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Do You Really Need a Literary Agent?
When you are searching for that lucrative book deal, one question you need to ask is, do you need a literary agent? Well, the answer to this is yes and no.
If you want to go down the traditional book publishing route and have your book published, the answer is yes. With major book publishers, you will find a literary agent extremely useful in opening the door. However, some traditional book publishers will also accept unsolicited manuscripts meaning that you do not need a literary agent.
If you go down the self-publishing route then you will not need the services of a literary agent as you are the publisher.
What does the literary agent do? First, the literary agent will help prepare your manuscript and book proposal. This will be before you submit to the publisher. This is important as you want them to be of high quality because if they are poorly presented then they will be discarded. The literary agent can also help with editing and proofreading your work. They know how best to showcase your work and what publishers to approach. They have their finger on the pulse and know all that is going on in the literary world.
The literary agent can help you with the minefield that is the submission process. They will have a close relationship with the editors and will know what they currently need and are looking for. Most importantly, they can help steer you in the right direction.
What a literary agent is also fantastic for, especially for the new author, is answering all of the many questions that you have. You have a partner to work with and they want what is best for you; after all, they want you to succeed so as to make money because they have a vested interest.
The next question to ask is once you have secured a book deal do you still need their services? After all, you have a book deal now. In reality their services and expertise are still very much needed as this is really only the beginning. Next you have to finish your book, edit it, design your book cover and then come up with a name for your title, even though you may have a ‘working title.’ The agent will have done this many times before and will know best how to help you; they will prove to be a valuable source of information.
A literary agent can also help you with calculating your royalty fees and, most importantly, check if they are correct - they will have done this countless times for other writers and know what they are looking for.
The literary agent can help you survive in the publishing business in the long run. Yes, they can help you secure that much coveted first book deal but then what about all of those other books that you are burning to write? They can help guide you in your career.