When your boss makes a sale, does expect her client to send her a gift? Flowers, perhaps? A bottle of champagne? Something more expensive if it was a big sale?
No. We expect our fifteen percent. Actually we take it, because the publisher writes us a check and then we cut a smaller check to send to the author. It's part of the author/agent relationship and it's written into the publishing contract under the agency clause.
Gifts are actually sort of annoying. A lot usually come in at Christmas time, from authors on our client list who haven't written anything for a while and from publishing houses. This is a problem when they are gift baskets that contain fruit or something else that expires, because very often, the agent isn't in the office on Dember 24-25 and so the package might sit on the desk until January 2nd. Once I went in on December 23rd or so to handle the mail while my old boss was away, and I called her up because we'd gotten this huge gift package from some offer that contained a lot of different types of fruit and candy. She said, "Well, I'm not coming in to pick it up, so just take it home and eat it or whatever. Oh, and remember to tell me what it contained so I can write a thank you note." A lot of the items were unkosher and therefore went uneaten by me. Waste of money.