Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ask O: WHY Do I Need an Agent? Part Three

Happy Wednesday, my writing friends!

I promise, this will be my last post about agents. I’m having fun delving into the topic, and this question came from a comment on Part One.

First, many (if not most) publishers require new authors to be agented. It’s pretty simple. If you want a publisher to look at your proposal, it must be handed to them by an agent.

I can’t say I blame them. Agents are invested in recognizing marketable writing. Publishers know this and rely on them to deliver the best. If I were a publisher, I’d appreciate receiving a proposal first screened by an agent, wouldn’t you?

Second, agents are objective. They care about their clients and support the works they promote, but they aren’t nearly as emotionally invested as we writers are. How many times have you heard a writer call a book her “baby”? We love our stories! We cry, laugh, labor for hours, and when we are done, it’s hard to look at our work without a mama-like bias. “Isn’t my baby just wonderful?” Yeah … agents don’t have that problem. Without the emotional blinders, they can spot weaknesses we easily miss.

Third, agents tell the truth. I know if my agent likes something, it’s truly good. She doesn’t gain anything by puffing me up if a project lacks promise. I don’t know about you, but I find this refreshing. If my idea stinks, tell me. I’d rather know than waste my time.

Fourth, the contracts! I’m so grateful for my agent’s skills in looking over contracts for me. I have close to zero ability to know if a contract is fair or not. But she knows.

Finally, agents support you, play defense. I don’t like getting rejected, but it’s much nicer to have the dreaded “no thanks” filtered through my agent—who I know believes in me and my project—than the unknown editor.

And that’s all I have to say about that. What thoughts do you have about agents? I’d love to hear your perspective.

Happy writing and God bless,


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