Friday, March 03, 2006

On Agents...

Just how important it is to have an agent when you’re trying to get published? There seem to be several schools of thought on this topic. Some say it is essential, others, not so much. Some people have sold their first book without an agent, and then get an agent before they sell their second. Some people sell more than one book without an agent and are perfectly happy dealing with the contract negotiations themselves. One published author I know has had many agents but has never sold a book through an agent – all of her sales have come when she’s been between agents!

I’m not sure where I stand on this issue. Don’t get me wrong, if an agent approached me tomorrow and said, “I love your book and know just where we can sell it,” I’d jump on that with both feet. However, I know several published authors who have agents and love them, others who have agents and tolerate them, and still a few more who have agents and are looking for new agents!

In a recent panel discussion with several published authors, this very question arose. An unpublished author said, “I always hear about the questions you should ask an agent before accepting their representation, but what ARE those questions?” The answers were as varied as the published authors, but the one that stuck with me is this one: ask the agent, “why do you love my story?”

As a writer, you must LOVE your story. Hopefully, you’ll find an editor who feels the same and will BUY your story. An agent must also LOVE your story. If they love your voice and they love your characters and they love your plotting and they love your conflict and they love everything about your story, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re going to do their best to sell that story to an editor.

I recently perused one of those “guide” books in the library regarding agents. Do you KNOW how many agents there are out there? HUNDREDS of them. Surely, somewhere out there in the great big publishing world, there is ONE agent who will feel the same way about our characters/stories that we do…now we just have to find that agent…or not.

1 comment:

leslie said...

Wow...that is a great question to an agent: Why do you love my story? That's something I might not have thought of on my own. Personally, I want an agent to handle the logistical and icky part of publishing. The negotiating, the pushiness, the income disbursement. To me, it's like having a business manager. But, to each his or her own! LOL!

And, yes, I'll see you all in Atlanta!