This one time at Writer's Camp…
The Writer/Agent Conundrum
I, for one, am thankful for all the agents who do a lot of hard work pitching their clients novels out to various publishers. They get as many, if not more, rejection notifications than the actual writer does. Plus, they have to deal with the pressure from both sides: an anxious author and an exasperated publisher.
That being said, it does make me a little uncomfortable when I visit an agent’s website and I see them touting their own writing accomplishments and current releases. Now, I know that professionalism dictates that the agent is going to do the best to their ability to sell your novel. But seeing an agent trying to become published as well makes me wonder if the agent is truly invested with selling their clients.
I mean, think about it for a minute. As a writer, you’re thinking about your novel a lot. How much energy goes into other projects? How often has your work life sucked because of your latest work in progress?
Now multiply that by five. That has to be the amount of stress a writer-agent must be under. So why would they do that then? It’s not as though it’s helping them sell their novels, but puts far more pressure on them to sell their own novels while selling their clients. And you, as a writer, already have enough stress about getting your book out there. Do you want an agent who isn’t 100% committed to seeing your book sell?
Most agents gut a cut of the advance check and royalties. Something to the order of 15% if I remember correctly. Logic would suggest that because they don’t get paid until you do, then they would be pushing your book hard. However, throw in a minor change of plan – said agent is trying to sell their own books as well – and suddenly you start to wonder just who the client is.
I don’t have specific examples (mainly because I don’t want to start a rumor war on the internet), but does anybody else think these thoughts?
Oh, and if you’re looking for an agent who has no desire to be a writer (I know this for a fact), then you might want to think about submitting to the OnyxHawke Agency. I know their client list is small, but considering some of the names on that list…