If a university press decides to publish a manuscript, should the author have a literary agent?
Remember that I am a literary agent so I think every author benefits from being repped by a good agent.
However. What you're really asking here is if you (or anyone) can navigate a contract or a publishing relationship without an agent and the answer is yes you can.
I've posted before about some of the things to do.
For university presses, you want to be VERY careful about copyright. Make sure they do not register the copyright for your work in the name of the university. I've seen this happen more than once and it seems to be the standard opening gambit on many contracts.
In my work-a-day life I'm an IT guy at a well-respected University Press. We publish both agented and unagented manuscripts. Our acquisition department work directly with most of our scholarly authors (university professors) and some of our more trade-friendly authors. A minority of our authors are agented. As best I can tell, there's no preference one way or the other.
One thing to remember is that a University Press tends to specialize in the types of books they publish. Check their web sites for their publishing areas and criteria.
I have no valid point/comment about U presses - at least not valid like Tom Franklin's above, but I was just reading the comments from yesterday and I'm still recovering from Terri Lynn Coop's use of the brilliant new word (to me)... flamfloozled. Thought I'd mention it gave my brain a new wrinkle - I'm not sure if that's good or bad thing, at the moment.
@donnaeverhart - beverage warning, wouldya? Luckily, I spewed from this week's stylish vintage mug.
I have a good friend who is well-pubbed via university presses. Dr. Jim proudly writes what he calls "some of the dullest history you will ever read" (he's lying, he is a great history prof and writer.
I tracked down one of his books and was able to use the "look inside" feature and see, yup, the copyright is registered to the university.
Wow, I would have never noticed that, IP wonk that I am.
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