11.21.2005

Agent Web Pages

Shouldn't an agent have a web page? It is very frustrating to research agents only to find tidbits of information on search engines or in the front of books (dedications) or in outdated at publication, writing books (LMP, Writers Digest Books) It is so much easier if they'd share via web. After all it is (almost) 2006. Perhaps what I should be asking is why is it so darn difficult to find information about an agent, besides the basics (name, address, serial number and AAR membership)?

They don't want to hear from you. You're surprised? You haven't been paying attention.

Some agents have full client lists. They might take on one or two new clients a YEAR, if that. They get those clients by referral: from editors, other agents, their authors or other seriously connected to the lit world folks. Those agents don't want a slush pile. They are also the ones most likely to get slush cause they're successful.

A web page is an advertising tool. It's like a listing in the yellow pages. If you don't want customers you don't list in the Yellow Pages.

I'm absolutely unconvinced that a web presence increases the quality of the submissions I get. Therefore, from my perspective, I'm paying out good money to create work for myself that won't be financially rewarding. This is the very definition of stupid. Miss Snark is a lot of things at 8:36 am but stupid isn't one of them.

4 comments:

Dave Kuzminski said...

Unless one uses the web page to reduce the amount of subs that are already received in an agent's slush pile by stipulating a very narrow range of what is preferred. In other words, an agent who handles science fiction could state that she is looking only for socio-military based science fiction and will not accept anything else. Would that agent actually mean that? No, since we know agents can be won over by something outstanding even if it's something well outside their normal reading. Still, if placed beside a mailing address in bold print, it could conceivably reduce the amount of slush since we all know that those addresses are going to be revealed sooner or later by one of the many sources that writers turn to for such information.

Dave Kuzminski said...

I should have also stated that it wouldn't hurt to state in equally bold print that subs outside the guidelines would be tossed without response.

What if you're looking to replace some lost authors who have retired, changed agents, or died? Have a brief open submission period. If you have a web page, you can announce it right there and control when you want it to end. Then resume tossing out subs outside of what you want.

the chocolatier said...

I think the most effective way for agency websites to limit submissions is to make a e-query submission form - with questions that are so ambiguous the writer hasn't a clue what's being asked or so personal they cause offence.

Two examples spring immediately to mind.

#1 - Provide your history, including relevant dates.
Me: Wtf? My writing history? My life history? April 28th 1989 - I am born?

#2 - What is your annual income?
Me: 0_0 -chokes-
Maybe it's socially acceptable to ask that in the US, I don't know, but in Britain, unless you are close relative you do not ask the income question

I haven't started sending out any letters, but I definitly will not be filling out these forms. I've asked my writing group - they're uncomfortable with them too. So, if you want to kill your slush pile, make a submission form.

THRILL said...

This topic reminds me of The Velveteen Snark post. Snarrrrl.

Thank God Miss Snark would rather use her time to blog than maintain a website. I'm selfish - I'm learning and laughing out loud at the same time! (Will need a new keyboard soon given the amount of sticky spilled coffee--or perhaps I'll give up 2 tspns of sugar).

It suprises me that people wonder how Miss Snark can find time to blog when she should be representing her clients.

Strange, I haven't seen any posts about agents who write books--not one complaint about how they waste their client's time by writing. (Or is the thought that books appear out of fresh air, no time, no effort? Or perhaps earning royalties makes the difference?)

I regularly fork out hard-earned after-tax dollars for those books. I'm grateful that a few agents take time to write books.

Yet Miss Snark blogs for free. Honestly, I don't understand the complaints!

THRILL - feeling a little...heated.