Someone once asked me “Why are you an agent?”
I had to ponder on that question for a few minutes, because my first answer was ” I have no idea.”
Truthfully, I ask this question every time that a publisher doesn’t return a phone call, or they miss a deadline, or there isn’t a cheque in my mailbox, and I find myself working 12-13 hour days 7 days a week.
Self-employment isn’t for everyone, but for some of us it’s the only way to go. I would much rather set my own hours when the weather is gorgeous outside, so that I can play a game of tennis, than be tied to my desk until the clock hits 5:00pm everyday. I love the freedom that self-employment gives you. For the most part the pros outweigh the cons in this business. I get to meet amazing people, icons from my childhood, and authors that could be best-sellers.
Of course I wouldn’t say no if someone offered me a six figure income that had guaranteed payment! Many people seem to think that being an agent instantly means money. Nope. Not at all. I am still waiting to be paid from books I sold over a year ago. An agent generally doesn’t get paid until the author makes back their advance, and then I only receive 15% of that. So if the advance was $2,000 dollars ( for a first time author), and it’s paid out in 3 segments, then the author might receive a cheque for $500.00 and I get 15% of that. Yes I am ROLLING in money.
So before you think about trying your hand at being an agent, think very carefully. Can you afford to make it your full time job?