Before I get to my IWSG post below, I’m participating in FIRST IMPRESSIONS, (which offers short critiques of beginning pages submitted in advance.) This awesome project is the brainchild of Dianne Salerni and Marcy Hatch.
Please stop by and let me know what you think of page one from the memoir I am co-writing.
My issue is with “I’ve got an agent” posts.I hope no one thinks I’ve been eating sour grapes – that's so not my intent. This subject has bothered me for a while, just wanted to share.
Trust me, I enjoy reading and commenting on posts that help launch Cover Reveals, promo new releases and especially those “I’m-going- to-be-published soon” deals.
I also appreciate seeing the number of success stories rise on Querytracker.net (it was 886 when I signed up – last month – and now it’s at 945.)
I would simply suggest caution against getting too excited to anyone who signs with an agent - whether new or established.
Agents can’t guarantee a sale – trust me, I know, (I’d like to stick my neck out and ask any agents reading this to comment – am I way off base?)
Agents shouldn’t be viewed as a status symbol either.
Sure, it’s a nice chunk of the publishing puzzle, but agents shouldn’t be expected to produce a quick sale out of thin air – especially when they, too, may be new to this industry of ours, you know the one that's imploding and recreating itself even as I write.
This isn’t a good time to be a first-time author in the world of publishing, so of course, it would make sense to many people who think an agent can solve all their publishing problems, but that’s asking a lot.
Perhaps I am thinking too deep into this subject, and that’s a fair comment. However, here are my two experiences so far:
· Missing out on a reportedly large advance and a contract with one of the big six all with a well-known agent (in 2009).
· Having an agent (at a writer's conference) read my pages, look me in the eyes and say, “I guess I’m repping you, then. Let me send you over our standard contract.” Eight months later, I'm still waiting... Hawaii isn't *that* far away! (2012).
Honestly, I wish anyone (and everyone) with a new agent only the best wishes for success, but you should also prepare for the disappointment of not finding a publisher (or suffering through a non-communicated change of mind.)My former agent and I ended our relationship amicably in 2010, and it’s fun to hear people’s reaction when other writers say, “he was your agent. Wow.”
In the case of the second agent-to-be- that-never-was, my perception is that I was strung along far too long. One phone call or email (to put me out of my misery) would have been more than welcomed.So, what happens when I sign with a new agent?
First of all, I hope to find someone who will become as passionate as Donald Braswell’s story as I am.And when I do, I will make sure to link the agent’s name and contact info to my bio with the understanding that our working relationship is a partnership.
Because I already know that although the story may be done, the hard work will have only just begun.