To Agent or Not?

Terri Reed

Currently working on: Chasing Shadows, a December 2009 release

Mood: Upbeat because I just got the cover for my March Classics release (a two in one volumne of my first two Love Inspired Romances) and there’s a quote from Romantic Times! How cool is that!

When people find out I’m a writer the conversation usually goes something like this:
Person “Really? What do you write?”
Me: “Inspirational Romantic Suspense and Romances.”
Note: I get a few different reactions to this:
A)I didn’t know there was such a thing.
B) Oh.
C) That’s wonderful or something to that effect—Hey, at least they may have heard of the genre.
Person: “Are you published?”
Me: “Yes. My publisher is Steeple Hill which is the Inspirational Fiction line under the Harlequin/Silhouette umbrella.”
Note: I usually give this info because most people have heard of Harlequin. At this point I get a few different reactions:
A) a raised eyebrow or a widening of eyes
B) Oh.
C) How nice or something to that effect
Person: “Where can I find your books?”
Note: Find my books? They’re not hiding under a rock. I keep my snarky comment to myself.
Me: “Borders, Barnes and Noble, WalMart, some grocery stores—Fred Meyer in the Pacific Northwest.”
Person: “I’ve always wanted to write a book. How did you get started? Do you have an agent?”
Note: I usually don’t address that first statement. I mean really, what do you say to that? It’s easy, you should do it? Not. It’s hard, you should do it? Double not.
Does this person really want the rundown of my ten year long and rejection filled, huge learning curve journey to publication? They must not have anywhere they need to be. I usually settle for, “I joined a writers organization called Romance Writers of America and through that learned everything I could.” That seems to satisfy most people.
Do I really want to explain why I have no agent when ‘everyone’ knows you need an agent to be published?
At least that was what I thought until I joined RWA and starting doing some researching. There are a handful of publishers that will work with unagented authors. Some times an author will start submitting to a publishing house sans agent but then go on the agent hunt once the editor makes an offer. I have had several friends do this.
So in answer to the question, do I have an agent—the answer is no. Not at this time.
Hopefully one day I will when I’m ready to try something new. And believe me, I am taking notes all the time on different agents. I’m listening to the industry news, studying client lists, book lists, publisher lists and going to every panel and workshop I can to find out more about as many agents as possible so when the time comes, I’m prepared to embark on the great agent hunt.
But for now I am more than content with my business relationship with Steeple Hill. The company has treated me well. I’ve enjoyed working with the editorial staff. I love writing my books. And I get to do it from home while the kids are at school and then I get to be with them at the end of the day. I consider myself a stay-a- home-mom who is also an author.
What more could a girl ask for?


To Agent or Not? — 5 Comments

  1. LOL at the “conversation,” Terri!

    And I really like the cover for your March Classics release. Didn’t need the RT quote for me–I was hooked when I saw the puppy! 🙂

    Nice to hear you can still work quite well with Harlequin/Silhouette without an agent.

  2. Thanks Genene. I really liked the puppy too.
    Heather, you’re right the cover is lovely and relaxing. Good adjectives.
    Su, yes, busy me. I have a book due March 15th so I’ve had my head down and my fingers flying. I’m almost done and will have a few weeks to polish/layer before turning this baby in. Yea!

  3. Terri, I think you are the exemplar for professional. You work hard, turn in a good product, treat your writing like a business and negotiate for what you need. Best of all you keep growing and learning, and I’ll bet that when you decide you need an agent they will be knocking on your door. Great Post!

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