PDA

View Full Version : Have you met your agent/author?



Fairies wear bOOts:)
11-22-2016, 07:19 PM
So I was watching a J. K. Rowling documentary and it said she got to meet her agent, Christopher Little..... how often does this happen?

I live in Canada, Ottawa, Ontario and because of this I think my chances of ever meeting a future agent is slim. If you live in a place where there are no agents is it likely you will ever meet them? For example, if your book is really popular does that increase the chances of meeting your agent or are the prospects still slim?

Just asking because I find the idea of only speaking to my agent over e-mails strange... does anyone else agree?

Richard White
11-22-2016, 07:28 PM
I'm not represented by an agent, but I've met several at conventions over the years--Arisia, GenCon, BaltiCon, NYComiCon, LunaCon, not to mention WorldCon and World Fantasy Con. Many participate in panels and workshops at these shows and most are approachable during/after con hours (but for conversation/talking about the show/talking about the industry in general - it's not the time to try and pigeonhole them and push your latest work). If you have an agent, this is a great opportunity to sit down with them (go out to dinner with them), etc. and if you don't have an agent, it's a great chance to get to know them as people outside of their agent role.

Old Hack
11-22-2016, 07:35 PM
I live in the UK and know several agents as friends; but I would be very hesitant to sign with an agent I hadn't met up with. I appreciate it's not easy for everyone, though.

Aggy B.
11-22-2016, 07:36 PM
I haven't met my agent. We've talked on the phone several times and correspond fairly regularly via email. If I were to be visiting his city, I would probably make a point of trying to meet up, but it's not something that's a huge priority.

Most of the folks you work with in publishing are going to be folks you don't know face to face, unless you (and they) have the money to go to a lot of conventions/conferences and meet up. (I've worked with two different small presses. One I met the editors in person because they're regional. The other I never met because she lives much further north and our paths wouldn't have crossed easily.)

ETA: I think this is probably harder in the US which is HUGE, than it would be in the UK which is much smaller. New York City is a little over 800 miles from where I live, so not something I could do on a day trip. That's like driving from Lands End to the tippy-top of Scotland. (I was curious, so I looked it up. ;) )

Fairies wear bOOts:)
11-22-2016, 07:40 PM
But could your chances increase if your book was popular though? For example do they ever go on book tour with you?

Aggy B.
11-22-2016, 07:47 PM
Maybe if you were going overseas and meeting with folks about foreign rights. (Which, normally, you wouldn't do. But if the book was really hot, I suppose you might.)

Most the folks I know who have met their agent have done so either at genre-specific events (World Fantasy Con, WorldCon, Romantic Times, etc) or at the big book fairs. Or, because they happen to live in the same area and can get together for dinner or coffee or whatever.

Fairies wear bOOts:)
11-22-2016, 07:54 PM
Interesting. I find this sort of distant relationship strange... does anyone agree? I agree with Old Hack I would love to meet them (if and when the time comes)... but I am not sure if that is realistic for the region where I live. :S

Aggy B.
11-22-2016, 08:17 PM
It may depend on the individual. I mean, I've sold short stories to editors I've never met. And I've been co-writing a series of short stories with an author I've only talked to in person once. (Which was actually why he invited me to co-write with him - we were at the same convention and sat on a panel together. Later he emailed wanting to know if I was interested in doing a joint project.)

I guess for me the thing about agents is that they are a business partner, not specifically a friend. (No matter how much I think my agent is fantastic and we seem to be a good match personality-wise.) I don't feel a really strong need to talk about things other than my books and where he's shopping them around, and that can be done over the phone. But, I know some folks really need that face to face contact. (Something like Skype might be a good option if you are really needing to see how someone is reacting.)

Fairies wear bOOts:)
11-22-2016, 08:44 PM
I've completely thought of skype before and it sounds kind of nerve wrecking (if it was for the call at least). Afterwards I think skype would be a good solution to this I suppose though... :)

Mary Love
11-22-2016, 08:51 PM
I'm happy for the digital age when it comes to a working relationship with an agent, as I live very remotely (and love it). But if not for the internet, my location would be more of an issue, both with finding and corresponding with an agent. I'm a little shy too, so I'm pleased as pudding that internet relationships are the common practice for these things. ;)


(Which was actually why he invited me to co-write with him - we were at the same convention and sat on a panel together. Later he emailed wanting to know if I was interested in doing a joint project.)

