Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why Agents Are Cool

One of the most common questions asked by aspiring authors is "Do I need an agent to get published?"

Most agents will tell you no. You don't need an agent to get published. Does this mean you shouldn't get one? Not necessarily.

Today, I wanted to share some things I appreciate about agents. Some of the good things that tend to get overlooked.

1- Say it with me--commission. That's right. This is an entire industry that doesn't make a dime unless new books get published. They not only want to make their clients successful, they need to make their clients successful to survive. Here's the crazy part. They choose to do this. They love books and the industry enough that they are willing to deal with this unpredictable lifestyle.

2 - Two Words = Slush + Pile, need I say more?

3 - Revisions - not all agents are willing to help fine tune their clients manuscripts, but most are. I'm not talking about major overhauls, but most agents I've spoken with have a knack for finding that golden piece of advice that will take our books from pretty good to awesome.

4 - They are the bad guys, so we don't have to be - Agents have to be willing to get down and dirty and fight for what their clients need to be successful. They deal with any problems with the publisher so you don't have to call your editor crying on a daily basis.

So anyway, I've been thinking a lot lately about agents (an obvious side-effect of querying) and was inspired by Nathan Bransford's Writer Appreciation Week. I think agents deserve a little appreciation as well. Leave a comment about something you appreciate about agents. We could all do with some positivity. :)


  1. I love that agents are knowledgeable. The best agents know exactly what editors to pitch with their clients' work. If our manuscripts are targeted to the right people it means LESS REJECTION--which I think we all appreciate.

  2. Those are great attributes! We should appreciate every one of them.

  3. Great post. It's funny how in the US you can't get published, by a big publishing house without an agent and in Canada I've been told they won't publish you with an agent. (they'll think you'll want too much money).

    The more I read agent's blog, the more I appreciate all the work they do.

  4. I love that a lot agents blog (like Nathan) and share their knowledge of the industry. It not only improves our writing, but it also provides information we would otherwise not have access to.

  5. I just want to add how much I appreciate the insane amout of energy and enthusiasm that agents have. They'd have to, in order to do this kind of job well. And they have to, because of the number 1 reason on your list. :)

  6. Natalie - That is one of the most important reasons to have an agent. You nailed it.

    Janna - So true, we should :)

    Patti - That is funny, I hadn't heard that. Funny how the same industry can operate so differently right across the border.

    LW - So true! I think most of us would be lost without those wonderful agent blogs!

    Tabitha - Absolutely, they have to be energetic, enthusiastic, and a little bit of crazy to do what the do. ;)

  7. Ok I got suckered in by the pic of Sean Connery with flowers. But I kept reading and learned something new.

    Thanks for the post and the pic of Sean, now if you should ever write about agents again there are some great pics of Pierce Brosnan on the web. LOL

  8. Oh, man. Everyone else said what I was going to first. Spread the positivity!

  9. I love that agents give good advice to writers.

  10. I love that agents are willing to talk to no-name wannabe writers at conferences, even when their tired, cranky, or sick. :)
    I tagged you on my blog today. You now have homework.

  11. I appreciate their honesty and the hours and hours they spend digging through the slush pile.

  12. Seriously, there's an agent appreciation week? Should I send him a gift or something?

  13. Agents are people, too. I'm a bit intimidated by them, but I'm sure, with time, that will change.