But Why Would You… Ever Need an Agent in this New World?

Sixth installment in this new series. This series will be made up of short, sometimes long questions and puzzlements about publishing.

For the longest time, about twenty-two years, actually, I had a series of wonderful agents. In the old world of publishing, they never sold a book for me, not one of about 90 I sold during those years, but I got my value from them and they helped me in numbers of ways that were important in the old world of publishing. I liked and parted company in a good way with all three agents.

But now, here in late 2011, writers are having discussion after discussion about what a traditional publisher can offer them. And it’s a valid discussion. I still feel it is good, as I have said, to do both indie and traditional publishing. I think writers should have the choice and the power that doing both gives a writer.

And in hundreds of blog posts here, I have been saying over and over and over that EVERY WRITER IS DIFFERENT.  There is no one right road for all writers. I believe that to my core.

So that said, why would I ask the above question and why would I, in my last post about the new scams of publishing called Book Country, be so black and white about agents?

My reason is simple, actually. I believe the day of the agent has passed. This is a new world of publishing. I just do not believe agents have value to writers. And when an employee is no longer has a job to do, you don’t keep them on and keep paying them. That’s just business.

So that said, let me click down all the myths that will come pouring at me because I said that. Let me poke at the myth with logic and business sense. I know that will often conflict with a myth, but alas, let me try anyway. (And please read the paragraphs above again. I am not an indie publisher and I had great agents in the old days.)

Myth #1: You need an agent to sell to a traditional editor.

Nope. I have done twenty posts detailing some of the ways to sell to a traditional editor without an agent. It is so common to sell books without agents as to be scary. I know of at least twenty first-sale authors who just sold without agents. In my last post here I detailed out how to do a submission package to an editor. (And that’s saying nothing of indie publishing.)

But why not have an agent sell the book for you?

Well, first off, you have to get the agent to like the book.  Second, the agent needs to have one of their six or seven editors they know have a space for your book. (Agents know very, very few editors.) Third, the agent needs to think your book, in their opinion, is marketable.

In other words, to get an agent to sell a book for you, you have put up an entire world of road blocks in front of your book that just aren’t needed. And if the agent then does sell the book, (or under some agency contracts even just submit without selling) you are paying them 15% for the life of the book.

So why put up more roadblocks to selling and then pay money for those roadblocks for the life of the book?  Why not just sell the book yourself? It’s easy and will take less time than the time you will spend dealing with an agent.

Myth #2: You need an agent to sell your book overseas (or Hollywood).

In the world of e-mails, this is just silly. When your book is published, an overseas editor will see your book (or you might even send it to them) and contact you. All contact and contracts must be in your language per copyright convention. So no language problem. In fact, Kris and I are selling a ton more stuff overseas now that we no longer have agents blocking us.

But why not have an agent sell your book overseas?

First off, instead of problems and roadblocks with just one agent, you now have two, or in some cases three agents if your agent ships off your book to an agency only dealing with overseas agents. Agents in the states work with overseas agents, and now charge you 20%.  However, when you get paid, the money goes to an overseas agent who then sends it to your States agent, who then sends it to you.

This works when you know the money is coming, such as an advance on a contract, but you will almost never see the money if it is royalty payments, money you don’t know is coming. It tends to get “lost” a great deal of the time in the overseas agent’s office and no one knows unless you are always on top of all royalty statements owed you.  If you have an agent, you can’t track the money without a huge fight.

If you deal directly with an overseas publisher without an agent in the middle, the royalty statements and money comes directly to you, often in direct deposit to your bank account. Stunning how much more money Kris and I are making without overseas agents in the mix. We actually see overseas royalty reports now. Also stunning. And your IP lawyer can check the contract for you if you need it, but often the overseas contracts are so simple you won’t need help.

Myth #3: I need my agent to take care of me so I can just write.

I have trouble even responding to this myth because having someone take care of me is just alien to my way of thinking.

Not knowing and being in control of my own business, the very business that puts food on my table and a roof over my head, seems so wrong in so many ways. Yet I know people who never escaped their mother. And I know writers who feel an agent can take care of them like their mother.

Why wouldn’t you want an agent to take care of you?

First off, this agent is a stranger. This agent has bills to pay and upwards of fifty other writers or more to take care of as well. They don’t know you or what you need. And you don’t know them.

Then there is the money problem. If you are just letting them have all your money without checking on it, they will take your money when they need it. If you believe that they will take care of you when your next book doesn’t sell, just ask to borrow your next mortgage payment from them and see what they say. (Old days that actually was a practice, but again that ended in the old world of publishing.)

