Tuesday, June 14, 2011


A woman I talked to in Austin this weekend asked: "So is a conference really a good place to find an agent?"

I didn't know how to answer at first. For one thing, how would I know? I don't have one yet. "Well - is a church singles group a good place to find a husband?" I asked.

She laughed. "No!"

"But you're not going to find one sitting at home, are you? If you want it, you've got to go out and try to get."

Or words to that effect.

Queries are out on the ether and tomorrow I can indulge myself in some revision of the lesbian western, since I got feedback from my fishing expert late last week. Much more fun than market research! Plus I have a feeling it'll be easier to hook an agent with Len than with the Astral Palace.


  1. Good luck with your quest to find an agent. I've heard some folks say they don't need one and others that say they are a necessity. Being fairly green in the publishing business I'm not sure which side to believe but I imagine it can sometimes depend on the individual writer or illustrator. When my wife and I lived in Dallas working as an actors I had an agent that kept sending me to auditions for roles for hispanics or that needed a Spanish speaker. She couldn't think of me outside of that particular peg she'd placed me into. Needless to say that wasn't a long business relationship. Working for myself, I would audition for parts that looked appealing and challenging. I don't know if the same applies in the literary world. Anyway, good luck with your search.

    Alberto Ramirez Jr.

  2. Since I sold 12 books without one I'm not going to go around saying you have to have an agent; but since I haven't sold a book since 2004 (to be fair this is partly because of about a three-year hiatus in even trying due to the aftermath of the Year From Hell) I'm also not going to pretend the life isn't, generally, easier with one.

    But the analogy with marriage isn't random, and you'll see it used over and over for a reason. Just as the right spouse is the best thing in life but no spouse is better than the wrong spouse, no agent is better than the wrong agent. You have to be a good match. I had an agent once a long time ago, but he was only interested in one book and only interested in peddling it to foreign markets. That wouldn't do.

    In publishing, writers with agents, as a whole, have better contracts and therefore make better money, even factoring in the commission. Writers with agents have more time to focus on the stuff they're good at - the writing and editing - without the distractions of doing their own market research, negotiating their own contracts, and following up discrepancies in their own royalty statements. Generally speaking, it's better to have one than not. But you can't let not having one be a total barrier to forward movement.

    So I have The Astral Palace out trolling for agents and will send the lesbian western out on the same mission when she's fit to be seen (and, I hope, when she has a real title), but in the meantime, I can't let the five other completed projects just sit around. If I have a recent sale to report to an agent who's interested, I'll look that much more interesting. And an agent who doesn't want to deal with an author's backlist, or with existing heavily-circulated manuscripts, is probably someone who doesn't want to deal with me.

    There's no rules here. There's just people. It works like people always do.

  3. Sounds good. I agree. More time to be a creative soul is always a good thing whether it be in performing or writing.The business side of things is a time sucker to be sure. By the way,I think "A Lesbian Western" is a catchy title.

    Alberto Ramirez Jr.