Saturday, October 16, 2004

Mr. Anderson....

Yep, this post is about Agents.

I was wondering what people think about them. I've always taken it upon myself to market my own fiction (as we've already discussed, this has been a long and grueling endeavor, dragging on for a little more than a decade. Which really dates me.)

It's an idle thought that hits me occasionally. What would it take to get an agent. Would it really be worthwhile? What do you need? I'm guessing you'd have to have quite a few fiction publications (or awards, or something) under your belt in order to have one sign on at all. After all, they may be trying to place your work but they're trying to make a buck or two as well.

And what about the whole idea of relinquishing control? Or is the idea of handing over marketing of one's own writing to someone else a nice thought? After all, it's occurred to me that being thoroughly diligent about it is like having a second job if you're whiling away the daytime hours at a 9-to-5er. (And talk about having a second job with crap for pay.) I know one writer who actually seems to only deal with marketing his work like twice a year, where he'll just hole up for a weekend and do a mass mailing of simultaneous submissions and then forget about it for a while. Which means, even though he's only going it so infrequently, he might be blanketing the landscape more thoroughly than I do in a year with my piecemeal as-you-go style.

Any thoughts? Experiences?



Blogger Hebdomeros said...

The general rule of thumb I've always heard is that agents won't even talk to you unless you have a book to send them. So unless you've got a novel tucked away in that top drawer or enough shorts for a collection, it's probably not worth your time or the agents to try. If you've got either one of those, though, I'd say give it a shot.

Your submission style seems similar to mine. A teacher I had who I didn't like but is widely published (he claims to be the most widely published, living author of short fiction, although I don't know) preached a tier system; he picks 5 or so mags of high level and sends to them all at once. As he gets rejections in, he starts sending out to a 2nd level of mags, then third level, and so on until he lands it somewhere. Even though he's widely published now (I wince whenever I see his name in print), I will say he's still sending out crappy stories he wrote 25+ years ago.

Don't get discouraged. Just keep sending and you'll get there.

2:15 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...


Yeah, I'm not much of a novelist. I have about 10 stories that are in circulation right now, with maybe 2 that I'm still working on (one that's floundering with no ending), and so that's not counting a few that I've retired. I'm not sure that they would make a cohesive short story book submission though... And 2 novellas, both of which are pretty old and I've always had mixed feelings about. They're really just super long stories, I guess.

I think you're right, though. Interesting about that teacher... I'm pretty scattershot. When I've just written a story and I'm in love with it, I'll send it to some of the longshot magazines just for a hoot (not to mention, wanting to actually get PAID, even though that's not necessarily of utmost importance. Although I always consider that the equivalent of waiting to win the lottery or get hit by lightning, of course! ;)

Thanks for the encouragement! Yeah, I agree, it does sound like we have the same approach to submitting. Once a story comes in, it goes back out. We'll get it right, right? :)


5:58 PM  

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