Thursday, October 30, 2014

Agents Behaving Badly

Joe sez: Super-agent Andrew Wylie, in what seems like a conscious effort to make sure he never gets another query letter, addressed the Toronto Festival of Authors and taught them all about hyperbole.

“I believe with the restored health of the publishing industry and having some sense of where this sort of ISIS-like distribution channel, Amazon, is going to be buried and in which plot of sand they will be stuck, [publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” he said. “Writers will begin to make enough money to live.”

I have a few contacts at Amazon, so I asked them for a response, but they were too busy beheading innocent people to reply.

The amount of stupid that Wylie fit into that single sentence is commendable. I'll deconstruct.

1. The publishing industry's health will never be restored. They're middlemen whose value-added services cost too much for the majority of authors.

2. Updating Godwin's Law for millennials by using ISIS instead of Nazis is proof-positive that Wylie needs to shut the fuck up. When you sink to alarmist language and the appeal to fear fallacy, you've lost.

3. Publishers are already making gigantic profits on ebooks. They could raise author royalties right now, they don't have to wait for Amazon to be buried.

4. Amazon is not going to be buried. Certainly not by the Keystone Cops-like bumbling of the Big 5.

5. Writers don't need the Big 5 to make a living, thanks to Amazon. But it's adorable that Wylie thinks an extra 15% (going from 25% digital to 40%) in royalties will be enough for authors to quit their day jobs and suddenly make enough money to live.

Hey, here's an idea. Agents charge 15%. If Wylie is concerned about the livelihood of authors, he can just forgo his commission. Then all of those poverty-row authors can move to Beverly Hills.

“The publishing industry, up until now has cowered and whined and moaned and groaned and given Amazon pretty much everything they want. Now I think that’s going to stop. …Hachette to their great credit drew a line in the sand,” he said. 

They whined and moaned and illegally colluded and got caught. Hachette's "line in the sand" is holding out to protect its paper oligopoly, at the expense of its authors.

Amazon is an innovator. They created the online store readers want to shop at, and the device readers want to use. The publishing industry, blinded by decades of absolute power, didn't think its authority would ever be challenged. The result? Impotence. Amazon doesn't need Hachette, and Hachette will never be able to take sales away from Amazon.

Wylie can throw his public tantrums declaring he's still relevant, but he's going to wind up another disintermediated middleman.

Speaking of, from agent Scott Eagan's blog: Self-published authors - Please Quit Picking Fights!

A few years ago, Scott did a stupid post supporting Harlequin on an issue which has recently become a class action.

He was torn to shreds on Passive Voice, so I didn't really need to weigh in. Though I did comment that Scott deleted his contentious post.

I've written a few contentious posts in my day. Integrity prevents me from deleting them. If I'm wrong, I apologize, I don't try to erase evidence. Especially since, with the Internet, evidence can't be eradicated. The Wayback Machine is an easy way to read the blog post Scott erased.

Scott taught me a valuable lesson. He's the reason why, when I fisk someone, first I make sure the Wayback Machine caches the post so now Scott can't ever delete it.

Don't drink and drive. Don't get into a land war in Asia. And don't post shit on the world wide web hoping you can erase it later.

So what's Scott up to?

Scott: I was talking to one of my clients this weekend and she was saying how her chapter had a guest speaker who was once again preaching the line, "Fire your agents and fire your editors! Do it yourself!" I have to say, since RWA this year I am getting pretty irritated at this mantra we are hearing from authors out there.

Joe sez: I have an agent, and a film manager, and several editors. While I have heard the "Do it yourself" argument preached a lot by writers, I don't know of any writer who feels they don't need an editor. And those with agents, assuming the agents are good (i.e. making the writer money) have no reason to fire them. On the contrary, my agent assists me in self-publishing.

There's a mantra suggesting writers fire agents? News to me,and seems unlikely, but let's pretend there is such a mantra being chanted so incessantly that Eagon had no choice but to blog about it.

The self-publishing movement, by definition, disintermediates many publishing professionals, including agents who aren't savvy enough to keep up, and editors at legacy publishing houses. Naturally, this can seem threatening. If you own a dairy farm, and all the cows decide they can sell their own milk and no longer need you (and they're treated better to boot), you're in deep trouble.

Scott: Look, there is room for everyone. If you have this desire to self-publish then go for it! No one is stopping you!

Joe sez: Stopping? No. It's a free country. Trying to dissuade with disingenuous blog posts? I see that happening. In fact, that's what Scott is doing here.

