Friday, October 5, 2007

More on Finding An Agent - The Resnick/Malzberg Dialogues

As promised, I'm putting up a reprint of an older article, written by Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg, on finding an agent. The article originally appeared nine years ago in the SWFA Bulletin and talks at great length about the process of finding a literary agent, on what questions to ask, Hollywood and it's perils (and pay-offs) and many other things of interest to a writer in search of representation.

Thank you very much, Mike, for giving me permission to re-print the article - I hope that it proves useful to all the writers out there that read this blog (all five of them). :)


The Resnick/Malzberg Dialogues

IV: Agents

Mike: There are a lot of misconceptions about agents.

One is that you can't sell without one. This is demonstrably

false; I think most of us sold our first novels without an agent.

Another is that an agent can sell an inferior book. Also

false. An agent can get your manuscript read faster, and can

probably negotiate a better advance (though you should remember

that if it's only 10% or 15% better, it's going right into the

agent's pocket), but no agent can make an editor buy an inferior


(Well, yes, they can -- but only if it's "You buy Joe

Phan's first novel or you don't get the new Stephen King/Tom

Clancy/Danielle Steele book." But while it's theoretically

possible, consider the reaction of King/Clancy/Steele when this

gets out -- and it always gets out -- and ask yourself just how

long Mr. or Mrs. Eight-Figure Advance would stay with such an

agent.) ...


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