The Agent-Writer: A Conflict of Interest? The Dick Cheney of Publishing?

Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney was hired to choose the best vice-presidential candidate to run along side George Bush, and who did he find was the most qualified? Himself! Was anyone really surprised?

When I read recently that an unknown author received a six-figure contract for a YA dystopia series, I was quite excited for the young lady.

“Way to go!” I said to her through the virtual landscape.

Then as I read the article a bit more deeply, I became somewhat concerned and even frowned.

This young lady is not only a YA author, she’s been working as an agent as well.

I’ve noticed in the past couple of years the trendy “Agent-Writer” label being attached to many of the younger agents.

And I have to wonder:

1. Where does the priority of the “Agent-Writer” lie?

2. If the “Agent-Writer” gets wind of a house looking for something in particular, does the “Agent-Writer” immediately think of his/her clients, or does the “Writer” persona kick in, and he/she takes advantage of the inside information for him/herself?

3. How much time does an “Agent-Writer” spend representing his/her clients, and how much time does the “Agent-Writer” spend representing him/herself?

This is a highly competitive business, this writing business, and the last thing I want is an agent who is also a potential competitor.

Agents have an inside track that is not readily available to the writer.

Agents who use their publishing contacts to further their writing careers are like those Wall Street insiders who know about mergers and sell outs and can cash in big time before the regular investor has a clue as to what the heck is going on.

I don’t begrudge anybody using any means to advance his/her career in this business.

I just don’t want him/her to advance him/herself at the expense of my career.

This business is hard enough without now having to worry about just how much time the “Agent-Writer” is putting into my career and how much time into his/her career.

It’s like when the second George Bush hired Dick Cheney to interview and vet several candidates to take the vice-presidential slot on the 2000 Republican ticket.

After several weeks of candidate interviews, who did Dick Cheney find as the most qualified person to run as George Bush’s running mate?

Himself!

I’ve sold 14 novels without an agent, but I’m on the hunt for one now. I’m tired of doing all the heavy lifting by myself and want someone with the expertise and time to help me, to share some of the responsibility.

I don’t need or want a Dick Cheney for my agent.

I want my agent to be an agent who is first concerned about advancing my career.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

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