• On Writing,  publishing

    The New World of Publishing: The Assumption of Agents

    After that head-shaking article by Don Maass, and the funny response by Joe and Barry, I decided it was time to update a post I did about a year ago in this series.  So here it is… Among all new writers these days, the myth is strong that they need an agent and that agents are just here and a part of the new book world. It seems to radiate through every word I hear from writers lost in the myths of starting up as fiction writers. It’s like you bought a house and someone is living in the basement and you believe without ever a question that you must…

  • On Writing,  publishing

    The New World of Publishing: The Assumption of Agents

    Over the past few weeks I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about and by agents in different forums. For example, the White Glove Program Amazon has started, or a post about “Hybrid” agents. Both were linked to on ThePassiveVoice and you can find them there in the last week of March if you really care. What struck me clearly is the belief, the solid belief, in these articles and many others, that agents are just here and a part of the new book world. It seems to radiate through every word. It’s like you bought a house and someone is living in the basement and you believe without ever…

  • On Writing,  publishing,  Recommended Reading

    A great set of guidelines for agents

    Passiveguy, a former attorney, laid out a set of guidelines that agents should follow if they are setting up a publishing program.  You can read it here: http://bit.ly/lJk5gB Great stuff and spot on the money in my opinion, but the truth is I laughed about halfway through because it was far, far too logical and above board for any agent to do these days. Which is a bummer. So I stand by my position. Any agent who continues to represent clients to traditional publishing and also sets up a publishing house of their own, for whatever reason, is a scam (Unless, in the unlikely event they follow Passiveguy’s advice.) (A…

  • On Writing,  publishing

    The New World of Publishing: Agents and the Future

    Okay, time to talk about agents and their future in this changing world. But first folks, read this!! http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2011/the-agents-role-in-todays-digital-book-world/ Mary Kole, who I do not know, and who seems fairly smart, works at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. On the Digital Book World site, she talked about her opinions of what the agent’s role will be going into the future. I read it and shuddered, to be honest. Then I went back and actually tried to figure out why I had such an adverse reaction to some very logical thoughts by this agent. Agent Mary Kole argues that agents will become packagers, doing “editorial work, marketing consultation, design, etc.” She thinks…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Agents and Contracts

    These last two weeks I have been watching a friend struggle with all the agent myths AFTER getting an offer from a major New York publisher for a multi-book deal that he marketed and sold himself. And watching this, I came to realize that there is still another agent myth that I haven’t covered in a chapter. This is a brand new myth because of the change in the industry and agents. The myth is that you must have an agent or an attorney to negotiate a book contract. A myth that I have taught and believed up until things changed in the last few years. Truth: Today, sometimes, under…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Agents Take Care Of Your Money

    Would you e-mail a perfect stranger and offer to give them control over your money? Sound like an internet scam? Sure it does, yet this is what fiction writers do all the time. I have touched on this in a number of different ways in the other agent chapters in this book, and had no intention of coming back to it in a stand-alone chapter. Then I started getting private e-mails about how I was wrong about agents, about how they were partners to writers, about how this agent or that agent had taken great care of the writer. Fine, except for one issue. With attitudes like those writers had,…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Agents Can Help with Careers

    Kris and I in workshop after workshop, in conference after conference, give the same advice over and over. WRITE WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT, THEN TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO SELL IT. The myth: Agents can give good career advice to writers. This chapter on agents to me is the most important of all the agent chapters. Agents thinking they can give career advice to writers is so wrong in so many ways, it’s going to hard to figure out where to start first. And it disgusts me in so many ways, I’m going to have a certain level of problem keeping balanced on this. Fair warning. I think…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: All Agents Care About Writers First

    I never intended to do so many of the agent myths in a row, but since we’re having such a great conversation, and Laura Resnick brought this one up in the comments on the last one, it makes sense to just go on. New writers and many professional writers believe that when they hire an agent, the agent has their best interest only in mind. With many modern agents, this is so far wrong, a writer’s interest doesn’t even get in the top three places of focus for some agents. So said clearly, the myth is: Agents always have their client’s best interests in mind. But before I start, I…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Agents Know Markets

    Back to agent myths for a moment. There are a lot of them. I did a general Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post about how you need an agent to sell a book. If you haven’t read it, go here and read it now. The myths that surround agents are killing a lot of writer’s careers these days. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t hear stories from at least one writer about how an agent hurt them. Often more than one. The myth that you need an agent to sell a book is an ugly one, the myth that writers work for agents instead of…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. Agents

    The myth is simply: YOU MUST HAVE AN AGENT TO SELL A BOOK To be clear, I like agents and have no desire to bring them harm. But the myths these days about agents are so thick and have become so ugly to new writers, I figured I had better tackle at least one of them next. And yes, there are more than one. And in the last 20 years, the biggest myth that has blown up into a damaging myth is that you need an agent to sell a book. This is, of course, complete hogwash, but I have no doubt some of you reading this are already resisting…