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What Makes a Good Client

Sports teams often ask players to make a list of what they think makes a good teammate. Since agents and authors are teammates or partners I thought this would be an interesting exercise for us to do.

We are often asked what a dream client would be like, so here you go. Not so much a dream client, but qualities of clients who make the best partners.

Working with the agents at BookEnds we made a list of qualities we think make a good client, but a good relationship is not one-sided. We also want to hear from you. In the comments, via email or through Twitter, let us know what you think makes a good agent or business partner. We’ll collect your answers and post them to the blog.

Qualities of a Great Author Partner

  1. Believes in the power of communication–a willingness to discuss questions and concerns as they arise.
  2. Open-minded to edits, changes and new ideas.
  3. Looking for a career and willing to work for it including promotion, editing, idea and market shifts, etc.
  4. Understanding
  5. Punctual–meets deadlines and commitments (with the understanding that life and extensions happen).
  6. Determined
  7. The desire to learn.
  8. Unrelenting–never gives up.
  9. A sense of humor.
  10. Optimistic.

Category: Blog

9 comments

  1. You’ve nailed it! As pleasurable as writing is, it’s hard work. Writing without readers is a mental masturbation. The partnership between agents, writers, publishers, and readers MUST, without fail, include a long-term strategy. Sure, the short-term goal is to lure in readers, but the long-term goal is to hook ’em.

  2. Some agency websites that I’ve seen, letting writers know what they want or expect up front (beyond just a query letter and some sample pages), makes it sound like they want the writer/author to do all the work while they sit back and collect a check. So, for me, I would say an agent carrries equal weight (or at least does some of the heavy lifting).

  3. A quality of a good agent must first and foremost be a passion not only for the love of the written word but an excitement to share the treasure they have discovered.

  4. Great post! In my opinion, a good agent:
    1) Is a cheerleader. Sometimes, I feel my agent believes in my book more than I do. 🙂
    2) Is a great communicator.
    3) Is career-focused, rather than book-focused.
    4) Has a sense of humor. This is as important for agents as it is for authors.

  5. These are the same traits I look for in an agent. Writing as a career isn’t a dream–it’s a goal that I’m actively pursuing. An agent is an advocate, someone who believes in my work and is willing to put in time and effort right along with me. Knowing that would help me move forward with a project because the person on the other side of this business relationship is as invested as I am.

    Thank you for this post!

  6. Thanks for this excellent list of qualities, most of which would apply to a good agent or business partner etc. I would add honesty, courage and candor, both in private dealings and public spaces. Also imagination and curiosity. My additions would apply to writers too.

  7. Those points for authors translate totally to what I think an agent should demonstrate, except for #2 and #3 which should be provide advice for an author to…

    The only thing I think needs to be added (for both) is honesty.

  8. Brilliant, totally agree that it’s a partnership. Communication is key, has to be open and honest. I want to feel understood by my agent, and ‘seen’ – had this great experience with an editor and it made me realise that absolutely needs to be part of the agent-author relationship too. Always willing to learn, writing is about constantly evolving.

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