Do I really need an agent?
I have wondered for some time on whether or not I needed an agent. Unfortunately, those who insist you need an agent are agents selling you agents. That conflict of interest left me wary for some time. I am not an agent and can honestly say…
Yes, in some cases, an agent can help. If you are shooting for the Big 5, absolutely, yes…get an agent. If you struggle with business sense, brush up, do your best to learn as much as you can and yes, get an agent.
An agent may be able to get you a better deal. Some publishers may lowball you and offer you a lower percentage than your book is worth. An agent can pitch your books to a publisher that only accepts submissions from agents, which opens up your options.
An agent can hardball an editor on contracts and be the “bad guy” you may need at times. This is a business first and foremost. You do not want to bruise that tender relationship between editor and writer. For that, you’re going to need an agent.
In every instance I have heard of, where a writer published without an agent, an editor, colleague, someone ended up putting them in touch with an agent. I’m sure there are exceptions (there always are), I just haven’t seen one yet.
A friendly suggestion, before querying an agent be sure you thoroughly read their submission guidelines and, if they have it, their FAQ. Some of the best advice I have found for writing query letters came from an agent’s FAQ. Also, utilize google. Type in an agent’s full name followed by “interview” and read what they have to say. Most agents have given interviews and they reveal a lot.
Where do I find an agent?
…at this link. It updates almost daily and provides new agents looking for writers.
Writer’s Digest “Guide to Literary Agents” This book releases annually and is available at most major bookstores. It is usually around $30.00 and is the one expense I highly support. It includes “How to write a query letter” and everything you need to get started.
Google search “Literary agents”. Some sites provide a full list read to copy/cut/paste for your querying needs.
Use a spreadsheet to track who you submitted what to and when. Also, a “due date” is handy.
Be polite and professional. No matter, how great the writing and story are, you have guaranteed a rejection letter for yourself if you are rude.