It is a truth universally acknowledged that an unpublished writer in possession of a manuscript must be in want of an agent. In desperate want, in most cases. And that want is made all the more desperate when we unpublished writers read countless blog posts that rupture our already thin skin and rub salt in the resulting wounds with this simple, endlessly repeated message:

It’s very hard to get signed with an agent…
and it’s impossible to get published without one.

Our fates are, quite simply, in the hands of literary agents. If we want to be published, and we do, we need to be represented by an agent. Agents are our go-betweens, our priests taking our confessions (i.e., manuscripts) and prescribing acts of penance (i.e., edits) that will get us closer to the very thing they are created to separate us from. The literary agent – whether good or bad, proven or not – is shrouded, cloaked, steeped in this sacred power that makes the unpublished writer wilt and quiver at the very notion of approaching an agent with a query letter. (See the comment from Jamie on this post) Read the rest of this entry »