Getting an early morning call from your agent can lead to adrenaline induced heart arrhythmias. Working in the ER, I’m trained to assume and prepare for the worst case scenario. That’s the nurse in me. But, what do you do when you get a cryptic message from your agent?
Me—assume the worst. What could he be calling about? Is it an issue with my publisher? Is he dropping me? What could it possibly be?
Not only am I an ER nurse but a suspense author—so I may lean toward the dramatic.
Quick dial back.
The news was not anything I expected. An agent was leaving the fold as Greg mentioned in late December as part of the agency news. What did that mean? The reason for the call was to discuss what would happen to this agency blog when several contributors were leaving.
The WordServe Water Cooler started in the middle of last year as an agency blog with the focus of helping authors a little further back on their writing journey navigate the publishing road. Since it is an agency blog, professionally, it needed to be maintained as such. Those authors choosing to go with their agent to the other agency would not be able to participate.
Problem was—we had become a family along the way.
Initially, when the blog was set up, a Facebook group was started as a communication tool to facilitate signing up for posts. What it morphed into was a true community of authors supporting, encouraging, and praying for one another’s triumphs and difficulties.
Personally, I didn’t want to lose touch with those who were leaving. It felt like my family was splitting up. Greg had tasked me and another author to take over administrating the blog. We began a conversation with the current overseers about how to handle the change.
How this multi-author blogging group handled this agency change has been humbling and inspiring and I believe has some lessons that can be learned by all—both on a personal and professional level.
Here are a few I’d like to highlight.
1. Do not gossip. On our group Facebook page, there would have been ample opportunity to gossip about the situation. Who was leaving? Why were they leaving? What do you think of such and such agency? Agent? I can honestly say this did not happen. Everyone was professional and supportive and prayed over those having to make tough decisions and over those who were most affected by the change.
2. Your decision is personal. Whether or not you decide to stay with a particular agent/agency is a private matter—not a group discussion. Only a few trusted people should be privy to the reasons. This is handling it professionally. Airing grievances publicly, particularly on social media, will come back to bite you. The world of publishing is small, and people will remember how you acted.
3. Create a neutral meeting ground. To meet the need of maintaining those relationships that developed via the Facebook group—a new private group was created where those who left could still interact with those that stayed. Of course, I can’t tell you the name. It’s a secret.
4. Be open to new opportunities. Change is part of life. The choice you make is how you handle it. You may be presented with opportunities to grow and stretch. Don’t be shy about stepping up and learning new things. This month, you’ll see several new talented authors contributing to this blog—including superstar agents Greg Johnson and Barbara Scott. You’ll learn more about marketing and social media from publicity expert Ingrid Schneider. Ever wonder what it’s like to intern at a literary agency? Check out Sarah Freese’s posts.
Question for you—what’s been the biggest change related to publishing/writing you’ve had to deal with?