Do I Need an Agent?

I am often asked: “Do you have an agent?” and “Are you self-published?”

The answer to both questions is no. I am represented by a highly-efficient small press, Make Your Mark Publishing.

Prior to publication, I contacted many agents, and received the standard rejections. I also contacted publishers who accepted manuscripts without agents. This query (rejection), hope (rejection), pray (rejection) cycle is part of the process of becoming published.

Everyone must walk this path. 

I encourage all authors to query agents and traditional publishing houses, AFTER they have polished their manuscript and asked someone (other than a family member) to read their work. Traditional publishing houses require submissions through agents for a number of reasons; the volume of authors waiting to be published is one of many reasons. This economy has produced many authors who have been dropped by their agents (and publishers) because of low sales. This is why you must identify a target audience prior to approaching anyone in the writing business.

First-time authors should focus on representation with a small-press; most do not require agents. After securing publication with a small press and successfully selling multiple copies of your book, approach agents with larger presses. Agents assist authors by securing contracts with publishers who can expand their market. Emerging authors shouldn’t expect an advance of more than one thousand dollars, if that. (I explain advances in my book, Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author).  The market is volatile. Few companies are willing to take a financial risk with first-time authors.

Agents want to know that emerging authors have the ability to sell (at minimum) one thousand books. If you can prove sales numbers, include that information in the query to an agent.

Have a wonderful writing day and remember, readers who subscribe to my blog (just type email into window then press “follow”) are entered to win a free copy of Stress-free Marketing, which will be released in November by Make Your Mark Publishing.

Renea Winchester is an award-winning author who is currently working on her next book: In the Kitchen with Billy.

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