If you have an agent, where are they?

Over the years I’ve received a few queries from authors who, in the very first line, tell me they’re represented by Agent XYZ. My first thought is, “Gee, how nice. Where are they?”

I realize the author is clarifying the fact that they have an agent so in the event that things get serious downline, the agent would presumable step in. But think about it from my side of the pond. If the represented author is querying me, instead of his agent, this forces my mind to wander; like, “why are you querying me if you have an agent?”

Just the other day I asked this of an author who told me she was represented. Her reply was that even though she’s represented, that doesn’t preclude her from sending out her own queries.

Um…does anyone see a lack of logic in this?

Why would an agent allow his client to go outside his purview and act independently? Is it because he has little faith his client’s work will sell? Or is he lazy? These are what I’ve dubbed as the Convenient Agent – they only get involved with their client when it’s convenient.

Then there is the darker side to my thoughts; that the agent will only query the big guys, and small trade presses are too irrelevant to bother with – which bunches up my Vickie Secrets to no small degree because it’s plain rude. They are basically saying, “There’s nothing in it for me, so bugger off.”


Let’s say I offer a contract to the author. Is that when the agent decides I’m worthy of his presence? I find that pretty arrogant. Dude; either represent your client the whole way through, or dump them. But this “I’ll rep you when it’s convenient” would make my mother believe the agent had been raised in a barn.  I’m not impressed with those who think they’re too important to breathe the air at my elevation.

Why the hard stance? Because I work closely with authors and their agents. We’re a team. The Convenient Agent will leave his client high and dry once the ink is dry on the contract. They won’t be there to offer their authors any advice and general hand-holding regarding production issues or promotion. This is an agent who either doesn’t care or is “too important.” Phooey. Who needs it?

If you have an agent, then by golly gosh, they should represent you exclusively ALL THE TIME; not when it’s convenient and not for one particular kind or size publisher. After all, they are supposed to know who is the best fit for your book. This is not a case of two heads (yours and your agent’s) are better than one. They are the link to editors because they supposedly understand the business. That’s why they get the crap pay and lousy hours.

Oh, wait. That’s me.

6 Responses to If you have an agent, where are they?

  1. Aston West says:

    Hopefully it’s not because their agent fed them that line: “…even though she’s represented, that doesn’t preclude her from sending out her own queries.”


  2. Sadly, Todd, that’s exactly what has happened. An author would never know to go outside their agent’s purview unless the agent granted them permission to do so.

  3. Allen Parker says:

    My problem with this is that I expect an agent, whether it is a real estate agent, or a literary agent to have a cohesive, targeted marketing approach to selling my product. Anything I do would hamper that plan.

    If an agent is willing for me to monkey around with the plan, it must not be that good and I must not have an agent that is right for me.

    Make sense?

  4. Once again, Allen, your logic doesn’t fail you.

  5. tbrosz says:

    Whoops. Forgot to close out that link. Can somebody fix it?

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