Yes, you need an Agent if you plan to have a serious career as an author — especially as a book author — because an Agent has value in adding what you don’t know to the publishing equation. In my Writing Advice for Authors message, I dug into the process of writing and I also touched on the importance of having an Agent on your side no matter what sort of paid writing path you choose to pursue.
Agents do more than offer advice and negotiate contracts. Agents work for you while you are writing. They collect money for you. I don’t want to talk money with an editor or a publisher: I only want to talk about ideas.
As well, if something is out-of-line in a contract my Agent will talk me through all sides of the issue and that invaluable feedback usually saves heartache and time. Good Agents are a great resource to not only help you find work opportunities but to also save you sweat.
Agents should be used as a sounding board for an idea you might otherwise spend a lot of time writing that may never sell. Pitch your Agent first and if your Agent bites there is a better chance the idea will sell because good Agents buy houses, feed their families and take vacations all on the backs of great ideas that get sold. An Agent who has no gut instinct for what will or won’t sell isn’t an Agent for long.
My Agent is SuperAgent Matt Wagner who owns Fresh Books Literary Agency. Matt has been an Agent for 15 years and has done over 1,300 deals. Matt has a good gut! Yesterday, Matt posted a fine article on his blog called You’ve Signed A Book Contract, Now What?, and you should read it because Matt spells out the writing process for you after the ink dries on the contract.
Matt reveals the hard, lonesome, bare-bones, life of a writer begins AFTER the contract is signed. Keep everything SuperMatt says in mind as you deposit that juicy book advance he won you.