agent commentary

Buried in post-holiday weekend catch-up (and maybe some pre-holiday weekend catch-up)….. After the furor raised by the list of the 20 worst literary agents that was so widely circulated, it distressed me that so much of what one sees about agents online can be negative. But here are a few links that I’ve collected up over the last month that made me feel better and reminded me that there is worth in trying to swim against that tide.

Buy Your Agent Flowers.
From Pod-dy Mouth, the infamous reader of many a POD book.

“If my income was generated by finding hits among the misses, I ‘d be completely insane by now. Not to mention livid.”

What a Literary Agent can and should be
From Australian author Glenda Larke.

“How much had I paid my agent by this stage? Nothing. Not a penny. Not a cent. Lord, I hadn’t even taken her out to lunch…..Look at those dates. 1991 and 1999. Would you work that long for someone for nothing? My agent did!

The Truth About Literary Agents
From Jason Pinter, author and editor

“Too many authors see literary agents in black and white. You either have one or you don’t. If you have one, you win. If you don’t, you lose.”

7 responses to “agent commentary

  1. As someone riding sidecar on a certain friend’s career, I’ve had a chance to see what good an agent can do; I’ve had a chance to see a relationship with an agent sour, and what bad can come of that; a chance to see what a new agent can do to revitalize things; and what that very agent can do for another friend’s career. At the end of all that, I can safely conclude that a certain Ms. Jackson kicks ass pretty hard. You, at least, have a metric bupkis to worry about, negative press about the profession be damned.

    • Hey, thanks! *g* I guess it’s just that one sees so many so frequently bemoaning the sad state of the publishing industry (and one cannot argue against the fact that it *is* extremely competitive). It just saddens me to see that the general consensus about agent-kind is not positive. That people like those listed on the 20 worst add fuel to that fire. Bad agents can truly ruin not just your writing career but your life. And it’s rotten. This post wasn’t meant to be about me. Heh. But more of a pointer to some positive press. Writers shouldn’t view agents as the enemy.

      • Delurking to say that sane writers appreciate agents. It’s sad that there has to be the never-ending battle against the scammers, and this overshadows the good work that real agents do.
        And the real agents who blog are doing a service by showing writers what the job involves when it’s being done properly. Thank you. It’s much appreciated.

  2. Jennifer, you’re amazing, and you’ve been a positive influence on far more author’s lives than the ones you currently represent.
    You are a shining example of “one of the good ones”. 🙂

    • Shucks. Well, one can but try. And it is good to know that. Thanks for commenting and saying so. I’ll add that to my “feel good file.”

  3. The Jason Printer article was very interesting. It simply never occurred to me to think, if my book didn’t sell, to blame my agent. Firstly, we both knew it would be a hard sell when he took it on. Secondly, I appreciate him more than I can ever express that he took me on, knowing my book would be challenging to market.
    The issue I have is that I feel like *I’m* letting *him* down if the book doesn’t sell.

  4. I know there’s a lot of bad press out there, and it means I’ll be careful about who I submit to. But I can’t wait to get my novel edits done so I can start the process of finding an agent who is as excited about squirrels in space as I am. It’s kind of like being really ready to get out there dating, but having to wait until I’ve saved up for that perfect dress. I think agents do the most amazing job with very little in the way of visible appreciation and thanks: yes, it’s perfectly possible to live without one – and yet I’d far rather do without that perfect new dress than do without an agent. If you see what I mean. To good agents everywhere: have a big virtual hug, and know that you’re appreciated, wanted, needed and even loved.

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