Sometimes you gotta say no–and sometimes that’s where an agent comes in…

Wow! I LOVE having an agent. I spent a lot of years wondering, do I really need an agent? Kind of along the same lines of, do I really need that piece of chocolate? Probably not, but it sure would be nice…

Whether I truly NEED her or not, I sure like her! One of the main reasons I wanted an agent was to help me with career advice/direction. I’m very lucky in that I’m able to find quite a bit of freelance work…but that’s kind of my downfall, too, because I tend to actually GET a lot of the work I apply for. And some of this stuff really isn’t worth doing; it isn’t worth taking time away from my “real” writing. But sometimes it’s hard for me to tell whether something’s worth doing or not. (Or maybe it’s all an ego thing…it’s nice to be wanted…?)

I had a contract pending with a packager. It was a project I really wanted to do. But the terms…were not very good. I had a feeling they weren’t going to be very good, so I got my agent involved before the contract actually came. First of all, she never told me, “don’t do this.” Which I really appreciated…another agent probably would’ve been exactly that blunt. But we talked about it. The pay was lousy…which I could’ve lived with if there’d been a royalty. But there wasn’t. And this is a company that, according to Publisher’s Weekly, has a couple of projects that have sold 500,000 copies and 800,000…so why can’t they pay a royalty??? (I know how I’d feel a few years from now if this book I’d written had sold 500,000 copies and all I’d gotten out of the deal was a lousy $1000! FWIW, I usually do better than that with other work-for-hire jobs.)

I really wanted to do this particular project (it looked FUN!)…but I wanted the terms to be FAIR, too! And they weren’t fair. So what to do? I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without my agent’s input. She told me it would’ve been fine to take the job if I needed the money (though there were other clauses in the contract that concerned her, too), but really, it’s a step back for my career. How wonderful to have someone to tell me that!

So I told her I didn’t want to do it (I have several other things on my plate right now anyway), and she said she was glad I said that. Which was EXACTLY what I needed to hear at that moment. I’m very fortunate in that I’m not in a position where I need the money (at least not right now), but when I said, “I don’t think I want to do it,” there was this voice inside my head that said, “What? Are you crazy turning down $1000? You already did the outline – it wouldn’t take you very long to do the book…” So it was really nice to have someone tell me I’m doing the right thing.

Yes, I definitely like this agent…

17 thoughts on “Sometimes you gotta say no–and sometimes that’s where an agent comes in…

  1. I’m so happy for you, Dori. It sounds like you found the perfect agent for you.

    Just think about all the writing you can do with the time you would have spent on the work for hire project – I’m sure it will turn into way more than the $1000 when you’re finished with whatever project you’re working on, and have your agent send it out.

  2. Dori that’s so great you have an agent again. I sure loved the comfort of having an agent when we shared one. I’m still trying to get one, and a bit tired of waiting on one that seemed very hopeful. Maybe time to try others.

    I so understand about wanting a fair contract. That seems so simple and yet is a challenge. I thought my recent contracts were fair until I discovered joint accounting hidden in the language, which means it’ll be years before I see royalties. Back to submitting and seeking a new publisher.

    Good luck on your projects!! I’m happy things are improving for you! LJS

  3. This IS a happy post. It’s so hard to make decisions like that, and when you do it is THE BEST to have a cool agent tell you, “Yay.”
    I’m so glad you have someone working with and for you. You deserve it.

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