Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You don't have to read our blog to be my friend

by Steph

I always find it interesting to hear about the personal interactions of the other agents here with authors. In many cases, they have real, lasting bonds of friendship that have developed with time. It’s gratifying, and quite frankly it makes perfect sense. Without good authors, we wouldn't have material to work with. And without that, what would be the reason to show up to work every day? Seems logical, no?

My point is, I think that one of the most important parts of what we do is building relationships with authors. I've always believed this to be true. That's why I loved reading this piece by Melanie Benjamin at the Huffington Post. In it, she considers the sometimes delicate and glossed-over intricacies of building a friendship with an author, and more specifically the humorous pitfalls that come with the obligations of being a friend to an author. Ultimately, Melanie boils it all down to this one mantra: You don't have to read my book to be my friend. I’m content to put aside all the serious stuff that’s crossed our computer screens recently, especially when given the chance to read something that reminds me that these days it needs to be less about squabbling over numbers and more about building good relationships. I’m not entirely sure when I turned into Mr. Rogers. It concerns me a little. But just go with me on this one.


  1. Really good piece; thanks for the link.

    I've turned into Lady Elaine Fairchild. It concerns me A LOT.

  2. Thanks for passing this along, it was really nice to hear.

    The whole idea of agent/author relationships has been really weighing on me lately. As someone about to start querying for the first time, when I research agents, sometimes I get the "Wow, I'd really love to just sit down and have coffee with this person and chat!" reaction and sometimes I get the "Wow, this person could sell a hella ton of books" reaction. I guess, ideally, you want both.

    But I have to say I'm relieved to hear you talk about the agents who've developed friendships with their authors. It's really good to hear.

  3. It's a very good point and one lotsa newbie writers have to learn (been there done that!)


  4. It sort of makes sense to me. It's a type of relationship, and most people are at least friendly with some of their coworkers, right?...

    Perhaps I'm just odd, but I always end up feeling a little weird if one of my friends has read my stuff, at least if they've done it recently. Even moreso when said friend is not another writer-type. So my friends definitely don't need to have read my writing to be my friend.

    Of course, neither my writer-type friends nor I are published yet, so perhaps things will change a bit if/when one of us ever is. But I hope it won't change too much. We'll have to wait and see.

  5. I'm excited to build a relationship with whatever agent thinks I'm good enough to invest time and effort into me and my writing. Agents don't work for you, they work with you, right?

    And I always liked Mr. Rogers!

  6. "You don't have to read my book to be my friend"

    True. But you do have to *buy* it. In hardback. Seriously. And if anyone else asks, you've read it, you loved it, and they should buy it.

  7. You don't have to read my book to be my friend. But if you offer to read, please mean it. :)

  8. "You don't have to read my book to be my friend."

    And, you don't even have to give me a good review.

    But you do have to spell my name right in the review :))

  9. Thanks for the shout out! I read your blog regularly, and it was a pleasant surprise to see my name in it.

    And no, I'm not just saying that so you'll be my friend.