Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Do I really need an agent?




Here's a question for the blog: does a reasonably established but not MAJOR author really need an agent?


I've been querying for months with a really good project because my agent is retiring.  I'm getting full requests and plenty of "this is a great project but not for me" -- and no offers. And I'm also still selling work: short stories, and probably soon a re-up from the small startup press that did my summer book. And starting a new series next week at Level Best, with a second one picking up there in April.


My last two books -- X, and Y -- both earned out, which I would think might be a selling point in my favor.


I know I'll probably never bring in the Big Deal. But as Paulie Walnuts used to say, I am earnin'. Is this the point where I just go it alone and have a lawyer friend review major contracts in the future?


We were doing so well until we got to the end.


Yes you can sell work without an agent. The kind of projects you describe don't really pay enough to interest most agents.  It's the same amount of work for a small earner as a bigger earner. Guess which one I prefer.


But having a lawyer friend review your contract makes me scream and cling to the chandelier.





You need a very specific kind of lawyer here: one who knows publishing contracts.  If you need names, email me and I'll give you some.


But you can't just hand this off to a lawyer who isn't versed in publishing. THAT is a recipe for disaster and I don't want to tell you how I know.


Meanwhile, keep writing. I like your books.


  1. Just another reason why I'm avoiding the go it alone route and hope for the "one day". I don't know who you are, OP, but I'm sure I'd like your books, too. So yeah, keep writing.

    Unrelated, Janet: do you need storage?

  2. Alas, Steve, your link isn't working. At least, not for me.

    I love suspense, but I keep trying to turn the page on this blog post to learn the name of the author. Even a hint? My curiosity overwhelms.

  3. reading OP's "My last two books -- X, and Y -- both earned out" coupled with Janet's "The kind of projects you describe don't really pay enough to interest most agents" makes me look askance a bit at what OP's retiring agent was doing. However, there is a lot here I don't know, so please don't think I'm calling anybody out. I'm just agog, but that's just another day in publishing, isn't it?

    I will say, querying is pretty rough right now, so OP very much has my sympathies. I figured I'd rather my books come out while I was still kicking, so hung my querying hat and went selfpub, which means I'm unlikely to query again (unless certain specific sorts of situations crop up.)

  4. An agent would be wonderful, however, querying in this digital world is starting to look like a popularity contest.

    If they like your query, they check for social media presence, and it seems like the one with the bigger following wins the most attention.

    I am sure there are lots of good books that were passed over because of this.

    If you don't have a blog, make one, it might be the tipping point for finding an agent these days.

  5. Steve Forti, your link works for me, but I don't think Janet needs storage, I think that she has storage (that is yours, Janet, yes?) ;)


Keep your comments succinct. Any comment that runs longer than 100 words is generally too long.

If you're commenting more than three times a day, it's too much.

Civility is enforced. Spelling/grammar mistakes may be pointed out ONLY in the blog post itself, not in any of the ensuing commenter's contributions.

If your comment doesn't show up, it's most likely that Blogger ate it. Try posting again using a GoogleID. (comment moderation is on only for older posts)