Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Squeaky Wheel by Diana Flegal

Before I sign on a client, I do my best to cover in detail the expectations I have of my authors and what they can expect of me. I have gotten more specific as I've learned the need to be.
One of the things I now ask of my clients is that they keep in touch with me. It is too easy for an author who is quiet to slip between the cracks and fall off my radar. The squeaky wheel does get the grease … or my attention. I appreciate an author who is proactive. If someone begins to abuse this, I kindly provide a realistic boundary that works for us both.
In Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud addresses the need for ongoing measurements, stressing that when we stop to measure time, we can find that months have passed instead of what we thought were weeks. He believes this  loss is partially related to the digital culture we live in, where lickety-split actions are taken online. “There is an APP for that is commonly heard, providing shortcuts that speed up our lives. Much of our jobs are handled from smart phones where we multitask: juggling Facebook and Twitter posts while answering work e-mail. And as we juggle, time passes.
Monitoring our daily activity is key. For agents and authors alike.
Many authors sandwich their writing in between work and parenting. If your agent or publisher asks for something from you, it is your responsibility to place that task on your “to-do list.” When I ask an author for something, I am handing it over and removing it from my list. I then move on to another. The author must then stay on top of that.   
Many agents manage 50+ clients. It falls to the author to be proactive and communicate with his or her agent.
My authors regularly “check in” with me by e-mail, phone, and text, telling me where they are in regard to their marketing, social media, WIPs (works in progress), proposal tweaks, or new story or book ideas.
I suggest you err on the side of bothering your agent than not. They will advise you if you abuse their time. That’s better than slipping between the cracks.


Rick Barry said...

Nice balance in your post, Diana. We authors know agents are busy, so it's easy to think, "I won't bother her."

I try to provide a light touch. Enough communication to remind her I'm alive, yet without consuming time that she could be using submitting proposals for my manuscript!

Sandra Ardoin said...

It's good be reminded of this, Diana. But I'm with Rick. I try not to "bother" you. If I don't check in enough, by all means, let me know. :)

Elaine Stock said...

Thanks for this insight, Diana.