Thursday, August 9, 2007

You're Being Repesented by Whom?

EA, I have a question. Suppose I have a meeting with my editor, and he expresses admiration of my agent, saying "You're in good hands."

Should I take this to mean

(a) My agent is a patsy, which pleases my editor, since they're on opposite sides;
I sometimes fantasize about being this evil. But it's not in me. And it's not in any editor I've ever met.

(b) My editor is hoping I'll repeat the compliment to my agent;
There are really much more effective ways of buttering up agents. Alcohol, for instance.
(c) My editor is a polite person;
Well, if I were meeting with you face to face, and you announced that you'd just signed up with agent X, and paused... thereby requiring some response from me, I might burble something like this if my natural response was actually "Crap, this just got 5 times harder," or "That jackass?!"
or (d) I'm in good hands?
This is most likely. Or at least you're in good hands as far as the editor knows. There is a fantastic community of writers out there talking about their experiences with agents, so make sure you hear it from both sides.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

An editor (and multiple writers and others) said the same thing about my agent and I took it as, "yippee!"
and thank god other people trust this person too. =)

emay said...

If there's a good way to really find out what experiences other writers have had with agents (or editors), I'd love to know what it is. SCBWI doesn't allow any ad hominem discussion on their boards. Verla Kay is more open, but most of us are hesitant to openly describe negative experiences, even anonymously, because it's fairly easy to find out who's writing.

I know I often see other writers eagerly discussing certain agents and publishers that I'd like to warn them about, but I'm afraid it'll come back to bite me in the rear. A friend once asked me about an agent I knew well, and I gave an honest assessment (positive and negative, but a significant amount of negative). He signed with her anyway. It's like warning someone off a potential romantic partner. If they go ahead and get together, they'll both resent you!

Anonymous said...

EMAY--

How true that is! Last year I warned someone early on about an agent I'd had a very negative experience with and they signed with the agent anyway. They haven't sold yet. It literally pains me, because having a bad agent is such a bad, bad thing.

Next time I'll keep my mouth shut, though. And pretend I don't know anything about anyone. Sometimes, writers WANT to live in la la land.

By the way, I don't want to be proven right about the agent. I was hoping she was only a terrible agent for me and not all her clients. You know, when you've been there you don't want others to suffer. Writing is too hard.