Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A New Client

I just signed a new client, not my first of the year, but an interesting story. I actually have another interesting story, about another new client, that I hope to share at a later date.

I met this author at the PASIC conference (the published author chapter of Romance Writers of America) here in New York. Well, "met this author" might not exactly be correct. In fact, we’ve known each other for years, have kept in touch through submissions, and I’m always thrilled to see her at various conferences and RWA events. She’s incredibly talented and just a great writer, so I was thrilled when she got in touch to say that she felt it was time to get an agent (she’s currently writing for Harlequin).

During our meeting we talked about her career, what she’s looking for, what she plans to write, and how I would handle various situations, how I work and what I thought of her goals. We also talked about life and other things in general. She actually gave me some fabulous feedback on the blog. Generally we spent some time getting to know each other and trying to see if we were compatible. You know, we had a first date.

At this time the author also informed me that she was talking to other agents. Of course she was! I would be stupid to assume she wasn’t and she would be negligent not to. While I might compare this meeting to dating, finding an agent is not a game. You want someone you can trust, someone you’re compatible with, and someone you look forward to working with. And, I assume, you want someone you can work with for a long, long time. In other words, you never want to go through this process again.

We had a good meeting. In fact, I think it was too short. We could have sat there for hours, but it was time to go. I officially offered representation, she told me she was going to have to consider all offers (because she did have others) and would get back to me.

And now I’m nervous. When I see her around the conference I wave, smile, say hello and good-bye, but I also don’t want her to feel like I’m putting the pressure on (I leave that aspect of my personality for editors). And then, later that day, I see her going into the restaurant with another agent (a group of people with an agent really). Is that one of the agents who offered representation? Does that dinner give her the leg up? Oh dear, the thoughts start running. See, you authors aren’t the only ones who get neurotic and you’re not the only ones with an active imagination. I can get into some serious trouble on those train rides in and out of the City.

Needless to say, seven long days later I finally got the call (see, we get them too). Yeah! I won! I won! Tee-hee [evil laugh here]. In all seriousness, though, I am truly thrilled. I am very picky about taking on new clients and because of that there is more competition when I do offer representation. What it comes down to is that when I offer to work with someone it’s because I truly, truly love her work and believe in her. I believe in this author (like I believe in all my clients) and welcome her aboard.



Gina Black said...

Congrats to both of you!

Kimber Li said...

Oh, that's a funny story! Thanks for sharing. Getting married was something I only wanted to go through once too. I was very methodical about dating as a result. Not romantic in the typical sense, but it worked for me!

Dara Edmondson said...

It's comforting to know you agents go through some of the emotions we writers do. I guess it's pretty similar to dating - "Will he/she call me? Was that person I saw him/her with just a friend?" As I fret over submissions, I feel a little better knowing some agents (Well - at least one) can empathize with the excruciating wait:-)

Terry McLaughlin said...

Congratulations, Jessica! Your new client sounds amazing :-).

jbstanley said...

And this is exactly why your clients love you!

Anonymous said...

What a great story. It's nice to hear the other side. Congratulations to you both!


Anonymous said...

Congrats, Jessica!

And, Terry, I agree. Jessica's new client does sound amazing...and very familiar. (Hugs!)


Kate Douglas said...

I love hearing this side of the story! It's good to hear a bit about agent angst. Sheesh, I remember waiting for either my ms. to come back or a phone call from Jessica about a gazillion years ago. Then, when she called and offered to represent me, I think I actually forgot how to talk...and if you know me, you'll know just exactly what that means!