Pub Rants

Snooze I Lose

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STATUS: Tomorrow is my last day in the office for this week so it’s a scramble to complete things (or as complete as they can be) before heading out of town on Wednesday.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BUBBLY by Colbie Caillat

If a previously published author comes my way because they are looking for new representation, it’s not an automatic yes.

Taking on a new client can be a big deal. Sure it helps to have an already established track record of sales (and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a sale imminent) but for me, I still have to love the work and be excited about these future books to take on a previously published author.

And sometimes, it just comes down to a matter of timing. This week is a great example of that. I had an author come my way whose stuff I liked and whom I also liked personally. Should have been a no-brainer but seriously, I just ran out of time with everything else going on. I ended up not being able read and get back to the author in a timely fashion. Two other agents offered to take the person on and making me too late to the game.

Snooze I lose.

Now I’m not so happy when that happens but ultimately, I already work crazy hours and there is only so much I can humanly do in a day (or over the weekend) without burning out, which means I might lose a client opportunity here and there.

It is a nice reminder to get moving for the next one that comes along!

10 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    Are there times when being previously represented works against an author? Like, what caused the breakup? Especially when you know the other agent involved, either personally or by reputation.

  2. John Elder Robison said:

    I was just looking at your website, and I see 21 clients on the “clients” page. Reading today’s post about missing a potential new client, I wonder . . how many clients does it take to be full?

    In my automobile business, we recognize that we’ll lose 7-9% of our customer base every year despite our best efforts, because people die (affects you), move to another city (no effect for you), get divorced (???), go broke and no longer drive a fancy car (??? for you)

    You must have some attrition as an agent. And you have a certain capacity. There’s also the question of how many of the authors on your list are actually working on a project and needing your help at any given time.

    Is there a “rule of thumb” literary agents use to determine capacity?

    If I were looking for a new agent (which I am not) I’d look at the client list, and if I only saw 2 or 3 names I’d be worried. But wouldn’t I be right to worry if I saw 40 names, too? How many is too many?

    Some idle thoughts for you on a cold Monday night. I wish I were back there in Denver in that mountain weather. Woof.

    And to think . . . you actually came to the TC and bought my book. I did not even think what a special honor that is, with all the free books you get as an agent (I get lots as an author and you must get more), and the countless submissions you must receive. Frankly, when I think about it, I’m amazed you have time to buy and read ANYTHING.

    Despite that, I hope you like it and you’ll tell me what you think at the end.

    best wishes

  3. Anonymous said:

    I can’t think of another agent out there I’d rather have represent me and my work.

    I guess the author in question must have thought you weren’t going to be able to represent them? Otherwise it’s difficult to imagine them not waiting for you!

  4. Stephie Smith said:

    I think things happen for a reason. If the writer you thought highly of didn’t have the time to wait for your response (which you wanted to give but just couldn’t get to), then it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe at a later time in his/her career. Maybe not. Life happens.