All writers are neurotic. Every single writer I know is neurotic about their own writing. I am neurotic about my own writing. (For example, I can tell you that one short story of mine has been at a particular magazine for 121 days, and it has not yet been rejected--every single day I check the mailbox for my freaking rejection.)
"But I'm not neurotic", you say. "I'm perfectly normal and well-adjusted and I would never dare be upset about my own writing!"
Sorry, you are neurotic. You get nervous about your writing going out into the world; you stalk agents and editors at conferences; you feel that the world hates you, if your e-mail from your editor/agent/publicist is not returned RIGHT AWAY. These are all neuroses of some form or the other, and I have NEVER met a writer that doesn't suffer from them in some way. Show me a writer who's not neurotic and I will show you a flying pig.
Ok, so now that we've established that we are all neurotic, let's go over a ground rules list of things that agents don't do for their neurotic writers. This is where the post title comes in because let me tell you, a lot of writers have no grasp of what is proper to expect of an agent.
- Do not expect me to call you weekly, to remind you to write your novel. Get off your butt and write your own novel.
- Do not expect me to return your e-mail the night before Thanksgiving, when everyone else in publishing is off at 3pm that day.
- Do not expect me to hold your hand, if you feel nervous that an editor has not replied yet and your novel has only been with that editor for one or two weeks. Hug your pet instead.
- Do not expect me to send out your novel, if I think it's not ready. I'll tell you if it's bad, and I also will tell you how to fix it. When I send out a piece of your writing, I'm staking my reputation on it too, not just yours.
- Do not expect me to know that you called, if you do not leave a message. No message=no phone call back.
- Do not expect me to spend hours on the phone with you because you feel that you are *that* important. I have other clients too.
- Do not expect me to pick up my phone after 7 pm at night or during the weekends, unless we have expressly prearranged this. Am I going to call you at 10 pm at night? I don't think so; show me the same courtesy.