6/17/14

Securing Management for Your Author Career, Part 2

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday, we touched on some very important topics including, when do you know you need management and what to look for in a manager.

Today, we'll focus on:
  • should a female client sign with a male manager
  • what contacts your manager should have if you're an author
  • creating a contract with your manager
  • why working with friends may not be the wisest idea
First, when it comes to management, I don't think gender matters. However, if you are a married woman or your manager is a married man and you're single, just consider how much time you'll be spending with them and make sure the respective mates agrees with it. 

Remember, you'll be spending a lot of time with your manager. For authors, it probably won't be as much as if you are a singer or actor, but it's still a significant amount of time that you don't need any drama surrounding your career. As a single woman, I actually always seem to deal with a team when I was considering management. There was only one case where it was a guy and I felt very comfortable with him. He is very business minded. 

There were several of my friends that I thought would be a great manager just because they had business degrees and were looking to branch out into entrepreneurship. But I never made the call. I personally don't think you should mix friendship with business. You don't need any extra reasons for you and your friend to bump heads. 

I had a friend who was the Vice President of my mentoring organization while we were in college. Whenever I tried to correct her, I felt she took it personal. Once, she hung up on me. That's not cool because as the President, if I'm calmly addressing an issue, why would you handle it that way? So I've learned to not work with friends on that level. 

Plus, it may be hard for your friends to separate the business side of you from the personal side of you. They have to know not to base decisions based on your personal life, but from a business perspective. 

So, what contacts should your manager have if you're an author? I'll use myself as an example. I write children's fiction, from picture books to young adult. I wanted someone who had contacts at schools, the Boys & Girls Club of America, other non-profits that cater to youth, especially young girls and churches. 

That was important to me. And my management team has that. One, my mother has a degree in non-profit management and she has done massive research on non-profits. We also have strong ties to churches in my hometown. My west coast manager has ties to non-profits, colleges and education systems. The first conference call we had, she emailed my mom and I a document with all the college radio stations from A-Z in the country. That's being resourceful. 

If you are a non-fiction writer who writes about health and fitness, you want someone that has connections in the health and fitness world. Having a manager who manages actors may not help you much. Or if you write about animals and animal health, you may want to get someone who has strong ties to PETA or animal hospitals. Trust me. You don't have time to help someone build their Rolodex. As you go along, you guys will add contacts, but they should definitely come with a strong list upfront. 

Now, here's the tough part.Creating a contract. If you sign with a company, they will already probably have contracts set up. But if you just sign with an individual, there are some things you want to make sure are clear. One thing that steered me away from one management team is that they wanted me to sign for two years. Why? "Because the first year, we're just getting to know each other and nothing may happen in the first year, year and a half."

Sorry. If it takes you a year or more to book one speaking engagement for me, I'm good. I'm not looking for microwave success, but I don't want that slow global warming success either. I do agree with one part they said - it does take some time to really get to know someone. Even in a relationship, it can take 6-8 months before you really feel like you know your significant other. 

Since contracts are so important, I'll touch on this with a more extensive blog post next week. 

Questions or comments about securing management for your career? Have you found management? What was your journey like? Comment below or shoot me an email. 
 

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