I have said for some time now that using agents is like setting up a roadblock between yourself and the people who actually buy your book in traditional publishing. And if you are silly enough to still have ALL your money and paperwork going directly to an agent, (instead of splitting payments) shame on you. Catch a clue. Bernie Madoff clones are alive and well and living as agents, and more often in the accounting departments of large agencies and overseas agents.
Now, in a court case that came out today where New York Times Bestseller Bill Bryson is suing his agent, there was one paragraph I thought summed up exactly what I have been saying for years now and might help kill the stupid myth among indie writers that they need an agent to sell their books overseas.
“But the suit claims Bryson continued to discover additional lapses, including roughly $27,000 in paid Korean and Thai royalties, as well as finding that various foreign publishers and sub-agents “had been trying to get in touch with Morris for at least two years to purchase rights to various works and were unable to obtain any reply”, with sub-agents in China and Thailand having “essentially given up on reaching Morris.”"
The quote is out of the PublishersMarketplace.com report. The full report is worth the read and trust me, it gets much worse than that in the article, including the fact that even though the agent did all this bad stuff, they still want their 15% of everything going forward.
But just the one paragraph I quoted (that claims the agent was not putting through money from overseas sales and not bothering with the “small stuff” of overseas publishers contacting the agent) should be enough to scare anyone with a brain.
Kris and I both have said that eventually these lawsuits against agents would start hitting the public record. Here we go. This won’t be the last.
Again, I repeat. Don’t get into a mess with an agent. They are a roadblock to selling your work in more ways than you can imagine. And if you “trust them” you need to really have a bucket of cold water dumped over your head. To wake you up and bring you into this century. Looks like Bill Bryson just had that bucket of water poured over his head for an agent he “trusted.”
Send your work directly to editors, no matter which country they are in. It really is that simple.
Keep control of your own career. Period.
Agents are no longer needed in this new world of publishing for most writers. Sorry agents, but it is a fact. And some of you know it.