Please give him a hearty welcome, and if you feel inclined, he could use some blog-love, or at least some followers for his new blog. So once you're done reading his story, feel free to click on through.
First, thanks to Nichole for having me as guest on her blog. I just signed with the same agent, and as a newcomer to the agency, I appreciate the support. In fact, that’s what my blog post is about today.
My main goal in pursuing an agent for my book was probably the same as every other writer: sell my book to a publisher. There are benefits of signing with an agent beyond just the big book deal, however, that I realized almost immediately. Many relate to networking.
Signing with an agency opens the door to a host of literary types (agency staffers and other authors whom your agent represents are two who come quickly to mind). Use this network! I got a nice welcome from many of the people at my agent’s agency. If they offer to help (like Nichole did) accept it graciously! Your new network can provide:
- Information on the publishing process. You may have already asked some of the people in your new network for references about your agent when you were in the pre-signing phase. Beyond that, they can provide input on what to expect during the next phase of your career because they’re going through it right now.
- Support through the post-querying phase of your writing career. Writing can be solitary, especially when you’re querying. It can seem like you’re one blade of grass in a giant field, with no way of ever gaining notice. After signing with an agent, writing is, well, still a solitary process. However, it’s nice to know you’re on a team full of other literary types who want to see you succeed as much as you do. Just being part of a bigger group can make the Sisyphean task of publishing seem a little less daunting (or at least make the boulder a little lighter). If you ever need a kind word, there’d be no better place to look than the agent who saw something in your work, and the other writers at the agency who know just how you feel.
- Help building your career. Okay, there isn’t an agency out there that will provide people to do the writing for you. But, many of them are willing to help with other aspects of your career, such as expanding your social media presence. Look for tweets, retweets, guest blog posts (like this one!) as ways to put your new agency support system to use. They can help build your social profile, even opening up some of their own network to you.
- Your agent may also be able to provide you with help marketing. I’d guess many agents are strong marketers, particularly online. If you have no idea where to start, ask your agent. She can get you going with a few simple recommendations for marketing, such as: channels (websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook…you don’t have to be on all of them!), frequency, and content (Because, in the life of the internet, there have been a few rare, isolated, once-in-a-blue-moon instances of inappropriate social media posts that have landed the poster in some mildly hot water).
The above are just some of the added benefits of working with a literary agent. There are certainly more, including sniffing out those million-dollar book deal s for you. As far as putting your new agent-writer relationship to good use, be proactive. If you would like help, your agency is there for you, but you have to ask! It’s your career, and you own it—but you don’t have to go at it alone.