Excellent writer, longtime Newsletter subscriber, and good friend Buck Buchanan sent me a blog post by agent Laurie McLean. She explains why an author doesn’t need a literary agent–but might find it a good idea to have one.
The first book I bought that pertained to the publishing industry was uber-agent Richard Curtis’s HOW TO BE YOUR OWN LITERARY AGENT, which was originally published in 1983. I got a chuckle at his writing this book, since his agency consistently ranks among the top in total titles signed by major royalty publishers each year, at well over 100.
As with Mr. Curtis’s material, Ms. McLean offers more compelling reasons for seeking an agent than eschewing the process, but she provides what in my opinion is an excellent list of pros and cons that is worth taking the time to clearly understand before making any decision. And especially if a subscriber is new to the industry, please do yourself a favor and read the article Mr. Buchanan sent me.
I continue to ask authors to first try to acquire agent representation before self-publishing, and until the last agent is left standing I will make this same suggestion. However, everyone is different, and certainly some folks have a higher tolerance for rejection than others. Hence, for anyone who hasn’t the patience or simply doesn’t want to try to have a work signed by a mainstream house and is firmly convinced self-publishing is “the answer,” I’m supportive rather than disparaging the latter.
Part of my present disposition is borne out by personal experience, since I’ve had three bona fide agents during a 20-year span, each handling a different novel of mine, and not one of these books was signed by a major house. This isn’t why I decided to self-publish my book of articles, as this decision was based entirely on not desiring to wait 12 to 16 months to see it get into print, which is undeniably one of self-publishing’s greatest benefits.