Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Agents and publishing

In today's post, Paperback Writer says: There are unpublished writers who have plenty of talent and are producing professional level work, and yet cannot get a proposal in front of an editor from a major publisher because the publisher doesn't accept unagented material. These same writers have shopped around for agents, but experienced agents rarely take on unpublished writers. It's a nasty loop, and the one thing about the industry that I think needs to change...

This is something that drives a lot of new writers crazy. It's like a Catch-22-- most editors won't look at unagented work, yet it's really hard to get a good agent when you're unpublished. Admittedly it's not impossible, so there's no need to get defensive and tell me about how you got an agent when you were unpublished. I know it happens:-). But if you can't find an agent, e-publishing credits can really work to your advantage.

Many e-published authors are signing with good agents. I'm not trying to imply e-publishing is an easy way to get published, but there are a lot of slots in e-publishing, by virtue of the fact that most e-publishers produce a fairly large number of books each month, so it's probably somewhat easier to e-publish than it is to traditionally publish. If you publish a few books electronically and get some good reviews, some agents will be more inclined to look seriously at your work. Others still frown on e-publishing, so it depends on the agent. But it's certainly an avenue to consider if you eventually want to break into New York.

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