October 24, 2006

You Don't Need No Stinkin' Agent

I just finished writing yet another "soon to remain unpublished for good" novel. Once again, my manuscript will be submitted simultaneously to both agents and publishers in the hopes of getting the story published and making me a wealthy man. I couldn't care less what any agent or publisher says about simultaneous submissions. Essentially, they want to read your work exclusively, while they take their time getting back to you while wasting your incredibly valuable time. That brings me to the thrust of this article. An agent needs you, and not the other way around. You go ahead and do whatever you have to do to get published. Don't cater to any whiny agent's demands.
In the past, two agents represented works I've completed. One never bothered to honor the entire term of our contract leaving me little or no recourse to get them to fulfill our agreement, and the other agent apparently made a living exclusively by charging authors excessive fees for photocopying and postage. Now, needless to say I am in the hunt for a new agent.
Agents are business people who actually believe that their clients need them and not the other way around. I've read rude comments on the websites of certain author representatives who write complex rules on submissions up to and including how to place the manuscript in the envelope. The vast majority of them will banish your manuscript to the trash bin if you ever dare to call them (for fear that their children will answer the phone and you'll discover that they are working out of their basement) and most will simply write "not interested" on the front of the manuscript which you paid to have photocopied instead of wasting one of their own precious pieces of paper to write a professional letter of rejection.
Because agents can be picky, rude, unscrupulous, unprofessional, and dismissive, I believe that if an agent seems to have bad traits even before I contact them, then I will avoid them all together. If they become annoying at any point during the contact, read, send more, and the "maybe I'll represent you" phase, then I'll look somewhere else.
The decision comes easy to me because I already have a job, a very good one, and I'm willing to bet that I make a whole lot more money that some of these "agents" who need to realize that without writer's they wouldn’t have careers. And if any agent is reading this, I'm only kidding (not).

3 comments:

Librarylady said...

Hey, Mike--See, I told you I'd read your blog.
Having worked in publishing, I'm telling you, your stuff won't get looked at without an agent, and without a good one, it still won't get looked at.
My sister had an "agent" of the type you describe. The fact that he was in Portland, Oregon should have told her that he wasn't going to have any good (or even bad) connections with New York editors, and New York is where it's at, publishing-wise.
This is such a difficult thing, and with the huge amounts of money involved these days, publishers are less and less willing to take a chance on an unknown, unproven author. But don't you give up!

ol said...

once saw a tv show about football agents. One lawyer commented : "An athlete without an agent is still an athlete. An agent without an athlete is a homeless person." I think this applies here.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi ol...I agree with you. I wrote this a year ago after two bad experiences with two different agents. In the end, un-agented material simply does not get read. I am polishing up my latest manuscript and getting ready to send it to yet another agent. I thank you for reading my post and for your friendly advice.