Over on agent Jennifer Laughran's blog, she discussed a tweet she had received decrying the idea that publishing was more about money than art. The Tweeter was hoping this wasn't true, Ms. Laughran said it was, then went on to say why that's the way it should be.
I have to agree with what she said, namely that the arrangement between writer and agent is a business one, and therefore money is part of it. I'd also like to add something to it
I think when people start on the money vs. art debate, it's easy to slip into the same mindset that by virtue of being a business, you must sacrifice, or at least, skimp on artistic nature. It's faulty logic. Just because there's a business component doesn't mean the artistic one has to suffer or diminish. Create your art, and value it for what it is. (Art DOES have value, yes?)
Selling a piece of art occurs independent of the act which created it. It's nothing but a distribution method to make sure others can enjoy said art as they were meant to, and it doesn't cheapen whatever the creator went through to create.
You're under contract and writing to put food on your table, so what? That doesn't mean you can't write with passion or vision. It doesn't mean that you can't pour heart and soul into your next novel.
Art and business aren't matter and anti-matter. They don't cancel each other out, nor do they create an explosion when they meet. They're partners, and by treating them as partners where both halves give everything they have to the betterment of both, then you end up in a place where you're enjoying the art of business while reaping the benefits of the business of art.