What an Agent Can Do for You – Part 1

In this day and age, with so many authors self-publishing, it’s easy for a writer going the traditional route to believe he doesn’t need an agent. But before you make that your final answer, take a look at some of the things an agent can do for you.

An agent:

-can get your manuscript noticed by large publishers. In 1997, one out of every fifteen thousand unsolicited manuscripts submitted by authors to a trade book publisher was discovered in the slush pile. If an agent recommends a book, the publisher knows it’s most likely a candidate and worth checking out.

-has the credibility you lack. If you tell a publisher your novel is better than Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, and any of the Harry Potter books, do you think he’ll listen? Nope. You might want to toot your own horn, but that doesn’t make your story any better than the others in his slush pile. However, if a credible agent tells him you’re the next big thing, he’ll take notice and might even read your book overnight.

-knows which publishing houses have merged. She won’t send queries to divisions within the same house, unless she follows proper protocol.

-will tackle any issue that may arise between you and your publisher so you don’t have to deal with the conflict directly. This helps keep a good rapport between you and your publisher and removes the hassle from your plate.

-tracks royalty statements, ensuring they arrive whey they should and that they’re accurate, so you can focus on writing. While it would be nice if royalty statements would always arrive when expected and with correct figures, that’s not the case. But agents realize this and they know what to watch for.

Agents do a lot more than this, obviously. I simply wanted to give you a little taste of what they do. In my next post, we’ll see how well you know the industry and how you’d handle yourself without an agent. Good luck!

Do you have an agent? What has been the biggest benefit to hiring him/her?

Lynnette Labelle

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2 Responses to What an Agent Can Do for You – Part 1

  1. One of the things that held me back from writing when I was younger was that, after a lot of research and talking to those who had been published, I learned you needed an agent to get your manuscript in the door for even a shot at being published. But, and that was a very large BUT in this those days, you needed to be published to get an agent to take a look at your work. It was a very sharp double-edged sword. I appreciate that now you can approach some publishers without an agent but I do have to admit, I’d feel safer with one.

  2. Lynnette Labelle says:

    Amy: I agree. You’ll increase your chances of getting noticed by a big publisher if you go through an agent. Plus, contracts make me nervous. If you don’t have an agent, make sure you hire a lawyer who specializes in these types of contracts so you know what you’re signing.

    Lynnette Labelle

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