Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Saturday, 7 May 2016

LOOKING FOR AN AGENT.







LOOKING FOR AN AGENT - like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack and doomed to failure?

There was a discussion started recently on FaceBook from a writer who wants an agent and was having difficulty in attracting one for various reasons. One reason appeared to be because she writes for M&B whose contracts are apparently non-negotiable. Did anyone have some advice for her she asked.

The replies were interesting - varying from, did she really want an agent -  they only take money off you; write something in a different genre that an agent can sell; attend the RNA conference and book a one-to-one session with an agent. The question was also thrown back at her: in this day and age of self-publishing do you really need an agent?

I think the answer is still yes. A good agent whilst taking approximately 18% of your earnings will have access to those large publishers who won’t look at unrepresented ms. They will give advice on your career direction, network on your behalf, offer editorial advice and importantly they can be a buffer between writer and publisher when difficult questions have to be asked. People who have agents tend to say things like ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today without her input’. Agents always get a mention in the acknowledgements of books. Writers talk on social media of ‘having lunch with agent today’ or ‘sent my ms off to my agent today’. I’d happily pay for the privilege of having someone like that in my corner! 

A couple of years ago I queried a few agents and got nowhere - except more and more depressed at my apparent inability to write books agents thought they could sell. So I stopped querying and got on with just writing. 



I’m digitally published these days with CarinaUK/HarperCollins. I didn’t need an agent to approach them but to move up a notch i.e. to get even a small advance and a paperback deal, I know I need to get an agent. So over the next week or two I’ve decided I’m going to start querying again. I’ve got my list of agents I’ve researched and who I think I’d get on with so fingers crossed that this time, with 9 books up on amazon and hundreds of short stories published, somebody will be interested. I’ll let you know how I get on in due course.

I have no idea whether any of my fellow NPOV bloggers have an agent - do any of you? If you do, are you happy with what they do for you? If you don't have one - is that out of choice or because like me, you're still searching?


7 comments:

  1. A really timely post, Jennie as I hope to be doing what you're about to embark upon, querying agents, over the coming weeks. With so much writing success under your belt, I hope you enjoy a positive outcome. 'Bon chance' and let us know how you get on. :-)

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    1. Thanks Rae - and good luck to you. Are you booking a face to face at the conference?

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  2. I'm in two camps, here. I would like an agent - but on the other hand I feel I can use the time it takes to query (which is months before they even start approaching publishers) to write and publish my own books.

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    1. It's a difficult one isn't it Jennifer? Having an agent costs in both time and money but getting a publishing contract from one of the big 5 publishers seems impossible without one.

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  3. I did have an agent, Jennie. The lovely Dot Lumley who is no longer with us. For various reasons, since she passed away I haven't approached any other agents, although like you I'm now contemplating it. I'm going to follow your progress with interest!

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  4. So sad about Dot Lumley. It's a scary business approaching agents isn't it? Fingers crossed for both of us.

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  5. Apologies everyone! A spelling/grammar mistake that I corrected on my working draft somehow didn't make it through to the copy I published on here. I'm so embarrassed!! Have now edited it!

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