If you aren’t making them a ton of money, good luck having them return your phone calls within a short time when you need a pat on the head and an “attaboy” cheering section.

If you want someone to take care of you, being in a national business might not be the place for you.

Myth #4: My agent can publish my books or my backlist for me.

This myth is growing quickly and has so many problems with it, I can’t begin to tell you them all. In part, it comes from wanting someone to take care of the poor struggling “artist.”

And for the moment let me just skip the massive conflict of interest I talked about in the last post, since most writers don’t understand agency law or what is even required from their “agents.”  Let me just skip to the logistics and costs.

Some agents are making a writer front all costs for this “publishing program.” Now, for most of us in indie publishing, there are little or no costs.

Also an agent will take 15% to 50% of the net and also handle all the money before you see it.

Can a young agent out of an English degree program design a cover for your book any better than you can?  Nope, so they will hire it done, just as you could do. And you will pay either way in most cases.

Can they proof a book, all of the books they are doing? Nope, so they will hire that done just as you could do. And you will pay either way.

Will the agent give your book personal attention? Nope, they have fifty or more other clients they are working for as well, some with a large backlist and more selling power than you have. Who gets their book up first? Not you.

Can an agent hit an upload button faster than you can? Nope, and you still have to supply the agent all the information for Kindle and Smashwords.

Do you want an agent writing a blurb for your book? Nope, you know your book better than the agent does and you are the professional writer.

This entire idea of agents being publishers just makes that person your publisher, not your agent. And with a tiny bit of learning, you can do everything the agent can do yourself better and faster and a ton cheaper. Just ask any indie published writer.

Myth #5: I will have respect if I “get” or “have” an agent.

Well, with some I suppose you will, but with each passing month more and more writers and others inside publishing will just look at you sadly as the agent takes your money and holds it, slows down your work, and makes you rewrite for no reason.

But on this one I suppose if that is what will get your family to respect you and your writing, why not? You won’t make it far in this new world as a writer, but you will have respect for a moment or two.

A Solution: A Writer/Agent Bill of Agreement.

Here are my suggestions if you feel you really must have an agent in this modern world.

1. Agent must respond within one week to all manuscript submissions.

2. If agent feels manuscript is not right for her six or seven editors, writer is free to indie publish or submit the book to other editors and does not have to pay the agent anything if/when the book sells.

3. Agent must respond to phone calls or e-mails within three hours during New York business hours (unless on an announced vacation or trip, then by the next business day.)

4. All agents for all sales must split checks. No reason for the agent to hold onto the money. This includes all overseas sales as well. Easy to do. (If an agent objects to this, run!!!)

5. Agent must allow the writer to bring in a IP attorney to negotiate the contract since the agent cannot do so in this modern world. IP attorney fees come out of agent 15% of advance.

6. No agent will give a writer an agency agreement. Only agreement would be this Writer/Agent Bill of Agreement.

7. An author may leave an agent at any time for any reason.

8. Agent will not be a publisher in any fashion, or in any side venture. Agent will act strictly under agency law.

9. Writer will respect the agent for the knowledge they hold, but not treat them like gods. Agent will respect the writer in their position as client and answer questions when needed.

Conclusion

As I said, I had great agents and no bad experiences with my agents in the old world of publishing. I have sold over 100 novels to traditional publishers. I believe writers must learn how to indie publish and keep traditionally publishing to survive in this new world.

I believe every writer is different and that’s a good thing.

But all that said, I do believe that the days of agents are almost finished, evidenced by so many of them becoming publishers. Even they see their own end coming.

I can see little or no value in any writer having an agent in this modern world of publishing. And many, many downsides. I believe the successful writers will be the ones that take control of their own business in all ways.

This is a new golden age of publishing for the smart writer.

And that is just my opinion.

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24 Responses to But Why Would You… Ever Need an Agent in this New World?

