In my last post, I talked about what an agent can do for you, but maybe you believe you don’t need an agent. Let’s see.
How would you do in these situations? (Note: I’m a freelance editor, not an agent, so I can’t answer the following questions. However, if you’re going to go out on your own, without an agent, you should either know the answers to these questions or know where to find them.)
-What if you managed to snag a publisher sans agent? Do you know enough about the industry and its politics to understand whether or not you’re getting the best deal available to you? How do you know the publisher isn’t taking advantage of your ignorance? Hey, it does happen.
-If the publisher wants all rights, including: movie, television, multimedia, electronic, translation, and merchandising rights, and he wants to split the profits 50/50, should you sign on the dotted line?
-What if your editor leaves the publishing house? What happens to your book?
-How will you handle it if tomorrow is your book’s release date and you still haven’t received the advance due on acceptance of the manuscript?
-Have you a clue what to do with your foreign rights? Not important? Too much trouble? Yikes. I hope you aren’t thinking that. You could double your writing earnings if you tap into the foreign market.
-What if your book could be the next big box office hit? Without an agent, how will you get studio story editors to notice your submission? Hint: Showing up at the studio’s office dressed as a vampire isn’t going to cut it.
-What would you do if your publication date continues to get postponed?
-What if you don’t like your book cover?
-How good are you at the business side of writing? Are you ready to track the royalty checks? You can’t just assume they’ll come, because it’s usually not that easy. What will you do when a royalty check doesn’t show up? Or what if you receive it, but the figures are much lower than expected? Agents know how to interpret royalty statements. They can spot excessive royalty withholdings and deal with the problem for you. Just sayin’…
-Are you contract savvy? Did you know that if you give your electronic and multimedia rights to a publisher, this may prevent you from licensing your book to movie or television producers? And if you didn’t know that, what else don’t you know about contracts?
Not as easy as you thought, is it? Maybe having an agent isn’t so bad after all, right?
I love this quote by mystery author James Frey, “Do you need an agent? No, you don’t need an agent. You don’t need a dentist, either. You can fill your own teeth.”
If you’re going the traditional route, would you consider hiring an agent? If so, why? If not, why not?