Friday, July 2, 2010

literary agents

My last post ended with a hypothetical situation...  an agent requesting pages to read, maybe a whole manuscript etc and a writer, getting pretty darned excited. Why the happy dance?

Because without an agent to market your books to publishers, you are like the pretty girl waiting tables in Hollywood, hoping to get noticed.  Not much chance of that. Lots of pretty girls waiting tables.

As a writer, I am one of thousands of writers with books sitting in my computer.

Unless I can attract the attention of an agent, my chances of being published by a major house are slim to none.

YES there are many self-publishing options and with Electronics, there are even ways to upload your book and offer it to readers with minimal effort.

BUT ... AT THE MOMENT in the publishing world, do-it-yourself is frowned upon, sort of like those movies that feature the Hollywood waitress. 

Once that pretty girl has been seen in  a dozen B or C movies, are the big companies going to rush to offer her a contract?  Maybe. Would they rather offer a contract to a FRESH face? Probably.

So at the beginning of my writing career, I'm hoping to go through the expected steps, figuratively knocking on doors, to find a Literary Agent to represent me.

What exactly does the Agent do?
Lots of things. Just like a sports agent, movie agent etc. They represent the client by: SHOPPING their talent; looking after CONTRACT issues from the dollars to foreign and movie rights; READING manuscripts; making suggestions on CURRENT WORK; work with their clients on everything from SOCIAL NETWORKING to getting to the next deadline.

Agents and writers work together to get books published. Most reputable agents work on straight commission so they work VERY hard to get their authors published.  This of course makes them pretty darn picky about what and who they represent.

So. Sounds simple right?
Nah, I just gave you a simple outline.  Like any job description, there's a WHOLE lot more to it!..

On a personal note,  I have found about a half dozen agents that I REALLY like and they are the ones I will target with my Queries,   and probably faint! if they are ever interested in representing me and my work. 
These agents are mostly New York based and receive upwards of 100 Query letters every single day! 
They have lots to choose from and the only way you can get their attention is to have the BEST, MOST INTERESTING AND MARKETABLE work that crosses their desk.

For now, I will get back to work making sure that my manuscript is so well polished that it will positively shine!


  1. What about agents the request a partial from a pitch at a conference? You send it but never hear back. That can be frustrating.

  2. Yup, that sucks.
    I've only had it happen once but the feedback from the ones that did respond more than made up for it!

  3. Katt, you're lucky. I've had it happen 3 times in the past year