Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishings. Asking Your Agent Permission


I have to ask permission from my agent. I have heard that sentence in one fashion or another more than I want to think about lately. Drives me crazy every time because of how really, really wrong and flat stupid it is.

I figured I answered this myth a great deal in all the other agent chapters and I had no real plans on addressing it directly. If you haven’t read all of those earlier chapters, please, please go to the top of this page and click on the tab for this book and read the chapters and comments with “agent” in the title. There are a bunch of them.

But now, since this has come up so much lately and in different places around the web, I figured I better hit the point directly on the head at least once.

So, let me try.

Agents are hired by writers. When, in business, do you ever ask your employee permission to do anything?

Uhhhh…..Never.

And that should be the simple answer to this myth, but of course, writer after writer, including many, many professional writers, utter the words “I need to ask my agent to see if I can do that.” (means permission)

And that puts an agent in control of your career. And that way lies huge problems in many ways already outlined in other chapters of this book and the comments following them.

Asking for advice is another matter completely. We hire agents for their opinions, their knowledge, their ability to know things we don’t know. Fine. Ask advice, not permission. A very clear difference.

Asking Permission: Just imagine a young, fearful child (writer), standing in front of an adult (agent), head bowed, waiting for permission. That’s how writers act around agents. Not all of us, but more of us than I want to admit.

Asking advice: The scene should be powerful person (writer) sitting behind a large desk in an office while an aide (agent) stands in front of the desk offering advice only when asked.

After all, who gets 85% and who gets 15%?

So let me give some ways this problem of asking permission from an employee shows its ugly head with writers and agents and a few solutions to the problem. These I have heard just in the last month.

1) “I want to write in another genre but I asked my agent (permission) and she won’t let me.”

This is being talked about over on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website. It stunned them as well. And they have some great points about writer as conglomerate that I agree with.

Solution: Let me say simply that writers write. We write what we are passionate about, what we love, what interests us or scares us at the moment. That’s where the top books come from. I certainly am not going to ask some employee if I can write something. I will write it and then if the employee can’t deal with it when I am finished, I will find an employee who will. That simple. Blunt, but simple.

2) “I want to send a book to that (certain) company but my agent doesn’t like them (or an editor) and won’t do it.”

Solution: Your employee (if forced to mail it by you) will more than likely stick a bad pitch and cover letter on the book to prove to you that they are correct. So send it to the company or editor yourself. (You think I’m kidding about agents killing a submission to prove a point? Boy are you living in a cave.)

Remember, a large number of us out here who are working professionals don’t believe in having an agent submit a manuscript. I know my own books better than any employee ever would, I am a better pitch writer and letter writer than any employee. I will send in my own books, then have an agent or attorney deal with the contract if I need help at that point. Worked for almost 100 novels now. Agent never sold a one.

3) Agent says, “I think it would be better that you slow down and just concentrate on (blank).” (Translation: You need permission from your employee to write your normal speed and do your normal production.)

Solution: Let me think. Professional writers write. We make our living off of our work. If we write more, we sell more, but you have a lazy employee who wants you to slow down YOUR PRODUCTION to not make them work too hard. FIRE THEM the moment those words come out of their mouth. Don’t even hesitate. You have an employee that is too stupid for words and if you, heaven forbid, took that stupid advice and put yourself in a situation where your agent had to give you permission to even write, start looking for a day job. You will need one very shortly, and then the agent will drop you anyway.

4) Agent says, “I won’t send this book out without a rewrite.” (Translation, you now need permission from an employee to send your work to editors when you want to.)

Solution: Say simply, “Fine, I’ll mail it and call when I get an offer.” Many agents will be just fine with that. It saves their reputation and they don’t have to do the work. But, and it does happen, if your employee doesn’t want you to do that, say simply, “You are fired.”