  1. My experience with agents has been mostly on the film side of things, and though i respect folks who have had agents they love, and who can describe them as hard-working, honest, and dedicated to them as a client — that was never my experience. Virtually every agent i ever met fit the same mold — failed creative type (most often a failed writer, director, producer, editor, or publisher) with a desperate need to prove how much smarter he or she was than the people actually doing the writing, directing, producing, and publishing. I’m not saying that good agents don’t exist; i’m just kind of disappointed that i never met one now that they’re disappearing. (Kind of like realizing you could have seen the dinosaurs, but you left it too late…)

    More disturbing than my own probably pointless experience, however, is realizing that when you think about it — when you really break it down — even the best agent’s job description boils down to “Being in the right place at the right time”. An agent doing his or her job takes advantage of the accidental alignment of the writer’s product and the publisher/director/producer/studio’s need. But the agent can’t create that need. An agent never turns a “No” into a “Yes”; he or she simply hopes to find the one “Yes” that’s already out there somewhere in a sea of “Nos”. The agent, for the most part, can’t even steer a book or script in a particular direction intended to increase the chances of pushing it toward that “Yes”. The “Yes” just happens when it happens, and from my end, paying someone 15 percent for doing their job by accident is a tradition that nobody should mourn.

  2. I’d like an IP lawyer/agent hybrid. Someone with some contacts, willing to hunt down a few things I’m too lazy/uninterested in learning how to do myself*, but who knows the law inside out and can really fight for what’s best for me. (*Totally being honest here. I could pull out the ol’ standby, “Too Busy”, but it would be a lie.)

    I just recently I sold audiobook rights to an upcoming novel on my own and had people on Twitter tell me how I was a risk-taker because I didn’t have an agent do to it. I didn’t find it all that hard to ask a few author friends who have audiobooks I like if they like the company they are with. No? I moved along. Yes? Then I investigated further.

    /shrug

    I’m not saying I won’t even hire an agent. If the right relationship comes along that would benefit me, sure I would. Key words: benefit me. Call me selfish, but this is my career. I don’t need representation to feel like a success; I already am one…I do what I love for a living.

  3. Chong Go says:

    Regarding overseas rights agents, the only real advantage I can think of is that they have a better grasp of what advances and royalty rates are normal for that market. They also speak the local language, which probably helps.

    However, of ten contracts for overseas editions, only one was published because a foreign agent was out looking for a publisher. And that is rare. In most cases, it appears the foreign rights agents just sit there waiting for a local publisher to approach them. Of our other nine overseas contracts, each was developed because of our own efforts. In two cases we directed a foreign publisher to a local foreign rights agents (because the US publisher actually had those foreign rights), but the local agents pushed so hard and were so demanding they almost screwed up the deals. There was nothing special about the advances, but in talking with the publishers later, it was clear they had *really* disliked having to deal with those foreign rights agents. I’m still curious about just what went on.

  4. You, Dean Wesley Smith, are a very brave man.

    But unless someone has 20+ years in the industry, and has read every word in your agent series in the “Killing the Cows” section with enough experience to understand the insight there, they’re just not going to get it. And as you know, people who are happy with their agents going to rail at you.

    For someone who has had more experience then I care to admit with the modern breed of overly-arrogant, massively under-qualified, slush-reading agents, I can say that your Bill of Rights reads like a comedy routine. It is common, after signing with the new breed of agent, to receive a letter requiring changes in the manuscript before it will be submitted, then taking 2 – 3 months or longer to read the revised manuscript. My last agent took 3 weeks to read a contract from a publisher, and spent another 3 weeks playing “phone tag” with my editor, being unavailable every time my edior tried to call him.

    Return a call in 3 hours. Ha. Don’t make me laugh.

    The demands in your bill of rights are roughly the equivalent of a writer demanding the Queen of England to sit down to tea at the writer’s command. New writers are often terrified at the prospect of losing their agents.

    But you are doing a service.

    For all those having good luck with their agents, I genuinely hope their good fortune holds. The luck may hold for a very long time. But it may not.

    In a few years, when someone’s eyes start to open, they may come back and read your agent series. They won’t have to struggle alone to figure out what the heck went so wrong.

  5. Joe says:

    Hi. I’m back. I write kids books. I write books for grown-ups. And believe it or not, I had an agent for each, because one did not rep adult books, and the other did not rep kids books.

    Then one day, each of those agents left their agencies.

    Now I have four agents. Four agencies, each taking a slice of my royalties. When a royalty check for the grown-up book comes in, it goes to original agency #1, which takes 7.5%, and forwards the remainder to grown-up agent, who takes another 7.5% and sends the check to me. It’s messier on the kid side, because the original agency “kept” the domestic royalties, while the departing agent took the foreign rights.

    Each layer of bureaucracy makes it more complicated to track down royalty statements, checks, and to assign responsibility, etc. It’s insane, and I am quite aware that the longer this continues I run the risk of the same thing happening a second or third time.

