Anonymous Comment: you have 24 authors already, and you're opening your email for more?? are you planning on never sleeping again?Keep in mind, Anonymous, though I don't think that it affected my clients negatively in any way, or that they experienced any lag in communication from me because of it, I have essentially been a part-time agent for the past three years. I've had a "day job" the whole time. Now that day job is gone. Though I am still helping out a few hours here and there at a bookstore, it is for fun, just because I like it and would miss it if I stopped.
The problem with answering the question "how many clients do you have?" is, if I say a number that seems low to you, you'll think I'm not popular. If I say a number that seems too high, you'll think I don't have time. But what is normal, or average? I think that most well-established agents have many more clients than I do.
But not all those clients are active at any given time! Let's break it down. Right now my clients are:
Writing or revising a contracted book. 5Writing or revising a book that has not sold yet. 4Taking a "life break". 2Incommunicado until they come out of their hidey-holes, barring perhaps one monthly email.On submission, waiting to hear from editors. 4Turned in option book, waiting to hear from editor. 1Occasional email or quick phone call touch base / nudges / questionsSold, waiting for contracts or edits. 1Has interest, waiting for offer. 3Waiting game with sporadic flurrys of activity till they go code red
New Book from Client / Waiting to submit (I'm not submitting anything new during August). 4Reading, crafting submission lists, writing letters, worrying, editing, thinking about, till projects are in editors hands and it goes to code green.Actively negotiating contract. 1Daily emails and phone calls, lots of activity for short period of time, until it goes back to code gold.
Some, of course, fall a bit into more than one category. They are all important to me, but there is nothing I can give to Code Blue-ers right now, and percentage-wise, they are in the majority. Code Green and Gold are on the radar, but there is not a great deal to do there either besides be available if there are questions, nudge the editors, send updates, and be ready for them to go red. Code Pink and Code Red are the most active, but as you can see, they are also the least amount percentage-wise.
Aside from the immediate concerns of clients, negotiating specific contracts, etc, much of my time is spent reading, doing research and getting to know editors - which I do for all my clients, and would be the same if I had three or three hundred.
Of course, this answer is personal to me, I in no way want to imply that this is "right" or that agents who have many more or fewer clients than I do are "wrong." I just know how my own time-management breakdown works. The long and the short of it is, personally, I've only signed one new author this year and I have time for a few more. Not a LOT more - but a few more. Now I just have to find them. :-)