As a self published author, I go back and forth with the question, “Do I need an agent?” I keep coming back to it because I know an agent can help get my work out there and possibly get me a deal with a traditional publisher. But I vacillate back and forth with this one because having an agent is not a guarantee at success. I still have to write a good book and learn to promote myself even if I have an agent.
To help you decide if you should find an agent, let’s look at the pros and the cons of having an agent on your team.
- A good agent can get your book to the editor at the big publishing houses.
- A good agent will critique your manuscript and give feedback on how to make it more marketable.
- A good agent will work hard to promote you because they don’t get paid until you do.
- An agent can’t purchase your book and sale it to a publisher
- An agent does not do line edits or rewrites
- An agent is not an attorney and can’t help with taxes or legal matters.
Now that you know a little more about what a literary agent can and can’t do on your behalf, you may wonder, “How do I get an agent?”
The best way is to craft a query letter to an agent that specializes in the type of book you have written. The book should be complete so that you can send the manuscript to them immediately upon request. You may solicit multiple agents at once until you find one that wants to work with you. If you write in two different genres you may want to have a different agent for each one. It’s rare to find an agent that can successfully place fiction and non-fiction. Due in part to the specialized contacts they have made at the publishing houses and their personal field of knowledge.
I’m wrapping up my first novel and have decided to try to find an agent to work with me on placing it with a traditional publisher. I’ve never worked with a publishing house and would like to see how green the grass is on the other side. Even if I’m not able to place it, I believe the feedback from a literary agent will be invaluable to me and I can use that insight to produce better self-published books.
Until Next Week,
Nicole D.P. McLaughlin