Dear Miss Snark,
Three related questions:
First, I've heard it said not to send anything to one's agent as a thank-you other than a nice, handwritten card -- stressing that this is a job, and as the agent is not in fact being "nice" but just doing a job, anything else is overkill. I've read stories of wilting flower bouquets and uneaten fruit baskets, and although I'm pretty sure you'd make an exception for a gin pail or George Clooney's home number, what, in your opinion, do other agents tend to think on this matter? I'd feel like a little bit of a nitwit if I called my agent and said, "so what would you like me to send you to say thanks?" (But if you can think of a tactful way to do just that, I'd be game!)
Second, when in the process does one send whatever it is one has deemed appropriate? When the contract is signed? When the book goes on sale? When Miss Snark plugs the ARC on her blog? All of the above?
And third, I've noticed I tend to say "thanks!" in most of my e-mails to my agent. I'm not trying to be suck-up-ish, I just think I have an awesome agent who does her job very well, and she deserves to know I appreciate her hard work. But how does one know when enough becomes too much, the agent's eyes start rolling, and George is summoned to start the IV gin drip?
Thanks (see, there I go again!) so much.
1. I've received an assortment of things, most recently the entire inventory of a saloon which comes in quite handy on the days it's raining too hard to slink over to the Bathtub Bar and Still.
Flowers are almost always lovely, bottles of hooch as well. You can ask the agent's other clients what they sent. But really and truly, giftage is not a requirement of the deal.
2. Mostly I get the swag when contracts are signed. That's kind of a big deal moment, and we all feel like celebrating a lot, particularly if it was a long process.
3. It's never ever wrong to say thank you to your agent in an email (well, ok "you stink, you're fired, thanks for nothing" is the exception). Even Miss Snark's cold cruel heart is slightly thawed by "thank you, you're the best" in emails.