Monday, September 21, 2009

Literary Agents

Gone are the days when writers could send an unsolicited manuscript directly to a publisher. Small and independent presses still take such submissions (with many exceptions), but to be published by a major house, one needs an agent.

Agents are the people everyone loves to hate. They reject manuscripts, some of which, by their own admission, are quite good. Many take a long time to reply to queries or don’t respond at all. Often, requested manuscripts are not returned, and emails as to their status go unanswered. But that’s only a small part of a much bigger picture.

Literary agents are not the enemy. The literary marketplace will support only so many titles, and choices need to be made. The truth is that a majority of agents would love to have the luxury of taking a chance on the work of promising writers (and many do), but the number of manuscripts in slush piles grows while the number of books published each year shrinks. An A-list agent may receive ten thousand queries a year and yet be able to take on only five new clients from that staggering number of hopefuls. It’s not a job I would want.

In actuality, literary agents deserve our thanks. While representing their clients, attending conferences, and going through the slush, they manage to keep an eye out for the unusual turn of phrase, the irresistible pitch, the short story showing promise in a literary journal. Agents are on the side of the written word and would love to be the catalysts for well written cult fiction. In an age of tweets and text messages, I find that comforting.


About This Website
Index of Articles on This Website
What Is Cult Fiction?
Is Cult Fiction the Same as Underground Fiction?
Cult Fiction and Genre
Cult Fiction and ON THE ROAD
Moby-Dick: The Ultimate Cult Novel
John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe: Cult Fiction in the Making?
The Next Wave of Cult Fiction
List of Cult Fiction Classics
Cult Fiction Websites
Current Trends in Fiction
Literary Fiction
Breakout Fiction
Literary Agents
Self-Published Novels
Understanding the Literary Marketplace
Emerging Writers in the Literary Marketplace
Resources for Writers
About Cat Spaulding