When is the right time to build out your team and seek representation (literary agent, speaking agent, talent manager, publicist, assistant, lawyer, etc.)?
As an agent for multi-hyphenates, I represent talent across multiple spheres—speaking engagements, literary, brand partnerships, and more. When speaking to artists/speakers/writers who are looking for representation, I often ask them about their experiences handling their inquiries and outreach. What was challenging? What things ate up their time and kept them from focusing on their craft? For me, these questions provide clarity around the type of support the artist might need. That support might not be in the form of an agent right away; it might be in the form of an assistant or a lawyer or a publicist or a therapist! I’ve found that when an artist has some experience navigating the business and logistical aspects of the work on their own, it often leads to clearer communication and a healthier working relationship rooted in mutual gratitude and respect.
If you’re seeing an uptick in interest in your work, editors reaching out, venues pinging about your rates—that’s usually a good time to consider finding the right support. Scaling your team should be done thoughtfully. You’ll want to find folks who are organized and excited about your work, but you’ll also want them to see and care about you as the person behind that work. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a few great databases online like Diverse Representation. Also consider which creatives you admire or have a similar trajectory, and look into who’s on their team. Before reaching out, do the work to learn about those agencies/bureaus/firms. Ask yourself, “How is my work aligned with their representation interests and goals?” Ask peers for recommendations or introductions, and take your time as best you can with this research and team-building process.
—Tabia Yapp, founder of BEOTIS