Monday, April 29, 2013

Career Planning and Agents

Agents are frequently asked by authors about the issue of career planning and, for the most part, the agents are all saying the same thing. We work with authors on career planning and making sure they can make the most out of their professional writing career. But, what does this really mean? What is it that these agents really do?

When we work with clients, most of us have pretty extensive conversations early on to determine exactly what that author wants out of their writing career. Where do they want to be in 5, 10 or 30 years from now? What type of writing do they see as being their "brand"?  The list goes on and on, but I think you get the idea here. We simply want to make sure we are all on the same page as we venture forth together in this big, mean and scary publishing world.

There is one thing to note here. The agents are not going to do the planning for you. It is not their job to tell you what to do with your writing career. You need to know that going in to the business partnership. What we can do is to guide you and shape the work you are doing to best meet both your professional goals, as well as your writing style.

As an agent, it can be pretty frustrating sometimes when we have an author that either doesn't have a clear vision of where they want to be, or if they do have a vision, it is a bit unrealistic. If that author doesn't know where they are going or where they want to be, that author is leaving things in the hands of the agent to "take a guess." When this happens, the process of really being successful with the writing can often take much longer than people want.

In the case of the authors having an unrealistic vision of their writing, now we are faced with the challenge of getting that reader to attempt to see a new path. For the author, however, they often see this as someone telling them what they can or cannot do. Now we end up with a lot of extra tension that really puts a strain on the relationship.

So, your goal this week is to examine where you want to be with your career. Remember that this must be something you can control. Along the same lines, it must be something realistic. No, I am not telling you that you cannot have dreams. I am simply asking you to look at your goals. What I think you will find is that having that clear vision will certainly make the writing you do feel even more productive.

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