Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why do you need an agent?

Moonratty has an excellent post about why authors should never submit unagented manuscripts to a publisher.

I agree with about 95% of the post. I would argue, however, that in certain kinds of genre publishing and with smaller presses, unagented submissions are expected and - in some cases - encouraged. Some larger genre publishers and many small indie presses actively solicit slush for any number of reasons. They wouldn't solicit slush if they didn't occasionally find a gem. But a manuscript referral from a trusted agent will still go to the top of the pile at these houses.

Even if an editor at one of these houses makes an offer on your unagented submission, do yourself a favor and try to get an agent before the deal is finalized. It'll be better for you in the long run, for all of the reasons outlined in Moonratty's post.

7 comments:

moonrat said...

Thanks for the input--I'm really glad to hear other professional opinions.

clindsay said...

Thanks for stopping by, and also for continually writing such thoughtful posts about publishing!

S. E. Ward said...

Heh, I've got my own reason to go the agent route: I've done the whole repeated submission thing on short stories, and there is no way in HELL I'm going through that mess on anything longer. (In short, I'm lazy, and I know my limitations.)

leesmiley said...

Why do I need an agent? So I'll stop waiting by my email box waiting to hear from one. Sigh.

Vieva said...

leesmiley - oh, I hear you.

On the agent thing - I understand why there are barriers to the market. As a reader, I appreciate them. Saves me time in finding books I'll actually want to read as opposed to books that make me want to rip my eyes out and move to a country where I can't read the language.

As an author - *sigh*. I wish there was an easy way to tell if you were AT publication level before doing all the sending out and hoping and heart-on-sleeving.

Kristin said...

Problem with that advice is, for some books agents have NO interest in representing you...until you make a sale. Doesn't matter how good that book is, the market may be small or the $$ may be too small. So then you *do* have to go forth and send out yourself.

I think it depends on the book and the market.

sbarret said...

very convincing arguments for getting an agent!