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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The cost of having an agent

Yesterday on twitter several people, including myself, participated in a lively debate on how a change to how agents earn their money might be necessary. You can check it out at hashtag #agentpay.   It started off with a simple question posed by Uber Agent Colleen Lindsay.  She asked, "How would publishing change if agenting moved from commission-based payment to billable hours?" (Now to give her and the other agents who participated credit, it was a hypothetical question.  Not one of the agents was asking for an immediate change and not many really wanted it--from what I could tell, but it did raise some good points.)

Agents are doing A LOT more than they were 20, 10, even 5 years ago and a lot of people including the authors of these agents feeling agents are getting underpaid for all that they do.  I happen to agree with this.  My agent has gone above and beyond her job duties to not only read my query in the first place, but when she signed me she already had a ton of awesome notes on how to make my story better.  She still continues to help me get my mss into the hands of the perfect publisher.  

No I'm not one of those people who "agent worship," but I do believe that my agent has earned every percent of her commission and really she does deserve more money for doing it.  

Now onto the question of billable hours vs commission.  I'm not a proponent of it.  For various reasons.  At this point, I could go on and on why I'm not, but I'm going to direct you to the awesome blog of Victoria Strauss.  I agree with EVERYTHING she's said here and she's said it better than I ever could.  

After you read it come back and I welcome you to share your opinions here.  But please no agent bashing.  I will delete it.  I will listen to both sides, but I don't want to hear about money grubbing agents, k?  Thanks.