What the most common mistake debut authors make when they sign with an agent? (Yes, I'm asking for myself *throws confetti*) I've read every QueryShark blog post on catching the eye of an agent, but now that I'm signed, I couldn't find much info (other than not being rude to support staff) on How Not To Screw It Up.
Yay for you *plucks confetti from gills*! Congrats and huzzahs. There's not just one thing to remember there are nine:
1. Surrender the idea that things get done on a schedule or to deadline. I think this is the number one thing that bugs my clients. It bugs me too, but it's just a fact of life. If I tell a client I plan to read a manuscript over the weekend, I do plan to do it. Many times, I don't get it done. One thing or another happens to keep me from it. Sometimes it's just I'm really tired and cranky and that's NOT when you want to be reading your stuff. (Trust me on this.)
A lot of times manuscript reading is delayed for weeks. Sometimes longer. That's no one's preference but the world operating system does not run on Janet Reid Preferences. Would that it did.
2. Do Not Assume/Fear casual comments made on Twitter or Facebook about the job are about you. They never are. Never. They're always about That Other Client.
3. Support the other clients. Retweet their book news, good reviews, awards and accolades. Follow them on Twitter; like them on Facebook. Several of my clients have build lasting friendships after meeting across my bar. Of course, you don't have to be a slave about this. Follow your gut on this.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need. If I can do it, I will. If I can't, at least I'll know and we'll avoid misunderstandings.
5. Don't suffer in silence. If somethings wrong, tell me. I am a mind reader but only if you're within a certain number of feet of my desk.
6. Ask when you don't understand something. You're not stupid. Royalty statements and contracts aren't pleasure reading, and my job is to make sure you understand them.
7. Never, ever, ever be dismissive of the support staff. I've fired clients for that. I have no trouble doing it again if the need arises. Support staff here are called godsends and there's a reason for that. IF you have a problem with the people who work for or with me, you will tell ME.
8. Don't worry about calling or emailing me. I'd rather hear from you than not if you've got something on your mind.
9. Never EVER send an email to your editor, or anyone at your publisher that is less than polite. EVER. My job is to run interference for you. If you've got a problem with your editor or publisher, we'll figure out how to deal with it together. Or I'll tell you you're all wet. Or you'll fire me.
Most of this is second nature to the civilized among us. If you're thinking about this, you're going to be ok. It's the people who make assumptions that will go astray.