The Value of an Agent

September 19, 2011

I have a list of publishers I’m interested in working with. Not one requires submission through an agent. According to them I don’t need an agent. And yet, every weekday morning at 8 a.m. ET I visit the BookEnds, LLC blog. I’ve been reading this blog written mostly by agent Jessica Faust for over a year. The information is comprehensive, invaluable and available to everyone on the internet. If an agent gives this much professional advice for free imagine the value one derives from being her client.

I know BookEnds, LLC isn’t the only literary agency that gives freely to the internet community. On any given day an #askeditor can pop up on Twitter or a #pubtip can be retweeted. These people are working among us, sharing their experiences, whether we’re clients or not. It’s something every writer should be taking advantage of.

So while my list of publishers doesn’t require that I have an agent to submit, I want one. In this case, I do think two heads are better than one.

2 Responses to “The Value of an Agent”

  1. Used to be, getting an agent was something you just did — either first, or after a pub got interested in your over-the-transom submission. They helped with the contract, did the leg work on your next book so you could concentrate on the one after that, etc. The tsunami of epub seems to have blown that all out of the water and it’s all up for grabs. The main problem I’ve seen is, as Dean Wesley Smith says, you don’t need a license to be an agent. Just hang out a shingle and gather your 15%. Yes, there are knowledgeable agents who have your best interests in the forefront, but a lot of the people on the internet have never even worked in publishing (the old way that agents learned their job). I guess the main rule now is, do your homework on the agent before you sign up for anything.

  2. taristhread Says:

    This is such a scary area. I also read the BookEnds blog, and a few other blogs by agents. I agree with Eugenia, researching the agent is important. I’m hoping that networking through RWA and conventions will also help.

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