Almost every author I know is in some sort of relationship with an agent. They either have one, want one, or are looking to change in the old for the new.
True story. Think back to the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. Not hard to picture the cast having agents. Well, guess what. Even the dog had an agent. Toto earned $125.00 per week. The Munchkins, on the other hand, earned $50.00 a week.
The difference: Toto had a better agent.
So, back to my original question. Which comes first? The sale or the agent?
I think at one time, maybe a decade ago, when I was new to the fiction writing trade, you'd get a 50/50 response. I don't think that's true anymore. I think, now, with traditional press, it's more 90/10. I can only think of one prepublished author I know who's still sending faithfully without thinking agent. Everyone else I know wants an agent.
Last month, at my RWA meeting, an agent came to speak. We had a full meeting and the whole atmosphere was very "When E.F. Hutton speaks, everybody listens," only, of course, we had the agent. (Side note, in real life E.F. should have been listening to himself because talk about a collapse of a brokerage firm). I have an agent and I was hanging on to her words. I wanted to know what was hot, what was not, how many queries, the process, what works, what doesn't. And, of course, the topic no one is really willing to talk about: money.
I was going to list my three top reasons for having an agent, but the Toto and Munchkin story says it all.Here's a picture of me and my agent Steve Laube just a few minutes after he won Agent of the Year at the American Christian Fiction Writers' conference.