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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Literary Agents and 8-Track Tapes

An interesting post from The Passive Voice titled You Must Have an Agent…Or Not appeared in the blogosphere. 

Actually it is only another in a long line of musings about this industry.

I spoke with one famous fantasy author who believes agents are not the influence they once were in this business. Note yesterday’s post about Fifty Shades and the agents who moan how their philosophy was shot to hell by just one book.

But it isn’t just one book. There is Amanda Hocking who self-published herself into fame. Or John Locke, the first to sell one million Ebooks on Amazon.

Indie Publishing. For another eye-opener, go to Jeff Bennington’s blog The Writing Bomb. Essentially, he is a writer who chose not to wait on an agent but made his own way into self-pub. His blog is chock-full of info.

“But you must have an agent,” the ‘experts’ cry to us unwashed masses. “Write a good book and we’ll accept you as our client,” agents say.

Um, no. They won’t. Because:
The project you describe does not suit our list at this time.
This project doesn't seem quite right for us.
This project doesn’t sound right for me.
I am not the right agent for this work.
My fave is the ‘no response means no’ response and leaving the writer with hours of wasted research into an agent who blows them off without acknowledgment.

So you’ve polished your manuscript to a shiny new penny, educated yourself about adverbs and dangling participles, read every word regarding queries. Now what? Are the agents ignoring your baby? Does the prospect of self-publishing leave you cold?

Pick the in-between route, the publisher.

Apply directly to small pubs like WiDo PublishingCuriosity Quills, MusaPress, MuseItUp Publishing, Sapphire Star, and Baen Books. Or publishers that tower over the industry, Del Rey, DAW, and Tor/Forge.

So what is your flavor? Are you determined to go the traditional route? Or ready to explore small publishers or even self-pub?


Em-Musing said...

You touched on a touchy subject, agents that is. Me? I'm trying the traditional route first, then publishers, 'e' and otherwise, then self pub if I have to. I get overwhelmed, truthfully.

Charity Bradford said...

I love that the industry is changing, and you know what I decided to do, but a small part of me still thinks catching an agent is some how more validating. They picked me out of the masses...but they didn't.

At the end of the day, the real question for me was "What do I want?" The answer was to make my story the best it could be and put it into the hands of readers. I'm doing that right now with my publisher WiDo. It's been wonderful working with an editor so far, and I can barely wait until my book is actually out there in the world. Smaller publishing really was the right thing for me.

L. Blankenship said...

Well, you know where I stand on that: I'm doing it myself.

Whichever way you go, the struggle is to draw attention to yourself in a vast field of talented writers and an even vaster field of dross. The only difference is in who your audience is: the readers, the agents, or the editors (small press or otherwise).

I'm going for the bigger audience, that's all.

mshatch said...

I'm currently still planning on the traditional route but plans change.

Stephen Tremp said...

I gave up on the whole publisher and agent thing. I'll wait for steven Spielberg to call me for the rights to make my books a movie!

Huntress said...

We are traveling the same road. Traditional, small pub, then self-pub if I gotta.

Huntress said...

Hey, you gave those agents a chance to hit it big. Not your fault they can't recognize good stuff when it's offered.

Hurray to WiDO!!! Obviously a small pub with foresight.

Huntress said...

It is an education, ain't it?
Writers have many resources to self-publish. I worry about those less intuitive than yourself who might fall in with the nefarious bunch who promise many rewards. All they need is a down payment of $$$$ and fame will follow.

Huntress said...

I am traditional. Only lately have I dabbled in the small press.

Huntress said...

Ho BoY!!! We have a winner!!! The comment that caused me to laugh and spill my coffee.

Alicia C. said...

I'm thinking I'll stalk Pat Rothfuss, all creepy like and make him sign me on to DAW. Yah. That'll work. From there...my world domination plan is a secret...

Huntress said...

You stalk and corner him somewhere and then introduce me as I tie the strings of your straight jacket.
He'll be soooo happy I was there to save him that I know he'll read my manuscripts.

LD Masterson said...

I'm going to give the traditional agent/publisher a shot first. But if it doesn't happen, there's always plan B.

Liz said...

It's all frustrating until you get that yes.

I'm going to finish my book first. Then I'll see where it takes me.

Huntress said...

Just to be clear, I recommend the agent route as the first course.

Ciara said...

I've been through two agents, a few small-press, and now I'm self-publishing. I don't think there is one answer for all writers. It is an individual journey for each of us. I'm SO excited about my new path, more so than any other choice I've made thus far.

Huntress said...

I so want to know more!

Interview anyone?? Moderators?

Lexa Cain said...


Tracy said...

My plan is to start querying agents in August, but someday (whether I'm traditionally published or not) I might go indie. I think we have a lot of great options out there. It's a buffet. I like to sample each dish. :D