I have been reading Nathan Brandsford’s blog (agent contest, anyone?), following the whole #agentfail thing, and feeling very satisfied with my agent.
Sure, there are times I wish she’d get things done faster, or do things differently, but that has more to do with my anxiety than her work-habits. So I’d just like to tell you all again: I LOVE MY AGENT.
Now usually after I post one of these things, I get comments asking who my agent is. My advice is to find your own. What works for me may not work for you. It’s important to do your own research and find someone tailor-fit to your requirements. Remember you will be working TOGETHER for a long time. Look through a directory of agents and ask yourself:
Do I want an agent from a large/small agency?
Do I care what kind of commission my agent takes? 10%, 15%, 20%?
How long has this agent been in business?
Do I want someone who is a member of a professional association (such as the Association of Author’s Representatives or AAR)?
Do I want someone who represents big-name clients? (Seriously. Think about that one.)
Do I care who their other clients are?
Do I like the work of their other clients?
What kind of writing do they represent? (This was important to me, because I wasn’t sure that I’d stay in the children’s market, and wanted to have the same agent for all my writing.)
You may have other criteria, and I may have had some others as well, but can’t remember them now. But these are basic. Many agents now have websites/blogs and you can use that to research them and find out more about how they work and make a decision about whether or not you want to work with them. But remember, you’ll be working WITH them. It is a partnership to getting you the best publishing deal possible.
On meeting my agent for the first time, she told me about conflicts that she’d had with other clients who eventually went their own way. She was happy to let them go. I got the feeling that there was some disrespect involved. So last thing: Always be respectful. Even if you get pissed, or don’t agree with something, it’s always better to be professional. This is your career, after all.