Wednesday, July 9, 2008

To Agent or Not To Agent . . . .

My husband is a realtor. People try to slim his commission all the time. A percent makes a noticeable difference in a paycheck but some customers are so obsessed with paying him less money that they don't seem to consider he's supporting a family. And that his commission is his paycheck. It's not a tip. It's what pays our bills.

Sometimes on the net I've read people saying you shouldn't begrudge agents their commission. I totally agree. And find it hard to believe that some people think an agent doesn't deserve 15%. Whoa, that's crazy to me.

The fact is an agent is a professional foot in the door. Someone who studies the market, knows the right peeps and stuff. I certainly wouldn't know how to negotiate a contract. I don't know how much of an advance is right for me.

Okay, I take that back. Something in the six digits works for moi.

lol, Just kidding.

Anyway, most agents have editing or publishing experience. So if you snag one, you've automatically got someone who knows what they're doing to get you published. Whoopee. The agent is your new crit partner who's got a personal stake in getting your story sold.

Needless to say, it's hard for me to see the cons in having an agent. Sure, if you get the wrong one you'll be in trouble. There's another saying all over the internet. Having no agent is better than having a bad agent. Which is true. Because once your manuscript is farmed out that's it. No retries. You get one chance and if a bad agent messes it up, well . . .

I'm definitely trying to get an agent. But if you're reading this and don't know much about it here are some links below to help you make a good decision.

Why An Agent Deserves His/Her Cut

Agent FAQ

The Snark

Agent Checklist



2 comments:

tina gray said...

Awesome post Jessica! And so wise. Those are great links, BTW. Oh, and I'm so with you about the six figure deal. *snort*

I'm glad you're going to be diligent about the agent hunt. It WILL be worth it in the long run, despite however many rejection slips you might tally along the way (then again, who knows--you might hit the right one after just a few tries!).

And I agree about their commission being VERY fair. After all, anyone who's queried for over a year on their stuff will be thrilled to hand the business-side reigns over to an agent for that small commission. It allows the writer to concentrate on their writing, what is we should be doing all along.

So many writers, after accumulating a few rejections, wash their hands of the agent search and try to go the publishing route themselves. Most often they end up self-publishing, which though I believe has it's merits for the rare book out there, most often it's like hammering the final nail in your book's coffin.

Patience is key. And so is productivity. While you're querying one book, be working on the next one. That's a sure way that eventually you're going to score--the right book for the right agent.

Oh, and BTW, I finished reading The Thirteenth Tale and LOVED LOVED it. I highly recommend it!

tina gray said...

Hey Jessica! So, I got your comment on my blog, and you can either call me Tina or Anita. (SNORT). I'll email you and give you the whole sordid "why I picked a pseudonym and how I came up with it..." story soon.

I'm working up a guest blog for you today (you can put it up anytime you're ready, I just finally had an inspiration about what to write and a little extra time, so I thought I'd "git 'er done). When I email you the above info, I'll send the blog post along, too. TTYS! :-)