In the pro-retreat, both Dorien Kelley and Courtney Milan, both former lawyers, warn authors to look out for publishers and agents who would happily leading trusting writers into decisions not to their advantage. Some agents even engage in the habit of negging the clients similar to the behavior pick up artists used to get girls in bars. Never understood how it worked on women, but perhaps understand it less on writers. An agent so devalues a client that she’s grateful for whatever sucky contract he manages to wrangle.
At my table for the luncheon, the necessity of agents came up. Some felt agents outlived their usefulness about the time brick and mortar bookstores began closing their doors. This sentiment reappeared at a chapter party I attended later. Have agents lost their appeal? Many self-pub authors are going it on their own. Still, there are other stories about agents getting authors better contracts, international rights and audio deals. A good agent is always much cheaper than a literary lawyer.
The prevailing battle cry that echoed through the halls of the cavernous Marriot Marquis is the writer is in charge of their tale. Critique partners, editors, even agents might ask you to change your story. A few will attempt to rewrite it in their voice. Remember that it is always your story.
In a different workshop, a police veteran explained about working narcotics. One of her statement translated well to wring too. You should never work a deal that might damage you or your family life. We give birth to our stories, which, makes them our children. As good parents, do we send our child with someone we don’t trust?
Of course, not, as writers, we can say no. Writers often fear that their careers end with each rejection. Self-pub makes publishing a more accessible industry. Some of the seven sisters are stumbling in their traces, wondering why those willing authors are no longer knocking at their door. This has conference attendees wondering what should be their ultimate goal. I will have to attend a few more workshops before deciding.