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Do You Need an Agent/Publisher?

For many writers, having an agent or a publisher is very important in having their works published. In fact, for these writers, the completion of a manuscript is almost always followed by the search for a literary agent to represent them or for a publisher to produce and distribute their work.

So an important question is: as a writer, do you need an agent/publisher? Strictly speaking, you don't. There are a lot of things that you can do on your own to have your book published, including the option to follow the self-publishing route. Here, you do away with an agent or a publisher and take full control over the publication of your book. What's also great about this option is that you get to have greater freedom over the content of your book, not to mention that you stand to earn a bigger share from its sale.

But the reason why getting the services of an agent/publisher remains popular among writers is because it eliminates a great deal of the difficulties and complexities that usually come with book publishing.

One of the best reasons to get an agent, for example, is that you get to have the support of someone who is knowledgeable in the field and is well-connected with some of the major players in the publishing industry. An agent can help you revise your manuscript to make it more marketable.

Once your manuscript is ready, it can then be presented to publishers. During this process, it is your agent who sells your work and negotiates better contract terms for you. This is so much more convenient from your end because you have the support of someone who knows exactly how much your manuscript is worth and will not hesitate to get into the nitty-gritty of the contract to make sure you are paid right.

Later on, should you have any questions about any of the terms in your contract, questions about your earnings, or anything else beyond the manuscript itself, your agent can serve as a link between you and the publisher. Your agent has a stake in your overall financial well-being because part of his or her earnings comes from the sale of your book.

With a publisher, you get a full suite of services that covers the entirety of the production process. It starts with the editorial process, where your manuscript undergoes several rounds of copy editing and structural revisions. This is to ensure that your work is free from any errors once it is out in the market.

Another important step is to do with the overall design or look of your book. A buyer's decision to shell out money for a book is influenced in large part by how the book cover looks like, so this is an important aspect of the publishing process that should not be overlooked.

Once the book is ready, it goes through the printing stage. It is then marketed and distributed for sale in bookstores.

So do you need an agent/publisher? You can always choose to do away with either an agent or a publisher or both, but the obvious benefits of having one outweigh its disadvantages.