Literary Agents Behaving Badly

We aren’t going to call out agents here because that’s not what we’re about, but here are myths about agents that new authors really need to understand:

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Literary Agents Behaving Badly
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So, there’s a lot of scuttlebutt in the children’s book world about agents behaving badly, which sounds like a Spring Fling Road Trip kind of thing, honestly.

But it’s more about agents being dicks and unprofessional. One recent superstar agent has been outed for allegedly “no longer agenting ethically” and not telling clients about their foreign rights, submissions, and speaking badly about authors to other industry professionals or being sexually harassing, bigoted, racists schmucks.

There’s a weird power dynamic that happens between traditionally published authors and their agents. The agents are really gatekeepers to the industry even if they don’t want to be, and it’s good for writers to remember that they can expect to not be treated like crap.

Things you don’t want your agent to:

  1. Ghost you.
  2. Be such a tool that most editors don’t want to work with them.
  3. Give you hives.
  4. Not telling who your book is being submitted to.
  5. Sexual harass you, be racist, be too burnt out or wigged out on drugs or alcohol that they don’t represent you well.
  6. Be too busy that they don’t represent you well.

We aren’t going to call out agents here because that’s not what we’re about, but here are myths about agents that new authors really need to understand:

  1. They work for you. You don’t work for them.
  2. They are human not gods. Be gentle with them, but expect them to be professional.
  3. Though it’s awesome when they are, it’s not their job to be your bestie.
  4. They may not be your agent for life.

So what is their job?

  1. Get book contracts for you.
  2. Negotiate those contracts for you.
  3. Submit your manuscripts to get those contracts.
  4. Protect your interests.

Doing all this they should always:

  1. Respond in a timely fashion to your inquiries. But don’t be a punk and spam them.
  2. Tell you where they are submitting your stories.
  3. Tell you when your stories are rejected or accepted and relay feedback.

When you look for an agent, you want to:

  1. Research the hell out of everyone and find your top ten. Make sure they actually represent the kind of book you’re writing.
  2. Check to make sure they aren’t villains.
  3. Check the proper way to submit to them.
  4. Query them in a professional way.

Writers Beware is an awesome site for understanding what agents should or shouldn’t do. The link is here and in our podcast notes. You should check it out.

Writing Tip of The Pod

Don’t be a schmuck. Don’t let your agent be a schumck.

Dog Tip for Life

 When you look for treats, make sure to give them to everyone.

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

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Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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