Saturday, September 25, 2010

One Big Reason Agents are Hard to Come By--Time

Astronomical Clock detail Last week, I posted some resources for finding agents.
It’s really tough to find representation.  I think, honestly, there are lots of reasons for this.

One is that agents need to believe they can find a buyer for the manuscript you’re pitching.

I have a strong suspicion that another reason is because just one author is a lot of work.

My agent, Ellen Pepus, spends a lot of time just with me.  I know this because of the number of emails that we send back and forth when we’re really at fever pitch before deadline.

Ellen likes to edit.  Not every agent is like that, but a lot of them are. So she’s making editorial suggestions for me before we send the manuscript to the editor.

Ellen also does other things I don’t want to do—like make friends with industry professionals.  I’m really uncomfortable schmoozing and who knows…she might be too.  But she does it a heck of a lot better than I do.

She keeps track of my checks—what I’ve been paid for, what I’m due for.  Ellen sends me a statement for my taxes.  I have a hard time keeping up with the money side of the business.  I’m familiar with my contract, of course, but I don’t really want to spend my time hunting down manuscript-acceptance checks, or Kindle-version royalties, or my author copies, or whatever.

If I have any questions about release dates or deadlines or what exactly my editor is looking for?  She takes care of that, too.

Basically, Ellen gets to do the dirty work and I get to just write and promote books.   Which works out really well…for me, anyway.

There are some weeks that I’m a lot less time-consuming than others.  But then—it seems like everything happens at once and I’ve buried my agent again.

Thanks to Ellen for all that she handles for me.  And best of luck to everybody on their agent search.  It does take a long time to find an agent (years, in my case), but in the end the effort is definitely worth it.