You have no other choice on this one. You must, to make a living, get your work in front of editors. You can’t have an employee slowing this process down. Again, don’t force them to mail it or they will trash it in the pitches and cover letters and thus prove to you they were right. And, of course, don’t tell them where you are sending it. Just surprise them when an offer comes in. Trust me, after that, they won’t again ask for a rewrite from you. And you should never allow them to in the first place. Read the chapter on that I have already covered.

Also, on this topic, also covered before, agents give up after they have gone through their six or eight editor friends, so take the book back at that point and mail it yourself as well. Same goes if the agent doesn’t want you to, fire them.

These are just four areas that writers ask permission from agents I have heard in the last month from different writers. There are a ton more, but I think you get the idea. Or at least I hope you do.

You are in control of your own career.

Don’t hand it to an employee and hope for the best. Keep the control yourself. That’s what every one of these chapters have been talking about in one fashion or another.

Writers are in control. Writers are the “talent” in Hollywood terms. This industry runs on the work of writers. Agents are hired by writers. Agents are employees, not partners, not in charge of the writer’s business. They are a writer’s employee and nothing more.

Keep that clearly in mind and stop asking your employee for permission to do anything. Stay in charge. Believe in your own work, trust your own voice and your own skill.

And, for heaven’s sake, GROW A BACKBONE.

————————————————

Copyright 2010 Dean Wesley Smith
————————————————–
I did not ask any agent for permission to write this book. I’m just doing it. And now this is part of my inventory in my bakery. (Confused on that, read the Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post about making money with writing.) I’m giving you this small slice as a sample. I’m giving you a taste, but not selling any of the pie.

If you feel this helped you in any way, toss a tip into the tip jar on the way out of the Magic Bakery.

And I would like to thank all the fine folks who have donated. Once this book is done, I will send you a copy. The donations and the comments both after the posts and privately are really keeping me going on this. Thanks!

If you can’t afford to donate, please feel free to pass this chapter along to others who might get some help from it. Every week or so I will be adding a new chapter on the myths and sacred cows of publishing. Stay tuned. Upcoming are chapters on bestsellers, rejections, more on agents, and so much more. This business has a lot of myths. An entire book full.

Thanks, Dean


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38 Responses to Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishings. Asking Your Agent Permission

  1. I love it, Dean. Couldn’t be put more precisely.

    And this is probably the one point that I have to thank you the most for making (though there are many others that are equally important and rewarding).

    You read and listen to others’ words about how the industry works as a new writer, and if you’re like me, you get disillusioned very quickly, because it just doesn’t make any damned sense.

    This series, and this post particularly, has aptly cleared my head, and made the process make sense again.

  2. Deborah says:

    Oh, Dean, you really need to get to the point, say what you think, and QUIT beating around the bush.

    Yeah, right. LOL

    Thanks again for the great insight and spelling things out that *should* be obvious, but aren’t because the myths are so powerful and ingrained in how so many people in the publishing industry work.

  3. Linda Jordan says:

    Just wondering what your take is on agents who ask writers to write under another name. I’ve known of several writers who’ve had four or more books published, then agents asked them to change their names.
    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and on the reasons for a pseudonym in general.

    • dwsmith says:

      Linda, actually, since I write under a bunch of pen names, many not so public, that you know I don’t have issues with it.

      And lots of reasons. This kind of advice coming from an agent is “advice” and often good advice, depending…

      Main reasons for a pen name.
      1) Different genres. If you are writing violent fantasy under one name, your sweet romance should be under another name, even if it is a public pen name, meaning you tell people. At least the readers are warned. Sort of Branding. Your reader won’t open a box of Cheerios and get Shredded Wheat.
      2) Your sales numbers are not good. Sales numbers track with the author name, so change the name and start with fresh numbers. Often this is why an agent will advise an author to change names.
      3) You work in a medical or police field and write novels in the same area you work in, you might want to think of doing so under a pen name.
      4) You write too fast for your genre. Say you are managing a thousand words per day, that’s between three and four novels a year, but your genre only allows you to publish one per year per name. Add another pen name.

