Pub Rants

Series of Upcoming Articles – What Makes A Good Agent?

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For years, I’ve been friends with the Backspace Co-Founder Extraordinaire Karen Dionne. Over the break, she reached out to me to see if I was open to doing the 2016 Salt Cay Writers Retreat in the Caribbean.

Like I need to think about that. Conference in a warm, tropical setting? Oh, heck yeah, I’m in. But as we were chatting, we started talking about how writers sometimes want an agent so badly, they are willing to sign with an average or even a below-average agent. Trust me, not all agents are equal.

And I said, “Well, writers don’t know what they don’t know.”

In that moment, a lightbulb went off for both of us. Writers don’t know what a good agent does. How could you if 1) a writer has never experienced it and 2) a writer has had one agent and no way to assess just how strong they might be at the job.

Granted, this is solely our own opinions, but having done this for 12+ years, and to good success, I have a very clear view of what makes for an excellent agent—an agent who is advocating for the author in every facet of managing the author’s career.

Karen has been in this biz a good long time as well. Through Backspace, she knows a lot of writers. She’s heard the good, she’s heard the bad, and she’s heard the truly ugly.

So Karen and I decided to do a whole series of articles on what makes a good agent and the articles are going to appear in the NLA newsletter first before they go public on my blog Pub Rants and on the Backspace Website.

And this is our gift to all my loyal newsletter followers, and pass it forward as both of us welcome new followers as well.

For my whole career, I’ve done my best to provide good information and an education for any writer interested in learning about the publishing industry.

Stay tuned, and I hope your 2015 is amazing.

7 Responses

  1. Greg Hansen said:

    It’s funny, I’ve never thought about the possibility of working with a sub par agent, and the consequences of such. I always assumed all agents were created equal, with out really thinking about it.

  2. Ringkalyri said:

    I think almost every field has this discrepancy. I work at a small animal vet and always wish people would quality shop, not price shop. Ask what happens behind the scene before you just drop your ‘baby’ off! …They’re not all the same. I appreciate the agencies that maintain blogs and other info so that you can get a little insight into their methods and principles on the business they represent.