My fellow writers and I have noticed a trend. It takes longer and longer for agents to get back to people. These days, agents routinely take six months to get through the process of reading partials and fulls before offering a contract.
But when I thought about the fact that advances are down, it made sense. Authors used to be like silvery fish, now we're krill. Agents must suck in vast amounts of us to make the most modest salary. To make things worse, publishing money seems to be moving toward non-fiction, big-book authors with clear platforms -- people who don't need agents.
Because of the increasing delays in dealing with agents, many of my friends have stopped submitting to them and are submitting to the few editors who allow it. More than half of my recently pubbed friends sold by going straight to an editor.
So here's my question: If the math demands a 70-client list, but an agent can't effectively deal with 70 clients, will agents become a thing of the past?
You've made some very interesting assumptions.
1. Advances are the sum total of an author's income
2. Agent's "routinely" take six months to read something
3. "Big authors" with "big platforms" don't need agents
When your thesis is based on three false assumptions, it's really hard to engage in dialogue. I guess I'll go count my meager earnings and avoid reading partials.