AHA · Authors Helping Authors · Publishing · quick advice

“Agents Almost Never Come Calling” by Mercy Pilkington

English: A standard long-haired dachshund (&qu...Now, don’t panic. This post isn’t going where you think it is. Here’s where I think you think it’s going. It is not unheard of for agents to receive a submission that they truly love and take it upon themselves to pick up the phone and give you a call. That’s why your phone number should be part of your contact information in your query letter.

However, it’s also not very common for their first contact to be in the form of a phone call, especially when email is such a handy way for them to gauge if you’re going to be easy to work with or not.

But this post has come to me after the second time in one week someone asked me about a strange new phenomenon: agents calling authors who didn’t query them.

According to both of the people who mentioned this, apparently agents have been going through self-published titles on Amazon, reading the sample chapter, and reaching out to the authors. Pardon me while I think of some unbelievably not-safe-for-work, profanity-laced responses to that concept.

Here is what I actually have to say about that: *!$%$*@!

No. No way. Not even remotely possible. There’s no way in the world that an agent worth his percentage is trolling through Amazon, sampling from the hundreds of thousands of titles, and contacting authors. Here’s how I know: first, agents have so much work piled up in their inboxes that many, many agents close to submissions for whole stretches of time, giving themselves a chance to catch up; second, in both instances, the “agent” who reached out to the authors suggested they hire an editor and then submit the manuscript to them.

Chuh-ching! That was the sound of money dropping into someone’s pocket, and it sure wasn’t the author’s.

I am willing to bet one small Dachshund that if those two authors had actually responded to the “agent,” that the “agent” would have conveniently known a good editor that he could recommend. Even better, I’m also willing to throw in the Dachshund’s food bowl if the “agent” didn’t also know a good “publisher” who would “publish” the book for a significant fee.

While this is definitely a time of extreme change and paradigm shift in the publishing industry, some things will never change, namely the fact that agents have far more work than they can handle and far more excellent submissions than there are publishers to publish them all. Qualified agents are also very, very easy to check out online via professional organizations, forums, and from sheer numbers of titles that they have sold to major publishers. Do your legwork, and don’t get suckered by someone who dangles your dream in front of you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Mercy Pilkington is the CEO of Author Options, a full-service solutions provider for authors and publishers. Her sense of humor leans a bit to the sarcastic side, hence her overuse of the word crap. She is looking for romance titles that do not involved chiseled men with giant penises, and no more vampires unless there is something stunningly different about them that doesn’t involve sparkling. www.authoroptions.com


10 thoughts on ““Agents Almost Never Come Calling” by Mercy Pilkington

  1. Thanks. I’m just really, really sad that it had to be said. There are so many scammers out there who will trample someone to make a buck. If it even feels like it might make you cringe, you should probably run away.


    1. No, you don’t understand, I’ve been trying to get rid of this dog since the day we got her from the pound. She’s so dumb, I’m not sure she speaks Dog, let alone understands any human commands. It’s a darn good thing she’s cute. (For the record, she looks like the black one on the couch)


    1. Absolutely, and thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Don’t forget to subscribe so that all future pearls of wisdom and Dachshund offers make their way to your inbox! 🙂


  2. That’s okay. You don’t have to be diplomatic. NO ONE loves Dachshunds like mine. (I kid…she’s a shelter dog who spent two years in her kennel. It’s not her fault that she STILL pees wherever she happens to be standing. I love her in spite of her many, many, MANY, MANY flaws)


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