Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Legit vs. Non-Legit Agents


A few months back, my former colleague Sarah LaPolla wrote a very important blog post that everyone looking for an agent should read.

There are a lot of agents out there. Some of them are fantastic. They came up through an apprenticeship process and worked hard for an established agent before they knew enough to take on clients. When they started taking on clients they were prepared, and now they have lots of sales under their belts.

Others just hung out a shingle. Maybe they had some connection to the business, maybe it was just a life-long dream, maybe they got fed up and decided if you can't beat 'em become one.

The hardest thing is, some of these non-legit agents don't know they're not legit. They have the best intentions, they may be good, hard-working people. But there's a lot more to being an agent than knowing how to read a contract or possessing a rolodex.

A bad agent can be more damaging to your career than no agent. There are bad agents out there. Learn how to avoid them.

Read Sarah's post. Make sure the agent who wants to represent you is legit-legit. Don't be scared of a young agent at a very established agency. Do be skeptical of someone who doesn't seem to have a great deal of experience and is working on their own.

Art: Double Portrait by Raphael






21 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

I read Sarah's blog all the time, but it seems to be down today.

Anonymous said...

the blog article you linked to isn't working?

Maureen McGowan said...

The link to Sarah's post doesn't work. :( But I already have an awesome agent. In fact, a young one at a very established agency. :)

Nathan Bransford said...

Sorry, looks like the blog is down. Post updated accordingly.

Nathan Bransford said...

Here's Sarah's post

Shawn said...

So, so, SO very true.

I had two simultaneous offers, one from a respected Literary Agent who warned me that if I accepted her offer of representation, she wanted me to rework a lot of my MS.

The second agent "got it." She was effusive with her praise and said my MS was as close to perfect as she'd ever seen.

Unfortunately, Agent Luvme had next-to-zero contacts in the publishing industry... As I would later find out the hard way.

Oh, to be able to go back in time and choose the more respected agent... Sigh.

D.G. Hudson said...

Thanks for the link to Sarah's blog. Made a note of the questions for future use.

Mirka Breen said...

"A bad agent can be more damaging to your career than no agent."

Thanks,^ Nathan. Now go back to agenting so the scale can tip a bit more to the good ones.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nathan!

Bryan Russell said...

Are you sure you don't want to come back into agenting? :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing this Nathan. I read Sarah's post and found it very helpful as I'm hoping to query for the first time this year.

elizabethmarianaranjo.com said...

Thanks :)

Nancy said...

"Legit" Agents? Does that mean they can sing and dance too?

Tonja said...

Thanks for the link. Great info.

wendy said...

Great blog post - both yours and Sarah's. Thank you, Nathan.

Btw, how's life in New York treating you?

Anonymous said...

You are so right about this. I have seen things that made me blink. But more than that, now that there aren't as many agent blogs trending as there once were, new writers don't seem to understand what agents actually do. It seems there's this image of agents acting as anything from publisher to publicist.

Dorothy said...

thank you nathan for sharing this to us. Its my first time and im currently clicking all the links in your blog as we speak. Very interesting post :)

K. M. Walton said...

Sarah is my agent, and I thank the Universe daily for her. I have friends who were wronged by their agents...from legitimate agencies...so the ne'er-do-well'ers are everywhere. Be your own advocate, writers, at all times.

J.PattersonPrada said...

Er...um...I think I'm just going to save myself and jump (if that makes any sense). I've been holding back on the submission process. But...this article is so true. I can't believe how useful it was for me. As an aspiring writer, I fear the young agents with minimal experience but I also fear querying to an experienced agent who doesn't have the time to give my work a second glance. This was a great post.

Julie Sondra Decker said...

Thanks for sharing this. I also once upon a time read your link about taking a chance on a less experienced agent and it led me to feeling more secure about the agent I did sign with. I of course did all the background research, because even though I "clicked" with my agent when she offered me representation, I do know good intentions don't amount to a hill of beans in this world of Connections. But my book has now been nibbled on by half a dozen major publishers who wouldn't have looked at my stuff without an agent, and some of them are still considering the book, so as far as I'm concerned she's doing enough. :)

Thanks for dropping Truth Bombs.

Anonymous said...

How do you think a agent can help a self-published author? Currently book 4 will be on shelves soon, but my goal is to have my books not on shelves but in readers hands. Would an agent be beneficial?

Related Posts with Thumbnails