Why Me and My Agent Get Along
Since I signed me and my agent have gotten along just fine. I told him as long as he didn’t threaten to sue me or shoot me we’d be okay. I wasn’t afraid of constructive criticism. If a patient is scared to tell me they aren’t happy how am I gonna know it ain’t going well?
He was not one bit shy to tell me a passage didn’t work and the MS began to tighten up. He led the search for an editor. Together we got it down to three national level players but he refused to choose for me. “You’ve got to pick the one you think will be the best fit. I can’t do it for you.”
There were all good, but my heart said Dorrie. It was a good pick. She made my voice stronger, but never strangled it. For all the rewrites, I was always the author. I didn’t want a ghost writer and neither did she. “Besides,” she said. “If I wrote a single phrase it’d stick out like a sore thumb. No one writes like you.” (I guess it was a compliment)
Together my agent and I began to place a few articles. He landed some and I got a couple paying gigs too. I have one in “Bluegrass Unlimited” this month 2010 I am extra proud of ’cause it is on some of my N.C. people, Darin and Brooke Aldridge. (it’s in the June 2010 edition page 32 if y’all are dying to read it)
But here’s why my agent and I get along. As true southerners always do I’ll have to tell you a story to make my point.
Years ago the pro golf tour was a lot harder than what it is now. Most of the pros had to have a few side gigs to stay afloat. (Sort of like writers.) Bill and his buddy Doug struggled. They missed more than one meal and traveled the back roads on half-bald tires.
One New Year’s they made a resolution. They agreed on a percentage ahead of time and vowed to send the other man his cut of the winnings regardless of where they made the money. At the end of the year they’d decide if they were better off together or alone.
It was easy enough to keep up with official winnings, but that was not how they survived. Sometimes late at night an envelope would slide under Bill’s door in some seedy roadside motel. When he got up the next morning he’d find it and smile. Inside there were always several crumpled up bills, but never a receipt.”Dougie must have played poker last night.”
Bill did the same. At the end of the year they renewed on a handshake.
When I signed with my agent, I remembered Bill and Doug. If I found an assignment on my own, I sent my agent his cut whether he knew of the article or not. When I made “official” money and it went through him, he put my share in the mail the next morning. It’s tough for a writer to survive and the agent’s life is no walk in the park either. At the end of the first year we renewed on a handshake too. We were better off together than alone.
Bill and Doug never got rich or famous, but they stayed loyal. They’re still friends too. I figure if me and my agent can stay that way in as tough a biz as this writer gig is we’ve done something right.
Besides, the way I see it, what’s he gonna do? Who’d fire someone in the art world who sends money?
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