Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Speed Dating Agents By Suzanne Macpherson

Working On: undisclosed project (ooooh)
Mood: Fun

When I saw this topic I had a “reaction” sort of like a “rash.” Thus I am a day late, so whoever is the 18th, just bump me when you’re ready. ;-)

Agents- As Charles Dickens wrote:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. “ I wonder if he was referring to his agent. :-0

This is my new philosophy about agents. Sometimes, it’s not you. Sometimes it’s them. Move, stretch, grow, find a kindred spirit who shares your vision. They’ll share that for about five minutes while they sell your project, so catch the wave. They only want you to do one thing. Produce a sellable product. They don’t want to be your best friend, or even talk that much. They don’t REALLY want to hear about your writing angst. Just show them the juice and they’ll make a smoothie out of it.
That said, finding and living with your chosen agent is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to an arranged marriage. Remember, you are going to be dealing with them FOREVER. Really. Your little books are your children, and you have joint custody.

Don’t assume a lot here- I had a terrific agent for my first seven books and we get along great, even post breakup. We still celebrate our successes.

Sometimes I can’t believe the process we use to find agents. It’s like bad internet dating. I‘ve found myself Googling pictures of the person to see if I like the way they hold themselves and if they seem kind. There are plenty of sources to do your homework about your prospective “BRIDE” or “GROOM” so like—do it! Talk to their EX’s as well as their current mates. This is what has worked the best for me. Meet them, talk with them (it is possible, you just have to stalk them a bit- check their conference schedules and sign up for an appointment.) Watch how they interact with others. Ask your editor if you have one, who their favorites are.

Make a list like you would when you’re mate shopping. A) must like dogs B) loves my humor C) emails faster than lightening D) well respected by editors. E) Patient. D) Killer deal cutter. E) Personal Life under control. LOL
Whatever you value in an agent/mate/friend.

Whoa it really is speed dating isn’t it?

7 comments:

MG said...

Excellent analysis of the process, Suzanne! I love your "must like dogs type list" as well. I think as writers we can be intimidated by the process and forget that without us, the agents are out of work.

Susan Lute said...

LOL! I love your descrition of an author/agent relationship. So true. Even for us with agents, it's a good reminder of what our "arranged marriages" should look like :D

Suzanne Macpherson said...

Thanks Susan! Isn't it true though? I'm actually "dating" someone right now and we're both smart enough not to jump to first base right off the bat, but have some coffee dates and a few dances first. LOL

Genene Valleau said...

Have to agree with Su and MG--this is an excellent analogy of finding an agent and the relationship after you've found your dream agent. Thanks for the reality check. :)

Jessa Slade said...

I admit, I checked their photographs too :) Heck, there are worse ways to pick a date.

therese said...

OMG! Speed dating for an agent. Perfect analysis for what I'm doing. I guess I have to try and tap that type of energy. Dating. Hmmm.

I do write romance, so know that cute-meet, isn't the whole story. But you've also reminded me the awesome-sex-promise could be a figment of the imagination. Like my perfect body - where did that go and when?

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Great post, Suzanne! I completely understand the picture thing. I do try to ferret out if the face is an "honest" face, a friendly face. :) Of course, that's along with loads and loads of research through blogs, workshops, conferences, talking to writers. Yet even with all that, it is still very difficult. With a few dates (or dances as you rightly suggest) it's hard to be sure that both of you aren't making a decision based only on seeing and portraying best behavior instead of true compatibility. I think business relationships are often even harder than personal relationships because you don't have the opportunity to spend as much time together getting to know each other.