Your Part in Your Agent Relationship

Some writers want to work with an agent, but even after securing representation, don’t always take full advantage of the help an agent can offer. Agents appreciate authors not wanting to be high maintenance. However, it’s better to keep us in the loop than to leave us out. The expression, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” applies to so many situations that can occur!

Manage Expectations

Lots of new authors aren’t sure what to expect. They’ve put in the hard work writing a book, but may be clueless to the nuances of the business. That’s why we’re here! Take our hand and let us be your guide.

Read and Understand Your Contract

Agents are here to help you understand anything about your agreement that seems mysterious. We appreciate that you trust us and might sign any contract we put in front of you, no questions asked. But I want my clients to understand what they’re signing. Ask questions. I’ll take the time with you that you need.

Let Us Help You Juggle Commitments

Many agented authors find they need help in juggling commitments. This is a happy “problem” of being a successful author. We help you with troublesome contract clauses that can limit your career, and handle tricky situations that can happen when talented authors suddenly find themselves in high demand. Let us take the hit while you remain the sweet author toiling away to make all the publishers happy!

Your turn:

What do you want your agent to do for you?

When has an agent been especially valuable to you?


20 Responses to Your Part in Your Agent Relationship

  1. Mark Stevenson April 26, 2018 at 4:42 am #


    You are always a wealth of knowledge for me. This was great. I think what I am most nervous about is not being a one-hit wonder. I know once I get my manuscript ready to query it shouldn’t be too difficult to get representation based on what I am writing. Everyone wants a good story. Also, in my rookie experience, I don’t have a great baseline to gauge the fairness of s contract. Having someone say, ” oh, that’s standard and typical” thrown at you is hard to know when the chatter in the writing industry is subjective in some circles. Lastly, agents are all over the board as to what their idiosyncrasies and buttons are. The challenge is to find someone you have some chemistry with maybe?

    Thanks for listening. Have a wonderful day!

    • Tamela Hancock Murray April 26, 2018 at 8:50 am #

      Thank you for reading the blog! As for chemistry, I understand what you mean. You want to feel you can trust and connect with the agent as a person. I recommend first and foremost finding an agent who really believes in your work. A degree of natural chemistry should follow from there. I realize some clients want friendship and others want all business while still others want something in between. As with any relationship, let your expectations be known, and that should help the path stay smooth.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser April 26, 2018 at 6:28 am #

    Tamela, I would have answered this question quite differently last night than I would this morning, but then last night I was on the precipice of death…and against the odds, I survived the crisis and remain.

    I don’t have an agent; last night I would have said that I would hope I might find an agent who would help me focus my platform and address the mysteries of readership demographics and their expansion.

    But now, I think, perhaps this: I would hope for an agent who would bring out the best in me as a person, and let that inform my writing and platform under the aegis of God’s Grace.

    By the way, I am a subscriber but didn’t get an email notification that this post was up.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray April 26, 2018 at 8:52 am #

      Thanks for letting me know the email didn’t go through. I notified Tech Support. And thank you for being a subscriber!

      My hope as an agent is to help clients both personally and professionally. I know I derive great joy and benefit both personally and professionally from working with my wonderful writers.

      God bless you, and please stay well!

    • Norma Brumbaugh April 26, 2018 at 9:42 am #

      Andrew, glad you pushed through and are here. Still praying.

    • Tisha Martin April 26, 2018 at 10:23 pm #

      Andrew, said a prayer for you tonight. May you see brighter days tomorrow and always. God bless.

  3. Loretta Eidson April 26, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    Having an agent like you is an answer to prayer. I’m still learning the whole process and praying one day to make all the time you invest in me worth your while. I appreciate any and all advice you offer and I look forward to us celebrating a publishing contract one day in the future. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and editing, while you guide and encourage. Thank you! (I didn’t receive the email this morning either.)

    • Tamela Hancock Murray April 26, 2018 at 9:42 am #

      Thank you so much, Loretta! I look forward to celebrating, too!

  4. Norma Brumbaugh April 26, 2018 at 9:39 am #

    How about energy, expertise, excellence, and empathy . . . for starters. Actually, I think I would appreciate an agent that goes after it, who’s knowledgeable, spiritually astute, consistent and dependable. The icing on the cake would be if we hit It off and some sort of synergistic creativism developed in the working relationship between us. Humor is nice, kindness is imperative. I would hope they would like me. Thank you, Tamela.

  5. Janine Rosche April 26, 2018 at 9:46 am #

    In a word, wisdom. On project management, networking, writing craft resources, platform-building and maintenance. But it would certainly be nice to also have someone who is excited about my work and believes in my ministry! I’ve seen both in all my interactions with SLA agents, btw! So thank you!

  6. Shannon Redmon April 26, 2018 at 3:22 pm #

    With you as my agent, I’m beginning to understand the many nuances of publishing. You help keep me patient and from bugging publishers about submissions. I’m thankful to God for you and know he brought us together. Thank you for all you do!

  7. Rebecca Cameron April 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm #

    First, thank you for such an insightful post! As a yet unpublished author I look forward to sending my mss for representation. Finding an agent who will offer guidance, gladly answer questions, and become a trusted advisor is important to me. I have full faith that when the time comes, God will lead me where I need to be, and make the right connection.

  8. Tisha Martin April 26, 2018 at 10:18 pm #

    Tamela, first I must congratulate you on being the only sane agent within the Steve Laube Agency. For starters, you’re the only SLA agent who actually posts normal stuff on Facebook. 😉 *Totally tongue in cheek here!* (The jokes have been flying around other blog posts on here, as you might expect.)

    That said, thank you for posting today about relationships with and expectations between agents and authors. I have yet to experience that glorious “I would love to represent you and your work” email or phone call, but when that happens, I’d like to know that the agent representing me does indeed believe in my message and my work. I don’t just want an agent, I would love an agent who is a friend and partner for the duration in however long the Lord allows us to work together to create stories that bring hope to hurting souls.

    I’d love for my agent-partner to celebrate the small wins along the way, encourage me, pray for me, and admonish me when I need it, and who will not let me give up, no matter how hard it becomes. (So that’s what they say, and I’ve counted the cost, and totally ready to plunge to the depths of learning and heights of success, and completely prepared to start over if that’s what is best.)

    And because agents are indeed close partners in this wonderful publishing industry, my promise to whoever represents me will be: In return, I will pray for and encourage my business partner in any way I can, as well as strive to meet or exceed deadlines, and to craft well-written—and edited!—first drafts to make the process much smoother for everyone involved. Now that last part is probably pure subjection, but such is my heart’s desire.

    • Tisha Martin April 26, 2018 at 10:21 pm #

      Oh, and I’d love for an agent who will be extremely patient with me because I will ask them a sea of (what I hope, reasonable) questions!

    • Tamela Hancock Murray May 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm #

      Hahaha! Now I feel compelled to visit all my colleagues’ Facebook feeds!

      I love answering questions from clients. It’s part of my job!

  9. Kathleen Denly April 27, 2018 at 3:13 pm #

    First and foremost, I’m hoping for an agent who sincerely believes in my work. After that, I’d like one who will fill in my industry knowledge gaps (we all have them), and not be afraid to tactfully let me know when I have lettuce in my teeth.

    I especially liked your section on juggling commitments. Being in high demand sounds like a great problem to have. Having someone to help handle the demand sounds even better.

  10. Tamela Hancock Murray May 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm #

    A goal to have!

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