Today is the 1st Agent Appreciation Day—a day to tell your agent how much you appreciate them. I’m also kicking off my own 12 Blogs of Christmas, a crash cart of sorts to resurrect my stagnant blog. My appreciation for my agent, Fonda, includes 12 reasons, and here they are!
(1). She believes in me as a person.
When entering a business partnership, you can sometimes lose your identity. But that’s not Fonda’s way at all. She sees you first and foremost as a person. She gets to know your likes, dislikes, what you feel comfortable with, etc. She integrates that information into the revision process as well as the submission process. She respects my personal belief system and code of ethics, and I’m eternally grateful for that. You never want to conform as a writer, nor do you want to have to sell out as an individual either.
(2). She believes in me as a writer
Writers are sensitive people. I, myself, am a very sensitive person who needs an occasional ego stroke and pat on the back. Okay, maybe that’s an understatement! Maybe I need a LOT of encouragement and praise for my work. I’m only human, you know! This is what impressed me with Fonda. She always gives me that extra boost of praise that I need to make it through the tough process. She always points out particulars that she liked and appreciated in my work—parts that were especially funny, serious, poignant, etc.
She’s also thrilled that I’m a writing machine, and she’s already reading my first YA and my love, The Guardians. She always talks about our long-term partnership, and that’s awesome that someone believes in you enough to be in for the long haul!
(3). She’s a fighter
Fonda was the third agent to offer representation. She totally understood the difficult decision that lay before me in decided which agent would represent me best. Because of that fact, she didn’t just throw her hat into the ring. She took the time to talk with me not once, but twice to discuss in length and detail everything I needed and wanted to know about her, the business, the submission process, etc.
(4). She always keeps me informed of what’s going on by email
(5). She always emails me back the SAME day if I have a question or concern.
(6). She’s always willing to call me as well as email me.
I’ve heard horror stories from other agented writers about the lack of communication with their agent. Maybe they would email, maybe they wouldn’t…maybe they would never hear from them again! It’s a scary prospect. It doesn’t matter when I email Fonda, I know I’ll get a response within the same day. It might be late into the night since she’s on the West Coast, and I’m on the East Coast, but I’ll still get a response. And I feel truly blessed and grateful that she is that conscientious an agent and cares about her clients that much.
(7). She listens to my thoughts and suggestions
Being able to voice my opinions and concerns was one of the greatest fears I had going into the agent relationship. You never want to feel that you’ll be so grateful you have an agent that you’ll say and do anything. But Fonda put me at ease from the very beginning. I feel not only that I can ask her anything, but I know she genuinely takes my ideas and thoughts into play before making decisions. That is a really awesome feeling!
(8). She’s multifaceted and talented
Fonda has had an amazing career in both the literary and film world. She’s a former VP of Disney Channel movies and co-owner of Storyoplis, a mixture of a bookstore, art gallery, artists' management company, development think tank and production company. Through one of her collaborations on a celebrity children’s book she worked with everyone from Madonna, John Lithgow, Harrison Ford, Maurice Sendak and Chris Van Allsburg for Steven Spielberg.
Not to mention that she secured deals with Mattel for action figures, developed a comedy cartoon series, developed a series with Martin Short, and the list goes on and on!!!
And yes, I’m still wondering why she wanted to work with little me!!!
(9). She’s always willing to talk me down from the ledge
Fonda understands how emotionally trying the submission process can be, and she’s always willing to talk with me and put me at ease. She made a point to contact me to let me know how the beginning of the process went and assured me that when we had news, I’d be the first to know!
(10). She’s got great connections
It was through her partnership with Rob Weisbach and my submission with him, that I came to be represented by Fonda. Here’s a little bit about Rob Weisbach and his company. Creative Management re-conceives the traditional literary agency as a comprehensive cross-training development company, one that provides development, representation, and strategic career management for writers, visual artists, designers, and editors.Over the course of his twenty-year career in entertainment. Rob Weisbach has developed and published a diverse list of high-caliber talent including New York Times bestselling authors Jon Stewart, Brad Meltzer, Jerry Seinfeld, Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Paul Reiser, A.J. Jacobs, Bob Schieffer, Anthony Rapp, and Kathy Freston; US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and Pulitzer Prize-winner Lucinda Franks; literary stars A.M. Homes, Bruce Wagner, and Elissa Schappell; filmmakers Tim Burton and Ethan Coen; rights advocates Karenna Gore Schiff and Evan Wolfson; photographer Chester Higgins, Jr., painter and nature writer James Prosek, and chef Padma Lakshmi.
Pretty cool, huh?
11. She appreciates my sense of humor
You want an agent to have a sense of humor, but you also want one to get yours as well. Fonda appreciates it both in my writing and in person, and I couldn’t ask for more!
12. BUT THE NUMBER ONE, er, TWELVE REASON is: She’s been a blessing in disguise
Since I never originally queried her, I can’t really say, “Ooh, I totally wanted her!” or “She’s my dream agent!” She’s like an undiscovered gem, and I totally love and dig the fact she’s so awesome and flies under the radar. It’s like having Superman as an agent, but who goes around as Clark Kent!
The real clincher comes with this. When I was trying to decide between agents, I prayed for God to help me make the right decision. During my 2nd phone call with Fonda, I got a feeling of overwhelming peace, and I just knew—she was the one. When I told her that, I expected the usual scoff response for people or, “Isn’t that nice?” Instead, she said, “Oh wow, I just got goosebumps!” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a divine agent/writer moment!
So, thank you Fonda! Here’s to an awesome Agent Appreciation Day!