Thursday, December 30, 2010


The holidays are nearly over, and it’s been a hectic Christmas season. If blogging were athletics, I’d be “playing injured” or listed as “day to day” this week, having spent most of the past two days in bed with the flu.

But the blog must go on.

I get several e-mails each year from people I have met or past students asking for agent referrals. I have had a couple agents over the years, and currently have one; one specialized in non-fiction, the other in fiction. So I can often make a referral.

Recently, much of my e-mail correspondence with other writers has centered around the topic of agents. Our discussions have included some important questions that I would like to bring up here in hopes of starting a thread: What should one look for in an agent? What can one expect an agent to do? Has an agent’s job changed at all in this ever-shrinking marketplace or with the addition of e-books? How much should you trust an agent? How do you know when the relationship is over?

Last week, I mentioned these two unique perspectives on an agent-author split.

I’d love to read my Type M colleagues’ views on agents.

Back to my ginger ale and crackers.


Rick Blechta said...

First of all, get better! Having the flu really sucks.

On agents, I always tell people you don't want or need an agent, you need the right agent.

Now, who is the right agent? Hmmm...I'm going to have to think about that.

Vicki Delany said...

An excellent question, John. IMHO a bad agent is far, far worse than no agent at all. A bad agent can destroy your career. How do you define bad? Therein is the question. I'd say you look for experience - look at who the agent represents. Do they have writers you've heard of? Have they sold books to major publishing houses? If they are starting out, are they with a bigger agency who can help them and offer advice? Do your homework and don't sign up with the first "agent" who offers to represent you.

Brad Davis said...

or just become a mystery POET and all the agent questions magically disappear. happy new year, John.

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