Let me start this post by saying that I am all for agents. I have two of them myself: one for my adult fiction and one for my fiction for very young children. That said, I’d like to share with you why I think a writer needs an agent:
1) Agents know the terrain. They know what publishers are buying what material and when they are buying it. Agents have established relationships with editors and, therefore, can get your manuscript read far faster than if you’d sent it in over the transom.
2) Agents represent your best interests. Agents understand contracts and can handle questions and disputes without getting you in the middle of them. Agents will negotiate for you probably far better than you would negotiate for yourself. Agents will fight for you when such fighting is necessary.
3) Agents have connections. They have an established network of industry people who can help you not only in selling your book but in promoting it.
That said, do you need an agent? It depends on your goals for your writing. If you are willing to submit and market on your own, then you don’t need an agent. But remember that you may spend a long time accomplishing what an agent can do for you in a fraction of the time. If, however, you don’t mind the do-it-yourself approach to publishing, then an agent is likely not for you.
Do you have an agent? If so, what have you found to be the pros and cons of having one?
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