To Agent or Not?

I had a recommendation today to submit a book to an agent.  This is wonderful but in today's marketing, is this feasible?

Agents used to be a method to reach the larger presses. Now, seems like they're hungry cause the epubs are leading the pack with sales. Times change with the advent of easier forms of submissions to epubs.  Online is the best way to go when an author is out shopping for a buyer for their book.

So is an agent feasible in the e-publishing world?  I'm teetering on the edge here.  Would love to hear any feedback/opinions/personal experiences on this matter.

Oh BTW, today is my 33 year anniversary.  Yep, me and the old man have been together for a long time.  Who knew...

Peace and Blessings,


Will Entrekin said…
I think it depends on what you want. An agent is generally the way to get to editors at publishers who are otherwise closed to submissions (first), but moreso they do a lot of contractual negotiation and rights legwork.

For me, personally, were I seeking an agent (for example, if I were talking to a major corporate publisher about potentially bringing my novels to wider print distribution and to bookstores), I think I'd want an agent who had an advanced (graduate) degree in either business or law--though I think the former might be more important than the latter. Mainly because I think contracts are part of business but business is not necessarily part of law.

Industry experience is all well and good, but on the other hand, the industry is changing so fast and to such an extent that even experience with contracts from five years ago might no longer be relevant today.

Keep in mind, if you submit to an agent, and sell your work to a corporate publisher, chances are you're going to be giving up digital rights. You might get better promotion and publicity, and deeper marketing pockets, but you'll also get lower royalties and have less control. The publishing process itself will become slower, too.

To be candid, at this point, with everything in so much flux and five of the six big corporate publishers getting sued for collusion in digital pricing by the Department of Justice, I wouldn't give up digital rights to my work. Not until all that shook out, first.

Congratulations on your anniversary.
Judith Leger said…
Thanks, Will. You've pointed out some good things to think about.
Amber Green said…
Business has always been a blend of cold analysis and personal relationships. The factors to analyze are in flux, but relationships aren't. An agent who can provide both up-to-date analysis and many relationship bridges for an author would be golden.
Natalie said…
I'm struggling with this same problem right now - having writing friends suggest the agent/publisher route for my new sci fi series. Amber has a good point - a valuable agent is one who has the inside track - who knows people. If you want your MS to find its way to a contract, I still think a good agent can get you there.
So the question is, do we want to give up royalties & control for the possibility (no guarantees, even with a publisher) of greater distribution and name recognition?
Judith Leger said…
Good answer Amber and Natalie. That is real end of the game. Thanks for stopping by!

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