Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tis The Season Take Two

STATUS: I love working late! And if you believe that….

What’s playing on the iPod right now? HOW FAR IS HEAVEN by Los Lonely Boys

I have to say that I really debated about whether to actually post yesterday’s entry. Blogs can be like email—easily read in two different ways depending on the reader’s perspective.

I was actually only trying to do two things with that entry.

1. Make an observation that for whatever reason, late fall is when we, as an agency, receive the most email queries from authors looking to make a change. It’s pretty much happened every year around this time for the last 5 years.

2. That a lot of these queries are coming from midlist authors, not coincidentally, at a time when midlist authors are getting hit harder now than they ever had in the last decade (by publishers not renewing options or by lowering advances offered or dropping a midlist author altogether etc.)

The only thing I wanted to point out (rather ineptly) is that changing agents isn’t always the answer to solve the issue of an author being hurt by current publishing economic decisions because of being midlist.

I’m certainly not passing any judgment on authors who have chosen to change representation. There are so many particulars that go into that decision and you don’t want your partnership with an agent to be like owning a bad stock--riding that loser all the way down to a zero value. Sometimes changing the agent is the only answer (as you need that new agent’s vision and enthusiasm to go to the next stage in your career).

But I do worry that authors are sometimes too quick to make the change—mainly because of how many queries we’ve received as of late. It’s a stunning amount.

Maybe I’m worried for nothing and all the queries we’ve received are from folks who’ve contemplated it for a long time and are just now making the change so as to start fresh for the new year. Statistically speaking though and given the current publishing climate, I’m not 100% convinced.

Another interesting thought I want to throw out there is this. I’ve heard lots of stories, certainly, of authors who have made a change and it was for the betterment of their career.

But less heard are the stories where an author has made the change and then regretted it. Maybe that just doesn’t happen all that often. Or maybe we don’t hear those stories because realizing that isn’t something that’s easy to share.