Scott is an agent. Let's say he's a good agent, with many happy clients. I can assume that many of his clients, and many writers what want to be his clients, read his blog. He's a successful industry pro. Why shouldn't they listen to him?

Well, perhaps they shouldn't listen because Scott's one-sided polemic begins with a sketchy premise (there's a lot of authors preaching a mantra that they should fire agents and editors), then yells "No one is stopping you!" in the way a parent would yell, "Go ahead and play with matches and see what happens!" Then he descends into this nonsense:

Scott: I think what a lot of these authors are missing in their argument is that not everyone wants to take this approach.

Joe sez: I agree. The Authors United signatories are an example.

Scott: Not everyone has the knowledge of the business.

Joe sez: One of the first things my agent did was teach me some basics about the business, so I had some knowledge. Then I learned more on my own, because I thought it wise to try to understand the business I was in. You know, so I could protect myself, make informed choices, and because I'm an adult and don't want to be treated like a baby who needs someone to look out for me.

Or, to put it in the world's shortest skit:

Advisor: Don't worry about money! That's what you hired me for! Better to stay blissfully unaware of the business and focus on your art!

MC Hammer: If you say so...

Scott: Not everyone has an already built in following from their careers in traditional publishing.

Joe sez: How many times do I have to debunk this tired meme?

Scott: And yes, when we talk money, not everyone has the cash to pay for: an outside editor, a cover artist, a marketing manager... and so forth.

Joe sez: Lots wrong here. First, name a start-up business that requires no money. Second, you can get some great deals on covers and editing as a self-publisher, barter for them for free, or even learn to do certain things yourself. Third, getting an agent isn't free (query letters, travelling to conferences, buying all those How To Get An Agent books) and there is no guarantee an agent will accept you, or a publisher will buy your book if an agent submits it.

Scott: When I talked to my author about this, it was interesting to hear a few facts that might have been missed by those in the audience:

Joe sez: Okay, so we have hearsay, and then we jump to remote viewing and mindreading what the audience missed...

Scott: The speaker WAS previously published and already had a following.

Joe sez: And many self-pubbed successes weren't previously published and had zero following before they became successful. Prove causality.

When I got my rights back from my publishers, I sold more copies than my publishers did. My "following" didn't buy my same books twice. These are new readers, and being previously published didn't matter to them.

Scott: The author was spending a lot of her own money to take care of things normally covered by a publisher.

Joe sez: I did signings, a lot of marketing, and a shitload of traveling that my publisher never covered.

Since self-pubbing, I've spent a lot less money tending to my career.

Scott: The author was spending close to 100 hours a week on the career just to keep it afloat.

Joe sez: Wow! Fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. What a work ethic!

Skepticism aside, show me ANY writer, indie-pubbed, legacy-pubbed, or hybrid, not working to keep their career afloat.

Scott: When this first idea came out, there was indeed a huge fight (or maybe just a verbal war) between those who wanted to go on their own and those that wanted the traditional approach.

Joe sez: The only fight I've ever seen is those who want choice, and those who preferred not having a choice. I blog to inform writers, not to fight with agents or publishers or other writers. But while informing writers, I sometimes need to take agents, publishers, and other writers to task.,

Scott: But in recent years, that war has seemed to shift to a more one sided approach. The editors and the agents on the traditional side have pretty much stopped. No, this is not because, what I do believe some would think, "they realized they were wrong." Instead, they realized there was a place for everyone.

Joe sez: Which is why your post is called "A Place For Everyone" and not "Self-Published Authors Please Quit Picking Fights!"

So apparently you're an agent who hasn't "pretty much stopped" taking sides in this "war". Your post is fueling the war by complaining about indie authors who you claim are fueling the war.

Scott: For myself, I have always thought of this like those people who decide to sell their home on their own vs. those who want to use a real estate company. If you have the time and the resources, and you understand property law and finances, then go for it. Sell your own house. But you know, there are still people out there who would prefer to leave the selling of their home to those in the business.

Joe sez: Well, if realtors took 15% of the sale, and they sold my home to a buyer who paid me 25% of the current market value, I'd probably look into learning property law and finances.

Scott: Now, does this mean if you sell your home one way or the other you make more money? Absolutely not! Everything is on a case by case basis. Sometimes a person selling a home on their own can indeed make a bigger profit. Sometimes they won't.

Joe sez: Actually, writers will always make better royalties by self-publishing. And they'll keep control over their rights, cover art, title, editing decisions, how often they publish, what they publish next, etc.

