Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Makes a Perfect Author?

I was going through the copious notes I took from attending “Love Is Murder” in Chicago recently, and I came across the panel “Key Relationships for Authors—Agents & Editors and Publicists.”

As a writer, I must admit I have always been selfishly thinking about what I’d like out of a relationship with my agent, editor or publicist. My top three qualities would include a timely response to my emails, the occasional phone call to see if I’m still alive—and best of all—cocktails, lunch or a dinner date! I do go out of my way to meet my agent and editor as much as possible (and not just at conferences) and I honestly believe that meeting face-to-face makes a huge difference.

But what about the other way around? Moderated by Susan Gibberman, panelists Peter Miller, Maryglenn McCombs and Marcia Markland generously shared what qualities they hoped to find in their ideal author.

The author must:
  • Be dependable
  • Have integrity
  • Be honest
  • Be trustworthy
  • It’s not all about the money
  • Hopefully, the author must not be an alcoholic or bipolar
*Peter said that every so often he weeds his garden of authors. 

The author must: 
  • Have a thick skin
  • Be able to handle constructive criticism
  • Not call her crying
  • Not retaliate after a bad review
  • No meltdowns, please!
  • Don’t threaten to quit writing
*MaryGlenn believes that the publicist can only get it out there—the book and quality of writing does the rest.

  • Wants to keep the writer, she wants to cultivate a long relationship
  • Does not like being nagged and feels it is self-destructive
  • Wants a confident writer who knows he/she can write and doesn't need constant reassurances
  • The writer’s ego must be satisfied within himself
  • Looks for writers who care about people and who know how to treat people (no rudeness)
  • Authors who go out of their way to see that the book sells
  • Most good writers are “good” people
*Marcia's advice is to do the best you can, then let it go and write the next book.

I found the list of qualities really helpful and realized I had been guilty of a few of the less savory qualities myself—and no, I won't tell you which ones they are.

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