Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Worshipping at the Altar of the Agent

In 2010 when I was searching for an agent that was me:


That's how I looked at agents. Me, a respected freelance journalist who dealt with editors on a regular basis under a purely formal guise. Those magazine editors were my employers, not objects of desire.

Yet for some reason when I began to query, I got all foamy at the mouth, googly-eyed, and starstruck. I look back at myself and I get embarrassed, for me and for the agents.

How do agents feel when they realize they're being pursued, even worshiped, by hordes of zombie writers? I say zombie because we're all exhausted, falling apart, and have only one thing on our minds - not brains, agents. ;)

Since I told myself last December that I would no longer query and I would take my career into my own hands, I've mellowed, A LOT, when it comes to agents. Do I still want one? OF COURSE. What self-respecting writer wouldn't? Yes, it's awesome to be an indie writer, but there are things we just can't do. Who's going to show your book to the movie execs? Who's going to sell it to other countries? Who's going to help you move up the ladder? Even Joe Konrath has an agent. Authors may be turning away from traditional publishing, but they aren't, and shouldn't be, turning away from agents.

I, in fact, have one novel that I still might query. The great part about all this is that in the meantime I am selling books and gaining readership. I am doing what I've always wanted to do. From now on, when, and if, I deal with an agent I want it to look more like this:


Writing is a business and I want an agent to work with me. Of course there will be plenty of laughter and sarcasm, because who would I be without it? But I no longer worship at their feet....and I think any self-respecting agent would probably appreciate it.

What about you guys? Do you still want an agent? Are you dying to find one or is an agent another cog in your business plan? Fill me in!

Peace out,



  1. Great post! Did I ever tell you that when I first started down this road back in 2009, I thought hiring an agent would be like hiring a lawyer. Ha Ha! I was so confused at all the rejection. Wait you are rejecting the chance to make money off of me? It didn't even make sense to me.

    You've come a long way baby!

  2. Honestly, I don't even know that I want to query. There are some agents I am impressed with. I thought it would be cool to work with an agent that had the same name as me, but I am not sure any longer. Just started my own publishing company, and I like the feel of it.

  3. I think in the future I'd like an agent. They are the ones with all the knowledge about foreign rights and the nitty gritty of contracts. Right now I don't believe it's 100% necessary to get a book published. We'll see where the future takes the publishing world.

  4. Nice post. I'm not an agent--and I don't play one on TV. But like a real estate agent, they make money when you make money, so the incentives are aligned.

    The only difference is that a real estate agent doesn't piss in your Corn Flakes every morning.

  5. Amen! In the future, I'd like to see agents as real author representatives, not gatekeepers to editors. I think everyone would be happier that way. Congrats on going indie while keeping your options open. Best of both worlds, IMHO.

  6. G.P. - I knew there was a chance I wouldn't get signed up, but I always believed it would be simpler than it was. ;)

    J.L. - that's great news you're moving on with your own publishing company!!! Congrats! :D

    Patricia - It's certainly going to be interesting to see where we are in the next five years. I wouldn't mind having an agent by my side either.

    Cool - LOL!

    Cyndi - Thanks - I'm extremely happy with my path, but I'd love to see it get wider as I expand my evil empire. Mwahahahahaha! ;)

  7. For a slice of hope as to how it could be, we all hear of Sara Gruen, and Kathryn Stockett, Alice Sebold, and other debut author superstars of writing. But what about the smaller ones that pick the traditional publishing route?

    Ever heard of Chevy Stevens. CHeck out her blog here:


    Female author, picked up by big publisher (no clue if it's because of her writing, or sheer luck, or the editor was her old high school English teacher, or if she slept with her publisher, LOL), and she has recently experienced everything writers in 2011 should aspire to: debut novel, major international book tour, quality reviews (including People Magazine), end-aisle displays at chain bookstores, now optioned for movie (!), and a second novel coming out this summer that is already being hyped on Amazon and in interviews (if you google her name, as many sites come up as freaking Toni Morrison!)

    I just mention this because the subject of Megg's blog post is maintaining the Mainstream publishing dream, and thus submissions, and despite everything that JA Konrath has to say negative about the traditional publishing houses, at least now in 2011-2012, they wield a crapload of weight for the right author and the right book.

    His advice for new authors to just self-pub only is myopic and self-serving. Feels like a bunch of middle-aged softball players on the beer league team telling the bright young slugger, "Hell with professional baseball, they'll just take all your money and spit you out. Take that fabulous home run swing of yours and play softball with us and we'll supply the beer, boy."

    Megg, keep riding both sides of the fence. Keep writing, authors get hundreds of rejections, but when the right one calls, you or anyone of your peers in Darkside Publishing could be the long ball hitter that will save traditional publishing.

  8. Konrath has a platform and he works it well. I just happen to have a slightly different viewpoint. I do find some of comments valid, but not necessarily all of them.

    I like to believe I can gather info and then think for myself. ;)

    I'm not sure exactly how my literary future will play out but I'd like to keep my options open...

  9. Hi Megg,

    I love the little yellow 'star struck' guy, he is very adorable.

    On a more serious note, i think you have some great potential, your book is awesome. Don't give up on the 'traditional publishing' idea but you are right you have to get on with things now. Start building that following keep writing books. Improve your writing and then one day when a publisher goes OMG you are the next J.K Rowling you will be ready.

    Great post, Great book