Agents: a brief thought and a recommendation

After I wrote my first book, I started wondering if I needed an agent. You hear a lot about that kinda thing, you know, so I shopped around. I signed up with an agency that was, shall we say, less than desirable. I ended up firing them for reasons that (comparing notes with other authors years later) are reasons other authors have fired them. I then went without an agent for the next 15 books. I learned a lot about negotiating contracts from Richard Curtis’s essential book, “How to Be Your Own Literary Agent.”

But after 17 books over a little more than a decade, I decided that maybe I really did want to get an agent. It was getting to be a lot of work finding books, negotiating the contracts, and managing things. I knew I could do it really well; I was just tired of it. So I started talking to Studio B, an agency specializing in computer books out of Indianapolis. It took me a long time to decide to sign with them, as I’d really felt burned by my previous experience a decade before, but sign I did and I have never been sorry I did. They’re great people and they do an excellent and very personal job of representation. The key question I needed to answer with them was this: “Will you bring in more business than I can do on my own, even when you figure in the agency percentage?” The answer has been an unqualified “Yes!”

I’m really happy having an agency and this agency in particular. Not every agency works for everyone. For example, I’ve heard of people happy with the agency I won’t name and who’ve been there for years and good for them. You don’t need an agency. You may not want an agency. But if you are doing high tech books and you do want an agency, then you could do far worse than checking out Studio B.

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