Tip of the Day: Spend $80 to get your studded snow tires on your car to ensure that it never snows again.
I didn't always want an agent. In 2005, when I was writing Novel #2 and querying editors on Novel #1 (bef0re I realized it was: (a) not good, and (b) without plot), I stuck my nose up at the publishing houses who would not dare to even glance at a query from me because I was unagented. I mean, who needed them let alone the specialized people in the industry to send my manuscripts to them? I could print out my own queries, throw some stamps on an envelope and keep my 15% when I got an offer for my books thankyouverymuch! Boo yeah! "Suckers!" I said about those agented writers.
Ha ha ha on me.
After about a year of this thinking and spending some more time on Verla's chat board, I learned the errors of my thinking. And there were many of them. Not only did I realize the benefits of having an agent to do contract negotiations (a language I will never speak), and their ability to get better book deals than I could get on my own, but I also learned that I could get some great reactions out of people by responding to them with, "Um, yeah, you'll have to run that by my agent."
OK, OK, that last part I only realized AFTER I signed with Chris, but the important thing that I gleaned is that agents do research on editors so they know where to send your book! Ding ding ding! Brilliant and important, folks!
This doesn't mean that I am no longer curious as to which editors worked on what books, but all that time I used to spend online and in books looking up editor names and what house they were at and their submission guidelines, I can now do something else.
I can WRITE!
I've heard authors say that a writer should spend their time in percentages something like (*not a direct quote; I don't remember who said it or the exact numbers, but bear with me here*):
Submitting (and related research): 10%
Generally, I agree with these numbers and their application. Yet, before I had my agent, my own percentages were more like:
Submitting (and related research): 239%
You may notice some skewed percentages here, and I hate to admit that a lot of the 239% was because it was a good way to procrastinate on writing. I told myself it was an acceptable form due to its direct relationship with getting published. For as much as I suck lying to others, I am great at lying to myself.
But now that I am agented, I can't even lie to myself about that because seomeone else is helping me research where to send my novel! And what writer doesn't wish for More Time to Write? So now my percentages are something closer to this:
Emailing the A2A girls on random topics: 136%
As you can see, I AM improving, and all because I got an agent. Though I am recently repped, I already feel like this relationship will be more productive for me in the long run.
How about you? What are your percentages?
Deena, Miss Recently Repped