Agency Lessons: It Ain't about the Money

This past week I read a great article about why agents attend conferences. Lots of great stuff on there about networking, getting fresh ideas from the front line, and of course, discovering new talent. I was feeling the love until I read the comments, almost always a bad idea.

The general theme of most comments: This is all a bunch of bologna. We all know agents only care about the money.


To express my feelings about this, I turn to the Barden Bella's who say it best.

It Ain't about the Money

 If you count up the actual number of hours worked per week, compared the the actual amount of take home pay, it becomes pretty clear that literary agents are not in it for the big bucks.  That's not to say that an agent can't make a nice chunk of change if they happen to find the next best seller, but their odds are just as good as an author's when it comes to that outcome.

But the thing that bothers me most about those comments is the assumption that agents apparently should work for free. I guess the commenters feel that working in the arts means you shouldn't make a decent days wages. Do they think that writers, singers and sculptors should also live in the poor house? What is it about working in an artistic field that makes people think earning money is vulgar?

After all, I doubt that any of the folks who commented on the article willingly head off to the office every morning dreading pay day.

Back when I was a marketer with a day job, I worked my tail off. Partly because I genuinely liked my job (if you don't, you need a new one). But also, because I hoped that hard work would pay off with raises and promotions. Is being an agent or writer any different? No.

We work hard. We love it. And we hope that hard work will pay off with success.There's nothing crass about expecting to be rewarded for a job well done. Never let anyone tell you taking a pay check means you're only in it for the money.