      Those are the main reasons for having a pen name. There are other smaller ones.

      Hope that helps. Cheers, Dean

  4. Pati Nagle says:

    About those agents who give up on a book after 6 or 8 rejections…just saw this link at Examiner.com today about 30 famous authors who got multiple rejections. All of their books (many now famous, like Stephen King’s Carrie and Anne Frank’s diary) got at least 15 or 20 rejections before a publisher bought them. Some got a lot more (Gone with the Wind).

    Read this, and remember not to give up on your book so easily.

    http://bit.ly/cNHeFQ

  5. J.A. Marlow says:

    “…GROW A BACKBONE.”

    I love it! What a great way to end the post. It’s amazing to me authors would fall for the idiocy of the examples you showed, but I’ve read and heard of authors doing the exact same thing. Talk about head-shaking.

    Just because you are artistic and are of ‘delicate sensibilities’ does not mean you should be a mat to be walked on by hard-nosed business types. I’ve seen too many writers willing to take on the victim role, and that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, too.

    Sad, but happens far too often.

    Writers should be hard-nosed business types, too!

  6. Amanda McCarter says:

    I was talking to a colleague this past weekend about our novels. She told me her agent was having her trim down her novel and her synopsis. I nearly choked, smiled, told her I would rather leave that to the editor to decide and told her about your site. I hope she does. I also told her about Kris’ site. The whole while, another author was listening to our conversation. When I mentioned I would rather hire a lawyer than an agent, the author’s eyes got really wide and she wouldn’t say anything. I forget sometimes not everyone views your advice as sensible.

    • dwsmith says:

      Amanda, remember every writer is different. And, of course, many of these myths I’m throwing stones at are very deep in a writer’s belief system. And my attitude is that if it is working for that writer, if they are making a living and selling regularly and not getting stolen from, then great. No issue at all by me. I wouldn’t suggest they change a thing.

      But then, on the other hand, don’t complain to me when your sales dry up, your agent won’t mail a book and you stay with that agent, and you sign bad contracts because your agent doesn’t know any better. I think that one of the many reason’s I’m doing these posts, at least one of the many personal reasons, is that no longer do I have to just sit and bite my lip and say nothing when a writer is complaining about those things. (grin)

      But as you discovered, caution with other writers. Best thing to say is “For another perspective, read Dean’s posts, or posts by Laura Resnick.” Give them the link and then walk (or run) away. (grin)

  7. Dean-Can’t tell you how much I am enjoying this series. I am a business consultant and am writing my first novel. When doing my research on how the publishing industry worked I was astounded by the insistance that it worked totally differently from any other business I have worked with in the last 25 years. One of the things I always tell my clients is that no matter the industry there are certain things that cross industries and can be learned to the benefit of the entrepreneur. It is refreshing to hear that I don’t have to throw out my years of business experience when it comes time to sell my product.

    • dwsmith says:

      Thanks, Rebecca and Nathan. Exactly right, all I am pounding on is that writers need to take responsibility for their own careers. For those who have been through our workshops, that is a familiar note: One workshop even made me a big sign “You are responsible for your own career” because I wrote those words so many times on the board.

      Beth, you got it. If you are a business consultant, you have a huge head-start in this business. This is just corporate American, no matter how much writer’s don’t want to think of it that way. If you understand how real business works and apply that to your own writing, you will avoid most of the problems that plague writers. Are you following my wife’s Freelancer’s Guide at http://www.KristineKathrynRusch.com. It will really make sense to you. Thanks for the nice comments.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I love these posts! Basically all of these myths boil down to the one point you keep hammering on: writers are in charge of their own careers. No one is coming to save us, but if we’re smart and use some thought, we can save ourselves.

    Thanks for debunking these myths and giving us a wider view.

