Monday, January 3, 2011

Blogging agents

This blog focuses much more on the craft of writing than on the business of publishing, but occasionally I delve into the business side, as I’m going to today. I’m doing so because there’s an issue that’s arisen a few places around the internet, and I’ve decided that rather than keep repeating the same comments wherever it arises, I’ll just address it here.

My former agent has a post today called, "In Defense of Blogging Agents," which discusses the question (that until recently I hadn’t realized was a question) of whether agents should blog or engage in social networking, and whether writers should care whether their agents blog or not.

His particular case needs no defense, in my book. As a former client, I know how hard he worked on my behalf. I saw continual evidence of it, although that evidence wasn’t posted on the internet. Not only did his blogging not interfere with my representation, but I saw some benefits from it: I know there are people who found my blog and/or my book through his blog.

My former agent blogged; my current agent does not. I have friends who’ve had happy agent experiences, and friends who’ve had to part ways with their agents. Overall, my conclusion is that blogging is pretty much beside the point. It has nothing to do with the quality of the agent’s representation or the compatibility between agent and client. What writers generally need is an agent who understands and supports their work; understands contracts and pursues the best terms; knows the marketplace for literary rights and where to pitch them; is honest with their clients and responds quickly to questions.

All people (not just agents) have other claims on their time—families, hobbies, etc. If they want to spend their time blogging, or raising triplets, or breeding show dogs, or just staring out the window, it’s their own business. I would suggest that for a writer to pursue only blogging agents, or only non-blogging agents, leaves out a lot of excellent agents either way. I would suggest that other criteria are far more important—although ultimately these questions are up to the individuals involved, of course. Personally, I’ve had excellent representation from an agent who blogs and from one who doesn’t.

2 comments:

  1. To me, the fact that an agent blogs means that he or she is especially open and accessible. A lot of blogging agents go to great lengths to clear up issues they know confuse writers, and the passion they have for demystifying the publishing process for new writers is so admirable. I would never think badly of an agent who blogs.

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