Agent Info

By Michelle Griep

An agent is a handy dandy buddy to have on your side. They
come in a variety of flavors and sizes, but here are a few common traits you’ll
find in most…

Bullies Beware
They help you with the sticky icky issues like not getting
paid your advance and/or royalty check on time. Agents know the legal aspects
of contracts and what to do when strife raises its ugly head in a
writer/publisher relationship.
Sweet Networking
They can get your manuscript into publishers that don’t take
open submissions. It’s an agent’s business to cultivate and maintain
connections in the publishing industry. They know where your story will fit the
best and bring it to that editor’s attention.
Wheeling and Dealing
They negotiate a higher rate of payback with a publisher
that a timid author might not be able to finagle. Writers are generally
solitary animals. Agents understand that and go out there into the big, scary
world to fight for them.
Friends Like None
They hold your hand during the dark times like when you
think you might not be able to make a deadline or have just gotten smacked
upside the head with a rejection. An agent encourages you when the going gets
tough, and trust me, it will.
Sometimes the cartoon bubble of what an agent is and does is
skewed. . . 

1. They are expensive.
Read my lips. You don’t have to pay up front for an agent.
If you find one that charges you to sign with them, run far and run fast. Most
reputable agents are paid a commission when they sell your manuscript for a
pre-arranged percentage and require no payments before that sale.
2. They are easier to
get than a publisher.
Nope. Not so much. You jump through the same hoops to get an
agent as you do a publisher.
3. You don’t need to
have an agent.
True. I’m living proof that you can get published without an
agent. But (and I’ve always got a big but) your opportunity for snagging a
bigger publisher is pretty much squat. It can happen, but that’s rare. A good
agent is worth his or her weight in gold…and in this day and age, that’s a
hefty amount.
4. They are hard to
Not really. Good agents are hard to acquire, but agents in
general are not hard to locate. Check out conferences. Even if you can’t afford
to attend, you can see who’s lined up to speak and snoop around their websites.
Ask writer buddies for recommendations. And by all means, before you even think
about querying an agent, polish your work to a fine sheen. When you do find one
that looks good, don’t forget to make sure they’re really all that and a bag of
chips by visiting Preditors and Editors.

Michelle Griep’s
been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and
Crayolas…professionally, however, for the past 10 years. She resides in the
frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a
local high school co-op. Her latest release, A HEART DECEIVED, is available by David C. Cook. You can find her at:, or on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.