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.
Thou shalt not get whipped into a frenzy by the rumor mill fomented by internet loops, groups, Facebook, or blogs.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s success. Be content with thine own contract.
If thou hast a dispute with thine agent thou shalt talk to thy agent and seekest resolution. Jumping ship for no good reason is unprofessional…and agents talketh to each other.
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.
Respecteth the boundaries of the communication relationship with thy agent. Do not risketh being classified as a spammer or high maintenance by thy agent.
Thou shalt be reasonable and balanced with regard to Facebook, Twitter, blogging, or blogs. Thou art a writer….not a teenager. (Thy social networking and Internet writing shouldeth be related to marketing efforts or to increasing thy platform and readership.) Remembereth…every word written on Facebook is a word not written on thy manuscript. [This commandment was revised on 9/25/10 in response to visceral reactions both public and private. I previously stated that a writer should spend no more than an hour a week with social networking and blogs. Boy did I touch a nerve!]
Keepeth it all in perspective. Selling only eight thousand books still meaneth 8,000 people have “bought a ticket” to read thy work. That crowd would filleth a basketball arena.
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.
Thou shall rise and call thy agent blessed. (and send chocolates at Christmas and cash on birthdays…)
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.