I’m Not Hunting Wabbits

I’m on the hunt for a new job, though not because I’ve lost the one the I have.  Let’s just say middle management left a bad taste in the mouths of everyone who works in our office.  As a result, four people have quit in the last three weeks.  Not a good sign at all.

But despite the suckiness of the situation, I’ve somehow manage to weave a blog topic out of it.  Here it goes.  🙂

Every now and then, I try to explain to my mother how the publishing thing works.  Trying to tell her how agenting works is no exception.  This time she asked why using an agent isn’t the same as using a head hunter?  After all, both are careers.

I can see where she’s coming from, if you’re into the contractor thing instead of applying directly to the employer.  The way the process works is that you can send your resume to a head hunter (similar to an agent) and they can scout out jobs for you (similar to submitting your work).  If they find something that matches your qualifications (this editor is looking for a story like this), then they set you up with an interview (submit the manuscript).  It’s up to you and your resume at that point to stand on their own merits (does the editor fall in love with it).

My answer to my mom, “If only the writing life was that easy.”  Given the choice, I’d LOVE for agenting to be like the head hunting one.  After all, it’s pretty much the same deal.  They don’t make money until they find their contractor a job.  So, they’re working hard to make that happen.  They’re also willing to take you on with the only requirement being that you have a resume.  I’ve even had head hunters look over my resume and ask me if I knew this type of software or how to write in a certain programming language.  If so, then could I tweak my resume to show that and my experience with it.  Sound familiar?  Think about it.  There wouldn’t be any rejections.  Only submissions to publishers who were looking for your genre.  Sweet world, huh?

I could go on and on about this, but I prefer Dean Wesley Smith‘s take on it.  If you haven’t read his series called Killing the Sacred Cow of Publishing, you should.  It’s very enlightening and empowering for aspiring authors.  My takeaway was this.  There are many ways to get published by NY and not all paths require an agent to make that happen.  It’s up to you to decide how you want to run your business and steer your career.  Sure, an agent makes it easier to land NY, but it’s not impossible to do the same without one.  😉

Your thoughts?  Do you think the contractor model would work for agenting, too?  Why or why not?

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8 thoughts on “I’m Not Hunting Wabbits

  1. I’ve been reading Dean Wesley Smith’s blogs. When I saw the great comments Laura Resnick made on one of his blogs, I emailed her. She’s going to be guest blogging at Magical on March 25th. 🙂

    Even before I read Dean’s blogs, I started sending out some of my mss. directly to editors. I also started entering contests with my WF with editors as the final judge. I’m being proactive.

    Good luck finding your contractor!

    • I saw Laura’s comments, too, and loved them. I’m so glad she’s going to be on MM. Even though I’ve been slacking on my blog haunts, I’ll definitely be there to read hers.

      And like you, I’ve always gone to the source itself by sending out manuscripts to editors. There’s no harm in that, although I’m sure others will say otherwise. Bottom line: to each is own.

      Oh, and I’ved decided to go straight to the source and skip over the contract jobs. There’s more security/benefits, IMHO, that way. 😉

  2. Job environments, they are a changing. Everyone is looking to cut down or back. My job environment has really changed over the last year or so with new management. If nothing else, each new manager tries to make their mark and impress their bosses so the little people (me and fellow co-workers) have to suffer through they’re mark making.

    I’ve watched four of my managers come and go. Right now we’re about one year into a new one. (Sigh)

    Anyway, good luck Marcia with finding a new and better environment:)

    • I can’t begin to tell you what the environment is like where I work. Sadly, our office is the redheaded step-child and middle management has set it up so that our biggest product is offered as a free service. Can you say setting a group up to fail?? If a group doesn’t make money, then they get tossed. That’s the unspoken motto of my 300,000-employeed company. So I’ve come to the conclusion that middle management is smoking crack and the CEO is the one doing the supplying. It’s ridiculous.

      Thanks for the luck, Melissa. I’ll need it with the way the Powers That Be Stupid are blindly running our office.

  3. Love this one! It speaks to those who prefer retaining control over their destiny, as well as remind me of my utter paranoia when it comes to agents. There are so many agents to weed through. If you land one, how do you know how hard they’re pushing your work?

    Why not cut out the middle man? Is there a rule somewhere stating that a writer can’t submit directly to an editor? Prior to the BIG RWA conference, blogs are flush with the proper “etiquette” when in the prescence of editors, as if they’re Jesus Christ. Are they THAT special? Do they have special secret service guys fending off the hungry writers? 🙂

    I believe that if a person has common sense and some business savvy, as well as people skills, then they don’t need the middleman.

    • Kath, I was suprised to learn that some authors didn’t have agents when they sold their first book. In fact, some don’t have agents even after they’ved sold their fifth.

      I don’t mind having an agent to weed through the contract lingo and to perhaps swing me a better deal. They can have at it because I’d prefer using my time to write the next book than to worry about stuff like an Option Clause. But, my world won’t cave if I don’t have one and want to sell the book to an editor myself. I see that being proactive about one’s career and wish others would see it too. Last I heard, that’s not a bad way to be. And with this business being so subjective, what an agent doesn’t like doesn’t mean an editor will be like-minded. There are too many paths to getting published than to think that an agent is the one and only way to get there.

      But that’s just my two and half cents. 😉

  4. I haven’t had a chance to catch up on his blogs yet, but it sounds like something that’s pretty much up my alley. I’m always on the look out for publishers who will accept writers without agents, and there are actually several large ones who will.

    Good luck on your job hunt! Oy vey…

    • there are actually several large ones who will

      Exactly, Kate. I know people say that if you submit to a publisher that you’ve already destroyed your chance with your agent submitting to them. Uh…how does anyone know? Seriously. Agents get rejected just like writers do. So when it comes down to it, it’s all about the writing.

      As Dean Wesley Smith said, and I’m paraphrasing, a publisher would be crazed to turn down a damn good book because it wasn’t submitted via and agent. In fact, I know someone who this has happened to. They were told by the editor that they should secure an agent NOW because it was company policy they couldn’t wheel and deal directly with the writer. She did and now she’s published with Berkely. The moral of this story, she had pretty much sold that book without an agent.

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