Imagine my excitement when I landed Big Time Agent! However, after I signed the contract, crickets.
After 2 months I sent a gentle email nudge (BTA's preferred form of commo) asking if there were revisions needed, if I needed to do anything..etc).
After a couple of weeks, BTA responded and we talked. BTA
had obviously forgotten about me and(1) asked me to resend the ms, saying that BTA got so many emails that it was lost somewhere. I did so, along with some other requested things.
It's been a month and...still those darn crickets.
I know now I should have asked more questions during The Call, like how often communication would occur.
Here's my question: is this normal, the prolonged silence? (2) I know BTA has many best selling authors. I respect that BTA is busy, but I also run a business and I know to respond promptly to clients. How long should I give this before terminating (yep. No termination clause. I am exposing my ignorance on the internet because it might help others who are blinded by the light).
I know one of BTA's authors and this author speaks so highly of BTA. Of course, the author is a best seller, which probably helps. I think highly of BTA too, I just need to know what is normal in the agent--client world.
First, you have no idea if BTA forgot about you unless she said she had. You can't read her mind. (If you can, please fire her at once, and come sign with me)
Second, the question isn't whether this is normal. The question is whether this is how you want your working relationship to be.
Normal could involve dancing pantsless in bars on Seventh Avenue (and trust me, for some of my clients who shall remain nameless
The question isn't whether dancing pantsless is normal, it's whether you want to do it.
And it's clear you don't.
You need a different style of communication. One that does not require months of silence and phone call prompts to hear from your agent.
For some clients that style might be just fine. I have clients who hear from me no more than twice a year and are ok with that.
I have other clients who hear from me several times a week, and one of those might be a phone call just to shoot the shinola.
Every client is different. One of the things one learns as an agent is what each client wants/needs and then tailoring communication to fit that.
That kind of tailoring does not come quickly or easily. I have clients who've given me wake up calls. I have some ex-clients who did so as well. Sometimes we learn the hard way.
You need to do the following:
Speak to your agent candidly. Mention it feels like she forgot who you were. Be very direct that waiting for a month feels disrespectful and like you don't have value.
Then, listen both to what she says and how she says it. If she gets defensive and blames you, or faults your expectations, things are not going to change (ie get better.)
If she listens carefully, apologizes, and the two of you work out plan for meeting your needs, things are going to change (ie get better)
If you realize things are not going to change, you have a choice to make: suck it up or terminate the agreement.
This is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself: what do you want in an agent. Some very good agents are terrible with client communication. If she can sell your book, and get you a good deal, will it be worth the communication downside? That's a question only you can answer.
You need to think about this NOW before the book is sold, because once the book is sold, she's the agent for that book forever.
A word of warning: a lot of people will weigh in on this topic. Some will have a list of "shoulds." Be very careful about listening to other people's should lists. The ONLY thing that matters here is YOURS. I've seen too many writers go astray listening to other writers telling them they should do this that or the other. Listen to yourself (and me of course!)