Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Parting Ways

I was directed this morning to Jennifer Crusie's post on her crazy hectic life and most importantly, and shockingly, her firing by her agent. Now I make that sound much more harsh than Jennifer did. And the reason I'm writing about her post is that I was awed and amazed by the poise both Jennifer and her agent Meg maintained while handling what is always a very difficult situation. I'm not sure I could have done it.

Imagine, deciding to let go a bestselling author because you know that you are not the right agent to handle this new direction she wants to take her career. That takes a humble and very wise agent. Someone I respect greatly. I talk all the time about choosing not to represent someone, even with contract in hand, because of a lack of passion for her work. Rarely though do I talk about needing to let a client go for that very same, or similar, reason. Good agents will remind themselves that they are in the business to work for authors and sometimes the best thing you can do is let someone go.

I will use Jen's post as a reminder for the kind of agent I want to be and the kind of relationship I want with my clients. One of honesty and trust.

If you haven't read the post please do so. I can't imagine the fear it puts into the hearts of writers because I know it made my breath catch just a bit.



Anonymous said...

It speaks volumes about the integrity and professionalism of both women. I don't know Jennifer personally, but I do know Meg, and I respect her tremendously.

kris said...

When I read the post this morning, it was one of those moments when the jaw hits the floor - or close to it. It triggered so very many responses -
- fear - good lord, if a NYT bestseller can be "fired" by her agent, what do the rest of us have in our corner?
- respect - for an agent who obviously truly embraces the need to be on board with the client's direction
- awe - for an author who got a shock but is responding with such grace and hope.

I hope and pray to never be in that situation. (Yes, Jessica, that's a hint :-). But when it's handled in this way, with what is obviously great reluctance yet a gut-level fetermination that it's for the best, well, that has to provide some comfort.

Betsy O'Donovan said...

I just read Jenny's post and scooted over here to see if you had commented yet ... and you did, and I agree with your thoughts and am glad to read them ...

... but I'm also very curious about what happens in the industry when a writer like Jenny is suddenly looking for representation. I assume her voicemail and inbox are clogged with calls from agents hoping to represent her. (From a writer's perspective, I'm enjoying this thought.)

I love your advice about how writers can set themselves apart when they're seeking representation. So, what do agents do to distinguish themselves?

Kate Douglas said...

Kim, I agree 100% One reason I'm so happy with MY agent--that integrity thing is really a huge point for me, and often it can be sorely lacking. I appreciate the link to Jennie's blog.

Anonymous said...

Kris, you said it bang on. I experienced all those feeling reading JC's blog post.

Aimlesswriter said...

So do you think Jennifer got a bunch of emails from agents this morning???

Stephanie J. Blake said...

Wow...thanks for the link!

So, who's gonna land Ms. Crusie?

And isn't it interesting how the hunters become the hunted in this industry?