Manuscript Evaluation has been the bedrock of my company, and I really like working directly with authors. Lately, one of my customers sent me an email. He’s finished his revisions and is about to begin sending out inquiries to brokers and I think he has a terrific shot it is really phenomenal book. He desired me to send a few recommendations, but he also, in so many words, asked if I would ever thought about getting into the agenting match, because he would really like for me to be his representative also. There are a couple of reasons why I do not think about becoming a broker at this stage in my career. I have worked at agencies before, and still have some connections, but I have been out of the NYC scene long enough that I would have to combine a large company, at least initially, to get back into that game. I enjoy working for myself and building my own company and I don’t have any desire to return to NY.
And then there is the ethical noon. I charge my customers for my editing solutions, of course. When I became an agent, I would need to close shop on the editing company ethically, you just cannot run both. You cannot charge the customer on one end, become their agent, and charge them a percentage also. Yes, there are brokers who do so, but they are not the type of agents you want to work with. Finally, I don’t need to become an agent at this stage in my career for one VERY important reason. I like my authors. I enjoy working together to shape their stories and characters. I enjoy being able to bring a manuscript that would definitely not make it out of the slush pile at a major agency, and assist the writer turn it into something which gets some attention. You cannot always do this as an agent. Agents earn money on commission, so if the book does not sell, they do not get paid. And in the publishing world today, so they could only really afford to take on how to copyedited my book which are at least 80% all set.
Once upon a time I worked as a literary agent’s assistant. My job was to sort through all the queries, picking out only the finest and most likely to be exactly what my broker was searching for. I asked those few partials, and then needed to send rejection letters to the remainder. It seems cruel, but that is all we can do every day another batch of 50100 inquiries came in the mail. Of the partials, I was told to read the first ten to twenty pages. If the manuscript did not grab me right from the beginning, another rejection letter went out.