Are you a member of AAR?
No, I am not. As a new agent, I am not eligible yet, although I do adhere to their guidelines. AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives) is a professional organization that monitors the ethics of the agenting profession. Sort of like our Better Business Bureau, if that makes any sense.
Are all agents who do not belong to AAR bad agents?
No, not at all. Some may be - like me - new agents. Some may just be part-time agents. That doesn't mean they don't take it seriously. It just may mean they have decided to have a small and focused list of clients. Some may just not like the politics of a professional trade organization, in the same way that some skiffy writers don't join SFWA.
The things that you do want to wary of are agents who charge fees for reading, editing and other services that should be part and parcel of the standard services offered by the agency under their author-agency agreement. There a few great places online to check out the reputation of agents and to learn about the shady ones: Preditors & Editors, Absolute Write, SFWA's Writer Beware! and the Writer Beware! blog.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Just some quick things to address from questions I've been receiving: