The 2017 release of Penguicon was held from May 4 - May 6 at the
Southfield Westin hotel.
Christian Klaver, Ferret Steinmetz and Merrie Haskell discussed
the business of being a writer in the context of finding an agent.
The takeaways were:
- Use a shotgun approach - it will probably take you the better part
of a year and over 50 query letters before you find an agent willing to
deal with a new writer and not too slimy to be touched.
- A contract with an agent is a lot like a marriage. And like an abusive
marriage, don't feel trapped if you just don't click with the agent.
- Agents have specialities and contacts. If you write a wide variety
of stuff (like, technical books and kid's books), you may need two agents.
- An agent costs money. The standard is 15% of your royalties. The reports
were that the agent got enough of a better deal (20% higher royalty for one) to
be worth the money.
- The agent works for you beyond just submitting your book. Once the book
is accepted, they hound the publisher to get it out on time, onto the shelves, do promotions,
release it overseas, etc.