The Agent Love Thread

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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LizV
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The Agent Love Thread

Post by LizV » July 24th, 2012, 10:39 am

I've been talking recently with an author who's absolutely insistent that it's millions of times easier to get published solo than to get an agent, that an agent won't help anyway, that anyone who wants an agent is just naive, and that agents are thieves and losers who either cheat their clients or just ignore them into oblivion.

I know he's full of it, but I could do with hearing so in a voice other than my own.

So let's sing the praises of the agent, folks. Sure, there are bad apples out there, but let's talk about the good ones. What they contribute to the industry, why you want one -- or if you have one, what they do for you and why you value it.

Margo
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Re: The Agent Love Thread

Post by Margo » July 24th, 2012, 11:50 am

I don't think it qualifies as agent love, but let's not forget that if a writer wants to be published by the Big 6, no one without personal connections gets through the door without an agent. Love them or hate them, a writer isn't getting published by a big house unless they have an agent or a personal connection to an editor there. And with the personal connection, if they make an offer, they'll tell you to go get an agent.

As for actual agent love...I heart Donald Maass. Great, helpful, brilliant, hands-on guy who improves the skill of every writer who works with him.

[Edit: I'd sing the praises of my former agent, who was extremely patient and tolerant of how difficult we writers can be, but he is retired now.]
Last edited by Margo on July 24th, 2012, 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

LizV
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Re: The Agent Love Thread

Post by LizV » July 24th, 2012, 1:08 pm

Valid point about the Big 6, Margo. (Of course, this author was of the opinion that the only reason anyone would covet a Big 6 contract was if they were a money-grubbing fool who thought they'd be the next JKR. You see why I wanted some other voices?)

Personally, I'd love a Big 6 contract for my book, but it's not about the money; it's about the distribution. Don't get me wrong: there's some exciting stuff going on in the small-press world, and I think it's great that those options exist. But the fact remains that if your book's put out by HarperCollins, that's going to create more chances to get it into the hands of more readers than if it's put out by Joe's House o' Books.

If that's a priority for a writer, then that's a valid reason they might want an agent.

Margo
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Re: The Agent Love Thread

Post by Margo » July 24th, 2012, 1:12 pm

LizV wrote:If that's a priority for a writer, then that's a valid reason they might want an agent.
True. But there are plenty of reasons to go with an agent. Many of them form a mentor relationship with their authors, and that guidance has resulted in some truly brilliant collaborations. Plus, there is something to be said for the insider knowledge an agent has about sales trends, publishing house operations, editor tastes and movement from house to house.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Margo
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Re: The Agent Love Thread

Post by Margo » July 24th, 2012, 1:16 pm

LizV wrote:(Of course, this author was of the opinion that the only reason anyone would covet a Big 6 contract was if they were a money-grubbing fool who thought they'd be the next JKR. You see why I wanted some other voices?)
Sounds like he doesn't know very much about the industry. Plenty of people have legitimate criticism of the Big 6 and how they do business, but it sounds like he has limited his research to some of the more vitriolic, one-sided blogs. Always good to actually get out and meet your enemy, if he must think of them as such.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

LizV
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Re: The Agent Love Thread

Post by LizV » July 24th, 2012, 1:20 pm

Margo wrote:But there are plenty of reasons to go with an agent.
Oh, yes. I didn't mean to imply that that was the only reason a writer might want an agent, merely that it might be one of several good reasons.

LizV
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Re: The Agent Love Thread

Post by LizV » July 24th, 2012, 1:29 pm

Margo wrote:Sounds like he doesn't know very much about the industry. Plenty of people have legitimate criticism of the Big 6 and how they do business, but it sounds like he has limited his research to some of the more vitriolic, one-sided blogs.
He's got a few books out -- small press, obviously, but well-received critically -- so I expected better of him. But yeah, he's definitely taken the worst cases and set them up as The Way Things Are.

We all know that there are agents who screw their clients either deliberately or through neglect, but it seems to me that thinking all agents are that way is as naive as thinking that all agents are saints. Certainly not a productive approach, and definitely not one that recognizes that different writers have different wants/needs.

Margo
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Re: The Agent Love Thread

Post by Margo » July 24th, 2012, 1:41 pm

LizV wrote:He's got a few books out -- small press, obviously, but well-received critically -- so I expected better of him.
This explains a lot. And now I'll shut up before I say something I shouldn't.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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