scented lotions and soaps? (bummer if your agent is allergic)

Jewelry? (Tastes really vary)

Easy, isn’t it?

I’d go with a gift certificate to a favorite eatery or coffee establishment. It’s hard for that to miss since that will involve choice and the agent can always share with the assistants etc.

Some of my favorite gifts in the past (and they weren’t necessarily holiday-oriented):

Ally Carter gave me a rare orchid when I sold her YA. Thing was huge though and my hubby has it at his office because our Downtown condo is square foot challenged. It still blooms every year and it’s amazing.

One year Jennifer O’Connell sent me a variety of breads and exquisite cheeses. That was yum.

Flowers truly are lovely if I’m going to be around so they won’t die while away. Cheryl Sawyer has sent bouquets and she lives in Australia (power of the internet!)

Becky Motew gave me a wonderful necklace—a chick lit blue handbag with a little diamond (or similar rhinestone).

Hank Ryan gave me a designer pen that I didn’t recognize but when I whipped it out during an editor meeting in New York, there was much fawning over it. I suspect that it was from Tiffany’s…

And there have been many more (so sorry if I didn’t mention yours). Maybe I should keep a list…

11 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    I think it’s great that you have such a nice working relationship with the authors you represent.
    I hope when I finally find an agent, I am as fortunate!

  2. farrout said:

    Oh yes, I needed that morale booster today. The query stage has lasted one year, and i admit to being discouraged. Yet, an education is supposed to be challenging in order for the lesson to stick. Yes? I look forward to 2007 and a whole new approach.

    Also, i’d like to thank you Kristin for your continued excellence. Your blog has played a significant part in helping me frame my coming success. (My new mantra.)

  3. Denlm said:

    Maybe I missed it, but if you haven’t blogged this previously, you might consider giving us a rundown of the number of words typical for the genre’s you represent. For Sci-Fi and Fantasy, I’ve seen long, short and everything in between.

  4. Anonymous said:

    Great post, as usual. Sounds as though your clients are as gracious as you.

    If the gasp-inducing pen Hank Phillippi Ryan gave you is half as elegant as she (she’s on my local news), then it must be gorgeous. When is her book due out?

  5. Anonymous said:

    I’d like to know if you send gifts/ cards to your clients when you sell their books and at holiday time?

    After all- they are your “products”- right??!!

  6. Therese Fowler said:

    Hi Kristin! I’m honored by this post and want to thank you–and all your readers who have visited my blog!

    I have found (and continue to find) needed inspiration in authors’ success stories; hopefully mine will inspire struggling writers to keep going even when things look grim.

    Remember folks, there’s plenty of room in this industry for new authors–the bookstores have a space waiting for you!

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  7. joanr16 said:

    Kristin and Sara do indeed send cards to their clients at holiday time.

    I bet the best gift for one’s agent somehow reflects the theme of the work just sold. Hmmmm…. Too bad the title Breakfast at Tiffany’s is already taken.

  8. Anonymous said:

    My agent gets something sweet from Harry & David every year. Freezable (if there are leftovers) and easily shareable are the main things. We know, from meeting her (and Kristin) in Surrey, that she likes sweet things, so that makes the choice fairly easy.

    Which reminds me, I need to get that done. Now!

  9. Hank Phillippi Ryan said:

    What greater gift could an agent give a client than to sell a book?
    There’s nothing I could have purchased for Kristin that would be thanks enough for believing in and selling PRIME TIME! (So, I figured a pen for signing all of her new contracts might be appropriate.) And, Anonymous, since you asked: It’s coming out in June 2007 from Harlequin Next–and FACE TIME soon after. (And hey–thanks for the lovely compliment…)