Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Evolution of Agents

Every week I co-host a live chat on Twitter called the #WritersRoad. This week our topic was all about how agents are changing along with the industry. Some of this is good for writers, some is bad, and some, I'm honestly not sure about yet.

As I am preparing to submit a novel at the end of this year, I recently started researching agents again (a vital part of the submission process). While I'm happy to be an indie, like many I plan to straddle the pond, so to speak. The novel I'm going to submit is unique and has commercial appeal that is likely to draw the attention of the Big 6, therefore I want to give it that chance. While researching I was shocked and saddened to find that a lot of the agents I had come to know, respect, and some even befriended, are no longer agents. The more I researched, the more I realized why.

The industry is changing and the role of agents is changing with it. There are now agents that offer editing services, some that offer full self-publishing services such as helping the author contract a cover artist, formatter, editor, the whole nine yards (in essence becoming their publisher). Some agents are even representing self-published authors and taking a percentage of their income. I have to admit, in this new world of agents and services, I'm treading water, still deciding which direction to swim.

How about you? Are you submitting, or do you plan to? Would you sign with an agent who does any of the above?


Author of the paranormal Earth-conscious channeler series: Born of Fire (FREE story), The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Channeler's Choice, Rise of a Rector, the historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca, and the epic fantasy The Dragon Empire. Heather also has stories in the following anthologies: In His Eyes (FREE) and Winter Wonders


  1. I think the changing industry has created a lot of ripples in the pool, and I'm interested to see what the landscape looks like once all the ripples smooth out.

    I am much like you in that some projects are definitely more indie in scope and others I feel have a more commercial aspect, and I think in the "new" world of publishing there is room for both. I'm torn with the agent as publisher role... but like I said, I'll wait to see how things work out in the end. And while I'm waiting, I'm going to keep on writing the best books I can.

  2. Well, if the field is changing so that agents will once again be working for the author rather than the publisher, I may be willing to start looking at agents again.

  3. It will be interesting to see what happens. Laurie McClean just started a new innovative agency. I don't think agents are going away. But I think like any profession that has ups and downs like publishing that some people leave for more stable jobs. Awesome that you're exploring both avenues. I think that's one of the great things about being an author right now.

  4. Hmmm...I'm working on two different series. One is going Indie all the way. The first book is out. The other one may be considered marketable to the publishing companies. We shall see.

    Right now, I just need to write out both series and some short stories.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  5. Yes I submitted one of my releases last year and noticed many changes in the world of agenting.

  6. I have had an agent for several years and she definitely works for me. We've submitted to major and minor publishers, she's secured great paid ghost writing jobs for me and we may be self publishing a series of novellas very soon if a publisher doesn't pick them up. She edits for me, advises me all along the way and generally keeps me thinking and believing in myself. I have writer friends I go to for support, but having an agent who is in it with me is very gratifying.