Recently, I read an article about a bestselling author who's agent disappeared with a great deal of the author's advance and royalty money. I found the article both fascinating and frightening because this is one of my biggest fears.
Consider the following when you begin your search for representation:
1) Do your homework. Gather information about the agent you would like to represent you;
2) Don't sign with anyone until you have explored their philosophy and ideas about the writing business and how those ideas fit with your writing career; and
3) If you already have an agent and find that he or she is not working out for you, don't be afraid to cut the ties between you and that person.
I understand the excitement of being accepted by an agent. An agent validates you and your work. I also have learned how detrimental the wrong agent can be for your writing career. If the agent doesn't understand you or your work, they can cause more harm then good.
Discuss the following before signing with an agent:
1) What are the agent's goals for your writing career?;
2) Do you want a career?;
3) Where do you want your writing career to go?; and
4) Does this agent have connections and clients in the area you want to pursue?.
It's so easy to get swept up in the excitement of signing with an agent. But like so many things related to the publishing business, an author needs to come to the table with a calm, level head. This is a business.
What do you think? I'd love to hear from you. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the comment link.
Remember, don't be a stranger.