As the publishing industry shifts, roles are rewritten and adjusted, and platforms undoubtedly change. As a result, it's not surprising the the future role of the agent has come into question.
Rachelle Gardner blogged about this Monday in her post titled Change or Die, where she optimistically wrote:
If you want to know the truth, I think it's exciting. The future is wide open for people who are adaptable, creative, and forward-thinking. I can envision many different ways for agents' roles to evolve, and I know most of my agent friends have been thinking about this, too.
But what does everyone else think?
Writer's Digest wrote an article back in September titled The Future Role of Agents, which concluded that the needs of authors will shape the future role of agents. The article addressed three critical issues:
1.KEEPING PACE WITH DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND BUILDING NEW CONTRACTS AND RIGHTS STRUCTURES
2.ESTABLISHING AND GROWING EMPOWERING PARTNERSHIPS AND ONLINE PRESENCES FAR BEYOND BOOK PUBLICATION
3.DEVELOPING NEW BUSINESS MODELS FOR HOW AUTHORS PAY AGENTS FOR THEIR EXPERTISE AND PARTNERSHIP
I'm not going to paraphrase everything here, but I encourage you to check the article out. To me, what this all means is that the industry is shifting, but as authors, we still need someone to navigate it for us, manage our careers and sell our work.
Above all, the one thing that hasn't changed is the fact that you're the one doing the hiring. Sure, it's a partnership, but agents are working for you - they represent you! We get so obsessed in NEEDING an agent that we forget that they need us too. So if you're unagented like moi, keep writing and querying until you find the RIGHT agent, not just an agent. Because regardless of what happens in the publishing world, you're still going to want one - an inside professional on your side.
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