Agents of change

The conversation at practically every gathering of writers turns at some point to the agent dilemma. Most writers have discovered a) how hard it is to get an editor to read a work that is not represented by an agent and b) how hard it is to find an agent.

Since it seems that both the front and back doors to the publishing castle are blocked, some writers look for creative ways around the problem. Some turn to small independent presses that are willing to read anything that intrigues them or they go the self-publishing route.

Others try sleight of hand.

I was reminded of this by a story I read on the website of Nancy Means Wright, creator of a series I like featuring a woman running a farm in New England. At one point, Wright enlisted the services of her then-husband to pose as her agent.

To read the tale, check out “How I found an agent” at nancymeanwright.com.

She is not the first person to try something like this. I heard the following story years ago from the members of a writing group. They’d been meeting for nearly two years when a couple of the members had manuscripts ready to be submitted for publication. After collecting a number of rejections from agents, they jointly created a faux agent, then designed and printed professional-looking stationery for “her.” I got the impression that they had a good time putting this thing together.

It worked too, after a fashion. One of the members found an editor, and another met and acquired an agent at a writers convention, so the faux agent was allowed to die.

But it should be no surprise that creative writers will use their fertile imaginations to improve their odds.

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