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Monday, July 26, 2010

Value of an Agent


Is an agent worth 15% of your money? Can you even get an agent? I queried a LOT of agents before I sold, I had interest from a few, and I signed before I sold--so yes, it is possible. On to value . . .

1) When my agent sold my first book to Five Star, she didn't make much of a commission, but she continued guiding my career , submitting proposals to other publishers, and giving me advice on how I could branch out into other genres.

2) My agent often contacted me when she was contacted by publishers in need of proposals. I spent the next two years writing a lot of proposals. I never turned her down, because I wanted her to know I was willing to work to "make it." Publishers contact agents when they need something fast, when they have a "slot" open up, or when they need a writer-for-hire. We received a lot of rejections, but my agent - - -


3) kept encouraging me! She still hadn't made any more money. My agent kept working with me, kept directing my career. It began to feel like she was a harder boss than my real boss, but I was learning to trust her.


4) My agent always returned my emails. I never called her, as I never had any urgent questions, but she always returned my emails promptly. She also sent me regular correspondence showing which publishers had rejected my manuscripts and proposals. We were/are a team!


5) My agent had her pulse on what was going on in the publishing houses. The last proposal she told me to write, I told her no. I was tired. I have a full time job, I was working on a sequel to THE COST OF LOVE, and I didn't want to do another proposal. She responded to my no, with an "I understand" email. This was quickly followed with a "let me tell you why you're wrong" email. I decided to follow her advice.


6) My agent was able to negotiate contracts for another 4 books with 2 publishers. She was able to negotiate the due dates on these books, and she was able to increase the number of free books I'd receive as well as a few other perks.


I'd say my agent is valuable to me. One of those 4 books we sold because the publisher had a "slot" open up and needed to fill it quickly. She went straight to my agent. Good writing can be noticed by a publisher without an agent, but you don't always know where those "open slots" are. Personally, I think an agent is worth her 15%. I know this isn't every one's experience, but it certainly has been mine. I hope if you have an agent now, or have one in the future, that it's your experience too.


Drue Allen

DrueAllen@gmail.com



11 comments:

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Drue,

I'm really impressed. Your agent sounds wonderful. I've sold every one of my books, short stories, articles and plays myself. And it is hard work, not to mention that as a writer you're always going into a "cattle call" with no advantage that you have with a well-connected agent representing you.

Drue Allen said...

Jacqueline, I did a lot of freelancing before selling my Five Star book. I remember how much hard work that was, so hat's off to you! Articles and short stories are difficult to sell, but they're good ways to advertise your book. GREAT POINT!

Terry Odell said...

A good, supportive agent can be a fantastic asset. I parted with mine after a year when we agreed we had different visions, but it's nice to have someone handle the business side so you're free to write.

Drue Allen said...

Yes, Terry. Knowing when to part is important. You're right also in saying that it can free you up to write more. That's one of the biggest advantages I've found - - more time to write! And man, am I writing. (blog and write, write and blog)

Glynis said...

An inspiring post. I am agent hunting this week.

Drue Allen said...

Good luck, Glynis. I would love to hear how you're doing. "Agent hunting" has a nice ring to it. Sounds sort of like "house hunting" - full of possibilities and new beginnings. : )

Rebbie Macintyre said...

No question, a good agent can be a writer's best ally. Thanks for the post, Drue.

Drue Allen said...

You're welcome, Rebbie. Thanks for popping in. : )

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Drue: I agree with everything you said. I had a great agent when I sold to Five Star, but later, we agreed to part ways, and I've rejoined the "agent hunting" ranks again. So...we'll see how that goes.

Drue Allen said...

And that's a good point as well, Joyce. Sometimes there comes a time where a parting-of-ways is appropriate. Good luck on the hunting. I know it will go well, because you are such a talented writer.

Monti said...

What a nice, positive experience you've had with your agent. Somehow I managed to have several negative encounters with agents who were bad not only for me but for others as well. I haven't had an agent for years. I think it would be good business to have an agent--but the right one, like you have found!

Monti
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