View Full Version : Do I still need an agent?

09-19-2015, 06:04 AM
I was contacted by a publisher 2 months ago, they want to publish my self-pubbed series. They sent the first draft of contract about a week ago and are sending final draft within a few days.

Before they sent the first draft of the contract, I sent out a few emails to agents. One finally replied, and wants to represent me. If I have a deal secured with publisher, do I still need an agent? Would whatever benefits she brings outweigh a 15% commission?

09-19-2015, 07:12 AM
The agent will read over the contract and may handle foreign deals or whatever other opportunities may arise that are outside of your contract with the publisher. The agent would also step in if you are not being treated right down the road. Personally, I'd take that offer (after checking out the agent's reputation).

09-19-2015, 07:19 AM
Check the publisher. If they're very reputable, you might not need an agent. If you think you can get more from them with an agent or you're not very experienced with the industry, an agent could really help you.

09-19-2015, 07:26 AM
This question really depends on both the reputation of the publisher, and the agent. I think you should be looking into their reputations pretty heavily right now.

09-19-2015, 01:26 PM
Would whatever benefits she brings outweigh a 15% commission?

Contract issues definitely - I mean, you are technically PAYING the agent/intermediary to make sure you are not signing the rights of your book away forever to the publisher - easily done, and was often done, back in the days before a rights reverted book could reasonably be expected a second life as an ebook.

And does the publisher want ALL your rights? Including film and audiobook? Because if they're not going to exploit them, don't sell them. An agent will negotiate that.

Secondly, as the money is paid to the agent first - that means there are two vested interests in making certain the publisher pays you. You might be shy about asking for a financial record, but the agent (assuming they're reputable) will not be.

That 15% is an investment and a guarantee, of a proper contract, publishing on time, and payment.

Cathy C
09-19-2015, 03:47 PM
Wow, the agent will do so many things for you for essentially a very small amount of money. They will review your contract for any clauses that could impact you years down the road. They're your advocate for problems with payments or problems with editors. They maximize your income by selling additional formats and rights (because they reserved them out in the first place), and keep the lines of communication with the publisher open. They can increase not only the advance paid, but ADD clauses that will benefit you if sales are good (such as bonuses for hitting a bestseller list).

So many things... :)

Jo Zebedee
09-19-2015, 04:58 PM
If it's an agent you love and want to work with then the 15 percent is worth it (but check they will be chasing audio/film rights for you and are interested in your future projects and not just their cut.) if you're going with them only because you think you need to, provided the publisher has a good rep, you have good knowledge of which clauses to run from (tie in to all future books, that sort of thing), and you're happy with royalities etc, you should be okay. I have no agent at the moment - but did when I signed my current deal, so am okay for it - and don't feel I need one just yet. Later, when I'm more established, then I'll look again. :)

Dennis E. Taylor
09-19-2015, 06:32 PM
Even if the publisher is completely, utterly ethical, above-board, and reputable, they're still self-interested and will go for the best deal for them. There are some articles here (http://ethanellenberg.com/articles-features-on-book-publishing/) on the intricacies of publishing contracts. Personally, I don't want to have to deal with that crap. 15% ? Pffft.

M. H. Lee
09-19-2015, 08:26 PM
What those above said. Also, for me, I like the idea of having someone else handle issues when something isn't going well. If I have to call direct, it could be ugly and that could damage my long-term relationship with the publisher. Especially if it's something I, as a newer writer, am not understanding properly. Not writing related, but this week I had to call my mom's doctor for her. She thought this one particular person was doing everything wrong. Turns out the woman had done everything she was supposed to. As an intermediary, I was able to resolve the issue that was upsetting my mom without any hassle.

Also, contacts, etc. for other rights sales.

I say all of this assuming you contacted GOOD agents. Because a bad one can mess up your career for years.

09-20-2015, 07:25 AM
Publisher is super reputable, I believe they're one of the biggest publishers in France.

The agent is relatively new, from what I understand. I didn't find much about her with a Google search, and nothing on AW. Is it acceptable to mention her name here or no?

Part of the reason I'm asking this is because I've read so many horror stories on AW about bad agents... how do you know if the agent is good or not if they're new to the scene?

09-20-2015, 06:33 PM
Very generally speaking, new agents are evaluated by their agency (are there experienced agents they can learn from?), and/or their industry background (e.g., editor, who could be expected to have the contacts necessary to become an effective agent).

You're welcome to start a thread on the agent in BR&BC. If you're uncomfortable discussing him/her publicly, you could either PM me (and I'll see what I can find), or you can query Writer Beware (http://www.accrispin.blogspot.com/p/contact-us.html) for any info they have.