    How do I get out of this mess? The funny thing is, I never asked to leave anyone, and now I’ve got check processing chain that is a little paying your phone bill at the Italian post office.

    • dwsmith says:

      Oh, wow, Joe. Not a clue on that one. I am so sorry. It is a mess that is for sure. I wish I had a suggestion on how to help you clear that one up. Maybe go to the publisher/editor and get them to split the payments for you. In a circumstance like that, they might be able to do that if the agents agree as well. I’d love to see how you untangle the 1099s at the end of the year. Wow. Good luck, sorry I am of no help. But thanks for the warning to other writers.

  6. I’d like to see someone address the most important quality of agents, in that they can simultaneously submit to several publishers at a time. An author takes enormous risks if they simultaneously submit. But because publisher response times are counted in years, it’s not feasible for an author to send a manuscript to many publishers.

    I currently have a manuscript on submission to a major publisher for three years. I’ve queried twice. I’d love to shop that story around to other publishers, but without an agent I feel my hands are tied. Soon, I think, I’ll withdraw the submission but then I’ll feel that I didn’t give it a proper chance.

    • dwsmith says:

      Remus, you are functioning under a myth as well. In novels you can send out as many as you can keep track of, just as an agent can. No rule against it. And if a publisher/editor hasn’t responded in two or three months, they are just being rude and ignore them and move on. Keep your book out to at least five editors at once. See my previous response to Christopher.

  7. I agree with your basic premise, but after all is said and done, the only hope a writer has is getting the right pair of eyeballs to see his work … and that takes marketing. Some writers are good at that and some not so much … for those of us who are ‘marketing challenged’, it might useful to have an agent … but then, it would be useful to have ANYBODY who could help get your work out there.

    • dwsmith says:

      Christopher, you are working off a myth that agents will send your work out to everyone they think is fit. They won’t I’m afraid, because they don’t know all the thousands and thousands of editors any more than you do. They are friends with and have lunch with about six or seven editors for the most part and those are the majority of the ones they work with time and again. Your book, with a certain agent, has to hit one of their friend’s lists just right or your book gets sent back to you as unmarketable.

      When you are sending in your own books to editors, market research takes no more than looking through Publisher’s Marketplace at the types of books editors are buying that sort of match yours. Then mailing it to them. If they say no or don’t respond, you are out postage and send it to another editor. You can keep your book in the mail to about five editors at a time without bookkeeping nightmares and if an editor doesn’t respond in two months (paper submission… a week electronic submission), send it to another editor. It really isn’t hard. That’s how so many first novelists sell books.

  8. Paul Sadler says:

    All looks great, except #3…can you elaborate on why you would ever need your agent to respond on something within three hours? Or why you would expect anyone (lawyer, agent, publisher, other writer, your spouse) to do the same?

    That one just seems unreasonable to me. NBD should be fine unless you’re in the middle of a hot negotiation on something.

    Think of how many clients would abuse that? Oh, I have a mental itch, let me email my agent and get them to immediately drop everything so they can scratch it. I don’t think I’d want an agent who would put up with that crap from clients, just to have clients.

    • dwsmith says:

      Paul, I have an attorney right now working on an estate issue, and when I call his office, either he or his assistant return my call within the hour. If I need to talk to him directly, I usually set up a time within the day or early the next day, and if I have to go in and see him on a matter, it’s always the next day. He is my agent (my lawyer) on this matter and he respects me, just as I respect him. Why can’t you expect the same of your literary agent?????

  9. UrsulaV says:

    *shrug* #3 may be foreign to you, but it’s sure not a myth for me!

    I hate dealing with business crap. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I can’t market my way out of a paper sack, I am not confrontational on my own behalf, and I hate demanding things of people.

    My hatred of business, however, does not mean I can’t write a story. My books sell reasonably well in their specific genre and the editors keep buying more.

    My agent handles all the nasty bits that I would be very bad at and get slightly nauseated at the thought of dealing with, yells at the editors, demands checks, demands better deals, does all the things where I would simply nod and say “Sure, that sounds fine.” Along the way my income quintupled from when she first found me. Also, I get my checks directly from the publisher–at her request–so while I have no doubt she could embezzle from me if she wished, she’d have a hard time sitting on the money that way. (And she did once loan me money for plane tickets to ComicCon when one of my comics was up for an award. I don’t have a mortgage, though, so I can’t test that one.)

    I realize this is not how you did it, and your experience is different. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true for some of us. We’re not all aggressive go-getting self-marketers. Doesn’t mean we can’t write a good story worth reading.

