ASK THE AGENT: How I Get Clients
“How do you get most of your clients?”
As you know, I’m in a “building” phase of this agenting gig, actively looking for clients. It’s been about three months and I’ve brought 16 writers into the agency. I thought you might find it interesting to know how I got each one.
Obviously a great deal of my time is spent culling through queries and searching for that one special book. But percentage-wise, only about a third of my business (so far) has come in over the transom. The rest came through referrals from people I know in the business.
Here’s a rundown so far:
Client #1: This is the first project I sold, a two-book deal on a women’s self-help project. She queried my colleague Greg Johnson and he passed it on to me. So it was over the transom.
Client #2: A novelist referred to Greg by another author we know.
Client #3: A non-fiction author and friend of mine. She wanted to make the transition to being a fiction writer and she decided I was the one to shepherd her through that process. She’s working on her first novel.
Client #4: A children’s Bible project, which I normally wouldn’t represent. But this came in over the transom and I really liked it.
Client #5: Someone my colleague Greg has been in touch with for quite awhile, but the time was never right for representation. His client list is full, so… lucky me! This is a series encompassing both fiction and non-fiction for teens.
Client #6: A doctor who was referred to Greg by a longstanding client of his.
Client #7: A novelist I met years ago. She queried me and I remembered her work.
Client #8: A query came in over the transom for this guy’s book and the title was so attention-grabbing as to be almost shocking. The proposal lived up to the title so I had to sign him.
Client #9: This lady queried me with a super unusual and attention-getting tagline in the “subject” line of the email. I was intrigued and called her. We hit it off and I think she has a good chance of selling her book.
Clients #10, #11 and #12: Novelists referred to me by friends of mine.
Client #13: A radio personality who queried Greg over the transom.
Client #14: A wonderful writer I’d seen in a magazine and thought was brilliant. I tracked her down, began reading her blog, an opened up communication with her. After about two months, I was convinced she has a good long-term potential as a book author so I signed her.
Clients #15 and #16, not signed yet but will be soon: People I’ve known for quite awhile and been familiar with their writing. Currently working to polish their proposals and manuscripts.
To tally it up…
(5) projects over the transom (31%)
(10) from referrals or other personal association (63%)
(1) that I pursued myself (6%)
So, what can we learn from this little exercise? Anyone?