Monday, August 5, 2013

Are we harassing our clients enough? by Linda S. Glaz

Harassing them?
Well…are we?
When I worked as Terry’s assistant he was wonderful about getting me to understand the concept…there are hundreds of GOOD books, but good isn’t enough. They have to be GREAT!
It took a bit, but he was completely right and then some. SO MANY GOOD BOOKS are out there for the taking, but there isn’t enough time in the world to handle a good book. They must be better than the best to compete in today’s market.
“So is a great book even enough?” Look behind door #4 for the answer, Linda. “NO!”
Recently, a book on a very timely topic was taken for a full read. The editor jumped on board, said she was in love with it, wanted it. “Yes, yes, yes!” And it went to acquisitions. A week later as I opened the email, heart pounding, and literally seeing the contract in my mind, my client received a rejection. The nicest one ever. I was told EVERYONE there wanted it. Loved it. Really thought the topic was spot on for today’s readers. And it was killing them to turn it down.
Well, why on earth didn’t they take it then?
The client had no platform to speak of. Her writing was stellar, her topic amazing, but she didn’t have the chops to back it up. Nothing to give the publisher to help “get it out there”, nothing to make them say as a first-time author she had  the whole package.
I’ve had some clients who want to “put it together” once they have a contract, and I’ve been hitting a bit hard on the fact they need it before we even approach potential publishers.
As agents, the lines of our job are getting more and more gray. More fuzzy. Do we simply look for good books and approach publishers, or do we weed out good for great, but only for those folks who have learned not only their craft, but their promotion abilities as well?
Okay, so I’m becoming just a bit of a tyrant—not really, but it sounds so empowering. However, I am pushing my clients to develop their social contacts. Their book looks much more inviting it they can back amazing writing up with a blog or website with hundreds of followers. If they engage in more than one blog. If they are available to readers on facebook. If they speak at local and regional organizations.
And on…and on.
Yes, it helps that I’ve served in the Air Force. It gives me the opportunity to say, “Give me fifty pushups if you don’t have one hundred new followers by this weekend!”
As agents who want to see our clients succeed, I think we have to ask ourselves, “Are we harassing our clients enough?” I hadn’t been, but I am now. That contract should not have been lost to someone with a story not as strong, but who had a bigger platform.
It WON’T happen again…


Tom Threadgill said...

I think step one is to Google yourself. See where you show up. The more links the better! It's the way of the world now, and right or wrong, it's become part of the author's job to help the publisher market. So I suppose it helps when your agent is a tyrant. :)

Linda Glaz said...

You got it, Tom. No pushups for you!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...


I'm so glad to see this post. I've seen this happen to so many excellent writers who are much better than good. I try to get this platform thing across to writers, but sometimes I think they still aren't getting it and they think "platform" is another trend word. Unfortunately, I think it is here to stay and won't go away.

I sent a new proposal to Terry last week and I spent more time on the Marketing piece of that proposal than anything else. I know that if I can't sell them on my platform ability, the story itself has no chance.

It used to be that story trumps everything. I've heard Colleen Coble say it so many times over the years, but I no longer believe that. What I DO believe is that it was once true. I think we are now living in a time, where we have crossed a threshold and story takes a back seat to platform and network connections.

Linda Glaz said...

Boy, Jennifer. I hear ya. At the very least, it weighs in as heavily as the excellent story. If that wasn't a wake up call, nothing was to me.

Elaine Stock said...

Excellent motivation, Linda. I'm going to tap into my social media right now & Tweet this wise message.

Linda Glaz said...

Thanks, Elaine

Audrey said...

This continues to be a tough debate. But. as Bob Dylan sang...the times they are a changin. There is no going back, only going forward. I need to get busy with both writing and getting my name "out there".
Thanks as always for sharing your hard earned wisdom with us!

Linda Glaz said...

Thanks, Audrey, I realize how difficult it is to want to share our writing time with marketing, but I guess you're right, times are changing!

Pam Enderby said...

I agree with this wholeheartedly! When my book was published, 6 years ago, I didn't have a sold, aggressive marketing plan in place. I thought its great content would make the book sell. I've been sorely disappointed and although I would like to write another book, until my social network and marketing possibilities have improved, I won't waste my time. Thanks for the good reminder!

Linda Glaz said...

Thanks, Pam. A person's firsthand accounts help to encourage folks in the right direction more than my preaching. Thanks so much...