    Feel free to tell me that I’m not cut out for a career in the field if you like, but so far, so good.

    • dwsmith says:

      UrsulaV, sounds good to me. You are solidly still in the old way of doing things and I hope like all get out that for writers like you some good agents hold on and help you through the process. Otherwise we won’t get the good books you produce. There are many writers such as yourself who functioned fantastically and still are. No issue by me. Every writer is different. But I hope you do stay aware enough, which sounds like you do by simply being willing to read this blog. You clearly have a good business person there who is already splitting checks. Fantastic.

      As I said up front, I had a couple of decades with wonderful agents who did what you have your agent doing for me. But alas, things have changed so much, your agent is now a wonderful exception. Hang onto her as long as you can. Just my opinion.

  10. “Do you want an agent writing a blurb for your book? Nope, you know your book better than the agent does and you are the professional writer.”

    I’m reminded of “Coils” by Saberhagen and Zelazny. The back cover blurb revealed THE key secret that is supposed to be a surprise in the penultimate chapter. After that, I want approval of all my blurbs; and preferably I’ll write my own.

  11. Remus: ” I’d like to see someone address the most important quality of agents, in that they can simultaneously submit to several publishers at a time. An author takes enormous risks if they simultaneously submit.”

    This is NOT a quality of agents.

    What IN THE BLUE WIDE WORLDS makes you believe the (wholly erroneous nonsense) that I writer can’t multiple submit her work, let alone that she takes “enormous risks” in so doing.

    I have sold about 30 books. Most of them to major marlets. In all but -7- instances, I made those sales myself.

    The only time I ever did NOT do multiple submissions was when I was submitting an option book (an option clause in a previous book contract typically requires that the writer give the publisher an exclusive look for 30-45 days).

    I have never had ANY sort of a problem with this. I know other writers (many) who multiple submit and have never had any sort of a problem.

    Yet the rumor persists, among people unfamiliar with the business, that writers “can’t” or “should’t” multiple submit their books.

    If you hear that publishers don’t like it, here’s the issue with that: What publishers dislike about multupke submissions is receiving one from an agent or a writer who’s an unprofessional gibbering idiot. The gripe of publishers is when they go to the effort of reading a MS, running a P&L, and making an offer… only THEN to be told by some HALF-WIT agent or writer that, “Oh, gosh. I sold that a month ago. It’s not available anymore.” THAT is what they don’t like about multiple submissions—that REALLY STUPID people waste their time in precisely that way.

    Which is why I always advise putting into your cover letters in multiple submissions some variation of the following: “Please be advised that this is not an exclusive submission. In the event that I receive an offer elsewhere, I will, of course, contact you immediately to discuss the situation.”

    Publishers just want to know that you’re not an unprofessional blithering IDIOT, as so many literary agents and writers actually are. As long as you’re not, of COURSE there’s no problem with multiple submissions, for goodness sake.

  12. Joe… AGH! Nightmare situation.

    And, yep, a not-uncommon one, as agents play musical chairs. (I have a friend who was with an agent who was at three different agencies in 4 years. Then the agent left agenting, and the writer was reassigned to a different agent at Agency #3. Then agent #2 -also- left agenting, and the writer was reassigned to agent #3 at Agency #3. But Agent #3 couldn’t be bothered to do anything resembling work, and so it was obvious this wasn’t going to work out. The Agency proposed reassigning the writer to agent #4, newly arrived at the agency… someone fired a year earlier by a friend of mine (also because the agent didn’t want to do anything resembling work)… which was how I happened to know that proposed agent #4 was now on -her- FOURTH agency in 6 years.)

    Yep, this sort of thing makes a MESS for a writer. (As is also the case when an agent, oh, dies, and the agency business is then being handled by heirs with no connection to publishing, for example.)

    There aren’t any really good solutions in the situation you’re in. With the money going to more than one agency, even getting the publisher to split payments may not be workable, since although publishers will split payments 15/85 between an agent and a writer, they’d probably resist splitting payments 7.5/7.5/85, simply because that’s starting to look like too much trouble at their end for what is, after all, YOUR problem.

    So I think I’d try to get the agents, in each case, to agree to a reassignment of agent of record, asking one agent, in each case, to surrender rights and earnings at this point, for the sake of cogence and simplicity. If they won’t agree to it, then I’d consider whether it was worth it to me to make a monetary offer to get them out of my life.

    Alternately, would theya gree to YOU receiving all the money and then doling it out to them? (Probably not, but it never hurts to ask.)

