Ten Commandments for Working with Your Agent

By request, here are my ten commandments for working with your agent. Break them at your own peril. Thou shalt vent only to thine agent and never directly to thy publisher or editor.

  1. Thou shalt not get whipped into a frenzy by the industry rumor mill fomented by the Internet. Asketh thy agent if what you’ve heard is true.
  2. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s success. Be content with thine own contract.
  3. If thou hast a dispute with thine agent, thou shalt talk to thy agent and seekest resolution. Jumping ship without reason is unprofessional … and agents talketh to each other.
  4. Thou shalt consider thy deadlines as sacrosanct. Thy hand signeth the contract, therefore thou art obligated. Thou shalt not expect thy agent to miraculously create extra time at the last minute.
  5. Respecteth the boundaries of the communication relationship with thy agent. Do not risketh being classified as a spammer or high maintenance by thy agent.
  6. Thou shalt be reasonable and balanced with regard to all social media. Remember, every word written on social media is a word not written on thy manuscript. At least don’t telleth the world that thou art eating ice cream to avoideth writing thy manuscript. Thy editor shall readeth your confession and weepeth.
  7. Keepeth it all in perspective. Selling only 8,000 books still meaneth 8,000 people have “bought a ticket” to read thy work. That crowd would filleth a megachurch auditorium.
  8. Remember thy calling to be a writer and keep it holy. You are in the business of changing the world word by word. Everything else is secondary.
  9. Thou shall rise and call thy agent blessed (and send chocolates at Christmas and cash on birthdays).
  10. If thou dost not have an agent, do not passeth “Go.” Instead, grabbeth one and bringeth said agent into thy camp ASAP. This industry is a labyrinth; and thou shalt someday discover thou needest one, and then it shall be too late. Real life examples available upon request.

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Permission is granted to use this in your own blog or website, as long as you include the following copyright notice:
© 2020 Steve Laube of The Steve Laube Agency (
www.stevelaube.com)

15 Responses to Ten Commandments for Working with Your Agent

  1. Anna Labno August 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    I don’t have a problem with facebook. I rarely visit the site.
    My problem is promising other authors to read their books.
    That keeps me away from my work.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser November 9, 2020 at 7:00 am #

    An agent’s only human;
    surprising, this, but true,
    and just like Harry Truman,
    the buck must stop with you.
    Don’t nurture your anxiety,
    and then expect your hand be held.
    In public keep propriety
    lest as a bad egg you are belled.
    Respect, please, all the boundaries
    that your agent asks you keep,
    lest his phone become a foundry,
    the noise of which won’t let him sleep.
    And though you find deadlines appalling,
    the master keeps them as meet calling.

    • Marlene Worrall November 9, 2020 at 11:51 am #

      Dear Mr. LAUBE,
      This is way beyond brilliant and amazing!
      Thank-you for this gift and the joy and knowledge it brings!

      Marlene Worrall

    • Linda Harvie November 13, 2020 at 6:16 pm #

      Dear Mr. Laube,

      Thank you for your help. I wrote a book. I love my book but had no idea what to do next or even how to begin. Thanks for all the advice.
      Sincerely,
      Linda Harvie

  3. Abby Martin November 9, 2020 at 7:42 am #

    Steve, this needs to be on a decorative poster and framed for our walls. This is awesome! This made my morning! 😀

  4. Ronda Wells November 9, 2020 at 7:48 am #

    And the agent hath spoken. Well sayeth thou! Blessed be the agents and authors-for they shall spreadeth the Word.

  5. Jeannie Delahunt November 9, 2020 at 8:14 am #

    Loved it!!! Creative presentation!!!

  6. Kristen Joy Wilks November 9, 2020 at 8:39 am #

    Ha ha! “At least don’t telleth the world that thou art eating ice cream to avoideth writing thy manuscript. Thy editor shall readeth your confession and weepeth.” I’ve always wondered when I see these on social media … does their agent and editor stumble across these??? Apparently, they do!

  7. Carol Ashby November 9, 2020 at 8:53 am #

    A fun summary! 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8 mostly or partly apply to Indies too. So, is 8000 too few sales to be considered a success by .midsized publishers so they wouldn’t give an author another contract? Is that sales in the first six months, first year, or total sales? If not 8000, then where is the problem point?

  8. Debbie Crick November 9, 2020 at 9:22 am #

    It art very difficult to grab an agent They art slippery and hideth in offices behind desks. Therefore expect my query and pages shortly.

    GChops

  9. Frenchy Dennis November 9, 2020 at 10:58 am #

    Thou artest getting thy word across perfectly. With a bit of fun thrown in. As a former editor, I understandest thy reason for trying to get thy message across to those who writest. Thanks! Love it!

  10. Marlene Worrall November 9, 2020 at 11:51 am #

    Dear Mr. LAUBE,
    This is way beyond brilliant and amazing!
    Thank-you for this gift and the joy and knowledge it brings!

    Marlene Worrall

  11. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. November 10, 2020 at 6:35 am #

    I thanketh thou for thy wisdom, oh Steve Laube!

  12. Savanna Ammons November 10, 2020 at 1:03 pm #

    I love these!

  13. Hope Ann November 11, 2020 at 11:56 am #

    ‘At least don’t telleth the world that thou art eating ice cream to avoideth writing thy manuscript. Thy editor shall readeth your confession and weepeth.’

    This made me laugh so much. I love the whole article. XD

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