  9. nathan says:

    [quote="Dean"]Say you are managing a thousand words per day, that’s between three and four novels a year, but your genre only allows you to publish one per year per name. Add another pen name.[/quote]

    You’ve said it before. It continues to be true.

    But the math never fails to kill me–and how many writers don’t get it. Working an hour (and hour & 10 minutes or even 15 minutes because I realized I’m kinda slow) you can do 3 or 4 books a year.

    An hour a day. Hey-soos Chreest-O on a donkey. It ain’t working on a fishing boat in Alaska–I can promise you that.

    Writers write.

  10. Michael D. says:

    I think we all hear the “I’ll have to ask my agent” thing even from writers who know better because of imprecision of spoken language. More often than we think, anyway.
    I’ve heard it said by writers who really mean, “I need to ask my agent if we have any contractual obligations preventing me from doing that.” Which would be okay to do, if the author is unsure about, say, whether or not they got a non competition clause thrown out of that last contract. In that case they aren’t asking permission from their agent, their asking their agent what they’ve agreed to, perhaps sometime after the signing when details have grown fuzzy.
    More often, I hear writers say this as a sort of evasive maneuver. We’re not always the most socially skilled bunch and some just have a hard time saying “No, I don’t like the idea behind that project and/or trust the people involved and do not wish to do it.” The agent makes a handy escape for the timid or the writer who has let enthusiastic discourse put him in the pot.
    Of course, many really do think they need their agents permission. I have seen that all too often as well.

    • dwsmith says:

      Michael, asking advice of an agent is fine. Asking for information from your agent is great. I only shake my head when that asking turns into asking permission to make a decision that is in the writer’s hands.

      And you are right that the lines are often fuzzy in some instances. No argument there at all.

  11. Paul Tseng says:

    Dean,

    It’s great to be reminded of this. I haven’t had the pleasure of working with an agent yet, but having the right perspective is so important.

    The parent-child vs. Head honcho-advisor analogies are great!

    I don’t like confrontation that much, and though I have had to fire employees before, I never looked forward to it. The problem I can forsee is if a writer realizes only later that it’s their *agent*, not themself, that has bought into the agent-as-manager myth. Then things would get unpleasant.

    • dwsmith says:

      Paul, it’s when the agent thinks they are in charge that the problems arise, you are right.

      And remember, folks, agents are in charge OF THEIR OWN BUSINESS and can do as they please inside their own business. You, the writer, has the choice to fight them or move to someone who thinks like you do. Fighting an employee is never a good idea for very long. Training them to your way is fine. But fighting is not productive for either side.

      Good comment, Paul. Thanks.

  12. Dean – I’m an avid follower of Kristine’s Freelancer’s Guide and have been mentioning it to my business community on my blog and in twitter. I wish I had had the money chapters back when I was a commercial lender. Actually, I found you through your wife’s blog.

  13. “…because of imprecision of spoken language.”

    Michael, I couldn’t agree more about that. I personally HATE it when people say “I can’t.” Almost invariably, what people mean is “I won’t,” or “I don’t want to.”

    There are some cases when it is physically impossible for someone to achieve something. For example, I simply cannot climb Mt. Everest tomorrow. I am not properly conditioned or trained, and I don’t have the financing or the equipment. So it’s simply out of my reach. Tomorrow.

    But there’s nothing stopping me from doing it in five or ten years except me. (Granted, I’m not going to do that, I don’t think, ever. Not my idea of a good time. But I could.)

    There’s an old expression that I like to keep in mind, but sometimes forget: “Say what you mean.” That is to say that I strive to choose the correct words for what I am trying to communicate to others.

    I also strive to do that with myself. I do my best to never tell myself I can’t do something. When I catch myself, I remind myself that I most definitely can do whatever the hell I want to do in my life, if I’m willing to accept the consequences, both good and bad.

    That attitude comes from my father, both in a good and a bad way. He used to tell me, “Boy, ain’t nothing in this world for free. If you want something, you gotta go out and get it.” And he meant it. He started teaching me that lesson before I was ten. He turned eighty last week (woohoo!) and he still says things like that. I love it.

