I hope no one gets any offence in this question.
After reading so much literature against the fee charging agents, I'm a bit confused if it's right or wrong to approach such an agent (especially when one doesn't know exactly for how much money he goes in for till the book is sold).
I've noticed that many agents take pride in the fact that they do not charge any fees (while some don't mention any of such possible fees on their website), while other agents charge reading fees, mailing/paper fees, jump-the-queue fees etc. and they are still seen as being reasonable and legitimate even if not recommended openly by some sites.
I thought that an agents commission is drawn after the first sale and this was a highly motivating factor for the agent to sell the book as soon as possible as, the sooner the book was sold, the sooner he could get his commission/percentage. This is the healthy principle of "money flows towards the writer".
The other principle that I've noticed as being healthy too on this boards is the one where the "money flows from the writer first" to pay for expenses, etc. What does it usually amounts to? How much does a writer has to pay out of his pocket before the book is accepted and he gets his first advance? I know that it all depends on how quickly it sells, how high the fees are, the length of the book etc., but still is it possible to get a rough idea of an average cost for selling a 100k book for a year? Maybe there are some writers or agents that could let us know how much it costs them to have a 100k book making the publisher rounds at a fee charging agent during one year.
What if one gets accepted by such an agent and then discovers that he cannot really afford the high upfront fees (I name upfront fees the fees that come to the writer before the book is sold)?
What kind of agent would you advice a newbie writer to look for?
Please take the time to vote and any comments and ideas on what is best are greatly appreciated.