After receiving this question about rep/writer relationships:
Is it true that managers and agents will only do something for you twice---after you give them the first spec they like and if that doesn't sell then if you are generating income for them----otherwise they won't do anything for you because they have 35 plus other clients (managers) or (70-80 for agents)... Would a new writer get lost in the shuffle at a big management company like Anonymous Content or Benderspink if they aren't hot right away...or is it better to go with a medium manager who's a hot spec seller.... How do you figure out which managers will take time to develop material and build a new client's career from ones that are strictly going for the one off quick deal?
I asked several of my writer buddies to help out by giving their perspective, since every relationship is different and I haven't had that many. You can find Part One HERE. I'll have one more post coming with two more responses next week.
I was going to keep everyone anonymous, but these guys didn't care.
For me, it breaks down to the reps who care and the reps who don’t. The reps who want a paycheck and to help a client’s career grow because they believe in said client… and the reps who just want a paycheck.
The relationship is one of mutual belief in each other, which is what I responded to more than anything else when COUNTERPOINT first got attention and I started getting emails and calls and responses to queries. A few reps who had responded favorably were great to hear from, and I was weighing some choices, but Kathy lost her shit when she got back to me. I didn’t sign with her because of that necessarily, but because when she talked to me about it, she just *got* the script, down to its details, and what it was doing and why it was doing it. I was sold from that moment on. She wanted me because she believed in me, and I wanted her because I believed in her. It’s been that way since. A second script she took out to a few select reps was one she also believes in very strongly, but it’s a very weird script with, like, six different genres and is not an easy sell by any means. MERCIFUL, again, is the same story, and it has only reinforced my satisfaction with our relationship so far. I feel the difference with her — I feel believed in. And I see and feel her dedication still, and it’s only grown in strength, even though, if one looks at finances, only 1 deal has been signed thus far, and from that only an option check distributed while financing is raised. Had I been with [REDACTED], I would have been thrown away as trash long ago because I didn’t make this person a quick buck right off the bat. The difference to me is immediately apparent and reinforces my preference all the more.
Of course, I’m assuming you wouldn’t post on the blog a direct quote from me saying out loud that [REDACTED] is a trashy fuckstick, because I’m not so retarded as to want to fire cannons directly at someone like that. Who do you think I am? John Gary?
I'm not going to answer the actual question - I'm going to answer the question behind the question, which is really "Hey who should I have represent me? Should I sign with a big manager or a small one? A big agency or a small one?" The answer is "I don't know, do you want me to pick what you should have for breakfast, too?"
These kinds of questions are what I like to call "role playing game" questions - they're questions that ignore the realities of the business and what happens when you go looking for a rep and what it's like to actually have one.
The fiction here is the notion that you can choose between a big manager or a medium one, a big agent or a small one. I've had this same discussion with different writers for 15 years. It used to be fun to talk through "Oh well I'd totally choose the small agency over the big one!" but when push comes to shove, it's about who you sit down with, what they say, what they offer, and the other connections the reps have.
Until you are in that room sitting across from the rep wanting you to be a client, this is a useless conversation. Send your material to anyone who will read it. The material will make the decision for you.