Friday, September 4, 2009


Some of you may have been following my back and forth with an Agent on my facebook page. She contacted me via that venue and asked me to attend her open house and call for submissions.

I immediately said thank you but no thank you, especially after the dead agent fiasco in August. And when I saw conflicting work history (she supposedly worked for the dead agent long before that agent opened her doors) - I wanted no part of it.

But I thought twice about just letting it go because I didn't want some writer desparate from rejections to jump at an open call for submission from an unknown and end up getting burned.

I wrote a note called Speaking to the Dead about the experience and what I learned, so those of you who are writers seeking representation, you might want to take a peek at the entry below this one.

That episode cultivated some of he best advice I've ever gotten. It was from a writer friend of mine (Keith - I adore you!) and here is his nugget of wisdom:

I'm sorry this happened, but it serves as a lesson to you and others: make sure you know something about the agent you're querying BEFORE you query. The fact that Googling her turns up nothing of real substance should be a warning sign. Even a new agent should have some history that shows them somehow involved in the publishing biz.

Bottom line: don't lower your sights in your desperation to get an agent.

You need somebody who can sell your book, not just somebody who likes your book. So I think you need to look for people for whom there is some indication that they are experienced enough - or at the very least somehow qualified through other expertise or connections - to represent your work. If they are so far off the grid that Googling reveals nothing, you have to wonder how effective they'd be in the very relationship-oriented business of selling books.


So it's not enough to be able to recognize "good writing" but they also need to know what will SELL and to know the publishing industry well enough to work the system. Enthusiasm is great - but it doesn't necessarily open doors.

I hope my Q&A session was enough to open eyes. The said agent may be legit - but with no verifyable experience - this is a very risky proposition.

If you jump the gun, you might get burned. So writer, beware!

Happy Writing and I wish you patience and prosperity!


PS - After my posting of this note on Facebook as well as my last graceful thank you but no thank you - I'll wait to submit until you have verifiable sales - the agent in question blocked me and deleted my questions from the Open House forum. I guess she didn't want any hint of questioning her validity.

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