Monday, December 5, 2011

Dean Wesley Smith on The New World of Publishing - Agents?

Why Bad Agent Information Gets Taught

For decades, the business of publishing fiction didn’t seem to change much. In fact, for a major industry, it stayed stuck solidly in practices decade after decade, with only slow and often minor-seeming shifts. But now something changes daily in this business.
The point of this blog is to try to explain why some myths exist and why some bad information gets taught still by very smart people. And I hope the best way to show this is to just show the changes in agents over the years.
So let me take on once again the biggest and most powerful myth of all: Agents. And how we writers got into this mess.
Follow along with the changes in writers and agents from 1940 until today.


In the era around 1940, literary fiction agents existed, but only in a minor way. Fiction writers still dealt directly with editors, often going to their offices. Some agents worked with writers for Hollywood and some agents worked with a few writers to deliver manuscripts to New York editors for writers who lived outside of New York. But agents did very little else. And they took 10% when they did manage to place a story for a writer.
95% or more of all writers sold their own manuscripts directly to editors.
Read the rest of the story.
Every aspiring writer needs to read this ... and some experienced writers as well!

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