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23.8.11

Opening the Bedroom Door




By A.J. Llewellyn

There is a literary agent who I sometimes wonder about since she is a prolific blogger and has some huge names on her roster. As I tuned into her daily rant this morning, I clicked on the right side of her page for her archives and laughed so hard coffee was coming up through my nose.
A year ago, this beacon of all literary knowledge predicted that erotic romance was on its way out.
Yeah, right. Her blog went on to say that in spite of publishers "opening the bedroom door" on a huge number of previously released books that closed them once the readers got to share in a "kiss and a feel", the trend was cooling.
Well you know what they say about opinions and everyone having them...just like we all have a certain often-functioning part of our anatomy.
What it showed me was a general 'literary snobbiness' about our genre. I experienced this myself from both writers and other industry professionals I know who view what we do as 'porn.'
With more and more hopeful publishers joining the ranks of erotic romance, I think it's safe to say the agent was very wrong. I am asked all the time by both published authors and aspiring ones in the area of erotic romance if they need an agent. My answer is always, NO.
If you are keen on giving up 15% of your income for no apparent reason, go for it. A literary agent won't get you in the door of a Hollywood studio with your erotic romance novel, especially if it's M/M.
They won't even push you toward New York publishing houses even if you sell tons. No...I've seen it too many times with other authors. I also experienced it myself.
Four years ago I was able to disengage from a contract with a literary agent who was never able to do much but set meetings for me with production companies who stole my ideas. When I started writing my books, she pooh-poohed them. After a bad situation where an episode idea I pitched to a TV series was swiped - yet again - I severed my ties with her.
She eventually lost all her clients who experienced the same heartbreak and she recently contacted me saying she is working as a package producer for a big agency. That means she is trying to sell all the components of a movie in one: screenplay, producer (herself), director and stars.
I realized that she is typical of the type of agent who really thinks they are producers and/or publishers. They think they know what sells and I guess since all my ideas were stolen, she was right.
The truth is in spite of all the dire predictions about the publishing industry, there has never been a better time for us authors. We can contact publishers directly and hey, they sometimes even approach us once we've built a track record.
I've also learned through my day job as a screenplay reader that erotic romance authors are generally derided by quality agents. Yes, many companies that used to lock those bedroom doors are looking to open them, but getting agents to take us seriously will still take time.
And that's okay as far as I'm concerned because we'll all still be here, tearing those damned locks off those bedroom doors one at a time.

Aloha oe,

A.J.

6 comments:

DC Juris said...

Back when I was still trying to get published, before I even knew what m/m was, I'd been told I HAD to have an agent. I spent countless hours (and money - postage adds up!) trying to secure an agent. As soon as they saw that my story was a bisexual romance, I got the brush off. When I finally found one, all she did was take my money and send my book to places that would *never* publish it. I ended up riding out my contract and going it on my own - shock of all shocks, I got published. Go figure!

AJ Llewellyn said...

Hi DC,

You and I must have had the same agent!!
It is mind-boggling that this happens to so many authors. That it happened to a talented author like you is just wrong. Congrats on being published - without the agent!

Natasha Blackthorne said...

I am always reading that Historicals are dead too.

AJ Llewellyn said...

That is true, Natasha LOL...

Marie Harte said...

Great post, AJ. Yeah, I've heard that contemporaries are dead, yet they're back and alive again. Erotic romance is dead. Oh, really? Funny how the ebook industry has changed publishing, and in a good way. Those books that were too outside the box for conventional publishers sell like hotcakes via the Internet. And you're right. Sometimes having an agent really doesn't help. I frankly don't see the benefit of having one to publish via ebooks. But that's my opinion... :)

Silver Pixies said...

As always a wonderful post.. The whole agent thing has always had me baffled and confused to the point that i honestly haven't bothered trying to find one.. to me an agent just whore you out to publishers.. I can do that for myself and it doesn't cost me anything lol.. I love reading your blogs. I learn something new all the time about writing that both scares me to death and encourages me to keep plugging away at it. Thanks

silver