10 Ways to Be a Dream Client
1. Reveal that you’re related to Harper Lee and that she has finally decided to publish her second novel and she wants you to recommend a good agent, preferably someone you’ve worked with and whose first name starts with the letter “R.”
2. Make sure spellchek is on when writing.
3. Start a blog dedicated solely to celebrating your agent’s many gifts and talents. Here are a few suggested titles for your blog: “Rachelle Rocks”; “Brilliance, Personified”; “I Don’t Care if I Ever Get Published, It’s Honor Enough Just to be Represented by Rachelle.”
4. Stop crying long enough to repeat after me: Revisions make me a better writer. Revisions make me a better writer. Revisions…
5. Laundry day is Thursday. Just let yourself in with the key I keep in the flowerpot. And remember, don’t mix colors and whites. Thanks!
6. Write a novel with the depth of Gilead, the marketability of The DaVinci Code and the spiritual impact of Mere Christianity. (You have until next Tuesday.)
7. Realize that “building a platform” doesn’t require trips to Home Depot…unless your audience is men who like tools and you’re doing a series of in-store speaking engagements.
8. Have a collaborative spirit (i.e. offer to lend me your condo in Breckenridge during ski season).
9. Treat every rejection as a reason to celebrate. (Who doesn’t like lots of parties, right?)
10. Stop stalking me.*
Okay, I’m putting on my deadly serious hat now. Here’s the actual list.
10 Ways to REALLY Be a Dream Client
1. Write well.
2. Trust me; if you’re confused or doubting me, feel free to ask all the questions you want until you understand where I’m coming from.
3. Understand that when I give you editorial notes and request revisions… or when I say “I don’t think this is saleable”… I always have your best interest at heart. My goal is to sell a book, just like yours is. I’ll try not to let you put inferior work in the hands of editors. It will only damage both of our reputations.
4. Communicate with me. Ask questions; call for help when you need it; let me know when there’s a problem; share good news with me; update me periodically, even if I don’t ask for it.
5. If you’re going to fire me, please discuss it with me first; that is, before you tell everyone else you know; and preferably, before dashing off that “You’re fired” email.
6. Have a platform and/or be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about promoting your own book. Don’t just state your “willingness” to go along with the publisher’s PR plans. What are YOUR plans?
7. Try to maintain realistic expectations at all stages of this journey. Stay realistic by networking with other authors, attending conferences, and keeping up with happenings in the publishing industry. (And reading blogs.)
8. Have a collaborative spirit. You and your agent are on the same team.
9. Remember I’m a person—with feelings and the tendency to make mistakes every once in awhile. Let’s just be real with each other.
10. Enjoy a nice glass of wine when we have dinner out. If you prefer not to, simply let me know and I’ll respect your preference, but don’t be offended that I asked.
Time to add yours! What do you think would make you a dream client?
*P.S. The first list was composed with the help of a friend who is much funnier than me.
Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent affiliated with WordServe Literary Group in Colorado.