Friday, 29 August 2008

What Makes A Good Agent?

Thanks to agent Kristin Nelson, over at Pub Rants, I've discovered a wonderful interview with New York agent Molly Friedrich, which you can read here.

Ms Friedrich had years of solid experience of working in publishing before she turned to agenting; she's curious, ambitious and hard-working; and her passion for her work and her writers is clear. She's a fabulous agent, and I'd love to be represented by her.

But here's the thing: she's not alone. I've met many agents over the years and most of them shine with that same passion and commitment. They champion their writer-clients, work tirelessly to find the best possible homes for the books in their care, and are scrupulously honest in their dealings.

If you're wondering just what it is that makes a good agent, or if agents really are worth having, read the interview and then you'll know. And if you're a writer who has always insisted that agents aren't essential, read the interview and then tell me, honestly, how different you think your career would have been if you'd have been represented by someone like Ms Friedrich.


DOT said...

I have read that interview and agree totally that agents are indispensable, despite the fact that I have yet to find one - suppose I must finish the novel first.

However, I am sort of qualified to comment as I have acted, in my former capacity as a copywriter, as an agent of sorts.

On one notable occasion a Marketing Director of an extremely well-known, high street chain, turned down our professional recommendations for something he had cobbled together on his computer.

A year later, the store very nearly went under, not as a direct result of his posters, but because, I feel sure, his arrogance was endemic among other board members.

Nicola Slade said...

To be brutally honest most writers would probably feel that a good agent would be the one who took you on! I've had two agents, both very good but the first never sold anything for me - was that her fault, or mine? The second agent is great - she sold a book for me and now has another to tout around, saving me the grim task!

Sally Zigmond said...

What impresses me about the agent in question is that she knows all aspects of the publishing business inside out.

But, am I alone in thinking she sounds a bit formidable? Then again, I'd be delighted if she ever took me on!

Jane Smith said...

Yes, she is a bit scary. But only because she's so knowledgeable, and so passionate, about what she does. And isn't that what all agents should be like? Far better that than an agent who would be your best friend, but who might not be quite so fired-up about the work.

And Nicola, yes: most new writers will probably snap up the first offer of representation that they get. That doesn't mean that it's the best thing to do, although I can understand why it would happen.

Anonymous said...

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