But you're right, Scott. Sometimes someone hits the jackpot with a big legacy deal and makes a lot of money.

If you're a writer whose goals involve landing a legacy deal, go for it. But unlike Scott, I encourage you to learn everything you can about all aspects of this business, including the odds that you'll land a huge legacy deal. Visit for lots of good info.

Scott: The issue here is that it all depends on a lot of different variables.

I don't want anyone to think that right now, I am doing everything I can to "save my job as an agent." Nope, that is far from the case. My authors are doing really well!

Joe sez: That's good to hear, Scott. We indies post our sales figures a lot. I certainly don't expect you to name names, but maybe you can encourage some of your authors to post their earnings to show how well they're doing. You're obviously doing well by them, and their disclosures would help other authors make informed decisions about their careers.

Scott: What I am saying is that if you are a person who wants an agent. If you are a person who wants to take the traditional publishing approach, please don't let those other authors discourage you from taking the approach that works for you.

Joe sez: I'd really like to see some link to some author, somewhere, saying, "Fire your agent!" because they want to self-pub instead.

My agent has assisted me in self-pubbing. On the contrary, I've seen agents drop writers when those writers began to self-pub, or agents who wanted a piece of the self-pub money without doing anything to help.

I won't name names--it isn't my place. But if you're a writer whose agent dropped you for self-publishing, feel free to leave a comment. Ditto if you're a writer whose mantra is "Fire your agent!"

Scott: Just remember to really listen to the variables the author is using when they talk of their successes taking that self-pub approach:

Are they selling their back lists from traditional publishers?

Joe sez: Doesn't matter.

Scott: Are the using this as a supplement to an already existing writing career?

Joe sez: Doesn't matter. But, for the record, when publishers still owned my backlist, those royalties were supplementing my already existing self-pub career.

Scott: Are they still bringing in royalties from those traditional publishers?

Joe sez: Doesn't matter (unless they're considering hiring a lawyer to get those rights back).

Scott: How many outside resources are they having to pay (editors, cover artists, etc.) are they having to pay.

Joe sez: This should be compared to, "How much is the legacy publisher charging you for these same services?"

Scott: I think the only thing I want to leave you with today during this slight rant is:

...There is room for everyone. You have the permission to take whatever route you want to take with publishing. And just because someone isn't taking YOUR approach, it doesn't make them wrong!

Joe sez: There are no wrong approaches. The fact that we have a choice, and we can look at the value-added services that agents and editors provide and decide for ourselves if they're worth the costs, is a good thing.

Beware anyone saying you don't have to learn this business. You do. If you were applying for a job, you'd research the company. If you were investing in a stock, you'd check its history. If you want to make money writing, you have to do more than just write. The more you learn, the more you can refine your goals, and the better your decisions will be.

Scott: P.S. And Romance Writers of American and other larger publishing groups - Please remember to continue to support those who don't just want to self-pub!

Joe sez: Writers should support one another. Period. We're all in the same boat. We all need to row.

But I'm not seeing any damaging talk or actions coming from indies. The Authors Guild, Authors United, and prominent authors like Patterson, Turow, Robinson, Preston, and Colbert are the ones spreading harmful nonsense.

Agents can also spread harmful nonsense. When writers look to industry pros like Eagon and Wylie for guidance but only see hyperbole, Amazon-bashing, and imaginary mantras, writers aren't learning the truth.

We all have bias. We all have agendas. Mine is to help authors.

Wylie and Eagon are agents. Their agenda should also be to help writers.

In the examples above, are they being helpful?


Robert said...

I had a very high power agent who regularly negotiates major deals. Because the thriller field is "cluttered" he thought he would only submit my thriller to a paperback publisher and sell it for maybe $10k. I should have fired him right there and then, but instead asked if he minded if I self-published it. He said not at all. So I published it myself, and to date the book has earned me over five times what he thought he could get for it. The book was even a national bestseller. Do you think he tried to use that success in any way that could benefit both of us? Nope. I finally realized I was spinning my wheels -- HAD been spinning my wheels -- and parted ways with him. I still think agents have great value, but that guy? Not for me.

Norma Beishir said...

Robert--did that same agent expect a share of the royalties?

Joe--every time I read your posts, I'm relieved to not have to deal with conventional publishers anymore.

Robert said...


Mark Terry said...

