I know what you're thinking and this isn't that kind of post. But writers are sometimes known for waking up one night and realizing they've been caught with their pants down. This post will help ensure that you keep your pants on and your head straight. I'm talking about a healthy three-way relationship with the writer and two important people in her career. Some writers have more than two others who are guiding, developing, and championing her work. But I'm focusing on the writer-editor-agent triangle. It can get tricky at times and writers may need to crack the whip once in awhile--an imaginary whip--just a figure of speech, folks. Here are seven reminders to help you stay on coarse:
In a threesome everyone has a role.
Your role is to write. Your editor's role lies mainly in editing. Sadly most editors have taken on multiple tasks in areas such as scheduling, production, and sales. Your agent's role is to sell your work and give you guidance on contracts, negotiations, and staying up-to-date with editors and publishing houses wants and opportunities. Focus on your role but stay in touch with your editor and agent. Keep the lines of communication open. And remember your agent works for you.
All three of you want the same thing.
That thing is for you and your books to be a success. Sometimes it might feel like one or the other partner has a different priority and the discussion (and decision) needs to come back to this common goal.
Sometimes not everyone is satisfied.
All three of you are professionals and should always be treated with respect. It's okay to disagree. It's okay to not get your way every time. It's okay to speak up on things that really matter to you. It's not okay to be a pain in the butt to work with. It's never okay to be disrespectful.
You have more control than you think you do.
You have a say in many aspects of the publishing process, including contracts, book covers, titles, scheduling, and revisions. Some houses give authors less input than others; and some give authors no choice in these matters. In cases where you have less control than you'd like: stay calm, think things through, and make the best decisions for your career.
The time to run a google search on someone is before you hop into bed with them--this applies to agents and publishing houses, too.
Your agent selection can help make or break your career. Choose wisely. Pick one with a good reputation, with clients whose books they've sold, and who doesn't have complaints against them. While you may not have a choice what editor you're assigned to, or the one you love may move on, you have a choice what publisher you submit your work to.
Sometimes you have to do unpleasant things.
Among the worst chores a writer has to do is fire an agent. But it's hardly ever good to stay in a bad relationship. Check your contract for the legal way to sever the bond. Be aware of the ties that still bind you to that agent. Likewise, you may decide it's best to leave your publishing house. Again your contract (and your agent) will guide you.
Delight in the bliss.
Everything going great in your ménage à trois? Congratulations. Relationships take time, trust, and mutual respect to work long-term. It's especially rewarding when you all take pleasure in and benefit from the three-way liaison.
Victoria M. Johnson knew by the time she was ten that she wanted to be a writer. She loves telling stories and she's happiest when creating new characters and new plots. Avalon Books and Montlake Romance published Victoria's fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). Her other fiction book is a collection of romance short stories titled, The Substitute Bride. She is also the writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries. Visit Victoria's website at http://VictoriaMJohnson.com for inspiration and tips and find her Amazon author page or connect with her on Pinterest and Twitter.