Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Your Agent Ain't Your Mother

 print by Linda Hunsaker

I started thinking the other day about agents.  I've had an excellent agent, I've had a very bad, back-stabbing agent, a mediocre agent and no agent.  But, regardless of how it all turns out with your agent, what is it exactly you should expect of him or her?

Well, for one thing, this is a business relationship.  It's not that it can't be friendly, cordial, even turning into a close relationship, but it is business.  And as a business, you agent is in it to make money.  It isn't a crime, a personal affront or any other negative thing you can imagine, it's simply a fact of life.  No money, no business and you would have no representation.  There it is.

Another thing is your agent isn't there to be your mommy or daddy or to hold your hand (although some may at times hold your hand).  Still, that isn't their job.  It isn't required that he or she encourage, support or sooth your wounded feelings.  It's not their job to validate your creative angst or to love and cherish you.   The bald-faced truth is no one cares about your career as much as you do.  So what that  means is the agent is focused on selling your work and making you some money (him or herself as well).  The burden of everything else, including where your artistic asperations are taking you, your income, the reputation you are building and your own professional satisfaction rests exclusively with you.  Sorry, but that's the truth.

Many writers, because of their relationship with their agent and because that agent is a part of the commercial mechanism that gets a book to market, expect too much from their agents.  Many remember seeing agents in movies or TV shows where the agent is just about 'baby-sitter in residence' with the writer.  Such images are unrealistic and the writer needs desperately to  keep the relationship in context.  Just because an agent doesn't return a call or  has a reaction to a new work that isn't as wildly enthusiastic as you'd like doesn't mean you should allow it to affect your own sense of self-worth.  The agent is another link in the chain.  Hopefully a strong and good one, but they aren't always right, and they aren't often available for that hand-holding.

A writer must develop a very strong working relationship with his or her agent, understand that (shock!) the agent has other clients and sometimes that call will not get returned and will have to be placed again.  No insult, just busy.  Writers are, by nature, vulnerable folks.  But, if you can create a solid understanding of the relationship between writer and agent, if only intellectually and not in your gut, things that are perceived as slights or even body-blows will be lessened.

So go out there and find yourself an agent if you're ready - just remember business is the name of the game - it may well be cordial but it is business.

 To Hell and Back

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Writer's Thoughts

And at the moment they are few, scattered, and someone unconnected.  I don't mean to harp on this recovery thing, but truth of the matter is it's taking longer than I first anticipated.  I'm normally a quick healer, but this has been the deepest pit from hell.  Appendectomies are not fun, infections less so, and antibiotics make everything taste really, really bad.

So, as I'm wont to do, I've been having a conversation with myself. 

"So, self, how're we doing?  How do we feel?"

"Pretty much like crap -- go away."

"Can't, we're together through thick and thin, like it or not."

"Hmmm, okay, then, shut up."

"Nope.  Brain is a pretty busy place during this trying time.  Thoughts churning, memories regenerating, apprehensions flying past."

"Okay, so why're we having this conversation then?"

"Well, one reason is I've come to the conclusion that I'm glad I planned for an event such as this - at least a little bit - and want to pass my sage wisdom on.   If you're a writer, freelance, you need to accept that there will be times when you won't have work or can't work and you must have a fall-back.  I've made it a policy to put aside a small percentage of every writing check I receive, no matter how small, in a separate savings account to be used at such times.  An emergency fund."

"Well, pat you on the back," self replied.

"Actually, yes," I shot back, "at least I'm not panicking on the monetary front.  We'll have to wait and see how much the insurance company wants to 'deny' or rip me off for before I can really applaud, but for the moment I'm not in a bad place - and I haven't been able to work for about 3 1/2 weeks. 

"Okay," Self admits, "so at least you took the sting out of that one."

" Exactly.  It's sort of like taxing yourself.  5%, 10%, it doesn't matter what you take from your earnings for your fund, it adds up if you always take it first and don't touch it unless an emergency pops up.  Then, joy of joys, it's there when you need it."

"Okay, so are you done now, can I go back to sleep?"

"Sure, why not, time for a bit of rest.  Soon there'll be another helpful writing post."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Writer vs. the Appendectomy

Just home from the hospital after my second stay in as many weeks due to an appendectomy and secondary infection. 

Boy, let me suggest, if you haven't done this, don't bother!

Hard to describe the pain involved and here I am a writer. 

Needless to say I haven't been doing too much writing - or reading - or much of anything else. Have finally turned the corner and am feeling much better - hope to have a happy, quiet holiday.

Have a script to show an interested party, have some projects on the burner and more writing assignments coming up after the first of the year.

I'll return to post soon with more writing tips and ideas.

Happy Holidays all!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Other Posts Of Interest:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...