On Writing: Agents

6

August 7, 2014 by Laird

Do you need an agent? It’s not a trick question. The answer is yes, yes you do. Just ask any unagented author whose novel or collection was sucked into a publisher’s recent bankruptcy implosion. When it hit the fan those guys were utterly at the mercy of the kindness of strangers. Don’t be one of those guys.

How do you know if an agent is the right one for you? Due diligence. 90 percent of writing has nothing to do with actually writing. Due diligence is a great big chunk of the something that has nothing, and yet everything, to do with making it as a pro.

6 thoughts on “On Writing: Agents

  1. SarahTWalkeR says:

    Mr. Barron, so basically just keep looking until I find a good one is your advice? Does that mean they will like what I write or does that have anything to do with it? Thanks, Sarah

    • Laird says:

      Hi, Sarah. Anton is correct. “Like” is nice, but subordinate to skill, knowledge of the genre, communication, and effectiveness.

  2. Anton Cancre says:

    Sarah, a good agent shouldn’t care whether or not they like what you write. You want w\one that knows how to help you get sales and will help you protect your legal rights. Liking is nice, but not necessary.

  3. BL Whitney says:

    My partner used to be a DJ and said there were agents who came in with bands and it was obvious they didn’t care about the band or their music and they didn’t do as well. I would think if an agent believes in a project, it will have better success. As a person new to the industry it’s pretty hard to tell who has the skills I need (as Laird listed above) – I suppose that comes with experience.

  4. I’m in the beginning stages of seeking an agent to represent me, and my memoir. My hope is to find an agent who believes in my story. If someone doesn’t believe in your product, how can he/she make an effective sales pitch to a publisher?

  5. imagine a sales attendant trying to convince you to buy a dress (well, let’s say a tie if you are a man) while all along she believes that: 1. the dress (tie) is absolutely ridiculous &
    ugly, and 2. the dress (tie) is irrationally expensive

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