Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Special Agent

So begins my search for a literary agent. A literary agent is someone you hire to sell your book to an editor at a publishing company.
Do you have to go through an agent?
But do you really have to go through an agent?
Most publishers won't look at unsolicited, un-agented manuscripts. The slush pile is dead. According to this WSJ article, the last time Random House published something from the slush pile was 1991. At the SF Writers Conference, an editor told me that her publishing house still holds slush parties -- late night pizza feasts where the interns sift through the slush pile -- but only to slap on rejection slips and send the manuscripts back. The material goes unread.

It makes sense that publishers will only consider agented work. An agent's not going to waste her time -- and stake her reputation -- on something she doesn't think will sell. By the time a manuscript reaches a publisher, the agent's already taken the time to separate the wheat from the chaff -- so the editor doesn't have to.

That's why landing an agent is often harder than actually selling your book. And why this process is so tedious and discouraging. The only thing more depressing than searching for an agent is writing about searching for an agent. So I'm just going to go back to procrastinating by looking at these scandalous new pictures of Kim Kardashian.


  1. You can do it! Don't get sucked into scandalous pictures!

  2. tricky little bastard!

  3. Too funny. You got me!