Monday, January 2, 2012

The Numbers Behind Finding Agents

I certainly don't need to tell the majority of you out there this tidbit of information, but the economy still sucks and the publishing industry, like everything else out there is buckling down. With these changes, the demand for agents to represent those authors still wishing to travel the traditional publishing route has increased.

Now, please do not get me wrong. This is not a post highlighting "another reason why self-publishing is the way to go." This is also not a post highlighting "why writers really need agents." I simply want to talk about numbers here and why finding an agent is becoming an even harder task.

First of all, agents are stuck in the middle here. We can find projects we like, but we have to also work really hard to convince the publishers to love the book as much as we do. This is not that easy since the publishers have become extra picky about what they sign. So, for that reason, the trickle down theory comes into play here and now agents are really becoming picky.

This pickiness is not simply finding the things we know we can sell, but a search for finding some truly AMAZING new writers and projects. In the past, we could find someone that was mediocre and work with them for a year to slowly craft that book we thought had a little potential. We simply can't spend that time now unless we have something amazing.

But the number thing is becoming an even larger factor. In simple terms, there are more of you than there are agents. Each agent is going to limit how many people we work with and what we work with. This way, we have time to really work with you to get those projects ready. So, for that reason, when you are submitting to an agent that says he or she is open to submissions, the odds are, they are only looking for certain types of books that fill specific niches. This is why I tell you to do your research.

I know that at Greyhaus, I try to really make it clear to you what things I am not actively looking for (when I am open) and what things I will not be actively looking for. I don't want you to waste your time.

The point though of all this babbling (it's early and my coffee isn't done brewing yet) is that finding an agent is going to be a big uphill battle. It is well worth it, but have patience.


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