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Agents: A Writer's Best Friend (Part 1 of 2)
Do you need a literary agent? Yes and no. Yes, if you wish to carve a place in traditional publishing a literary agent serves as a gatekeeper who winnows author submissions. No, because on the other side, it is either the agent or the publisher who comes knocking on the writer's door. This is a rare occurrence, though. It happens if a publisher or agent see an indie author's track record and find his work appealing.
But for the rest of the majority, if we wish to take the self-publishing path, with a little marketing know-how, we could probably do well on our own.
But how do you get an agent? Before getting one, you need to consider several factors to ensure that you get one that will represent your best interest. Just like every other profession, there are good and bad agents. Let's get into the basics.
To find out if a literary agent suits you, here are the things that an agent will do for you as a client.
1. Agents will give you access to traditional publishers who don't accept unagented manuscripts and unsolicited queries.
2. Agents will give you an idea of what type of genre or writing the industry is currently on the lookout for, as well as other current trends in publishing.
3. They help you to network with insiders. Sometimes it's not about what you write, but who you know. Sometimes, no matter how gifted you are as a writer, if you do not have the right connections to help get your foot in the door, getting published traditionally can be difficult.
4. Agents will negotiate the best contract deal for their client. Your agent takes care of the legalities, terms, and conditions so that you can focus on your writing.
5. They can help you find more publishing deals or opportunities if and when your contract with a previous publisher is finished.
Now that you know what a literary agent will do for you, here are the steps you need to find an agent:
1. Finish your book first. Many writers naively operate on the notion that they should find an agent first and then finish their book afterward. Often, they will query agents, introducing themselves and proceeding to tell the agent that they are currently working on a novel that will rock the publishing and literary world. The agent may request to see sample chapters of the work in progress. If they don't like it, they will pass. If they do, they will ask for the complete manuscript, and this is where the writer has nothing to show. Don't even attempt to rush your work. Make sure that your writing is well polished and edited. Shoddy work will diminish your chances of getting an agent.
2. Hire a professional editor. A different pair of eyes can spot errors that you, as the author, may not see. Your brain has been conditioned to understand in advance that you know what you have written before, therefore overlooking some errors.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Vincent Dublado