I'd be delighted to have an agent who could and/or would do the things I don't have the ability or time to do -- foreign rights, movie/tv/audio rights, etc — now that I self-publish. Unfortunately, although my former agent did act as an intermediary for a film/tv representation who still is shopping things around for me, the other things she either declined to do or couldn't do.

I would not care to be an agent in today's market.

Also, as my former agent once commented to me, some deals don't make enough money to justify the work. My comment to her that, for me a $500 or even $1000 deal that was gravy was well worth it to me, even if it wasn't to her, which is one reason she is a former agent.

Talin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Werner said...


You know Wylie is all about being bombastic and alarmist. This is the same guy who said upon seeing his first Kindle, "This was in 1924 or something when the Kindle was launched. I bought it right away and discarded it immediately. And I haven’t picked it up again."

Like most legacy agents and publishers he's also short-sighted. In an interview he had this to say about Tim Ferris when he decided to publish 4-Hour-Chef on his own, "Who was that muscle man who decided that he’d get more money from Amazon than from [Crown Publishing] and sold seventeen books when he’d sold six hundred thousand before?2 He swan dived into the pavement."

Swan dive into the pavement? Tim has sold nearly 300,000 copies of 4-Hour-Chef, won awards and hit every best-seller list.

As for Scott, if he is doing so well why on earth is the design of his business site so outdated and screams Joe Amateur? He talks about the importance of professional agents and editors to produce professional quality books. Following that thinking he should consider hiring professionals web designers to make it look like he’s running a successful business and not some indie-agent.

Chad Grills said...

Awesome. Thank you Wylie for giving Bezos more inspiration to bring the future to you.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I had one of the top agents in the business but felt he was no longer necessary to my career once I started self-publishing, so I moved on. He was a good guy and served me well while I was in legacy, but I couldn't justify the expense.

I've been able to negotiate with Audible, secure foreign rights and even deal with movie/TV interest on my own. Go figure.

But I don't believe I've ever said "Fire your agent!" I've certainly pointed out that you don't necessarily need one anymore, and maybe to Mr. Eagan such a suggestion is the same thing...

Hillary Rettig said...

Funniest thing about the Godwinning is that, according to Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Hitler's own publisher screwed him out of royalties for Mein Kampf - until Hitler was elected chancellor, and then for some reason the publisher thought it expedient to pay up.

Traditional publishing: actually worse than Hitler!

Smart Debut Author said...

Jesus. What a dumbfuck.

It isn't Amazon that is shredding the livelihoods of cretins like Wylie...

It's their own hubris.

But it's kinda fun to watch... :)

Jill James said...

When I saw what Wylie said this morning I knew you would have something to say. Thank you!

Stephen Leather said...

I wish I could write my books as fast as you write your blogs! You are a machine, Joe. A machine!

Nat Russo said...

"Hitler's own publisher screwed him out of royalties for Mein Kampf - until Hitler was elected chancellor, and then for some reason the publisher thought it expedient to pay up.

Traditional publishing: actually worse than Hitler!"

Hillary: Thank you for this! :) Absolutely hilarious!

F.M. Kahren said...

I think it's fabulous that agents and traditional publishers are making public statements about what authors should earn.

Mind you, in practice, their role is to prevent the vast majority of authors from ever reaching an audience.

Amazon made it possible to tell stories to thousands of people around the country and even around the world.

Don't get me wrong, I like money. But, what I really need is to reach people and tell them a story. Without Amazon, that would not have happened.

I could tell you about the time and money I wasted trying to work with agents and publishers only to find out that, when I finally made it happen, it just wasn't worth it.

I admire the success you have had in the traditional publishing arena, but let's face it. You have dedicated a good chunk of your life explaining to the rest of us that it just might not be a good use of our time and talent.

Ryan Haynes said...

All this fighting and debating about things that were over a long time ago.
What matters right now is we can get our message or product around the world in an instant, it's all just an algorithm away, the right keyword or even the slightest hashtag.
Middlemen have been unnecessary for years.
We all just keep fighting over distribution and percentages and who pays more for the rare trees we cut down.
And you talk to any author of ANYTHING, whether it's an article or a book or a tweet or the tiniest text or picture message, no matter what kind of contract they signed with society, no matter what they gave up to get their message out,
The good news is: We can scream and somebody's going to hear it.
Just keep writing whatever you have to write. Scream whatever you have to scream.
Somebody's going to hear you and respond.

John Ellsworth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Walter Knight said...

Agents and the Big Five are pretty much for celebrities only. They don't want new authors. For us, the choice isn't whether to go the agent/Big Five route, but rather, after we self publish, should we go exclusive with Amazon Prime, or all the other venues.

