Manners Matter: 13 Etiquette Tips

Manners Matter: 13 Etiquette Tips As everyone becomes busier and more harried, and we all seem to communicate with electronic devices more than with people, I think it’s more important than ever to pay attention to basic politeness in business situations. It’s all-too-easy to rush through our days with little concern for niceties. Here are some tips I’ve gleaned, meant as simple reminders of the common courtesies that can make our days more pleasant. 1. Don’t say someone “referred” you unless they really, truly did. Agents are the recipients of far too many “suspect” referrals. Be honest in your communications. 2. Avoid discussing problems with your agent or publisher in a public forum like your blog. It can be so tempting to vent, but the way to actually solve problems is...
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7 Ways to Be Professional

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-S7NPYuMaGYs/TW71inVjXSI/AAAAAAAAEaM/bTEeJF5NVnI/s200/Mary+demuth+150+questions.jpg Guest Blogger: Mary Demuth We’re all friends here, right? Yes – but it still pays to present yourself as a professional. I wish I’d known these seven things when I started out in the publishing world. 1. Make sure your paper products are professional. Don’t print business cards on your printer. (Go to gotprint.com and have them professionally printed.) Keep everything consistent. One of the things my former agent told me (right after he decided to take a risk and agent me) was that I had very professional presentations. It made an impression. Here’s a picture of my professionally-designed circular business cards. 2. Continue your professionalism into the Internet. Don’t have a website if you can’t have it look amazing. Try to move beyond an...
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How to Fire Your Agent

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/ShwfMnkrjbI/AAAAAAAAC-M/SNRJyXO0Zyg/s200/Trump+You%27re+fired.jpg (Encore presentation of a previous post.)There comes a time in every agent’s life when one of their clients needs to move on. Yep. We all get fired by an author at some point. It isn’t pleasant, but it’s a reality in business. What are some reasons writers opt to terminate their agency relationship? I think four big ones top the list. (1) The writer believes they’re not getting enough attention; (2) the agent has dropped the ball too many times and the writer no longer trusts them; (3) the writer and agent disagree about the best plan for the writer’s career path; or (4) the writer finds out that the agent is doing something unethical or is somehow not a legitimate literary agent. Not to Be Taken Lightly Ending your agency relationship is a personal decision,...
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What to Ask an Agent

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/Sgb7YtLzqQI/AAAAAAAAC7k/NK-aPkIUGAM/s200/question+mark.jpg I’ve received several questions lately about how to handle things when an agent calls (or multiple agents call) offering representation. How do you decide what to do? It’s exciting to get The Call, but it also means you’re going to want to find out as much as possible about the agent before agreeing to representation. In fact, when you get the call, you may want to ask for some time to think about it, then gather your questions and get back to them. There are a few things you should try to find out on your own before you start bombarding them with questions. Read the agent’s website. If they have a blog, spend some time browsing around it to get a feel for their personality and opinions. Know what genres they represent, and if they have a specialty. See if they list...
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Protocol – When an Agent Offers to Rep You

A couple of quick notes:(1) I’m all caught up on responding to queries, so if you sent one prior to October 10th and haven’t heard from me, you may resubmit if you like. I am NOT caught up on reading requested partials and fulls.(2) Shark Tank is on tonight! Set your DVR or write yourself a note. ================================ I’d had several phone conversations with a potential client and we were really “clicking.” I’d made her an offer of representation, knowing she’d sent her proposal to several other agents at the same time. She expressed that she wanted to say “yes” to me. But she hadn’t heard back from the other agents, so she wasn’t sure what that meant. Were they not interested since they hadn’t responded? Had they simply not gotten to her...
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Which Comes First – Agent or Editor?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/Sgbo6mnYCkI/AAAAAAAAC7U/O8BfSGbkE3Y/s200/chicken+egg.gif A lot of people think it’s a chicken-or-egg question: Do I pitch to agents or editors first? But it’s really not that hard. The truth is, if you want to sell your book to a commercial royalty-paying publisher, you’re going to need either an agent, or some kind of personal contact with editors. Since it’s difficult to have that personal contact, an agent is usually necessary. You can get personal contact with editors by going to conferences. They may like your pitch and request a partial, in which case you should send it. This is definitely a good way to get started. However, at those same conferences, you’ll want to meet with agents too, because it will be to your advantage to have an agent before you start submitting your work to publishers. Here’s...
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Establish Your Identity

Okay, this might seem like a really nitpicky complaint. I’m sorry. But here goes, a mini rant. Trust me, it’s just one more way I’m trying to help you, dear writers, understand how to begin creating a positive, professional image for yourself, from the very first time you come in contact with an agent or editor. You know when you send an email to someone, and it shows up in that person’s inbox, with a particular NAME beside it? Like: From: Jane Smith. Subject: Query – Women’s Fiction The name that appears in the inbox is your display name. Here’s my observation. An astounding number of people do not send queries from an email address with their OWN display name attached to it. Like, today. The line in my inbox said: From: Esther. Subject: Query....
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Submission Protocol

I’ve been getting quite a few questions from people wondering how to handle the submission process when, for example, their manuscript is under consideration by an agent, and meanwhile, an editor is interested and asks to see it. They want to know if they should go ahead and submit to the editor, or wait to see if the agent is going to represent them first. First, you need to have a question answered and settled in your own mind. Are you comfortable and happy doing a contract directly with a publisher (if it comes to that) without the assistance of an agent? Or would you prefer to have an agent handle negotiations and all aspects of the contract and business dealings (for a 15% fee)? Just know what your answer is ahead of time. There isn’t a right answer, by the way. Next,...
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The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make

…In Pitching Their Books to Agents By Greg Johnson (*Rachelle here: I keep asking my illustrious colleague [read: boss] if he wants to contribute to the blog; but he is SO illustrious he’s swamped from dawn till dark and has not had time yet. Never fear, I pulled this out of something he wrote in response to an agent survey.) The biggest mistakes writers make, in my opinion, are… a They don’t research the agency they want to pitch. a They pitch their product long before it is actually ready. They are so anxious to get published that they don’t rewrite and edit well. a They don’t do a good job with the competition section in their proposal. They think their book is the only one of its kind. When we see that, we reject the proposal 99% of the time, or at...
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