- Authors lean on their agents differently. Some are by nature more self-sufficient than others. Different agents have different parameters. That said, I like to be in the loop as much as possible, both to keep tabs when things are going splendidly and to help course-correct as early as possible when there's a threat of author unhappiness--I'm there for the troubleshooting and for the celebrating. I hate having to catch up after a relationship starts to turn sour. I represent the author but don't automatically side with the author. If I agree with the publisher I do my best to argue the publisher's case. If I agree with the author, I'll argue on the author's behalf as energetically as possible, hoping in the end to maintain and manage overall harmony and a successful publication. I'd hope if an author wants the agent to be involved, the agent would step in. This applies to editorial or design disagreements.
- Usually, an editor will send the cover/jacket design to the author and agent at the same time. I will await the author's response before coming in with any opinion of my own. You can negotiate for cover/jacket consultation for the author in the Agreement with the publisher. Most publishers will not grant an author cover/jacket approval. There are exceptions, of course, for major authors.
I think an author should involve her agent in any dispute with the publisher regarding cover/jacket design, publicity, or editorial issues, etc. That's the agent's job, really. The author should remain above those issues with the publisher. You want the author/editor/publishing house relationship to be a happy and healthy one. It's the agent's job to advocate on her client's behalf. It's okay if the publisher takes issue with the agent, not so much if the publisher takes issue with the author.
Also, it's important to remember that sometimes the publisher knows best. They're the ones selling the book. They may think their cover works--and works well. So, it's always good to remember that. Authors are generally not cover designers.
- C'mon, you know the answer to that: Authors should always ask their agents if they have any question or problem with their publisher. It's our job to work with our clients throughout the process, not just to sell a proposal or manuscript.
Who the f&#% cares about "ruffling feathers" at the publishing house? If the cover sucks, an author and his or her agent should do whatever it takes to get it improved.
Monday, July 09, 2007
"I Hate My Book Cover!" 2
From agents who requested anonymity (#3 is my favorite, for obvious reasons):