Communicating with Your Agent
One of the primary questions my clients ask when I first sign them to the agency is “How should I expect to communicate with you?” This is a GREAT question by the way, and one that should always be addressed in a new agent-client relationship.
While each agent will have their own preferences, I believe most of them have the same general philosophy as I do:
1. Email is the preferred method of communication.
2. There are times when it’s necessary to talk something through, and it’s especially helpful at the beginning when you’re first getting to know one another. So don’t hesitate to call if necessary (if your agent has indicated that it’s okay) or even better, email to set up a phone call.
3. Once you have an agent, you shouldn’t feel guilty or hesitant to contact them. I’ve noticed clients are usually very considerate, not wanting to “bug” their agent, and it’s appreciated. My philosophy is that, once I’ve agreed to represent you, I like to keep an open line of communication, so don’t avoid contact when you have questions or concerns.
4. If you have several minor questions or comments, you may want to save them up for a once a week email. Write your questions in an email, save it to “draft,” then later when you have more things to say you can add to it.
5. Many agents are on Twitter and/or Facebook. It’s perfectly fine to have casual conversation with your agent via social networking sites (including blogs). But if you have something important to say, it’s best to do it through email rather than a Facebook message or a Twitter DM. Here’s why: My email inbox is my top priority each day. It’s one of the ways I keep track of what needs to get done. Twitter and Facebook are not anywhere on my “to do” list during the work day, and I may not be checking them. If your communication is important, I really need an email.
6. When in doubt about how best to communicate, ask your agent what he/she prefers.
7. If you’re having trouble reaching your agent, i.e. you’ve emailed a couple of times and haven’t heard back within a few days, there could be an email glitch. In this case it’s appropriate to try another method—phone call, Twitter, Facebook—and ask if they’ve received your emails.
What about communicating with an agent who is not your agent?
→ Email only.
→ Twitter and Facebook are fine for casual conversation, but don’t always expect a reply.
→ Don’t call on the phone or stop by the office (yes, it happens).
→ Do not add agents to your newsletter or other mailing list.
Refer to my post on Email Protocol for more detailed advice on communication.
If you have an agent: How’s the communication working for you? Is there anything agents can do to make it easier?
If you don’t have an agent: What are your concerns about communication?
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent