Saturday, August 07, 2010
What you don't see
A couple of things happened this last year that reinforced my growing suspicion most people don't know what agents do. Most particularly those who don't know are the very people who are "informed"--the ones who read the blogs, attend the conferences, follow us on twitter. Even clients and editors.
There's a reason for that: we don't talk about it. We don't and can't talk about most of the things we do. I can't mention any specifics because I can't talk about my clients' business in public. Not at all.
I can talk about querying, and reading manuscripts, and conferences, because those are general information, and guideline type things. I can talk about reviews, and book signings, and blog mentions, and contests because those are public.
The sum total of ALL of those things is about 10% of my work day and work week. Less if it's really busy.
The major disadvantage to the increasing transparency of publishing (and much of that transparency started with agent blogs-a transparency I'm proud to be part of) is that it leads to the idea ALL of publishing is now transparent.
And it shouldn't be.
I advocate for and represent each client individually. Their business is not the concern of anyone else.
I read those "day in the life of an agent" posts (and I've written a few myself) and articles with a LOT of skepticism. Most of them are pretty general, and pretty unrealistic. You'd have to be an actual book on the shelf of my office to know what goes on there all day.
And that's the way it's going to stay.
So, why this post? Just a heads up that unless you've actually worked in an agency, and specifically with an agent, you probably don't know much if anything about what agenting actually entails.
Which is just fine, unless you plan on hanging out a shingle as an agent. You aren't planning to do that are you?