Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Agents, Agents, Agents.

My hubby and I are house shopping. In my adult life, this is my third time buying a home, so I have a couple past experiences by which to compare my current experience.

And who do you look to when buying a house? An agent. Yup. A professional who is well versed in the laws, forms, and ways of purchasing a home.

In the past, I have loved my Realtors. But all good things must come to an end, and my awesome Realtor streak did just that.

Our amazing insurance company picked out an agent for us, like they had the two times prior. Almost immediately we could tell she didn't have time for my hubby and I and our home-buying endvours. When I emailed her questions, I knew I wouldn't receive an answer in a timely manner. And when I finally saw a home online that I wanted to view, she wasn't available to show it to me, so an associate of hers--who didn't know me or my wants/needs in a home--took me to look at the house. She told us that if we wanted to see a house on a Saturday, we'd have to book her at least two weeks in advance. And when we found a home we wanted, and knew it would be one we needed to jump on as quickly as possible, she actually replied in an email that there was no rush. She then sent me the offer papers to fill out  myself and after my repeated attempts at getting her expertise to help me understand the forms, she simply said, "I don't have the forms in front of me". Not, "let me look at them", or "I'll ask someone." And that house that we shouldn't need to rush on? Yeah, it was on the market for a total of seven days. Sold like a stack of warm hotcakes on a cold, rainy day.

Of course we let her go and found an agent who did have the time for us, but this taught me a lesson:

Not only do I need an agent to help me with the professional side of publishing, but I need a good one. I've read stories of authors who have signed with difficult agents and watched their writing careers swirl around the drain.

I have done this home buying thing before, but I still haven't a real clue on the nitty-gritty of it all. And, as everything else in life, the home buying process changes with time. I assume the book selling process does too.

If I truly get to where I want to be in my writing career, I need a literary agent. I need someone to walk with me, explain things to me, look over the many business forms and contracts with MY best interest at heart and not the best interest of the publisher. That would be like me walking up to the selling agent of the home I'd like to purchase and asking her to write up the offer. That offer probably wont benefit me as much as it possibly could.

Now, I've seen my writer friends struggle to find an agent who simply remains illusive (shoot that's what I'm doing now). I've seen my friends sign contracts with smaller publishers and be pleased with the outcome. So I'm not saying an agent is the only way and we writers are like little babies unable to pull up our big girl panties (or boy underroos) and get the job done.

What I am saying is that after experiencing a not-so-great agent with my home-buying process, I am now more than ever desiring a fabulous literary agent who gets my work. Who has the time for me. And who is willing to deal with those nasty forms. :)

How about you? Have you had an experience that has swayed you in a different direction or strengthened the current direction of your publishing path?      


  1. I think you're right on this. I'd really love a literary agent who can help me in this process that is probably extremely confusing for a rookie (you know, assuming I ever get to that point in the process). Sure you can do it without an agent, but that's not the route I'd choose for myself.

    Great post, Rachel :D

    1. I can only imagine how confusing this is going to be! My friend sent me a blog post an author wrote about advances and a bunch of other things that seemed so foreign to me.

  2. ! Sorry for your house troubles.
    I've heard countless writers say they'd rather have no agent than one they don't get along with. Which makes perfect sense. That person is basically your partner.

    1. I've heard the same thing. I understand, it makes so much sense. Exactly, the agent is a partner.

  3. I have yet to find an agent, too. I'm just as drawn to agents who will hold my hand as those who show up once they get a bite when a submission comes through. It's a partnership really. That partnership needs nurturing from both sides.

    I wish you all the best for your house hunting and your literary agent hunting, Rachel! You're going to do just fine! :)

    1. Thanks for the support Jack! There was one day a week or so ago when I found out my bid on a house was rejected, and then I got two form rejection letters in my inbox for Dark Waters. Not a happy day. :)

  4. In theory, I'd love an agent, but I think literary agents, at this moment in time, are overrated. They mostly work as slush readers for the publishers, not as advocates for the writer. They view you as their employee when it should be the other way around. Yes, I'm sure there are exceptions, but when they are putting -you- through the hoops before -they- decide if they want you, you know who the one "in charge" is. That's not the way it's supposed to work, and I won't work with an agent that thinks I work for them.