Sunday, 27 May 2012

Agent Ex?

Are literary agents a dying breed? The time was when a would-be author would finish typing up their opus, print it all out in the manner specified by the respective agency in the Artists and Writers Yearbook, parcel it up and then spend a mint on postage before crossing their fingers and hoping that this time it would be different. Inevitably the deep sigh of disappointment that accompanied your rejection slip (not letter - slip!) would be tempered by the fact that they may actually have read this one before rejecting it (a fiver says they hadn't!) and you MUST be getting closer.

But that was then, this is the new world of E-Books, Print-On-Demand and a million small publishers (*ahem*) who print what they want with no regard for sales! (Sales? I've heard of them, can't quite place the word though...)

Seriously, why would you jump through hoops to impress someone who won't bother their arse to sell your work anyway because you're not 'current' but will take a percentage of anything you do create through your genius when you can bang it out on the Kindle and keep all of the profit yourself?

'Ah hold on you Geordie gobshite,' I hear you cry, 'agents, help with editing and contracts and that don't they.'  They certainly assist with contracts etc and some of them can get quite tricky with regard to rights and stuff but a solicitor (ie someone qualified in the law ) would look it over for a set fee and not 15% of everything you ever make from that particular book. Editing, again, is something that can be sub-contracted out but really, if you fancy yourself as an author, is also a task you should be able to do yourself.

At the end of the day writing is a business first and foremost and if you have designs on making it then you need to be able to take care of business yourself , sadly for agents it looks as though a number of writers already are - it'll be interesting to watch what happens.