Pub Rants

Agent Assets

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STATUS: It’s after 5 p.m. but I’m reading a client manuscript and just really enjoying my job at the moment.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? F.M. by Steely Dan

I think that a lot of aspiring writers simply assume that an agent’s job is to find projects and sell them and that’s it.

I’d like to posit that my real job is to be a troubleshooter but that’s getting a little off track. As I was walking Chutney this afternoon, I got to thinking about all aspects of my job and what I could share that would show my blog readers a different facet of what an agent does and why an agent could be valuable beyond just negotiating your contract.

So here’s a good example.

This afternoon I had a three-way phone conference with me, my client, and a prospective editor potentially interesting in buying my client’s novel.

Yes. You read that right. A phone conference with an editor who has not yet offered for the work.

I’m assuming I don’t really need to point out the value in having this type of conversation with an interested editor. What I want to highlight here is that this type of event is part of my daily job. It’s not even all that unusual.

This is just one way an agent can be a valuable asset to an author, but I bet most writers wouldn’t even think to include it in the job description of what agents do.

7 Responses

  1. Berry said:

    I can imagine you serving a translator between clientese and editorese:

    Agent: We’re under consideration at several houses. What have you got for us?
    Editor: We need to take it to the meeting, but we might be able to make a “nice” offer.
    Agent: They totally love it!
    Client: OMG! SQUEEE! I’m gonna get a new car!
    Agent: My client might be interested in your offer when it firms up.

  2. Victoria Dove said:

    Ahh agents, saving writers everywhere from losing their shirts (and possibly their dignity).

  3. Anonymous said:

    I am in so much trouble if I actually have to speak to people to get a book published. Can’t we just do it all by email?