Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christine Fonseca's Thankful Tuesdays #2

Christine Fonseca had the brilliant idea of dedicating each Tuesday in November to writerly things we are thankful for. She invites anyone to play along, and she even set up a schedule for us. Here is the remaining schedule:

11/9 – Giving Thanks to Agents

16 – Giving Thanks to Editors
11/23 – Giving Thanks to Writing (in general)

Today's focus is on Agents

Sadly, I do not have an agent. I'd like to have an agent. So, ya know, if you happen to be one, feel free to call me anytime. K? Thanks! Seriously, though, agents are a treasure beyond measure.

Jody Hedlund did a post,
"What Do Agents REALLY Offer Writers?" about a year ago (11/23/09) in which she listed some of the reasons agents are valuable. With her permission, I have re-printed a portion of her post.

1. Agents Are Gatekeepers. There are a lot of people writing these days. Okay, that's an understatement. There are a zillion people writing. One only has to look at the follower gadgets on agent blogs to see a fraction of those serious about publication. The competition is very high.

Agents have the tough job of sifting through numerous manuscripts and finding books that are ready for publication. As gatekeepers, they help offer an industry standard. And lest writers think the standard is too high, I believe if a story and craft are good enough, an agent will see that at some point. I have several writing friends who've recently landed agents. Don't lose hope.

2. Agents Are Teachers. Indirectly (via blogs and the querying process), agents push all writers to be better students of the writing craft. Those serious about a writing career work harder and study the craft and industry even more. And perhaps the faint-of-heart learn they need to pursue writing as a hobby and nothing more.

More directly, agents teach their clients many, many things. They help us improve our books, titles, proposals, and skills. They educate us on the realities of the publishing process, direct us how to market, and challenge us to grow. Agents have an invested interest in our writing careers and therefore want to teach us how to succeed.

3. Agents Are Matchmakers. This is perhaps the biggest advantage to having an agent. In the enormous, complicated publishing industry, writers need experts who know editors, who are familiar with all of the publishing houses, and who interact with them on a daily basis. Agents have their fingers on the pulse of the publishing industry in a way that the average writer could never hope to achieve.

My agent laid out a plan of action for my books almost immediately. She picked a publisher she thought was perfect for my books, made initial connections, and then proceeded to strategically negotiate until the deal was done.

To read ALL of Jody's post (and follow her amazing blog) go here.

Thank you,
to all the agents out there,
for all you do to help writers like me.



Amen to that.


Christine Fonseca said...

yes, yes, and YES!!!

Kelly Breakey said...

I don't have an agent either, but then I have not started looking for one. Today I am thankful for my writing buds. The ones help you bounce back and offer support and encouragement when the words just will not come. They rock!

Jenny Krueger said...

I love the whole idea of the "Thankful Tuesdays" post. It'll be hard for me to participate in this since I'm only in the middle of writing my book and I haven't had any book published. Great post.

Robyn Campbell said...


Mary Aalgaard said...

Great post. We tend to get all whiney that no one is out there to help us and that we have to be perfect to get published. Setting a high standard gets us to work harder and seek those who will help us. Thanks for the help, Shannon!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

I think the one that stands out for me is that agents are matchmakers. Seems so true.

Good luck in your agent search, my dear. It'll happen for you! Off to go read the rest of Jody's post. Thanks for posting this bit!

Carolyn V. said...

Love this post! I'm thankful for agents too, even though I'm in the same boat as you and still need one. =)

Susan R. Mills said...

Yes, so thankful for the agents. I'll be really thankful when I actually have one. :)

Karen Lange said...

This is such a great idea! Thanks also for sharing Jody's post.
Happy Tuesday,

Hermana Maw said...

Thanks for sharing the post! If you get any agents calling, share the love and send them my way. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Love point 3. So true. Great post!

Shannon Messenger said...

Yes to all of the above! Great post #2!

Melissa said...

AWESOME! Great post you really nailed why we should be thankful.

Old Kitty said...

Thank you all you wonderful agents!! They are indeed Gatekeepers and definitely matchmakers and they know their stuff so I can see the teacher side of it too!!

Have a great thankful Tuesday! Take care

Elana Johnson said...

Great stuff from Jody, as usual. And Shannon, it's only a matter of time for you!

http://www.samposey.com/ said...

I don't have an agent, but if I ever get one, I plan to be graceful for their partnership in my writing.

Jennie Englund said...

I wish for an agent for you every day, Shannon!

And with big gratitude like yours, it's bound to come any second!

MTeacress said...

I'll second your notion: Jody Hedlund's blog is a great resource for writer's, and thank heaven for agents. (I don't have one yet, either - but some day). Have a great week!

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

Unfortunately I am not an Agent, However if it makes you feel better you can call me your agent :)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Gatekeeper? So true!

Patti Lacy said...

LOVE the Thankful Tuesday idea. Every morning I journal my blessings, just to keep things straight.

Natasha TOTALLY is my gatekeeper. That's a great description. BUT...she also pushes me to the brink!
Missing you!

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Shannon!

Thank you for the shout out about my blog! You're a dear! And I'm so glad that my points about agents fit in with the thankful theme!

Have a wonderful day!



Julie Hedlund said...

I agree! I somehow flaked and forgot to write my post on Tuesday, but I am continually amazed by how much agents do to teach and nurture writers. Especially given how busy and overwhelmed most of them are.

I am also in the camp of the unagented, so after all the agents are finished calling you, send them my way okay? :-)

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