    But there was also a negative aspect of that. He would sometimes become angry and say things like, “You’ll never amount to anything.”

    I was young, again less than ten, when he first said that to me. And I immediately thought, before he was done speaking, “Like hell I won’t. I’ll show you, old man.”

    And I have, to some degree. And the thing that keeps me going is to show him, my wife, and most importantly myself, that I can be whatever and whoever I wish to be. I just have to want it, figure out how to get it, and execute.

    I tell young people now that the hardest part about becoming successful in life is deciding what we want to do. That takes most of us half or more of our lives. Once we decide, we just have to learn how to do it. The internet now makes that easier than ever.

    And it’s all thanks to the shrinking of the world that brings us all together and allows us to glean knowledge from folks like Dean, Kris, Laura, David F., and all the others who work to pay it forward. Thanks, guys!

    I always come back to my life’s most important quote. It might seem funny, but it struck me when I first heard it in 1980 at eight years old, and it still rings true with me.

    “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” – George Lucas, The Empire Strikes Back.

    Well, that ends my remarkably off-topic rant about accuracy of the spoken word. :)

  14. About those agents who give up on a book after 6 or 8 rejections… I’ve never had an agent who stuck with a project that long.

    The agents I worked with invariably declared a project dead after 1-4 rejections. I’ve had four agents, but I’ve never had an agent who’d stick with a project through “as many” as 6-8 rejections.

    Which is among the reasons that I’ve made the majority of my 25 or so book sales myself. And no longer work with agents–who, in my experience, always wanted 15% of all earnings EVEN on books that they had declined to send out at all, or had declined to send out again.

    I finished my book and delivered it early Friday morning… and found out by Tuesday afternoon that they want the next one on a VERY tight schedule. So back to the salt mines for me. Just popped in to say hello.

    LauraR

  15. Oh, I forgot, meant to say– Recently heard from a writer having (what else?) massive agent problems. The agent (who is now the writer’s ex-agent) is making the writer’s life a nightmare with appallingly vindictive and unprofessional behavior.

    And I’ve just received a bill from my lawyer for dealing with an ex-agent of mine, whose appallingly unprofessional and vindictive behavior continues to be a headache to me. So now, in addition to still getting 15% of my income on projects wherein the agent’s involvement ceased -entirely- YEARS ago (I’m the one who handles all business related to these projects), the agent is -also- costing me legal fees. (And this is, just to drive the point home, a high-profile, respected agent whom I was considered lucky to get and foolish to shed.)

    The traditional agent-author business model is deeply, deeply flawed, particularly because it relies far too much on the supposed sterling character and professional genius of the agent.

    • dwsmith says:

      Hi, Laura, great job getting the book done. Glad you could pop back in for a moment.

      Right now I am helping four different writers work their way through agent issues. I agree, this model is becoming more flawed by the day.

      And I too am having my best year in a long time without an agent. And I expect next year to be even better by a long ways. Hmmmm

  16. BTW, I did the math this week, just out of curiosity.

    =Just= based on the commissions that would be owed on my work =ONLY= of the books I’ve sold which various agents have refused to handle, declined to send out, and/or declined to send out AGAIN or not wanted to handle, etc… If an agent had ever stuck with me over the long haul and handled all those projects… that agent would have earned enough in commission from those varous projects to buy my best friend’s first condo, in a luxury building, outright with that money–and have some cash leftover for decorating.

    (Mind you, I live in Cincinnati, so a luxury condo doesn’t cost here what it costs in New York. But still.)

    That would have been the commission earnings, to date, on -just- the projects of mine that agents have balked at, rejected, fought with me about, declared unsaleable, etc. (I’ve also sold 7 books where an agent collected commission for sending out the book =without= balking or melodrama, and I’m not including those figures here.)

