A dear Snarkling queries:
OK, Miss Snark. What kinds of things do you think an agent looks for in a potential client? Besides good writing. I'm referring to people who perhaps already have a book out in the universe.
A go-getter? Someone willing to do signings, and read fan mail, and update their website periodically? Someone elusive, mysterious, a hermit?
Both types of authors exist - which do YOU prefer?
10. A client who understands that "willing" is not the right word for "publicity". The correct phrase is "understands the value of and knows it's a requirement. " I get query letters from people every day of the week that say "of course I'd be willing to be on Oprah" to promote the book. Ya, who wouldn't (ok..Mr Twelve Hawks but he's just weird). It's the 2am phone in radio shows in Fargo North Dakota that separate the troupers from the amateurs.
9. Someone with a good established content rich website that draws a lot of people and who updates it regularly.
8. Someone with a sense of humor about this crazy world and is willing to laugh first when books don't arrive in Fargo for the booksigning...and scream second.
7. Someone who thanks me in their book. I was crushed to the core when one of the first novels I sold didn't have me in the acknowledgement pages. Everyone else was there...no Snark.
It did color how I felt about the author. It made me feel he had no clue what I'd done for him.
6. Someone who answers their emails, and phone calls right away. Who lets me know when they are out of the country/ preparing to give birth/moving to Mars.
5. Someone who takes criticism without screaming too loud. Criticism sux. No two ways about it but it's part of the game. I hate being told my prose is less than sterling, I know my authors do too. But...there's the gap between what they think (Miss Snark is sack of horse apples) and what they say ("thanks, let me think about this and get back to you:).
4. Someone who understands I am not their friend. I'm a professional colleague. As such, do not invite me to the beach house for the weekend. Weddings, christenings, Nobel Prize in Literature ceremonies, you bet. Nothing that involves Miss Snark wearing her bunny slippers.
3. An absolute ability to not panic. Things go wrong all the time, every day of the week. Controlled chaos is part of the game. The ability to standfast when everyone is screaming the sky is falling is a quality I cherish.
2. Civility. Civility. Civility. When the chips are down, it's a whole lot easier to pick up the pieces for someone who hasn't just called you six versions of unforgettable when a book deal goes sour.
And the Number One reason Miss Snark loves you is:
1. You write well. Again. And again, and again. It is one of the greatest joys of my life to see what my clients create. Some of them have work that moves me beyond words. That I get to help them bring this project to the attention of other lucky readers is a blessing for which I am grateful every day of my life. I am truly truly lucky to have work that I love, colleagues I respect ... and Snarklings I adore.