^^This is kind of cool though. Makes me want to hop a bus to the nearest writing convention (better make that a plane if I want to be back before Christmas!).

Toothpaste
11-22-2016, 09:49 PM
I don't think it's strange really. It's business. These days people do business with others all over the world, across different timezones even. It's simply working with another professional. That being said, you're in Ottawa, not an isolated village with no access to roads or anything. There's an airport in Ottawa that has flights to many places. And there are conferences like BEA in NYC or ALA, or Word on the Street in various cities in Canada etc etc and so forth. There are plenty of opportunities to meet your agent should you wish it. I usually end up going to NYC once a year to meet my agent in person as well as my editor. It's fun! (and it really depends, but generally no the agent does not go on tour with an author.)

Obviously if you'd like to meet your agent before signing with them, Skype is an option. Or you can literally arrange to meet with them in person and fly to where they are. That being said it truly is not necessary. You can get all the information you need to know about compatibility and skills and style long distance. You can discuss everything you need to with them over the phone or via email.

Old Hack
11-23-2016, 12:54 AM
But could your chances increase if your book was popular though? For example do they ever go on book tour with you?

What "chances" are you talking about here, Fairies? I'm not sure I understand you.

Agents don't usually go on book tours with their writers, and book tours are vanishingly rare. They're not terribly effective at selling books for writers who aren't already well-known, and there are other, far more cost-effective ways of selling books.

Marissa D
11-23-2016, 01:42 AM
That's the beauty of it--you DON'T need to be in the same city or area as your agent to effectively conduct business. I didn't meet my first agent face-to-face until about nine months after I'd signed with her and six since she'd sold my first two books. I've just signed with a new agent and don't expect I'll be seeing her in person till the RWA National Conference next July, unless I go to visit friend in NYC sometime this winter or spring (always a possibility--it's only a 3-4 hr drive/train ride away). I prefer communicating by email, so that I have our discussions to refer back to if necessary (especially as we work on revisions.) Nothing strange about it, really--it's just the way the business works for a lot of people.

Captcha
11-23-2016, 02:03 AM
JK Rowling could meet the Queen if she wanted to; I certainly don't think she'd have trouble meeting her agent.

It's not as if agents are highly private, anti-social people who are actively trying not to meet their clients. I speak on the phone with mine occasionally (generally whenever a more significant decision needs to be made about something) and I'm sure if I went to NY she'd be amenable to an in-person meeting. But I don't want to go to NY and there's certainly no reason for her to come to where I live, so... we've never met in person and quite likely never will. I'm good with that. I want someone to sell my books, not be my buddy.

EMaree
11-23-2016, 02:09 AM
Entirely personal experience/opinion, but when I was offered rep in UK I found there was a strong expectation that British authors meet with an agent before signing with them. With a previous manuscript that was repped but never sold, an agent requested that I go meet them down in London. This wasn't possible at the time (travelling from Scotland to London was expensive for someone barely scraping rent) and the agent took it quite personally that I couldn't make it down.

These days, I keep a London travel fund set aside when queryng in case the best happens and I'm offered rep. And now that I'm in a better financial situation, I totally get it -- that face-to-face connection is important, and you can speak a lot more easily than over the phone.

Times are changing, and there are many of agents in the UK that don't care how rep is offered. The ones outside of London in particular have been very understanding. But there remain many that still want to offer face-to-face, and these are reputable, well-regarded agents who cannot be ignored when querying.

I wish when I'd first entered the query trenches I'd known to have a wee London fund handy. It's a great relief just to have it there.

waylander
11-23-2016, 02:53 AM
I've been to my agent's office once, and I don't live far from London. Otherwise I meet him at cons and communicate by e-mail.

Captcha
11-23-2016, 03:03 AM
Yeah, it may be a UK thing - everything's just so much CLOSER there.

Laurel
11-23-2016, 06:28 AM
I live in the United States, and I've never met my agent in person. When I signed, it never even came up as a possibility, much less as a necessity. I used to live in Nevada and recently moved to Washington. New York, where my agent (and most agents) work, is more than 2,000 miles away.

I have met my editor in person, but that was only because she happened to be in the area for a convention. This was after the book deal was finalized but before my first book came out.

