Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On Wanting An Agent

When I first decided I wanted to write-- like actually, seriously write-- I realized I would have to learn as much as possible about the publishing world and the way things work. So I jumped right in. I read agency websites, I started following agent blogs, I connected with other writers, I formed my own blog. And I wrote.

When I finished my first manuscript, I made a list of agents and began querying.

I never submitted to any publishing houses, despite researching and finding several I thought might like my book.

I wanted an agent. I don't understand contracts even a little bit, and I don't think I could negotiate my way out of a box.

But what about that 15% they take? Wouldn't you be better off going straight to the publisher?

Psh. What's 15% when they've helped you with revisions and now you stand a chance to actually sell? What's 15% when they have all these awesome publishing contacts and they submit for you? What's 15% when they negotiate a book deal twice the amount you would have settled for?

I don't have an agent yet, but as I start thinking about who I might query with my newest ms, it strikes me that I never thought to query publishers directly. I've always wanted to go through an agent.

Which made me wonder...

What are you opinions on having an agent?
Do you definitely want one?
Or do you want to query publishers directly and deal with everything yourself?


  1. When I saw the title of your post I almost had a heart attack! For a second I thought you'd been holding out on me!

    I've always wanted an agent. I couldn't even imagine having to deal with contracts and stuff. Plus it would be nice to have someone on your side who knows the industry.

  2. Heh heh, was worried title was misleading.

    I've changed it :)

  3. I completely believe in Agents. And I hope to have one of my very own one day. They are well worth the 15% and most of the time can sell your book for a lot more than what you could just selling it to a publisher yourself. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I still think I'd like my chances better with an agent, rather than without. :)

  4. I too believe in agents...but I wouldn't be against querying publishing houses if my search for an agent was fruitless.

  5. I submit on my own and haven't looked for an agent but only because I submit to smaller publishing houses and don't really "need" one.
    But when an author starts dealing with bigger contracts, then I think that 15% will be worth every penny paid out.

  6. I have an agent and I'm grateful for everything she does for me. She's far more business savvy than me, and her revision suggestions are priceless.

  7. I see no reason you couldn't query publishers who accept unagented queries. Some do, most don't. Maybe you could go this route if after querying all the agents that rep your genre don't bite. I think agents would be more savvy on the business side of things than most of us writers though.

  8. If you believe in agents, clap your hands!


    It has never really occurred to me to query a publisher directly, either.

    Agents all the way!

  9. I know what you mean. I just recently got a publishing contract and for six months straight I have been receiving form rejections from agents, amounting over one hundred of them before deciding to try on my own. I can't speak for everyone or what your experience might be but I am so happy I tried because I got amazing feedback and my new Publisher! I hope you will stop by my blog and check it out. You really can do it as long as you just keep going and while rejections may put you down, never let it stop you because if writing is a part of you, then you should always write, no matter what anyone says.

    Emma Michaels