Thursday, March 08, 2012

Do I Really Need an Agent

i just recently signed with a publisher... on their website, it said submissions only accepted by agents etc

i ignored that and it turned out okay! (i didnt have an agent and still dont)

my question is.... ive already signed the contract with them.... should i still look into getting an agent?

It's a tricky situation because it sounds like you really don't want an agent, however it's important to note that an agent does a lot more than simply submit a work. Sure, negotiating a strong contract is a huge part of what an agent does, but so is career management and guidance. An agent will also help you understand the business and learn what you can expect from the publisher, she can answer your questions and explain things you might not understand, and she can help spot trends and see where you might fit when it comes to building a career.

I think at this point it's going to be difficult to get an agent until you're getting ready for your next contract. At this point, there's not a lot in it for the agent. You've already negotiated and signed the contract so she's coming in to help manage something she's never going to get paid for, but of course I would suggest that you consider getting an agent for your future works. There's a lot an agent can and will do for you, and submitting to the publisher is the least of it.



Anonymous said...

When asked if an author should try to get published without an agent, author Terry McMillan said something like this, "In this day and age, I wouldn't."

Anonymous said...

I used to be an unagented writer who sold anyway. You absolutely can sell without an agent.

Now I have an agent, and my income has increased (counts on fingers) 1600%.

Eileen said...

Like any business person you don't need to have support to run your business. For example if you ran a restaurant you might do the cooking and the accounting and run the front. Or you might bring in people to do different aspects. It depends on your skill set as well as where you want to spend your time.

I love working with my agent. Not only has she increased my income by garnering foreign sales, film deals etc, but she's also my go-to business advisor. We talk about the direction of my career, different options etc. Could I do it without her? Of course, I'm a fairly smart capable person. However, I don't want to do it without her. Her work allows me to focus and work smarter.

Scumbag Sam said...

this was really helpful - I had a dream last night I got an agent and when I woke up I thought 'do I really need one?' - I think I do :)

Bonnee Crawford said...

Is it still worth getting an agent after the publisher has said 'yes we love your book, give us more and we'll publish you,' if you haven't signed anything, or is it all still pretty much work that the agent isn't really getting paid for at that point?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Publishing without an agent is like going directly to the surgeon without the prep. Sure, the surgeon can remove your right arm, and the operation may be successful, but if you visited you family doc she may have recommended a good dermatologist to remove the mole only. I don’t know about you but I like my right arm.
(Weird analogy; I need another cup of coffee before somebody gets hurt.)

Anonymous said...

The truth is I do want an agent, but I'll target the publishers to sell before I target people who don't respond from a letter that's formatted to fit a mold and someone poopoo'd because they can while sipping their expensive latte.

Having a friend and a wise one on the journey these days sounds amazing, but how many agents are taking new clients and how many are willing to work with the newbies? Seems to me the agents want to steal from each other far more than get their hands dirty, and this is so subjective to what I've seen. And yes my peanut opinion that might change with the wind when the clocks spring forward mysteriously taking the hour.
I'm not in the least devaluing the work of a wise one. I'd love to find one, but I'm not sacrificing my big dreams either to wait for the market to turn. Dad quoted Caesar telling me to seize the day and make the most of opportunities.

Leona said...

I actually queried a couple of agents after I had an offer of contract from a small publisher, but before I signed. I didn't hear back. Now, I've been accepted into an anthology for them as well. If an agent had responded, they would immediatley been in on something, even if smaller than small. I guess, I would like to know, HOW do you query an agent after signing a contract?

I'm just starting a series, but this publisher doesn't give you the money until it's been earned, then they pay out every month. I'm going to hate tracking this stuff, but didn't get a response. By the way, the contract was only for the one book, then a separate one for the anthology, with the instructions to send all new material to a particular editor. I don't know if this makes a difference. (or if this post/question makes any sense! LOL)

Will agents help you with small publishers?