This has been officially designated a net-wide Agent Appreciation Day. So if you have an agent, literary or theatrical (or otherwise–perhaps a real estate agent should qualify, considering the amount of work they do for the seller and often also for the buyer), appreciate him or her today!
If I had any of the above, I’d do some appreciating. I’ve had an agent in the past (Janie Kramer, former neighbor and our former real estate agent), and she was really good. We did have to take $10K less than our asking price, but that was reasonable. She had a backup offer ready when our first offer got crazy (the buyer had two inspections done and then was in the middle of doing a SOIL QUALITY inspection and some other bizarre things before committing to a final offer when Janie told them we’d have to finalize and set a closing date, so when they balked, she said, “We’re sorry, but we’re going to have to go with our second offer.” Their jaws fell open, as they thought we were stuck with whatever they wanted to do.) She moved away a couple of years ago, and I hope she’s doing well in Frisco.
Um . . . it’s not for real estate agents, too? Well, it should be. They work hard.
Anyway. Go appreciate your agent(s).
On a side note: I just read, on a blog, that one of the reasons that writer appreciates the beloved agent is that “I don’t waste time writing books she can’t sell.” Well . . . is it really a waste of time writing a book of your heart that has merit? Who is to say what has merit? Perhaps we can predict with some accuracy what the market will currently bear, and what it is likely to want next year, but we can’t really KNOW what’s going to happen. Who’d have expected the huge success of the Twilight franchise, from an unknown out of slush (as I understand it)? Or the success of the Harry Potter franchise? (I had been told previously over and over that YA was a minor market, that no YA novel could be more than 60-75K, and that young people would not read books with big words in them. No one really respected YA, let alone expected the boom we now have across the board in YA non-fantasy.)
I am one of those people who can write just about anything (as far as genre, dark/funny, that sort of stuff), so I believe I could write what the agent told me she could sell. That’s why I believe the blogger could do that, too. The age-old question arises, “But is it art?” I suppose it doesn’t need to be, as long as it’s entertaining. And often entertainments become art as you’re working on them, without your conscious participation. So, sure, this is a great business outlook.
I think it’s nice that an agent might tell you what she expects she can sell. But I wouldn’t stop working on a book I felt was a gem just because he/she didn’t want it. I would work on whatever she/he wanted at the same time, mind; I can do that. But I wouldn’t dump something I felt was a breakthrough, or that helped me grow as an artist, or that could be an entirely new “thing,” or that might last the ages (ha). I trust my own judgment somewhat in such things.
Perhaps that’s what the writer meant, as well.
Still . . . I would caution you all not to take any one person’s (or any three people’s) predictions and advice as gospel, especially if it goes against your instincts. There is value in things that the market doesn’t want (or at least doesn’t want right now.) And people do occasionally need to change agents (because agents retire and agencies close; Jenny Rappaport just closed her agency, and there were two other powerhouses closing recently.) What will the next agent like and prefer to handle? You never know. “Tomorrow never knows,” as Ringo said.
“A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.”–Henry Ward Beecher