Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Your Dream Agent

In almost every interview I do I'm asked what my dream client is like. I'm sure I've answered this different throughout the years, but ultimately I think my dream client is someone who knows that writing can be a hobby, but publishing is a business and is willing to take on the challenge of being a business partner with me.

Oh, and there are a lot of other things to:

1. A good communicator, someone who is willing to tell me about her concerns before they become major problems.

2. Someone who is open to revisions, edits and guidance, but not necessarily willing to just do something because someone suggests it.

And while I think it's interesting to read about an agent's dream client, I think what's far more important is what is your dream agent? Before heading out to search for agents and meet with agents I think authors need to have their own list.

Do you want someone who is good at hand holding in those times when you might need your hand held?

Do you need someone who is willing to work with you and do edits?

Are you looking for someone who might also be a friend?

Do you see your agent as a business partner or a worker?

There are a ton of agents out there and there is definitely someone for you, but I think knowing what you're looking for in an agent is helpful when the time comes and you actually have a choice.

So I'm curious. What are you looking for?



Elissa M said...

I definitely see agents as business partners who are looking out for both our best interests.

What I'm looking for in an agent:

Good communicator
Sense of humor
Passionate about her(his) work-- and mine

I wouldn't mind an agent with whom I can connect on a friendship level, but really, mutual respect is all that's necessary.

I think most agents will meet my requirements. The job for me now is to make sure I, and my work, meet theirs. :)

Suja said...

I'd prefer someone who's a good business partner, someone one tells me straight up what's wrong. Hand holding doesn't work IMO. Not when the end product-your book-is going to be out in the public. Of course, I want someone who likes my style of writing and voice. I can change plot, pacing, and do extensive line edits and work my butt off. But changing writing style - probably not.

Jill Jackson said...

I want someone to have a relationship with. It doesn't mean we're holding hands and getting all kissy kissy, but like any good relationship is based on trust, respect and balanced effort. A kick ass sense of humor also helps ;)

Clair Brett said...

I want an agent who shares my vision for where I want my career to go. I want them as a business partner as well. I want an agent who isn't just thinking about selling my current work, but is already thinking about the next one, and the next one after that, and a little hand holding might not be so bad at first until I get my feet wet. =)

Unknown said...

I want an agent who can be a partner in business, and who I connect with on a personal level. I think it's important to be able to be candid. Without a friendship, that's more difficult.

I want someone who can help field my ideas and use their expertise to help me decide on which of my projects has the most potential. Someone willing to dig in with edits (which I will do my best to accept, but not blindly). I want someone who will negotiate aggressively, and who will be there when I need professional guidance.

I can write all the books I want, but I don't have the publishing background or the connections that a good agent has. That being said, I wouldn't accept representation that didn't feel like the right personal fit.

Colin Smith said...

The Perfect Agent

Wanted an agent for one adorable writer! :)

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Fair critiques, no snark!
Play nice, don't bark.

You must be kind, and it helps to be witty
Tell me I'm great when I'm feeling s**ty
Read my novel, say it rocks
Say it's rad and it knocks off socks

Never be quiet too long
Never say I'm right when I am wrong
Love my writing more than I do
And never lie so I won't fire you

If you are diligent with submissions
I will never fail to send revisions
I can send you chocolates to make you smile
You can send me checks every once in a while

Hurry agent!
I say with

Writer, Colin Smith. :)

For those who don't get the reference.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

My dream agent is smart and thinks I am.
Sells well.
Loves what I write.
Believes that age is a plus, not a disadvantage.
Is honest, straightforward and kind.
Doesn’t need to hold my hand but offers me a tissue when disappointment rears its ugly head.
Communicates often.
Laughs at my jokes.

Remus Shepherd said...

I just want someone who believes in me. Everything else can be worked out, but someone who believes in me will work toward my best interests. That's all I really want. Shame that it's always the hardest thing to find.

Charlotte Levine Gruber said...

Perfect Agent:
1) Mutual respect
3). Lifelong relationship
Not hard, right?

Artemis Grey said...

Perfect Agent:

Someone who calls shit for what it is, but in a way that isn't hurtful, just honest and forthright.

A partner AND friend for the long haul. But someone who can tell when I need them to be a friend, and when I need them to be an agent. And I don't mean a 'hold my hand and coddle me' friend, I mean a 'rejection sucks, let's Skype about it over martinis and strategize over how we're going to conquer the planet' kind of friend.

Someone who will guide me without trying to dominate me, and who won't see my deference as a lack of drive to put myself out there, but as the introverted personality.

Someone who helps me grow as a writer, but doesn't mind the fact that I'll never grow up, if that makes sense.

Rebecca Lacy said...

My ideal agent is someone who is a partner/collaborator; who believes in me and my writing; who's honest with me (but, please not brutal), and a good sense of humor would be nice too. My editor at Women's Voices Magazine is like this. She is wonderful to work with and has helped me grow as a writer.

Terry L Probert said...

To me an agent who craves success as much as I do, someone who will tell me why my writing is or isn't working. My agent will have international connections he or she can take my manuscripts too. I expect them to work hard to get me the best deal for the work and in turn I will understand when they deduct their fee.
I am old enough to understand how business works and hungy enough to continue the chase, are you?
With a manuscript searching for a publisher and another almost complete if you work with writers of crime, family saga, adventure or adventure for early teens, I'm your man and need your help.

@adeerLA said...

It's about having a creative support team for the book. At some point, a writer has to let go of their baby and give it to the world. An agent who discovers my writing and book, I hope, will feel ownership, like we all do when we fall in love with a book or really like a book and champion it and usher it to the best place it can be. I hope the editors/publishers feel the same way and then it goes out into the world and readers embrace it as their own. Writing is and isn't an ego thing. At some point, my book and the characters live on their own, independent of me. Of course probably a friendship would develop in that process. And copious amounts of chocolate consumed! And given to agent! :) My ideal agent believes in my work, is excited about discovering it/me, and passionate about being an agent and selling my work because they feel that what I'm trying to say is important, entertaining, fun, valuable, and kind of cool!

Rik said...

Someone I can trust.

AJ Blythe said...

Colin, your poem rocks!

My pre-agent dream agent is someone who reps authors from my genre I want to be compared to and seems to have a good reputation.

I haven't thought any further than that. I figure if the agent does the two above than the implication is they are good at what they do.

BookEnds, A Literary Agency said...

Great lists. Thanks everyone and thanks especially to Colin for the great poem. LOVE this!

BookEnds, A Literary Agency said...


I think you'll be hard pressed to find an agent who will sell ALL of your books. That being said, finding an agent who believes in you enough to keep working with you even when a book doesn't sell is worth millions.