Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Blog Should Come With A Warning Label

STATUS: It’s been a great week but I’m still glad it’s Friday!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? PROUD MARY by Tina Turner

This might go without saying but just in case, I want to point out here that my blog should come with a warning. Even though I do my best to share information that allows writers to get a good understanding of what happens in the agenting process (because I believe that writers should be as knowledgeable as possible), by no means is my blog a substitute for real expertise.

In other words, don’t use the information learned here in lieu of an agent. Or, god forbid, feel ready to take on agenting yourself. The very thought frightens me!

Seriously. There are some rare exceptions but for the most part, agents learned this biz from other agents who have been in the biz for longer (or was a former editor who learned the ropes from the other side of the fence). Even though I went on my own fairly early in my agenting career, I freely admit that I wouldn’t be where I am now without the incredible selfless mentorship by several powerful agents who, just out of the goodness of their hearts and because we had connected on a personal level, guided me through many a hairy situation where I needed more expertise than I had at that moment in time.

Even though I share a lot on this blog, it’s not even half of what you would need to know to be a good agent.

So please, keep that in mind!

Now on a lighter note, I just couldn’t resist sharing pictures of Chutney in her new holiday hoodie. Just add bling!


24 Responses

  1. booklady said:

    You’re right–it should go without saying, but there are plenty of people who feel that they can learn everything they need to know via the internet, so why not learn how to be their own agents while they’re at it?

    As for Chutney, those photos are adorable!

  2. Heather said:

    Ah, Chutney is adorable.

    I wish I could be surprised at the thought of people wanting to take on agenting without any expertise, but I actually know people who’ve considered it. To them, if you can read and use a phone, then there’s not much else you need to know. Sigh.

  3. dancinghorse said:

    Chutney is a Corgi! How did I not know this?

    And now Spot (aka Ch. Winbucks Triplet) is jealous of her very spiffy hoodie.

    Btw Writer Beware has a very good post from Victoria today on why one should not search for agents on the Internet–meshes rather well with the advice here.

  4. Linnea said:

    Chutney looks very much like my own little terrier, minus those remarkable ears! Nice outfit. Needs some little fashion boots for her feet, though. My little guy comes up and shows me how cold his feet are when he’s had enough of the snow.
    There are always those who think someone else’s job looks easy and they can do it just fine. They usually don’t learn how wrong they are until it’s way too late.

  5. Anonymous said:

    What do you think of an editor who asks for an exclusive (no money) contract to work with you on getting your book up to speed? My book fell through in acquisitions but the editor still wants to work with me. Is this a dumb deal to sign? I hear mixed reviews. (Of course, my agent is looking elsewhere first . . . but I still wondered about this fallback plan). And of course, I wouldn’t take your word as Gospel. But I did see the Virgin Mary in my toast this morning.

  6. bran fan said:

    It is valid to warn writers that they should not be their own agents.

    I would also caution agents that they should not try to be writers. That whole “brainstorming with writers” thing? Does not help. Nor does changing our words for us. If there is a problem in the text, tell us the problem and let us fix it our own way.

  7. Lynne Simpson said:

    Chutney looks a little like my MinPin mix. Unlike Chutney, my dog refuses to wear a sweater, even when it’s eighteen degrees outside!

    I can’t imagine being a literary agent, myself.

  8. Maggie Stiefvater said:

    I’m going to politely disagree with bran fan. One of my best beta readers is not a writer, but is a voracious reader of my genre. Because she’s read so much, she can often pinpoint problems and make amazing suggestions based. And of course she can smell a cliche from a mile away, because she’s read so much in the genre. So . . . tell me, who has read more than an agent? If you can’t trust your agent to make good suggestions . . . you need another agent. It would be like not trusting your editor. Or your mom.

    And Chutney OWNS that hoodie. Some dogs look embarrassed in doggie clothing, you know? Not Chutney . . . she says, “oh, you making fun of my hoodie, b$%^&!?” (dogs can say that without the #$%^)

  9. Music Critic said:

    I do like Tina’s version of Pround Mary better than CCR’s. More pep in that step. Whatever the version though, I find it just an above average song. A little below my man Otis with a 5 on the bestseller scale/

  10. Reid said:

    Don’t worry, If I ever entertained the notion I could serve as my own agent, I wouldn’t be a regular here. An agent has a completely different skill set and contact list, I wouldn’t know where to start.

    In my mind’s eye, “agent” is pencilled into the space in my plan between “write book” and “cash big check.” I’d never try and go without one.

  11. NL Gassert said:

    Kristin, I love your blog. I visit daily. I take notes. Unfortunately, you don’t represent my genre. I’m my own agent, I admit it. Like a lot of authors writing for a smaller market, I am unagented. I’m okay with that right now, but I fully expect for a time to come when I outgrow what I am capable of and need an expert. Maybe by then you’ll represent gay romantic suspense.

  12. Gretita said:

    Just checked out your blog. LOVE IT. It gives a face to that scary “agent” out there in cyberspace who may or may not be reading my hapless query. Your pooch is too cute, a hoodie, the ultimate accessory for cold weather.
    G. Chapin-Mcgill

  13. shyshybeing said:

    I found your blog while doing some research to find my future agent. I am wondering what you consider a ‘conference’, which were listed in your end-of-the-year stats. Would Denvention (August 2008) be considered a conference according to your definition? Would the appearance you are making in Boulder on January 20? I’m just trying to figure out some of the jargon. Thank you.

  14. ~Nancy said:

    In other words, don’t use the information learned here in lieu of an agent. Or, god forbid, feel ready to take on agenting yourself. The very thought frightens me!

    Frightens you? Scares the heck out of me!

    Chutney looks absolutely adorable! 🙂

  15. Patrick McNamara said:

    It may not be advisable to use the information to act as an agent, but it is useful information when contacting and working with an agent. This blog and other agent blogs help the writer to know what the agent is looking for and how to properly submit to an agent.

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