On the search for a literary agent

Posted on July 5, 2011 (Subscribe to Blog)

A few days ago I was informed by my agent, Whitt Brantley, that he needs to "let me go" for the time being. He represents a lot of projects that he firmly believes have great potential, but right now he needs to focus on those that are actually moving forward and generating income rather than those that might one day find a buyer. It's a case of too many properties and not enough time to devote proper attention to them all. I understand where he's coming from and we're parting on good terms, with the understanding that if he happens across an interested party in the future and my books still happen to be available, then we'll hook up again.

That said, I'm not about to sit around twiddling my thumbs. When I've finished editing Lake of Spirits and published it (probably in August) then I'm going to start looking for another agent. Also, I have another project to edit and fine-tune, namely The Impossible World, and I intend shopping that one around at the same time.

So I expect to be busy from September onwards finding a literary agent... although honestly my focus will likely be on The Impossible World and other projects, because I actually enjoy self-publishing the Island of Fog series. If I happened to find an agent in September, and he said, "Okay, take the Fog books off the market so I can pitch them to publishers," I'd be both excited and sad – especially as Lake of Spirits ends on a bit of a cliffhanger!

Speaking of Lake of Spirits, I'm halfway through a first edit. Later this week I'll be sending it off to proofreaders. I should be about ready to publish it sometime in August.

In other news, I read that J. K. Rowling ditched her agent, Christopher Little, and switched to Neil Blair – who used to work for Christopher Little and recently set up The Blair Partnership. I can imagine that's a bit of a blow for Christopher! Still, reactions like this one on the Express website are plain stupid:

Now she has millions, the man who took her all the way to the top is no longer needed. I have not read any of her books, or seen any of the films. Now I would not even consider reading the books or watching the films. Money has gone to her Head!!!!

Your loss, pal. What, so Rowling's genius at storytelling didn't have anything to do with the success of Harry Potter? It was all down to the agent? Hmm. The agent was smart enough to represent her and find a publisher, but ultimately it was Rowling's writing that earned her millions of fans, not Little's literary representation. And let's face it – Little got rich off this too, at 15% of probably everything Rowling's earned to date. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. But if Little had rejected Rowling's manuscript in those early days, the author simply would have moved on to the next agent. She could have been just as successful without Little's help, but Little couldn't have had the same success without Rowling.

On the other hand, and as my dad suggested: Since Christopher Little now has a vacant spot in his agency, maybe he'd consider my Island of Fog books? Hehe. He can take ME all the way to the top, yes sirree.

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