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What Makes a Good Agent: Readers Answer

In my May blog post on What Makes a Good Client I asked readers to give feedback on what they think makes a good agent. Because I’m not just here to teach, I’m here to learn and improve as well.

Many of you answered and I’ve gone through all of our social media to collect those and compile them to share. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Qualities of a Great Agent Partner

  1. Nearly all of the qualities of a good client apply to agents as well. I think the most important ones are: believes in the power of communication, and never gives up. — Dover‏ @JMDoverWriter
  2. What do agents look for in clients? I think #2, #6, #7 are gold & often the hardest quality to bring to the table. There is ALWAYS room to improve a manuscript & learn from a professional. Embrace it. Have the determination to not let those requested edits get you down. –Brenda Haas‏ @HaasBren
  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. –Kathleen F Ewing 
  4. In my opinion, a good agent: Is a cheerleader. Sometimes, I feel my agent believes in my book more than I do. :), Is a great communicator. Is career-focused, rather than book-focused. Has a sense of humor. This is as important for agents as it is for authors. — Heather
  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. –Lynsay McCaulley 
  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. –JOHN T. SHEA 
  7. 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. –Ellie

May all agents strive to be a great partner!

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6 comments

  1. Yes to all! Regarding openness to edits/revisions: In my experience, an editor is GOLD. A good editor (and agent who is one) makes a book stronger and the end result is a book you love even more.
    I’d be concerned about going with an agent who didn’t want to suggest or request changes. Might even be a red flag.

  2. Mmmm … Didn’t see this, earlier. A good agent needs to be a tightrope walker – at times, a client’s hand-holder and nose-blower; at other times, a “let’s-get-real” mamma; and at all times, a thorough professional.

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