It never struck me as strange, but if we had lived in the same area, I imagine it would have seemed natural for us to meet face-to-face before signing contracts.

Fairies wear bOOts:)
11-23-2016, 08:07 AM
I never thought it was strange either until I really thought about it. It's more about the fact I would like to though rather than it being actually strange. It's just something I thought would be nice if it could happen... but everyone is different.

Dennis E. Taylor
11-23-2016, 08:09 AM
I live in Vancouver, and my agent is in New York. So it's not just jump-on-the-bus. Nevertheless, my wife wants us to go visit once I'm making scads of money from writing.;)

And of course it'll be a write-off...

Fuchsia Groan
11-23-2016, 09:36 AM
I'd love to meet my agent! But NYC is, logistically, a difficult place to visit, even for someone like me who isn't all that far away. I'd need an additional reason for the trip to justify the expense.

Meeting in person is fun, but I don't think it's necessary for a productive relationship. Of course, I do 95 percent of my day job by email, too, so this may just be natural for me. Interesting that the UK is so different in this respect.

Anna Spargo-Ryan
11-23-2016, 10:22 AM
Never! I'm in Melbourne and my agent is only in Sydney (a ~1 hour plane flight) but I've never met her. I'd like to. One day we'll be in the same city at the same time.

Old Hack
11-23-2016, 11:19 AM
Entirely personal experience/opinion, but when I was offered rep in UK I found there was a strong expectation that British authors meet with an agent before signing with them. With a previous manuscript that was repped but never sold, an agent requested that I go meet them down in London. This wasn't possible at the time (travelling from Scotland to London was expensive for someone barely scraping rent) and the agent took it quite personally that I couldn't make it down.

I'm very surprised by this agent's reaction. I agree that it's good to meet up: but I'm astonished that they were so upset that you couldn't make it happen. I would have expected them to be more understanding, and hope they're not representative of agents as a whole. They certainly aren't in my experience.

Laurasaurus
11-23-2016, 10:45 PM
I met my ex agent once, just before I signed. (I went into London to meet them, but it wasn't far for me.)

I'd be very happy to only talk to an agent by email! But I'm super unsociable, and really hate meeting new people in general.

Fairies wear bOOts:)
11-23-2016, 10:53 PM
I'd be very happy to only talk to an agent by email! But I'm super unsociable, and really hate meeting people in general.

I think that's the basic tendency of an author to be honest..... :/

amergina
11-23-2016, 11:00 PM
I've met my agent several times, but I'm not that far from NYC and have opportunities to go up there, and we often end up at the same conventions.

(The agency she's currently with also does a yearly retreat for clients, which is pretty unique and rare, so I've also met some of her other clients, as well as her boss and some of his clients, and the office admin.)

Putputt
11-23-2016, 11:09 PM
I met with my UK agents as they were based in London and I was living in Oxford, which was only 1.5 hrs away by bus. It was really great and we got to chat about everything and I got along so well with them.

But meeting them didn't change the fact that after the book they signed me on for didn't sell, they didn't fall in love with my subsequent books, so we ended up parting ways.

I am now with an agent I have known for years but have never met as he lives thousands of miles away. We've chatted quite a few times over the phone and he e-mails regularly, so I'm happy. I would love to be able to meet him one day, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Laurasaurus
11-23-2016, 11:15 PM
I think that's the basic tendency of an author to be honest..... :/
Ha, yep. We're a socially awkward people...

tsharpe
11-24-2016, 05:40 AM
Some agencies hold a yearly or every-other-year retreat for their clients. That's how I met my first agent, after about a year and a half of working together. I've never met my current agent, since I live in the middle of the woods across the country from him, but we'll meet up eventually. Sometimes you'll be at the same conference or the same city for other things and you can arrange to meet up as well.

Dennis E. Taylor
11-24-2016, 06:10 AM
Ha, yep. We're a socially awkward people...

TBH, although I'm not great with in-person, I'm far worse with the phone. I'd rather meet in person than talk on the phone. But I'd rather email than either one.

Laurasaurus
11-24-2016, 03:53 PM
TBH, although I'm not great with in-person, I'm far worse with the phone. I'd rather meet in person than talk on the phone. But I'd rather email than either one.
Oh yes, I agree! As much as I hate in person, talking on the phone is pure torture.
Thank actual god for email. I couldn't really operate without it.