View Full Version : Annoying newbie question-Agent? Do I need one?

the addster
08-26-2008, 09:07 PM
I'm sure this has been asked a million times on this forum, but I'll be damned if I can find it.

A few months ago I sent a proposal to a small independent non-fiction publisher. They were interested enough to schedule a reading. I completed the manuscript and have sent it to them. I don't expect to receive word that it has been rejected for a few weeks. In the event that they do accept my book for publication, or if I should wish to submit my work to other publishers, do I need an agent?

Have I gone about this process in the wrong way? Is it considered bad form to seek representation at this point?

08-26-2008, 09:39 PM
If the publisher wants to print your book, you can ask an agent or literary attorney (not a regular one...you'll need a literary attorney to understand all the terms) to go over the contract with you. Never go ahead and sign the contract...nearly everything in it is negotiable, and there are some things you really need to get.

Honestly, I would have tried to get an agent before I sent to the publisher. An agent knows the biz better than you do and can sometimes land better offers than a newbie like yourself. Now, this isn't always true. You could have gone with an agent and they have gotten you the same publisher you're with now.

The truth is, the days of navigating this industry on your own are all but gone. Do I think this was the wisest course of action? No. Can it work? There's always that chance.

I hope you did your research and made sure that this place is not a scam. I failed to research one agency and was fortunate enough to be warned about them before I signed their contract and out money.

In my opinion, from what I've read in all my research, having an agent can really cut down on the hassle. If you want to search for one you can try agentquery.com. That's a good place to surf for agents. Oh, make sure the agent is a member of the AAR or some other legitimate organization. Scammers won't be with those.

If I were you, I'd still surf for an agent. They can be a great help.

Good luck on all things writing! :D

the addster
08-26-2008, 11:26 PM
Thanks for your response, Madisonwrites.

I'm confident that my publisher is legit. They are well known within the subject area in which I'm writing and I know others who have worked with them in the past. I'm also fairly sure they offer everyone the same deal, which seems to be fair by industry standards.

I suppose I'm just worried about being rejected and having to do something else with this book. I was trying to just forget about it until I heard from this publisher, but the "what if"s seem to be getting to me.


08-29-2008, 11:34 PM
It usually takes a while to hear back from editors, so unless it's been a long time don't fret too much. Often you can find their average response times on their websites, if they have one. Many will say if you haven't heard back by X time feel free to send a note to check the status.

Agent Janet Reid has offered many times that if authors need the name of a good contracts specialist to review any contrats she'd be happy to provide one. You can e-mail here through her blog: