Open Book Toronto has an interesting discussion between two agents, Sam Hiyate and Hilary McMahon, on the nitty-gritty of agenting in tough times.
I’m not tempted to try the editorial side, because I love the diversity of my job. I have incredible freedom, not only on a day-to-day level of when I work and how I organize my time, but more importantly to choose the writers that I represent, and help shape their careers. I enjoy working with an author to develop a proposal, or giving feedback on the first draft of a novel, but I also really relish the business side of things – selling the books and negotiating the deals. When you can call an author and make them weep because you’ve sold their novel to the house they’ve always dreamed of, or have negotiated an advance that buys them significant time to write, or feel like you’re having a hand in the development of a truly worthy project, it’s tremendously rewarding. But when you go through those weeks where you simply can’t sell anything; when books you believe in just can’t find a home, it’s very discouraging. And it’s made worse because of the relationships you’ve established with those authors, when you know all too well how much they’ve invested in their work.