Agent, lawyer, manager…do writers need an entourage?
For an unemployed writer who earned no income last year aside from my buy-out kiss-off, I sure have a lot of employees.
There’s my agent. Actually, there are two: my literary agent, for whom I’ve written exactly one nonfiction book and earned 10% of a five-figure advance one time. Then there’s my TV agent, for whom I’ve written a bunch of scripts on spec and earned 10% of bupkis.
There’s my lawyer. I signed a contract with the firm promising 5% of earnings for work they negotiate. How much work have they negotiated? That’s right. None.
Today I met for the first time with the guy I’ll hire as my manager. He’ll get his 10% cut above and beyond the others’. What’s 10% of $0? Yep. Nuttin’.
Do I really need all these people working for me when I’m not yet working? No…if my intention is to remain burrowed in my increasingly funky-smelling home office and write for the enjoyment of friends and family. Yes…if my intention is to ever earn serious cha-ching from my sole marketable skill.
Here’s a well-reported, extremely helpful article in the WGA magazine Written By explaining what all these people do. If you’ve ever wondered what in hell a manager is, as I did and still kinda do, this will go a long way toward edifying you. In a nutshell:
For some, the manager serves as a personal development executive or even a career counselor; for others, the manager acts as another level of connection in the business. Oftentimes, the manager serves two or three of these roles.
Or, as I said to my sister: Ari is an agent; Eric is a manager. Now all I lack is a Turtle. I got plenty of Drama.