Rachelle Gardner 

Rachelle Gardner is an agent with WordServe Literary Group. Her thirteen years in publishing have included positions in editorial as well as sales, marketing, and subsidiary rights. She has been a collaborative writer of eight books and edited more than sixty. Prior to entering the book world, she spent five years at the Fox television network in Los Angeles. Rachelle lives in Colorado with her firefighter husband, two young daughters and a fun-loving yellow lab. Come by her blog, Rants and Ramblings where she dispenses advice as a literary agent.

A Day In The Life

One of the questions I receive most often from writers is “What is a typical day in the life of an agent?” There’s no such thing as a typical day, but if you want the short answer, my job can be thought of in terms of these five areas:

Author advocate: Representing the author’s interest in business matters; being available for questions and concerns; mediating communications between author and publisher as needed.

Business manager: Matching authors with the right publishers; negotiating contracts.

Writing coach: Offering editing advice on proposals and sometimes manuscripts; being a sounding board for new ideas.

Career counselor and marketing consultant: Helping authors strategize long-term plans for success; providing guidance in marketing and platform building.

Talent detective: Finding new authors to represent.

Want the longer answer?

Here’s an exclusive inside peek at an actual day in this agent’s life.*

(*Okay, not an “actual” day—it’s slightly exaggerated. And in case you don’t pick up on this, the names are fictionalized.)

5:00: Wake up without an alarm. Begin daily coffee infusion.
5:40: Log on to computer, check blog comments, begin returning e-mails to clients, potential clients, and editors.
6:00: Research publishers for Sam Suspense’s project; compile list of editors to whom I will submit.
6:30: Wake the kids. Start laundry. Continue coffee infusion.
6:45: Review a publishing contract for Rita Romance and make notes for negotiation.
7:15: Finish a pitch letter for Sam Suspense’s book that I plan to submit to publishers today. Send to my colleague Greg (name not fictionalized!) for input.
8:15: Go for a run. Shower and dress. Take the kids to VBS. Return to the office . . . with coffee.
9:30: Read e-mail about publisher’s new title for Morty Memoir’s book. Call client to discuss, then send response to publisher.
9:50: Return Maria Marriage’s call; spend twenty-five minutes discussing branding, platform, and long-term plan.
10:15: Back to e-mail—an offer has come in on Helen Historical’s book. Yipee! Call author to discuss, then send response to publisher.

10:30: Begin working on Betty Biblestudy’s proposal, preparing it for submission. Phone to discuss revisions with client.
11:00: Realize I never ate breakfast. Grab a granola bar. And coffee.
11:10: Call hubby to remind him it’s his night to make dinner.
11:15: Check e-mail, incorporate Greg’s input on Sam Suspenses’s pitch letter. Send the pitch letter with the proposal to ten carefully chosen editors. Pray for God’s blessing on the project.
12:00: Spend fifteen minutes on correspondence.
12:15: Take lunch break. Read a new partial, love it, stop eating to e-mail the writer and ask for full manuscript. Return to eating. Read Publishers Weekly. Talk to my kids, who have returned from VBS excited to tell me about it.
12:50: Phone a publisher, leave voice mail about contract negotiations for Rita Romance. Begin to feel that post-lunch malaise. Too much caffeine. Go for a quick walk.
1:15: Head out for a publisher meeting, where we discuss marketing plans for Morty Memoir’s book.
2:45: Back in the office, return e-mails. Take a call from Debbie Devotional, who has questions about the submission process.
3:15: Publisher for Maria Marriage has e-mailed a PDF of their proposed book cover and it’s totally wrong for the book. Call Maria immediately . . . she agrees.
E-mail the publisher with suggestions and rationale for improvements.
4:00: Phone Barry Bestseller to confirm our visit to his publisher tomorrow, where he’ll speak at their sales conference and record a marketing video for his book.
4:15: An editor calls and we talk about Sam Suspense’s project. Meanwhile three more e-mails come in. Finish call, respond to e-mails.
4:45: Walk outside to check snail mail. No checks—bummer. But a movie from Blockbuster. Yay!
5:00: Begin reading and responding to queries. Become captured by a new proposal. E-mail the author.
6:00: Eeek! Lost track of time! Dinner! Hang with the family.
7:30: Kids are back outside playing. Check in with the blog. Work on correspondence.
8:00: Sit down with Yolanda YA’s manuscript on my Kindle.
8:30: Get the kids to bed.
9:00: Continue reading Yolanda YA’s manuscript until I fall asleep on the sofa. 10:15: Hubby shakes me awake. Have moment of panic . . . did I get everything done? Did I write my blog post for tomorrow? Is American Idol on tonight? When will I watch that movie? Do we have enough coffee?
11:00: Sleep.