It is yet another aspect of the publishing world that new and struggling authors may find daunting. Beyond the art of the query letter, the countless hours hunched over your computer, your eyes blurring to the point of searing as you edit your masterpiece, there are so many other aspects of getting your work on book shelves than you would have thought.
Many of the large scale publishing houses will not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Which, when you’re starting out and trying to find someone, anyone, to read your work, reduces the number of options significantly. For those dreaming of getting that six figure publishing deal with one of the big five houses, you will need a literary agent. There is no if and or but about it. For these power houses to even consider looking at your work, they need to know it first caught the eye of an industry professional: enter, the lit agent.
When seeking the representation of a professional literary agent, the process is pretty much exactly the same as approaching a publisher. Query letters, synopsis, page samples. Trying to get an agent to request the entire manuscript is just as difficult as getting a publishing house to do the same. Some may suggest doing the leg work yourself, get that elusive publishing contract in hand, then go looking for an agent to simply close the deal for you.
So you may wonder, why bother? Why do twice the work for the same outcome?
Here is why:
Obviously, there are plenty of other aspects to be considered. Finding the right agent, finding the right genre, are all important steps to consider. You need to have a connection with your agent, not just a name. You need to relate to them, and be able to trust that they will work for you and find you the best possible real in the publishing world.
It is a lot of work, but the outcome could be much more lucrative if you query agents before publishers. Especially if your goals are one of the big five, you cannot hope to get your toe in the door without them. And even when you do, you need someone who knows the business to navigate its slippery slopes on your behalf.
Let a literary agent be your sidekick in your writing adventure!
Peterson, V. (2015). What does a book agent do to get your book published? Retrieved from http://publishing.about.com/od/BookAuthorBasics/a/Literary-Agents-Do-You-Need-A-Literary-Agent-For-Your-Book.htm
Strauss, V. (n.d.). Why a Writer Needs a Literary Agent. Retrieved from http://www.sfwa.org/why-a-writer-needs-an-agent/
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