Celebrity authors don't go with Amazon Prime because they don't need the publicity boost to attract casual readers. New authors should go with Amazon Prime because Amazon markets to the most prolific readers.

Anonymous said...

"where this sort of ISIS-like distribution channel, Amazon, "

I stopped reading right there. Shameful to call on a group of vicious, beyond violent murderers who put innocents to death in public, film it, and then gloat like jackals.

Shameful. As military, the thought is, Wylie has no respect, no honor. Amazon is catfood compared to his blatant warp about proportion.

Anonymous said...

Joe, many thanks for that Amazon Royalties Estimator on the right of the page. It's quite an eye opener.


Craig Hansen said...

Appreciate the post, Joe.

Wish I were at a stage in my career where I could launch a book and make $100K.

Right now, it's more like I launch a book and make about $100.

Ahh, well. It's all about building an audience. :) Readers will find me eventually.

Anonymous said...

I spent a lot of time trying to get an agent years ago when I started writing and came real close several times. It was both frustrating (almost...there) and encouraging (I must be doing something right) to get that close.

Eventually I got tired of the query-go-round and dealing with the unprofessionalism of many agents. To share a quick anecdote, one agent was enamored by a book a co-wrote with another author, had shared it with the entire agency, they had all enjoyed it, they were going to discuss it as a group and...we never heard back. We followed up a couple times, but nothing, nada, zilch. Even a form response would have been something, but we were just left holding our d--ks.

I started researching self-pubbing and eventually found this blog. Made the decision to go ahead and do it, or as Liam Neeson said in The Grey, "F--k it, I'll do it myself."

Last month I started self-pubbing the books that New York really liked but didn't want. For a no-name, new author with zero following, sales are good and slowly trending up. The future is bright. I control my own destiny. I can write much faster than NY houses can release books and my books don't carry any bloated costs because I do them myself...which means I can outpace and underprice traditionally published books.

Looking back now, I'm so glad I DIDN'T get a traditional deal that would have locked me into a long-term, heavily one-sided contract. I'm very lucky I didn't get lucky the first time around with these books.

A big thank you to Joe and all the other writers that have shared their stories on this blog. The information here is informative and absolutely VITAL to the writing community. Joe provides a real service to authors, and if you've benefited from any of it you should pay it back by buying his books and pay it forward by passing it along to other authors.

Evan Ronan, author The Unearthed paranormal series

Hannah Steenbock said...

I had an agent for some years. We ended the representation mutually, because he never managed to sell one of my books.

I started self-publishing last year. Not a rock-star yet. :)

Christina Pilz said...

When Wylie says that trad pub "will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” and that ..."writers will begin to make enough money to live" he doesn't understand that many indie authors already make 70% royalties/profits, and already make enough money to live on. (And many more will do the same, in the days to come.)

So his feeble promise is truly feeble, and really, when you do the math (and not WhaleMath), the amount for authors doesn't come out to much more than trad pub is already paying.

For some reason, Wylie and his ilk are very tied to the idea of gatekeepers, and his tone of "of course you can do it your own way" is condescending at best, because even when they say that, there's the echo of "but of course it won't work" ghosting along behind.

w. adam mandelbaum esq. said...

Since agents must sell to a small market of publishers to earn a commission, does anyone think they really are going to aggressively represent the interests of the author? Authors seeking agents are a dime a gross, but there's only a hand full of publishers that pay enough so that the agent can afford the elbow patches in his tweed jacket. Can you say conflict of interest???

Mir said...

I am old enough to remember when standard % for agents was 10. So, how about all those agents and publishers who care so much about authors and their livelihood give up a chunk to authors? Agents go back to 10% or, hey, split the difference: 7.5% And publishers double up on royalties and bulk up those advances.

I mean, if they really care about the well-being of authors, also add them to your group health insurance as long as they have books under contract. And 401K plans.

That would PROVE to me they give a shit about authors.

Anonymous said...

The "fire your agent" theme might be based on Dean Wesley Smith's articles from a few years ago and even comments like Hugh Howey at KBoards (see link below). Probably a misreading, but it seems many newbies have picked up on an "anti-agent" vibe from these leaders and others.

Smart Debut Author said...

Grandpa, what's an agent?

James Thorn said...

Hey Joe. Sorry to leave an off-topic comment here but I have a feeling my emails to you are landing in your spam folder. Can you check it when you get a chance? Thanks. --J. Thorn

Rex Kusler said...

