Where Are All The Authors From?

August 14th, 2006 · 4 Comments
by Booksquare

Apparently, there is a rise in agents charging upfront and reading fees in the United Kingdom. Of course predators exist everywhere — if there is a sucker born every minute, then there is also a huckster born soon after. What perplexes us is the fact that people fall for these tricks over and over.

We were particularly struck by this notion:

One reason for the rise in complaints is that demand for agents vastly outstrips supply. “Too many people want to be published,” [Clare ]Alexander [president of the Association of Authors’ Agents] says.

But why? Are there really so many would-be authors out there? Is there some sort of belief that you can get rich quick from writing? Are so many people convinced they have talent and skill? What inspires people to the point that they will pay absurd fees to complete strangers without considering the big picture?

Doing your homework about the publishing industry is not rocket science. Even if you do not have access to the Internet, there remain libraries filled with books on the subject (okay, no necessarily filled, but there will surely be a couple of helpful books). Many people even come with an on/off switch for their common sense — locating it and leaving it on is one of the smartest things you can do.

We do not have answers to our questions, nor do we understand those who refuse to take off rose-colored glasses (except in those rare instances when they represent a true fashion statement; note our use of the word “rare”). We do have some helpful advice: when you are at a dinner party and the person next to you says “You should put that in a book”, it doesn’t always mean that you should, uh, put that in a book.

[tags]publishing, writing, agents[/tags]

File Under: The Business of Publishing

4 responses so far ↓

  • Lauren Baratz-Logsted // Aug 14, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    You ask, “Are there really so many would-be authors out there?” A NYTimes article last year stated that 81% of Americans polled said they had a book in them. So, yes, Virginia, there really are that many would-be authors out there. :)

  • Lorra Laven // Aug 15, 2006 at 5:09 am

    First, I’m not so sure the number of would-be authors has really increased that much. I believe that agents may be seeing an uptick in queries because of the internet. And then again, maybe not.

    For an interesting way of charging upfront fees, check out this link to a literary agency in London:


  • Hisham Khalifa // Aug 15, 2006 at 8:01 am

    While everyone might have a book in them, not everyone has it in them to write a book. Inspiration aside, perspiration and furstration remain the tule of the day. Those who can bear it will eventually; perhaps, leave the ranks of the wanabees and the dreamers to the ranks of the published. Perhaps.

  • KathyF // Aug 15, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    Yeah, if writers just thought about it…I mean, I wouldn’t read your unpublished manuscript for £350. No amount of money is worth that agony.

    Not unless you were a very good friend. And you brought me cookies. Chocolate chip.