The “Your Questions Answered” Series
I would love to hear more advice about finding an agent or if we really need one.
I’m planning to teach a Zoom course on this topic through ACFW on September 18. Here is their link: ACFW conference.
If you are planning to attend, I’d love to see you there. The conference offers, for a reasonable cost, many excellent classes and chances to connect with editors and agents.
As for my class in particular, here is the course description:
With many publishing options available in today’s market, the author’s path from publishing that first book to becoming an established author may not seem as obvious as in the past. Authors need a friend in the industry to navigate this market. That friend is your literary agent. Find out more about why you need an agent, how to get an agent, and what to expect once you sign with an agent. This workshop will lean heavily toward a Q&A format, so be ready with your most burning question!
In the meantime, briefly:
- If you want to break into a traditional publishing house, working with an agent is instrumental.
- If you are already working with a traditional publisher and would like career management, as well as someone to take care of the type of work you don’t want to do so you can have time to write, an agent is a tremendous help.
- An agent guides your career and identifies pitfalls in contracts. We handle all those sensitive negotiations so you don’t have to.
- Agents know about opportunities most writers don’t see and can let you in on those.
- Once you decide on working with an agent, investigate agents by visiting their websites and getting recommendations from your friends. Often we’ll pay close attention to a client’s suggestion. Following blogs like ours also helps you get to know us better.
For the entire series, click here: “Your Questions Answered.”
What a relief for this aspiring author to know that literary agents are friends who guide authors on the “not so obvious path” to publishing.
I’m so grateful for this website. 🙂
Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D.
Tamela, I think of having a literary agent as being like hiring a real estate agent. You are the professional who knows a lot of information that I simply don’t have access to. How many times do we see folks trying to sell their own home and it isn’t until they get a professional involved that the house finally sells? Same thing, I would argue.
Linda Riggs Mayfield
The big difference between hiring a real estate agent and hiring a literary agent is that real estate agents don’t decline a request to be hired, but literary agents say “No, thanks” more often than they say “Yes.” Realtors don’t require that the homeowner and property already be well known before they will represent the seller, but many agents require that a writer have a “substantial” platform before they will accept him/her as a client, regardless of how much they like the book.
Wallace Eddy Briggs
My solo attempts to find an agent to find a publisher for my children’s stories has involved a lot of effort without any results.
My latest book “The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey” was ‘self published’ on Amazon with professional guidance.
It has gathered 7/8 highly rated reviews including one from Kirkus. It has been widely promoted on social media, mainly FB and Amazon.
Results to date: negligible sales.
I am certain that a knowledgeful Agent would of halved the effort and doubled my amateurish exposure to the market.
For my next story I will again put out a hundred or so requests for representation by an Agency as I believe they are the doorkeepers to the publishers
“Do I need an agent?”
is like “Do I need a brain?”
I really hate to say it,
but the question is insane.
Most houses will not even glance
at work unrepresented;
angentless, I lose my chance
to do what I’d intended,
to write unto wide audience
the love I have for Christ,
and so it should be obvious
that free time be sacrificed
to run the agent-hunting gauntlet
armed with book and bribes of chocolate.
Tamela Hancock Murray
LOL — how can an agent not love this poem, Andrew?
There are so many good reasons to work with an agent. Among others that you listed, agents have relationships with publishers that open doors for the works they represent. What I think would be interesting to know is what you, as an agent, look for in potential clients.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Thanks, Tamela. With so many great opportunities to meet editors at conferences, it is good to remember all of the other things that agents do besides finding a publisher. I would love to read another post about contract negotiation, actually! So interesting.
Having an agent offers peace of mind to the writer. I’m thankful to have a wonderful agent.
Thank you for this. Love the partnership this creates between author and agent.
Claudia J Caporale
Having a good agent seems integral to aid author’s in decision making and for the success of their novel.
You and your agency offer trust-worthy advise and I appreciate that.
Attending writing conferences like ACFW are a great way to get to know agents and learn the service they provide. And I believe it’s important to seek out reputable agents that you would feel comfortable working with and that goes both ways. Practice prayer and patience in the process. As always I enjoy the creative response of Andrew. ?
Sam Sterk, Ph.D.
Dear Tamala and/or Steve Laube:
I’m not a Christian individual but I am a published author. I have read Steve Laube’s writings about how to write a non-fiction proposal which I found extremely helpful. I’m seeking literary representation. I have a non-fiction manuscript, ready to go, Called SAMMY’S JOURNEY.
Not yet ten year old Israeli Sammy’s home life is highly stressful. As a direct result, he suffers life-threatening chronic asthma with numerous previous hospitalizations. Previous care proven unsuccessful, a treatment program Sammy now seeks is based upon the concepts of a ‘parentectomy,’ a complete separation of the child (Sammy) from his family without face-to-face contact. Accepted to this facility in Denver, Colorado he leaves his family and friends behind and flies unaccompanied. Many challenges await this youngster, i.e. learning English, attending an American School, making new friends and seeing a counselor to help him overcome abuse, trauma and feelings of abandonment.
This is a true story of this author’s life, one that evolved into becoming a professional Psychoanlayst and being a Sport Psychologist. Incidentally, The author resides in Scottsdale, Arizona
Please let me know if this might be a good fit.
I appreciate your time.
Sam Sterk, Ph.D., CMPC # 177
Tamela Hancock Murray
Sam, please refer to our submissions guidelines posted on the site.
Regarding ACFW, I read the list of participating agents and none are seeking YA, my genre. How would that work for me if I attend? Of course, I’d still benefit from the workshops, but would I do any agent appointments? Could I receive some general feedback even if the agent isn’t looking for my type of work?
Tamela Hancock Murray
I’d go for agents who have a track record in YA, even if they aren’t looking for YA at the moment.
I agree but I also say, ‘depends.’
With an agent one certainly “gets right” (sez me with caveats on that one) in with many of the larger publishers such as Zondervan.
Sometimes a smaller publishing house will accept unsolicited manuscripts. While that’s great make certain to go over their terms with a fine-tooth comb for both agents/publishing houses. Do the math. Are you getting 10 cents on a book deal for each Kindle copy? When they say 1/2 of the royalties you get again figure out the math.
If’n you Noah guy i.e. an attorney, have him take a look.
Tamela Hancock Murray
Claire, that’s a good idea, although I’d try to find an attorney who knows publishing since it’s a unique field.
Nancy S Kyme
Any advice for someone who is already convinced she needs an agent and is trying to find one, but her project keeps getting rejected by agents? Beta readers are encouraging self-publishing. There is interest from a production company. But, I’m at a stalemate without an agent. So, what’s next? Look inward? done. Make changes to query? done. Listen to beta readers? done. Tweak finished manuscript? done. Get used to rejection? done. Seek past connections? done. Keep platform alive? done, Keep searching for an agent? done. Write a poem, and wait patiently at home? done.
OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU
I just thank God that I found the Steve Laube Agency and have through this blog met Steve, Tamela and Bob non – fictionally,so to speak. It is my prayer that one of them will represent me one day by God’s grace if He wills.
Thanks for lovely encouraging post, Tamela. It is great to know that agents will do all that you said for the author but I think the first step that is important and crucial is the acceptance of the author’s book by the agent! Or has someone said above to get a representation is key.
Thanks again Tamela and God bless you.