As I mentioned the other day, Christine Katz (aka The Writer Mama) is on a blog tour celebrating the two year anniversary of her online growth at The Writer Mama and Writers on the Rise online community, plus the publication of her book The Writer Mama.
Today, we're lucky to have Christine stop by and write a little about the mystery behind getting an agent.
Your Agent, Your Partner by Christine Katz
One thing I am always emphasizing to writers when they attend a writer’s conference in hopes of impressing an agent is this: you are looking for a partner, not hoping to be discovered. An agent is not a magician. She can’t wave her magic pen and get you a deal unless you are completely capable and you can prove it on paper. (As we’ve already covered in the posts on book proposals.)
I have been extremely fortunate when it comes to partnering with an agent because I already had an offer before I went looking. In fact, Jane Frideman referred me to my agent, Rita Rosenkranz of Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency, and I haven’t looked back since. Rita has decades of experience in the publishing industry and did an excellent job negotiating my contract and filling me in on all the newbie writer things I didn't understand. My head still spins when I look at my contracts. And it’s reassuring to know that I can always call on Rita to answer a question or check up on something that might have been overlooked.
Of course, before asking Rita to represent me, I’d either met or had phone discussions with several agents. I was impressed with Rita’s depth of knowledge, patience, and straightforwardness. If you don’t have an agent and you are planning on pitching a book, I highly recommend that you get one. Not only can an agent negotiate a better contract for you than you can negotiate on your own, she can also advise you through the first-book process and help you envision a future writing career.
Just remember, like writers, agents are a diverse bunch. I know many writers who have “broken up” with their agents for a variety of reasons. And I don’t recommend that writers sign lengthy or excessively over-committed contracts. I like the arrangement I have with my agent. We work on one book at a time and if we both want to work with each other again, it’s our choice, not our obligation, to do so.
A few things to keep in mind: Just because an agent is the right agent for a writer friend, she may not be the right one for you. She might. But then again, she might not. Be sure to interview both your friend and her agent to determine if she is a fit for your project and personality.
Be sure you interact with as many agents as possible when it’s time to select one. Be selective and check references. This is not the time to take risks. Publishing is risky enough. Your agent should be rock solid.
Don’t expect your agent to be your mother or your buddy. She is your business partner and if you are going to develop a deeper friendship, it will happen over time. Trust your instincts. Getting out of an agent agreement is possible but, of course, it’s a hassle you’d rather avoid.
Today's Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog's comments:
Sometimes the perfect agent isn't someone with a personality just like yours. It's the person with the opposite personality because then you make a more balanced team. Briefly describe your personality and then describe the personality that you think would compliment yours in an agent (doesn't have to be your opposite, but this is a good opportunity for self-reflection).
Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.
Where will the drawing be tomorrow?
Visit http://thewritermama.wordpress.com/ to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!
About the book:
Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (Writer's Digest Books 2007)
Kids change your life, but they don't necessarily have to end your career. Stay-at-home moms will love this handy guide to rearing a successful writing career while raising their children. The busy mom's guide to writing life, this book gives stay-at-moms the encouragement and advice they need including everything from getting started and finding ideas to actually finding time to do the work - something not easy to do with the pitter-patter of little feet. With advice on how to network and form a a business, this nurturing guide covers everything a writer mama needs to succeed at her second job. Sphere: Related Content