Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Is an agent by any other name just as...

Okay that analogy just plain sucks.

But it does give you an idea of where my head is at right now. Part of me thinks that if I’m going to take myself seriously then I should have an agent and another part thinks well how serious a writer are you really? I’m not going to quit my day job because I’m a realist. I have to be a realist; I have a family that depends on me. I have been responsible for the feeding and care of AT LEAST one other human being for the last twenty years.

Sure I would love to have my cell phone ring during my morning commute tomorrow and have someone say “Becky Flade? We love your books. We’re sending you a big fat check. You’re the next Nora Roberts – Stephen King – John Grisham.” But come on, that’s one in a million. I’ve got a better chance at being hit by a Septa bus. Tomorrow. Today even.

 
Out here in the real world I have bills to pay. That means a nine-to-five. My nine-to-five. Not being in a position to have my books support my family and pay for my daughter’s orthodontia doesn’t mean I’m not a writer. It doesn’t even make me a not-serious writer. I’ve been published and I’ve been paid. That makes me serious by any definition – right? That begs the question: do I now need an agent?

Back in the day you couldn’t get published without a literary agent protecting your interests, making calls, doing the circuit on your behalf. I’ve read articles recently that suggest that digital publishing and self-publishing has made it less necessary for struggling writers to seek representation. In fact I read a blog post not long ago by a horror fiction publisher stating outright that authors who have their agent contact him first have less of a chance of being printed by his press. My novella and my book were both published without the aid of an agent. But then both went digitally. Even in this day and age the big NY houses don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. If you want a contract with one of the big boys you need an agent.

Do I want a contract with one of the big boys? Well duh. But am I good enough? Does it even need to be that deep a question? Just the other day I received an email from a publisher I’ve never heard of telling me that after following me on social media, checking out my blog and my books, etcet., they’re very interested in having me submit my next manuscript with them. If I had an agent this is the kind of inquiry I’d punt to her/him. I know nothing about this house; their practices; their reputation; I don’t know if this is a step forward or a step back. And even when considering the contracts I’ve already signed, I based my decisions on common sense and the knowledge I’ve accumulated on my nine-to-five. But honestly how do I know I’ve made good decisions?
 
 
Then I think of how many writers, like me, are trying to make it out there. And I’m one of the lucky ones that have gotten picked up by two publishers already: Harlequin and Crimson Romance. Sure I haven't seen much financially but that wasn't the point. The point was getting out there and I am. I’m getting somewhere even if I am getting there at my own pace. And when I’m ready to look for an agent, which I think I will be even sooner than I thought, I’ll have a portfolio of published works; an already existing, if modest, presence on social media; and a manuscript I’d like them to represent. That makes me an attractive prospect.

Hi, I’m Becky. I think you’ll like my charming smile and suggestive eyes. Sorry, wrong advertisement. But you get the drift.  ;-)

     

7 comments:

  1. Hi Becky,
    Great babbling! That question has been on my mind too for quite a while. I queried and pitched to agents in the last couple years with no luck. Like you, I kept writing and now I'm published. But here is my question. If I had a great publicist, would agents begin seeking me out for representation?

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    1. Good morning Nancy & thanks sweetheart. Social media has made it possible to be our own publicists (and to enlist family & friends) and who, really, has our best interests in mind better than us? Something interesting happened to me recently. A year or two ago I queried an agent on the MS that would later be titled Fated Souls and she very politely turned me down. That agent now follows me on Twitter! ♥

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  2. I think you are a great writer... Always have.. I think you should follow your dreams.. You deserve it

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  3. Such an interesting post! It would be wonderful to have a (good) agent on your side, but at the same time I love that writers can forge ahead without one these days. You're obviously doing all the right things - good luck with your next step, whatever it is!

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    1. Serena - I find it empowering that writers have a level of control in their own careers like never before. I look at the recent successes of the self-pubbed and fan-fiction writers; it gives me hope. :) Hope that I am doing the right things. Thanks for stopping past!

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