My greatest fear is that I'll eventually end up in a nursing home with a nut like this who won't shut up while I'm trying to concentrate on reruns of The Rifleman. And I won't even be allowed to drink.

Dan said...

I thought this blog was all about disintermediation. Why on Earth would a self-published author need an agent? To set up their account at Amazon?

Why pay a percent of your royalties forever for whatever the agent did to help you "self" publish that one time? Editors, proofreaders, cover artists, et al do a one time job and get paid a one time fee. Why is it not the same for agents?

Agents might have been useful in the old cronyism/gatekeeper era when publishers required that authors pay the agents (publisher cronies) just to get in the door. Now, all self-published authors should most definitely fire their agents (unless they are paying them as charity for whatever reason).

David Gaughran said...

You might find this interesting.

Of the 1,000 names signed up to "Authors United" it appears that over 300 of them are there thanks to Andrew Wylie. He emailed his 1,000-strong client list, and around 30% of them signed up.

More here:

SpringfieldMH said...

Joe, appears Scott has now blocked his site from being backed up to the Wayback Machine via his site's robots.txt file, so guess in the future will have to accomplish this a different way.

Info re robots.txt can be found at the following and elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I could see a future for a new type of agent who could for a small percentage help those writers who are uncomfortable with doing it all by them selves. This type of agent will help find an editor, cover designer and also seek out audio, foreign and film rights. Such an agent could also handle a writing team by being the one who actually signs up at Amazon and other retailers. Also this person can handle the convertion to ebook formats (or hire some one to do it).

While I might not want to use such an agent I know that many writers might want some body like that who can handle the things they rather not and concentrate one writing and perhaps marketing.

These new agents can compete on what services they provide and what percentage they take. They can be the new publishers but should probably not be called publishers. Agent fits since their job would to act in the semi-self published author's behalf.

I think Joe once talk about some thing like this.

Alyx said...

I really don't get agents. They brag about taking only a tiny percentage of those who submit to them, and then act like those of us they rejected should continue trying with them. They should be glad so many of us are quitting traditional publishing-- it will make their job easier.
But what they're scared of is how many of us established writers-- their clients and potential clients-- are deciding to go independent. I guess that's who they're really talking to. But they're being so obnoxious and clueless. "You need us! Really! Because you're stupid and we're smart!?

Jake D. Parent said...

Where do these people get this stuff? That MFer is wrong for so many reasons.

Let the revolution proceed.

Craig Hansen said...


This HAS to be funded by the Big 5:

Anonymous said...

I read a lot of ebook but don't own a Kindle (or iPad). I read in a small Android tablet. As for that article linked above I am aware of the pros and cons of reading on digital devices. My tablet is hard to read in the sun. A book has tiny type that require magnification and the book I want to read are rarely in the heavyer large type format. It's a trade off but I prefer an ebook mostly for my elderly eyes and not having to worry about loosing my bookmarker.

Steven M. Moore said...

There's one thing missing in this discussion maybe: What's a writer to do if he can't find an agent? Before self-pubbing, and not having alternatives, I went the legacy route. After more than 1000 rejections (maybe Scott's was one of them?) and agents sitting on manuscripts for extended lengths of time, not doing anything, I saw POD and went indie. Now I realize I'd probably only have one or two books if I'd found an agent, instead of 17 (I've seen too many writers dropped after their first or second book stumbles).
We might need editors, cover artists, and PR and marketing help, but I really don't see any need for agents. Over the years, I've corresponded with some good ones i.e. nice people (where were they when I was looking?), but I think they'd better adapt to the new realities of the publishing world. Agenting might now be a worse profession than writing as far as economic opportunities.

Steven M. Moore said...

I'm sorry I missed Even Ronan's comment. His history is similar to mine. I also echoed Dan. I apologize. My lurking skills aren't sharp today, I guess.
An additional observation: I meet many writers at book fairs around the tri-state area. I'm surprised at how many who have chosen the legacy paradigm (with one or two books and considered at best "midlist" by the Big Five) don't seem to understand their other options, and want someone to take care of them so they can just write. To echo a recent commercial, "That's not the way it works!" To echo someone else, I just want to tell stories, but I can do more of that as an indie.

Michelle Muto said...

I love having options. Readers decide my worth. Not corporations.

And count me in as one of those authors who is lucky enough to have a great agent. He's behind me 100% — indie or traditional. We've talked about my career and how to move forward.