Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why Me?

This is not one of those feel sorry for myself questions, but one I am asking all of you who are getting ready to submit to Greyhaus Literary Agency, or for that matter, any other agent.

Why me? Why are you sending it to that person?

This is not going to be one more of those rants about how you should do your research on the agents (although there is an element of that thread running through here). What I am asking is why you have picked that agent?

I am certainly hoping that you have taken some time to get to know who this person is. Remember, the relationship between the agent and the writer is important and we both have to know we can trust each other. We have to know we can count on the other person.

Unfortunately, I think many people pick agents because of the books they have sold. There is this fascination with big money and making it really fast. Writers run to the agents that constantly proclaim the 6 figure deals and the number of times they were in a fight to the last minute on an auction for a book. We are fascinated by the wow factor.

Now, I admit this sounds great and I also admit these situations really do occur out there, but the odds of that situation happening to a brand new writer are slim. Add in the factors of specific genres (for example, most children's books are not going to bring in that type of money).

I get these submissions all of the time, and while the story may sound interesting, I am often questioning why this person would have even considered me. The things they say in their query clearly told me they didn't know either.

Look, the big name agents are great, but are they right for you? Consider that before you go firing off your manuscript. Just think.


  1. Consider that picking an agent based on books previously sold may not be about money. It might be about the thought that if the agent "got" that book, perhaps he'll get mine. I enjoyed the book and I assume so did the agent so perhaps he'll enjoy mine.

    Researching an agent is one thing but getting to know one is another. Blogs like this one help but most agents don't have one. I think most writers, however well-intended and informed, shoot from the hip when they send out submissions. They just hope for good aim.

  2. Very provocative question, and one I keep asking myself when I compile a list of agents I have hope to submit to. Your pointing out authors rushing for agents who've sold books for lots of money is a stumper--and it forces me to reevaluate my agent search.

    Oh I admit to being intrigued by an agent who has sold very well, but ultimately, I tend to balance client list with what houses that agent has sold to, and what sort of books dominate their client list--which is why I personally would like to know the names, or perhaps the genres, of clients the agent has yet to broker a deal for.

    Happily, with the growing number of agents blogging, it's a bit easier to see what rocks their boat and how they do business.