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AllyWoof
01-23-2007, 07:11 PM
I'm courious to know what the advantages and disadvantages are when it comes to working with an agent. Also, how do I determine who the best ones are to work with?

Shadow_Ferret
01-23-2007, 07:17 PM
Well, the main thing is, most publishers these days don't accept unagented unsolicited manuscripts. So an agent at least can help you get your novel in the door.

The other question I'm not sure about. Research. There's a thread around here somewhere that lists many agencies.

ETA: In the Bewares and Background Check forum there are several threads on agencies to beware of and a listing of agencies.

HorrorWriter
01-23-2007, 07:28 PM
Writerdog,
Shadow Ferret is right. Most publishers will not take unagented submissions. Finding an agent is an arduous process, but in the end, it's worth it. Agents can help you get higher advances, multi-book deals, etc. You may want to try agentquery.com and you many want to read Writer's Market 2007, or Jeff Herman's guide to Literary agents. You are going to have to reasearch because all agents have their preferences and may or may not represent what you write. Good luck!;)

AllyWoof
01-23-2007, 07:29 PM
I could not find it. That's why I made this post. I bet it was in front of my nose!

AllyWoof
01-23-2007, 07:32 PM
Sorry about my bad editing. The keys keep sticking.

HorrorWriter
01-23-2007, 07:34 PM
http://www.agentquery.com You couldn't find the website or the books? Good luck!:)

AllyWoof
01-23-2007, 08:16 PM
Hec, I could not even find the top to the vassalien(sp), and that was sitting in front of my nose.

chibeth
01-23-2007, 08:27 PM
There are so many advantages to working with an agent. First, they can make sure no bad clauses are included in your contract with the publishing house. They get you a higher advance, and your MS read faster by editors. They act as a liaison between you and the publishing house, so if there are any problems (horrible cover art, problems with timely payments, etc.) THEY deal with it.

This depends on the agent's working style, but there are many hands on agents who will work with you on making your MS stronger before subbing it. They'll also brainstorm with you when you're stuck or need ideas for a new project. Most are interested in helping you build a career, instead of just selling one book, so you have a lot of guidance in that area as well.

They have personal contacts with editors (they do if they're legitimate agents), so they know better than you ever will which editors are looking for what, and who might be most interested in your MS.

As for finding the best agent, look at places like Preditors and Editors, and this forum, to make sure they're legit. Then Google. I like to use blogsearch.google.com to check out what people are saying about the agents. Look up their sales on publishers marketplace. Read their blogs if they have them. Read interviews they've given. Find their clients' websites, and if they have blogs, read them. Many times people will mention their agents, if only in passing. If all else fails, email a few of their clients and ask them.

And don't forget to check the agent's website, if they have one, to read his or her bio and submission requirements.

Hope that helps.

Toothpaste
01-23-2007, 09:04 PM
writerdog, I wrote a blog post that answers this very question, though chibeth did very nicely in answering it too. If you are interested: http://ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com/2007/01/15.html

Irysangel
01-24-2007, 04:13 PM
You also want to make sure that you get an agent that is sufficiently enthusiastic about your book. If not, they can sit on your projects for months (or years) at a time with little to no submission or follow-up.

THAT is the downside to working with an agent. Your hands are tied.

chibeth
01-24-2007, 09:14 PM
Irysangel--I don't believe that means your hands are tied. Most author/agent contracts give the author a way out. It's also important, when you sign with an agent, to lay out exactly how your relationship with him or her will work.

For example, with my ex-agent (we parted amicably because I write mostly YA now, which he doesn't represent...just for the record), he sent me copies of every rejection we received from editors. And before he began submitting my MS, he gave me a list of the places he was sending it. This is something we agreed on in our first conversation. This prevented the scenario you described from happening.

So I'd say it's important to be informed on what your rights are, and to be clear with your agent on what type of relationship you expect (and vice versa--you want your potential agent to be clear with you on what HE expects the author/agent relationship to be like).

I think it's really, really important to speak with an agent's clients--former and current--before signing with him or her, too.