View Full Version : How friendly are you with Agents/Editors/Publishers?

Cat Scratch
10-27-2006, 02:50 AM
Jenna brought this up in her e-newsletter this week (and if there is already a thread on another board, please let me know!). How friendly are you in your professional writing relationships? In a world where most of us do our professional interactions via e-mail and phone calls, it's difficult to create the kind of camaraderie and intimacy of an office, and some probably like it that way. For others, it seems strange to interact with these people semi-daily and not know a single detail about them, other than their preferences for semi-colons over dashes.

Do you and your editors ever just chat about sports? Does your publisher ask how your daughter’s school play went? Does your agent know your birthday? Do you share major events (like pregnancy) with them on a casual basis? If so, who initiated the non-business side of the relationship?

I have a fairly friendly relationship with one of my editors who knows about my day job, major life events, etc. My agent and I are pretty much on a business-only correspondence. The rest of my business contacts run the gamut, but I always wonder about other writers and how they do it. Fill me in?

10-27-2006, 02:53 AM
Interesting question. I don't yet have an editor, but my agent and I chit-chat about all kinds of things. We're both major animal lovers so we talk "dogs" a lot.

10-27-2006, 10:38 PM
I only communicate with my newspaper editor occasionally, but when I do, it's always very friendly. Most often the conversation is all business, but I find when it's an in-person meeting rather than via email or phone, it tends to be more casual. Sometimes we'll gab like we've just run into someone we don't usually hang out with, but like and enjoy seeing ... which is exactly what it is.

I just hope that when I get an agent and get a novel published (positive thinking!), I develop the same kind of relationship with them.

10-27-2006, 10:44 PM
If I knew any publishers or editors personally, I'd be so friendly I'd be naked.


10-27-2006, 11:21 PM
I'm on a friendly basis with several of my editors, but it's strictly business when it's work related.

On the personal side, I get Christmas cards from a couple of them every year, and when my brother died, I got two phone calls (totally surprised and touched me), lots of e-mails, and even a handwritten card with a poem from one. I thought that was extremely nice.

Simon Woodhouse
10-27-2006, 11:34 PM
I'm the sort of person who waits for someone else to make the first move. If I'm dealing with someone via email and they're nothing but professional, then so am I, because I think that's how they want to conduct business. If they're relaxed and easy-going, then I respond likewise.

My publisher is very professional – doesn't joke or ask me anything personal. But it doesn't really bother me, because it is a business relationship. I was recently dealing with a cover artist and she was very jovial, so I adopted the same attitude. I used to write for an entertainment e-zine, and it was a very laidback relationship right from the word go.

I'm always a bit wary of trying to add humour to emails. What I find funny someone else might not, and it's difficult to gauge someone's sense of humour without seeing their face-to-face reaction. On the whole, I think I prefer professional – it's easier and less time consuming.

10-27-2006, 11:39 PM
If I ever get to the point where I have any one of those, I'll let you know.

I hope I'll have a good working relationship with them. Friendship is not out of the question.

10-28-2006, 06:59 AM
I get along really well with my agent. I just love her! The first time we met we hung out for five hours, until closing time at the pub. She also came to my going away party. She's awesome.

My editor is super sweet and we seem to get along well, but I have had less contact with her. Though I am planning on meeting up with her in NY.

I feel so super lucky in so many ways, and these two ladies are definitely a part of that.

10-28-2006, 08:28 AM
My situation is a little different, I guess. I work as the Lifestyles Editor of a newspaper, and I see these people every day. My associate editor is my mentor. When I think of her, I think of that quote from the end of Charlotte's Web about a good friend and a good writer coming along and Charlotte was both. That describes my associate editor.

My editor-in-chief can be a real pain in the butt, but he is generally a good person. He always asks how our family are doing, he always gives me good evaluation, and when I left for another job last year (that lasted seven months and I came back), he gave me a good recommendation. I started at the newspaper when I was 22 years old and straight out of college, not knowing a whole lot of anything, and he gave me a chance.

When I was pregnant, my co-workers threw a shower for me, which my associate editor attended and my editor-in-chief sent a gift. When my husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder early in the year, they were supportive of any and all time off I had to take.

Honestly, our newsroom is like one big family, which I think helps us put out a better paper. But, if you were to ask me about the publisher of the paper, it would be a different story.

10-28-2006, 12:04 PM
My newspaper editor and I have more of a businessrelationship with a warm undertone. But my editor for my non-fic book and I have been ou for drinks and she recently called to ask my advice on buying a house and stuff. So I absolutely consider us friends! I am just developing my relationship with my kiddiebook editor, and there I notice a nasty tendency in myself to fawn. I guess I'm so grateful that they finally accepted my manuscript... I have to keep that in check.

10-28-2006, 12:09 PM
I'm just thrilled that someone read my "Letter from the Editor!" :D (Thanks, Cat Scratch. Will you be my new best friend?)

10-28-2006, 12:44 PM
Jenna, dear, it's late. Get some sleep.

10-28-2006, 06:12 PM
In magazines, I really like my editor for the horror mag I was first published in. I email her sometimes. We chatter a bit. With the other--Cricket--
the editor I knew & liked left, so I don't really know who I will be dealing with there. But in that case, it's such a brief connection, it doesn't seem odd to go either way.

In my novel life, I'm very very social with both my editors & my agent. My US editor has been here (in my city) twice. We got together both times for chit-chatting and socializing. We talk on the phone & email about both the works and life. She & her assistant have sent me packages a few times. And when the house summoned me to NYC for meetings, some combination of editor, assistant, & agent pretty much was with me for everything but sleep.

UK editor? *grin* I adore him. We have more social email than work email. We just spent 3 hours on the phone just chit-chatting. Some of it was work, but a lot of it was just expanding our connection. We're already making plans for what to do next summer when I'm in London for PR. He even offered to take me to his tattooist (and I'll take him to mine if he's ever in my town).

I've bound myself to these editors for at least 3 years. I fully expect my agent to be a part of my life, umm, always, so having a personal connection seems inevitable. Plus, well, they're just all total dolls. I am enthralled by them.


10-28-2006, 06:39 PM
For some reason, I find it hard to get past the business relationship with editors or my agent. Maybe it's because my friend, who's a children's book illustrator, once tried to become friendly with an editor at one of the publishing houses she was working with. It was an editor she spoke with many times on the phone. My friend made an off-hand comment that most people would have found funny. The editor didn't. In fact, the editor called my friend's agent and said that my friend's artwork is outstanding, and the author of that particular picture book loved it, but that my friend was now acting unprofessional. For some reason, this just sticks in my mind. I know it's only one editor who probably was having a lousy day, but.... Oh well.

Maybe when I'm raking in the *cough* money (yeah, right), I'll feel more comfortable. So I guess that's when hell freezes over.

10-29-2006, 12:01 AM
I have a very friendly and longstanding relationship with my editor. I first talked to her when she was looking for someone with knowledge of knitting to do copy editing on the line of knitting books they were starting. Initially, we talked quite a bit about what makes for good writing in this area and how to set editorial guidelines for knitting instructions. We discovered we have a personal interest in a lot of the same things (knitting, spinning, other fiber arts, music, dance...). Whenever we meet or talk on the phone about my books now, we are very likely to get sidetracked...