When Not to Get an Agent:
When you’re not a proven writer. Generally, pub-
lishers are looking for great ideas, expressed
through great writing, and offered by a person
with a great platform. Sometimes they get all
three, but usually they settle for two of three.
(I’ve taken on some unproven writers because
I liked an idea or the writing, but understand
that I work much harder for an unknown au-
thor, and get less return, than I do for a proven
author … and that’s why agents prefer to work
with proven authors.)
When you don’t have a full manuscript.
When you won’t let others critique your work.
When you’re not ready for rejection. This is a
tough business. Do you have any idea how many
times I hear the word “no” in a week? If you can’t
take “no,” or if you can’t take criticism, or if you
can’t take direction, go back to the dry-cleaning
business. You obviously aren’t tough enough for
the writing biz.
When you feel like you’re “giving away” 15 per-
cent of your income. I don’t think any of the
authors I work with resent my percentage … they
know I help them earn more than they’d get on
Z4273i_184-220.indd 205Z4273i_184-220.indd 205 9/24/09 11:21:32 AM9/24/09 11:21:32 AM