I stumbled across this very fine post over at Editorial Ass about needing an agent.
This is good stuff and should help in explaining why having an agent is a good idea when it comes to attempting to navigate the NY publishing road. If it doesn’t apply to you (because you are with a small press, because you self publish, whatever), that’s okay too – it’s still good advice.
S/he’s speaking about New York publishing. It’s obvious that’s what s/he’s speaking about and there are some great points s/he makes about slush, about the importance of editor/agent relationships and your agent’s ability to know markets and which editors to pitch to and when.
It also doesn’t mean you should give up if you don’t have an agent. Just, you know, read it for what it’s worth, the advice of an insider, which in this business, is worth a lot. Doesn’t mean you can’t sell unagented, it happens, doesn’t mean all agents are reputable or even very good, some agents are better than others. It means s/he is giving you information based on experience.
I don’t use an agent for my small press books. It’s not necessary for several reasons so we drew up our contract accordingly. However, Laura Bradford has been worth her 15% and more when it came to dealing with my NY contracts alone! I’m a lawyer, boys and girls, and I still had trouble slogging through 30 pages of legalese regarding rights. Add to that her editorial advice, her unfailing support of the material she pitches and the way she can make a direct phone call I sure can’t on a pitch out, I am utterly and completely convinced having an agent is priceless when it comes to NY publishing houses.
Anyhoodle, some industry advice for a Saturday morning for ya.