In my post A Different Way of Doing Business, a lot of discussion occurred in the comments section about the referring author’s responsibility and how I dealt with my client if a “bad” referral came in (for lack of a better word).
The minute you get a book deal, heck, the minute you get an agent, people are going to come from everywhere asking you to get them in the door with your agent. It’s natural, it’s normal, and good for them. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the business world it’s that the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” really is true. Almost inevitably this means a client will come to me to say that Author J wants an introduction, she’s never read her work, but passed along my name. What I always say is that’s fine. No author, no family member, and no friend should be responsible for weeding out my submissions and I don’t judge my authors on the referrals they send or the number of authors who come to me using their names because they are in critique groups together or met at a conference.
I’ve gained a number of great clients through referrals, just signed one up as I’m writing this, in fact. I’ve also passed on a lot of material. You never know what will hit and I appreciate that my clients respect me enough and have enjoyed working with me enough to think my name is worthy of passing on. In my experience, clients will sometimes ask what happened with that other author, but rarely are they invested enough to get upset if I pass and never do I volunteer the information to the client.
What it comes down to is no one is responsible for your work, your career, and the way you present yourself but you. Once the introduction is made it’s up to the author who received the referral to close the deal, so to speak. No one else can do that for her.