    So when I see agencies now struggling financially, talking about how hard the market is, shutting down, etc… I look at my own math and have to say, “How much of that is because most of you aren’t good enough at business to survive a tough market?” Whereas since getting rid of agents, and despite the tough market, I’m not only working constantly, but unless something goes drastically wrong (this is publishing, so it’s always possible!), 2010 will be the best earnings year of my career to date. (And, prior to 2010, the two best earnings years of my career were both–wait for it!–also periods when I was unagented.)

  17. Jas. M. says:

    Hello. I love the Sacred Cow slaughter going on here. It has taken me a while to catch up on all the posts and comments, and I’ve learned a lot.

    I do have a question about pen names though, since it was mentioned again in the comments here. I’ve heard a story about someone you know (not naming names in case this story is not “public”) sending a story under a pen name, getting an offer, but then having the offer yanked because the publisher found out that the author was not the same gender/race as the protagonist. How is this possible? Don’t they have the author’s actual name with the manuscript?

    I guess that cow would be called “The Publisher Knows Who You Are”. Anyway, if you could comment about that, I’d appreciate it.

    • dwsmith says:

      Jas, the author should have put their name up in the left hand corner with all the contact information. If submitted by an agent, the agent screwed up big time. Pen names only go under the title.

      By the way, what you are stating is a “writing myth.” I’ve never heard of such a thing happening. No one cares in fiction if a man writes a women’s romance or a women writers men’s action adventure. Makes no difference and hasn’t for 40 years. Skin color on the other hand has only changed in the last decade or so. But gender hasn’t made a difference in my writing career. For example, I write romance novels under a pen name. My editors know exactly who I am. For heaven’s sake the president for a couple of years of Romance Writers of America was a man.

      So something else caused this besides gender. Or the writer was just spouting a myth. Or more likely, something got screwed up along the way or the author did something horribly wrong and the publisher decided they didn’t want to work with that person.

  18. Ev Bishop says:

    Your posts (and the responses to them) continue to be very educational and inspiring.

    Thanks!

  19. Ev Bishop says:

    Dear Dean,

    Yesterday, I sent to an editor from Berkley that I’ve had prior contact with and I’m excited, because she had seemed excited. It was an easy submission because we’d talked, I knew what she wanted sent (first three chapters, plus a synopsis, plus mini synopses for Book 2 and Book 3 of the possible trilogy. I also included a bio), and I had a name to address it to and could scrawl “Requested Material” across the front.

    I’ve been looking into other publishers and while I can find their mailing addresses, etc, they’re not like literary agencies in that I can’t find list of their staff–they have the annoying “No unagented submissions” line in their Submitting a Manuscript link.

    Is there a way to figure out a name, thus at least getting my ms into the slush pile in a particular editor’s office, rather than just the main office? Or should I just sent to, for example, St Martin’s Press, “Dear Editor” . . .

    Also, do you recommend sending the full manuscript or a submission package similar to the one I described above?

    I’m sorry these questions are so elementary.

    • dwsmith says:

      Eve, what you sent that editor is a pretty standard submission package and works great. Make sure if you are sending to an editor you don’t know to do a great cover letter with some of your credits in the letter along with the one paragraph pitch for the book (or back copy sales pitch). And put the chapters under the cover letter, since how well you open a book is critical. Editors will flip to the synopsis.

      I would always send any manuscript directly to an editor, never just a house. Join PublishersMarketplace.com and use their search features to find editors and what they have bought lately and so on. It’s easy these days. Also, going to writer’s conferences with major editors and having appointments with them (not agents) will help you a lot get personal contact, and every region has one or two of them every year.

  20. Eve, if you visit my Writers Resources Page, there are a couple of links there for online information (accumulated on a volunteer basis) that tracks which editors at which houses buy what books.

