Status: Happily working—but it’s still early in the day.
On my lunch break, I often surf the various blogs I enjoy and a variety of writers discussion forums. I like to see what’s going on, what’s bothering folks. There seems to be a lot of angst swirling around agents who are also authors.
Seemed like a good rant topic to me.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m an agent but not an author, and to really get the ball rolling, it doesn’t bother me one iota if an agent is also an author.
Why? Because it really doesn’t impact a good agent’s ability to do her job (emphasis on the word “good”). It also doesn’t impact an agent’s ability to sell her clients.
I think there is a misperception that an agent/author is in direct competition with her clients of the same genre—but that’s not how publishing works. If it were, it would also be true that if I have one contemporary romance client, she would be in competition for the empty “slots” with all my other contemporary romance clients– that I have already or will sign in the future.
That’s not how it works—the idea that there are only a finite number of slots and once filled, game over. It’s too simplistic.
I could rant on but I think Deidre Knight (an agent/author) has some very valid points to make on the subject and there’s no need for me to repeat them here. To be fair, Miss Snark has also expressed an opposite opinion regarding this topic, on which I don’t happen to agree.
What impresses me most is when the agent/authors are completely upfront and frank about their dual role. It would be so easy to do the “pseudonym out” without anyone being the wiser. There is a level of integrity exhibited with full disclosure and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a characteristic of a good agent worth having.
(This is not to suggest that any agent/authors using pseudonyms are lacking in integrity because I can see not wanting to deal with all the hassle and the misperceptions that swirl around this topic. One could pose the argument that it’s nobody’s business but her own as long as she continues to do her agent job and do it well).
Besides, just because your agent isn’t writing now doesn’t mean she never will. And maybe your editor is already writing and publishing in your genre with another house because lots of working editors are also authors.
After all, agents and editors got into the biz because they love books. It’s not that far a leap from love of, to editing, to writing one and it seems silly to deny them that dream because of their day job.