Friday, November 28, 2014

Navigating Sharque Infested Waters: gifts to agents and editors

I am extremely fortunate to have an agent I love (yea!) and, recently, a brand-spanking new editor (new to me; not new to the business)! So excited that my novel will—after lots more work—see the light of day. Here’s the question: the holidays are approaching. What is an appropriate token of appreciation from an author to an agent and to an editor? I feel like especially now I should be sending a holiday/thank you gift, but don’t know what is considered nice and what is considered too much. Is there something I should definitely NOT send (like teachers who have cabinets full of “Greatest Teacher Ever” mugs)?

Any advice you have for the holiday season would be most appreciated. We writers do tend to stress over the little things. :-)

First, congrats on your pending publication. This is a terrific achievement!

Gifts, even at the holidays, are not needed or required. It is NOT rude, forgetful, impolite or socially unacceptable to not give gifts to business associates.

If you are moved to send something, a lovely card with your own words of appreciation would be very nice.  {I save those.}

What you don't want to send is food or perishables of any kind. Deliveries slow down in NYC due to weather and volume.  Agents aren't in the office every day of the week, and particularly not during the holidays.  For example, this holiday week, I was out of the office the entire week.  Most people didn't know it because I was still "working" but if you'd sent something fresh or perishable, well, my minion would have enjoyed it very much but I would not have seen it.

I can't tell you how awful it is to get lovely boxes of what had been fresh fruit on January 3rd.  That happens more than you think.

If you absolutely must send something to say thank you, it's really hard to go wrong with a gift card. Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, all good things.

But I strongly encourage you to not send gifts. Save that for when we do something above and beyond the call of duty like bail you out of the hoosegow after you and Jeff Somers decided to re-enact the bathtub scene from We Are Not Good People.


Anonymous said...

My editor is awesome. Last year for Christmas, I got her a picture of her drawn as a Simpsons character ($5 on Fiverr). She loved it & still uses it as her profile picture on Facebook....

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Sadly enough this is not a dilemma I must suffer this year. But for an agent gone wanting, I have a nice chateau in Tuscany, fully staffed, with a stocked wine cellar, and a private jet to get you there whenever you are so inclined. Just sign me up and it is yours.
Yeah, no, well, as a short form essay writer and columnist I thought I'd try my hand at fiction this morning. How come nobody believes my pretend?

Deep River said...

Scotch does not go bad for a really, really long time.

Anonymous said...

About to begin Thanksgiving Phase II. Bracing myself.

I've always sent and received a card. I save mine too, in a memory box. What will my future great grandchildren think? I've no idea, but what they will know is that I ran marathons, loved dogs and received cards from somebody named John. That'll be the mystery since they will come to understand Great Grandpa was named Blaine.



Twisted Future Granny

Loretta Ross said...

Good grief! Did Jeff do that *again *?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Oh wait, I just realized, I may not have an agent but I do have an editor. Sorry 'wanting' agents the villa goes to her.
Damn, now I have to buy a card and a stamp.

Colin Smith said...

Deep River read my thoughts. I'm sure you wouldn't object to finding a few bottles of your favorite adult beverage in your office on Jan 2, Ms. Shark. And given how well you seem to treat your clients, I wouldn't be surprised if that's not an uncommon experience for you. :)

Karen McCoy said...

"There was more water damage in here, a humid feel, the ceiling sagging as if filled with brackish, rusty liquid."

For a bath scene this well written, I'd re-enact it if I could.

Jenny said...

This is amazingly helpful. Thank you for this! I hadn't even considered the delivery delays and that folks may not be in the office.

Unknown said...

Bahaha! The day you bail one of your authors out of the hoosegow deserves a lot more than a gift card!