Are Literary Agents Anti-Writers?

A good likeness of Murgalump Kneffle

Are Literary Agents Anti-Writers and Pro-Publishers?

I wanted to speak with my agent, Murgalump Kneffle, but as usual, she avoided me. I decided to appeal to her on her level. All I needed to do was figure out what is an agent’s passion – what drives them?

Money. Aha!

I withheld her monthly check and told her that she had to come pick it up. She did but charged me $30 for the pickup fee.

I had a nice lunch prepared, I knew she wouldn’t pass up a free meal and would stay as long as the food lasted and until she got her check. I hauled out my question list.

“Agents aren’t supposed to get paid until the writer does

so why do I have to pay you a monthly retainer?”

Murgalump talked around a wad of food in her mouth. “It’s the only way you’ll get an agent.”

“Are you working to sell my book?”

“Ha!” She spit out half of the gob, caught it in her napkin and transferred it back in with the rest. “Let’s say I’m saving you from … well, embarrassment in the least. Most likely ostracism and having to register as an offender of the printed word.

“Do you treat your other clients this mean?”

“Don’t have other clients.”

“What? Nobody else wants you?” I was getting a sinking feeling that I’d been had.

“Plenty of people want me. What do you think I do all day? It’s turning down writers – crushing their dreams.” She smiled and looked heavenward as if giving thanks. “I love my job.”

“So agents are like bounty hunters?”

Murgalump squinted her eyes at me. “What do you mean?”

“Well, the hunted don’t pay the bounty hunter, but someone does or they wouldn’t do it. Also, bounty hunters keep their prey from succeeding. It sounds to me like your niche.”

“Hmm.” She nodded and sent me a sideways glance. “That’s above your usual comprehension level. Given time, there may be hope for you.”

That’s the best encouragement I’d ever heard from her. “Really? How much time do you think I’ll need?”

“As long as it takes you to learn to use a comma correctly.”

“Oh, well then, about six or seven hundred years.”

What’s your experience with an agent? Leave a comment.

Writing Fiction is published on Wednesday’s.

Thank a veteran

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