Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Are Agents REALLY Needed Now?

I'm not going to make any friends with this, but the question must be asked. After all, I've seen how the internet has changed the music business. Why should the publishing biz be immune?

Now that all of us can communicate one on one, who needs a salesperson to tout your wares?

Sure, the agent is 'in place', whether that be NY, LA, London, etc. depending on whether you're selling a screenplay or novel. Yes, they have the contacts which you haven't developed, but did they grow up with these people or just hang out in the right colleges and bars?

Are the proper places to 'hang out' now Facebook, Twitter, or? I ask this, since the internet landscape changes quickly. Does anyone remember Myspace?

Does all the tweeting, blogging, etc. really get you published? Or is it who you know?

My personal experience with agents hasn't been good. I've driven across country to LA to hear a sales pitch about how my screenplay would be promoted to producers and directors. All I needed to do was come up with $2500. This was in 1992, so things have changed since then. Yet, isn't an agent really just another salesperson?

Now, you have to jump through hoops, apply all your skills to being a good pitch/query writer and hope that they like your blog. Sorry, I'm not here to spend half my time being a lap dog. If you don't like me or my work, OK. Get in line, there' s a long one. There are people who don't like Shakespeare either.

Yes, I know a good agent can help develop your work. They can find you a good editor or the people with special skills to help you.

A relevant story, short and pointed. I moved to Europe ten years ago, was told by a real estate agent that I couldn't buy a house until I rented an apartment for a year. This sounded like they wanted to control the situation and get a year's rent from me.

I hopped in the rental car, drove around town, found houses for sale. Called the listing agent, even though I didn't speak Dutch (still don't). They showed me their houses. I found one I liked and contacted a real estate lawyer. Got the contract written up, reviewed it, signed it and moved into the house.

So, no offense to the agents out there. I would LOVE to give you my business. My catalog of work grows each day. I write, but I don't spend hours on the internet, blogging, tweeting and generally getting nothing done. I leave that to those thrive on it.

Myself? I'm going to videos.

After all, if you get to be a published author, you have to make those personal appearances.

Just as long as they photograph me from my good side.

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