I’ve spent the last year offering agent advice on Writer Unboxed—everything from writing query letters to maintaining an open and productive working relationship with your representative. As I sit down today, I fear I may be fresh out of wisdom of my own, but as I think of some of the best advice I’ve learned during my 15 years in the business, it’s advice I’ve learned from the amazing group of authors I am lucky enough to work with every day. Whether they are on their first or tenth book, these men and women continue to teach me things about both the business and the craft of writing—and as I look at this list below, general tenants in which to live your life–each and every day. So without further ado, advice from my authors:
Slow Down. We are always being told to write faster, publish quicker, tweet more and sleep less. Okay, I added the last bit, but with all the focus on the “noise” authors are asked to make for their books, I sometimes wonder when they are supposed to sleep. I’ve had long conversations about this breakneck speed with several of my authors, who have simply decided that it’s not for them and that they are both happier and more productive when focusing on writing and the rest of their private lives.
Don’t Rush Others. This could fall into a subset of slowing down, but needs repeating. I represent a former editor who told me in the midst of auctioning his book that he wanted me to slow down and give editors time to really consider the book. There is a strategy in having a quick sale but he, rightly so, reminded me that it takes time for an entire house– from editor to publisher to sales and publicity–to make a decision about a book. They need to truly consider not just whether they like it but how they they publish it. And being the fastest to the plate doesn’t necessarily mean you are the best. [Read more…]