    (This is strictly sf/f info, since those are the resources I know about. If anyone knows of similar resources in other genres, please email me–there are “email Laura” links all over my website–with that info. I’d like to post more such resources on the site. Sf/f just happens to be the genre I hear the most about, followed by romance, since those are the communities where I know the writers.)

    My resources page:
    http://sff.net/people/laresnick/About%20Writing/Writers%20Resource.htm

  21. Ev Bishop says:

    Dear Dean and Laura:

    Thank you very much for the advice/links.

    >>>PublishersMarketplace!<<< (Slaps forehead–I should've known they'd list names. I keep meaning to join, but haven't. I will remedy that this month.)

    Cheers,
    Ev

  22. Amanda McCarter says:

    Are more names listed when you join Publisher’s Marketplace? I can’t find any of the editors I’m looking for.

    • dwsmith says:

      Yes, Amanda, when you join and pay the $20 for the month, you have all the search engines. But to be honest, their search engines are screwy at best. It takes some time to figure out which field to ask which question in. Drives me nuts at times and I’ve been using it for two years plus now.

      But remember, only about 1/10 of all the deals being done in a day are reported, if that much. So not everyone is up there.

  23. izanobu says:

    Damn, sometimes I forget how dearly these myths get held to. I just got a funny reminder today, however.

    Someone on a writing forum I post on sometimes just accused me of BEING Dean Wesley Smith ;). The post was asking if literary agents were helpful or harmful, so I figured I’d at least link to the Sacred Cows posts so that people could get another answer than the one being given (which was the normal “agents are the gatekeepers and will take care of you and make everything wonderful”).

    Now I remember why I lurk a lot more than post in that forum. I probably should just learn to keep my mouth shut, but I know that I wish I’d come across this kind of information years ago and I bet there are others out there hunting for knowledge as well and running into all of the myths.

    Anyway, I think what I’m trying to say is thanks, Dean. Better later than never to hear this stuff for me, and I’m damn glad the Sacred Cows posts exist. :)

    • dwsmith says:

      Thanks, Annie, much appreciated. But alas, you are right, the myths are very powerful and better to just lurk on those places. Safer all around. But I do appreciate putting up the link.

  24. misterpink says:

    what are your thoughts on checking with your agent and editor before self-publishing something else under a pen name (unrelated genre and non-competitive stuff of course)?

    thanks.

    • dwsmith says:

      Misterpink, why check? It’s none of their business, if you do as you say. But stay away from the same genre and the same name on the book. You need to watch your contract with your publisher for same genre and same name stuff. Your agent is your employee and you tell them what you are doing, not check with them (meaning ask permission). You can ask their advice, but listen to it as advice, not commands. That’s the key.

  25. ASK MY EMPLOYEE FOR PERMISSION?

  26. Oops! Hit the reply button too quick. I wanted to add this is so far off reality of the real world I thought for a second I was in an alternate reality!

    Imagine my boss comes to me and asks me for permission to assign me work. LOL. Ridiculous!

    I don’t ask my lawyer or my accountant or my contractor for permission I ask them for advice. If the advice is sound I take it. If not then I ignore it. Am I always right? Of course not. It’s called risk taking but risk taking without seeking out all relevant information first is foolish.

    Of course, some agents will balk if you don’t listen to them and do exactly what they say (see some of Laura and Dean’s comments throughout this guide for some good examples). If my employee gives me too much trouble then guess what? I fire them and hire someone else.

    Someone writers will tell you then they are scared their agent will drop them and they worked to get this agent they think the sky will fall if they get dropped. What? Scared of my employee? Scared of my lawyer or my accountant? I pay them not the other way around.

    If I ever had an agent threaten to walk if I didn’t do what they said I would say go ahead. I’m generating their income! I’m the boss not them.

    I’ve owned a small business and I learned if an employee threatens to walk, let them walk. Sure my business suffered for a period but in the long run the business was much better off and I was much happier. Who needs an employee with attitude?

    This is what happens in the real world not in this fantasy world some writers have let agents create.

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