1. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Taking a publisher without an agent

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by S-wo, Feb 2, 2009.

    I have heard that in the past you have a better chance of getting accepted by a publisher and getting a better deal if you have an agent. The agent could get you better deals for compensation and royalties than you could alone, but you also have to pay that agent. What I was wondering here is if the cost of your agent would outweigh the deal that he/she could get you with a publisher or would it be better just to sign with a publisher on your own, if you're speaking from a financial standpoint.

    Edit: I'm sorry if it sounds confusing. I'm having a hard time trying to say what I mean here.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Never pay an agent up front. Any reputable agent will collect his or her payment at the time of publication, and won't cost the full amount of the publication deal.
     
  3. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Well what I was referring to was the time after you have got the agent. He she usually charges a percentage of your royalties.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Very often it is worth it. Agents can get you into the major publishers that distribute books internationally, and can get foreign publishing rights. In Canada, an agent is advisable, but not necessary. Most of the independent publishers will take queries directly from the writer. There isn't a lot of money in those publishers, but if your book suits them best and you can get them interested without the help of an agent, you're just fine without one. I actually once met an author who, after she had won an award and had relationships with editors, told me that she fired her agent.
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    An established agent is the ONLY way to obtain access to many publishing companies. The percentage they receive for their services is more than fair because they open doors that are closed to you. They also have experience with all the nuances of publishing contracts...things like "reserves", foreign sales, movie rights, etc. The alternative to a good agent is a good literary attorney who will also protect your interests in contracts. The advantage of the agent is that he/she ONLY gets paid if YOU do...i.e. they take a percentage. The literary attorney will charge you a fee...a hefty fee if he/she is any good...up front before you make a dime on the book.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it more often than not pays for itself and then some...

    plus, you'll be taken more seriously as a writer, if you have an agent, while not at risk of 'being taken' by the publisher, as you've no clue about all the ins and outs of contractual musts and can'ts, etc. ...

    and, from the get-go, you've a much better chance of snagging a publisher for your work, since the agent will tell you how to make your ms more appealing to one, if/when called for...
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can't really add much beyond what was said. Agents generally take 10-15% of whatever advance and royalties the author earns.

    For that, the agent provides:
    Access to markets and editors

    Experience in traversing the publishing world/culture

    Negotiating contracts, not only getting the best advance and royalty percentages, but also the best terms and avoiding seemingly harmless language that is detrimental to an author

    Assist in subsidiary rights

    Assist in getting the best marketing and distrubution

    Assist with disagreements that may arise between the author and editor

    Could help guide a successful career

    Beyond that, it should be realized that not all agents are equal, and as was pointed out, never pay an agent up front. A whole thread could be devoted to deciding upon a good agent. The best evidence would be authors the agent represents and recent sales obtained and negotiated.

    Some would argue that it more difficult to get a good agent than it is a good publisher.

    Terry
     

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