Friday, April 22, 2011

What Does Scott Value In A Writer?

I was answering some questions for another writer yesterday and one of the questions that was addressed was "What did I value in a writer."

It is interesting that in this business, where we focus so much time on the manuscript and the projects we want to sell, the author is still a major player in the equation. In the end, regardless of how good a project is, or how much an agent really loves a project, if the writer is someone the agent cannot get along with, for whatever reason, the odds are a rejection letter will be forthcoming. This is not to say the agent won't find a way to work over this barrier or that this is a 100% certainty, but it is a factor.

As an agent, I look for several things in the writer, besides that unbelieveable manuscript.

I want a writer with a professional mindset. In other words, writing is no longer simply a hobby and everything that writer does will be of the highest professional level. This includes how they present themselves in public or on line. Remember, the writer is also representing the agency.

I want a writer with a desire to grow and learn. Someone who seems to think that their approach works fine and there is no reason to change is probably not going to cut it in this business. Think about Madonna, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. They all knew adapatablity was key to success. They would learn from their mistakes and move on.

I want a writer who believes in teamwork. We have to work together to get those projects perfect for the editors. We work together on works in progress, we work together on pitches. You name it, we do it all together.

Finally, I want a writer that knows and understands the business. Writers have to know the process it takes to get a manuscript to the bookshelves. Writers have to know, what I call, "publishing time" - that whole hurry up and wait mentality.

Don't get me wrong, the story still has to be good, but you are also selling yourself. I really like what Deb Werksman says when she talks about looking at new authors. She is looking to build a writer. She's in it for the long haul and so am I.

Have a great weekend.



  1. What you value in a writer is exactly what every writer should value in themselves and in their agent. It's all about teamwork, two minds put together to achieve some form of perfection.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. This is applicable to workers in general--great post. We should be professional, adaptable, and easy to work with. Have a very Happy Easter!

  3. I think a lot of people think "teamwork", but very few agents or writers say that's exactly what they're looking for. I'm glad to see it here.

  4. Awesome article - nice to have such a succinct explanation of what editors are looking for. So many articles deal with what NOT to do. Nice slant.