On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Do You Need An Agent?: Panel -- Everything You Want to Know About Selling Commercial Fiction

I think so. It IS possible to sell to NY without and agent. It is possible to negotiate without an agent, but... I think that as the publishing industry has changed (more writers, more GOOD/TRAINED writers, less distributors), an agent is needed more. Less NY publishers accept unagented material -- mostly, I think, because they are simply swamped, and an agented ms. has at least been through some sort of screening. But to just network and KNOW the editors, what's opening up, who's buying, get better $$, know the contract clauses, keep your career on track...yes, I think you need an agent for all those reasons.

That said, A BAD AGENT IS WORSE THAN NO AGENT AT ALL. Got it? I've had three and one was bad. I'd make contacts through contests and conferences and she wouldn't send my mss. to my contacts. I lost THREE YEARS that way.

So, yes, submit to both editors and agents when your ms. is done. And ask around about an agent you're thinking of. Ask their clients. No reputable agent I know refuses to give someone who they're wooing the names of their clients.

Do not submit to agents who charge fees, reading or otherwise. Check to see if they are a member of AAR, American Author Representatives.

There is no licensing for agents. If I wanted to become one, I could hang out a shingle tomorrow.

Love to all, Robin


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