Currently reading - Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
I was going to write about needing a business plan, but Angie raised a good point in her comment on Sunday's post. I spoke of the lack of respect shown by both writer and agents to each other. But does a writer really need an agent?
I have to respectfully disagree with Angie's statement that writers don't need agents. IMHO, I think the real answer is it depends.
As writer, there's a lot of factors to consider. What are your target markets? Your comfort level in negotiating contracts? Are you planning to work with a publishing company or self-publish? If going with a publishing company, do you have personal contacts within a particular company? Who's your support team consist of, i.e. attorney, accountant, editor, etc.?
As Angie pointed out, sf/f writer Laura Resnick sells her own books, then uses a literary lawyer to review the contracts. Author Dean Wesley Smith calls up an agent friend only if he needs some help. I know of a couple of writers who sold their own books to editors, then had an agent negotiate the deal. And there are other writers who wouldn't dream of submitting to an editor without an agent.
The main problem is there's no one size-fits-all solution for every writer. I'll use my c.p.'s as an example. Two out of the three published in novel length have agents. One who doesn't is perfectly happy and capable of negotiating her own contracts. The two of us not published in novel-length have magazine credits, for which you don't need an agent. But we're both looking for an agent for assistance with our longer works.
So, as I said before, take a good, hard look at what you want out of the publishing industry. Then decide what tools you need to make that goal a reality.
And remember to be polite and professional regardless of your ultimate decision concerning agents. Publishing is a very small world.
NOTICE: If your interest in learning more about what a literary attorney does and you're in the Houston area, Northwest Houston RWA will be hosting Phillip Sanov of the Lanier Law Firm on May 1. Mr. Sanov will be discussing protecting your intellectual property rights. Click on the link for more info.
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