After attending a three-day writing conference with the Oklahoma Writer's Federation, I reflected on the days' sessions. It seemed to me that the common theme in most of the workshops dealt with how fast the publishing world has and still is changing.
With the onset of people seeking to self-publish and flocking to the Internet, publishers, agents, editors, cover artists seem to be facing budget crunches and job layoffs. The days of finding a virtual unknown, solely on the basis of extraordinary writing are long gone. Today's agent is combing for not only writers with skill, but also writers as business partners who have a solid understanding of the craft of writing and promotional marketing skills. Such a writer has done his/her homework and put in the legwork at attaining his/her platform through the use of social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and blogging. One agent in particular, suggested that he preferred a writer with at least 60,000 followers. They want to know that you have a large audience that will buy your book. This guarantees them that you will bring them the revenue they need to make some money. In a nutshell, they want writers that require little to no handholding.
Having said that...or in this case...written that... with agents wanting to do little to no grooming, I tend to wonder if having an agent is something that I should continue to pursue? I've done all the legwork learning and working towards growing my business; I promote my own books, sell my own articles, and make most of the profits. I have the freedom of setting and meeting my own deadlines, schedule my own book tours, and I am not pigeonheld to a particular genre or way of doing things. The Internet has given me a gateway to develop a readership and build a fan base at my pace. Perhaps you have some thoughts or experience regarding this, so I would love to hear from you.