  13. Joe says:

    Thanks for the tips, guys. I’ll probably tackle this after Thanksgiving. And the egg nog. And wine. And…

  14. Russ says:

    Re: Joe’s predicament. Maybe he should hire an IP lawyer to work with the publishers and these agents to split the paperwork and the checks. Spending money now is better than the pain and possible losses down the road. For sure he should drop all these bloodsuckers if he hasn’t already.

    I hope he hasn’t signed any agency agreements. If he has then he’s really trapped. Those things are career killers.

    Sad to see so many writers believing in all these myths. Laura, well said re: the multiple submission myth. It’s amazing how this still persists when the logic of it doesn’t work at all. Beyond silly to believe such crap.

    Dean, this post is about as concise as you can say it, but I know some writers who still won’t believe it.

  15. RE Dean’s point #3…

    I didn’t see the point of this either, after my first three agents. Although I had bad experiences and bad partings with all of them (and nightmarish after-parting problems with two of them), slow-response or non-response was never a problem with any of them. All of them were prompt about returning calls or emails.

    Then… THEN I got agent #4. (weary sigh) Agent #4 almost always had to be phoned or emailed twice for me to get any sort of response. This agent let a proposal of mine sit on her desk for 5 months–the only proposal I ever gave her for submission in our short association. Accidentally disconnected me from a call, then didn’t call me back, didn’t answer my calls when -I- called back, didn’t acknowledge my messages or emails about the incident, and ignored my attempts to finish the subject we’d been discussing when I got cut off. As time passed, it became increasingly common for agent #4 simply not to answer my calls or emails at all, even after multiple pokes. Based on what another client told me, upon leaving a couple of years after -I- left, this was a pervasive problem with Agent #4, not just -my- problem with her.

    And it’s an all-too-COMMON problem with agents, too. It’s a problem a lot of writers raise with me.

    It’s also a problem that a lot of editors raise with their writers, as is: “I’ve emailed your agent three times, and I can’t get a response.”

  16. Dean wrote: “Christopher, you are working off a myth that agents will send your work out to everyone they think is fit.”

    Christopher is also working off the myth that agented MSs don’t go into slushpiles just like UNagented MSs. Whereas, actually, quite a lot of the time, they do. As soon as an agent ventures outside his small comfort zone of 3-4 programs where he’s cultivated relationships, his submission is received as being from someone the editors and the house don’t know–and just like any other total stranger’s, it goes into slush. I’m not guessing. Numerous editors talk frankly about this.

    Something else that numerous editors talk frankly about is just how BAD many agents are at the “marketing” expertise that Christopher is crediting them with. Editors talk all the time about receiving from agebts: nonfiction submissions at fiction-only programs; submissions with cover letters that begin “Dear Publisherm;” cover letters that are full of typos, bad grammer, and misused words; cover letters that neglect to provide a return address or any info whatsoever about WHO is submitting the MS; submissions comnpletely LACKING a cover letter at all; cover letters that indicate the agent doesn’t think the book is any good, but he’s sending it anyhow. And so on.

    Everything being queried about Dean’s posts in the past couple of days, viz agents, is stuff that has been discussed at length (and multiple times) in the blogs and discussions in Dean’s KILLING THE SACRED COWS OF PUBLISHIGN series on agents–there are about 10-12 pieces in that series -just- covering the common myths about agents which are, I see, being repeated here yet again by (I assume) new visitors to this blog. Folks, it would be a Very Good Idea to go read that whole series AND all the discussions in them, if you have not yet done so.

    Finally, working without an agent is NOT about being an aggressive self-marketer. I have made more than 3/4 of my 30 book sales myself, during my 20+ years as a full-time self-supporting writer. NOT because I’m an aggressive self-market. I’m not. Such is not required, for goodness sake. I run my career well without an agent because I am organized, persistent, businesslike, thorough, and hard working. THAT is what is required.

  17. Laura – in my experience, many authors are against being organized, persistent, businesslike, thorough, and hard working.

    I know I am. ;)

  18. “When your book is published, an overseas editor will see your book (or you might even send it to them) and contact you.”

    I find that next to unbelievable. Unless most foreign editors read English AND read Publisher’s Weekly or another trade journal, I think it is hghly improbable for a foreign editor to ever discover that your book exists, let alone make an offer for ancillary rights.

    I am very curious to hear someone document their personal experiences contra my assumptions.

    Thanks and Happy Hollidays to all.

    Peter Winkler

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