The Benefits of Having an Agent

The Benefits of Having an Agent Today I’m covering some back-to-basics information. While people have always asked me about the advantages of having an agent, I’ve noticed an increase in the frequency of the question in this age of independence and do-it-yourself. People want to know: Do I need an agent? If I had one, how would they help me? Is it worth paying out 15% of my revenues? Not everyone wants or needs an agent. Your job is to assess your situation and decide if it is the kind of partnership that would serve you. Here I offer you an overview of the ways the right literary agent can enhance your writing career. What kind of publisher do you want? You only need to consider an agent if you’re interested in pursuing traditional, full-service, advance-and-royalty paying publishers. If you’re...

Busting Publishing Myths

Busting Publishing Myths One of the  best things about the Internet is that it’s so easy to find information. One of the worst things about the Internet . . . is that it’s so easy to find information. Much of the information is misinformation. So let’s bust some myths. Myth: Getting published is a catch-22. You need to be published in order to get an agent; but you can’t get published without having an agent first. Truth: You don’t need to be published to get an agent. Getting published is hard, but is not a catch-22. We need fresh voices, so there are always new authors getting published. Have you noticed that most agents accept queries? Query letters are most often from unpublished authors, since published authors will typically come through a referral or personal relationship....

Literary Agents: Not Quite Dinosaurs

Literary Agents: Not Quite Dinosaurs Over the last few months, I’ve read posts around the web about how literary agents aren’t needed anymore. Agents are just “middlemen.” Extraneous. Who needs them? Everyone can just self-publish, or work with a publisher on their own…right? Such is the word on the street. But some people aren’t saying those things. Want to guess who? Our clients. (And of course, all the writers still seeking representation from us.) The people who are loudly proclaiming literary agents “dinosaurs” and “unnecessary” have a limited understanding of what agents do. (Recently, agents Steve Laube and Janet Grant each gave a rundown of what they do in a typical day.) Agents are not just middlemen. Agents are more than gatekeepers. Agents are business partners and trusted advisors. Steve Jobs...

What Agents Are Doing These Days

What Agents Are Doing These Days In this age of rapid change in publishing and expanding options for writers, I hear the question “Do authors need agents anymore?” more often than ever. While I can’t answer the question for any individual author, I can tell you that agents are busier than ever helping authors find their readers — one way or another. Here are some of the things we’re doing: 1. Business as usual. Agents are still selling books to publishers for traditional publication, and this remains the major part of our business. Along with that, we’re managing authors’ careers, advocating for our clients, and sometimes talking them off ledges. It’s also important that we nurture strong continuing relationships with publishers, despite our occasional adversarial positions,...

Why You Should Pitch a Single Book

Why You Should Pitch a Single Book If you’re like most writers, you’re probably not writing just one book. You’ve written multiple books, possibly in different genres. You may have a whole 3 or 6 or 9-book series planned. So the question naturally arises: Should I pitch my whole series to an agent? Should I tell them about my entire body of work? After all, I want an agent to represent all my work, not just one book. Along similar lines, reader Jan wrote on Facebook: Whenever I check an agency’s guidelines, they always talk about pitching a particular book. I already have a book published, and I’m looking for an agent to help me build my career. How do I query/pitch in that situation? The answer is simple and clear: When querying or pitching an agent, always start with just one...

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