I have two questions I hope some people here could help me with. The first is about the necessity for an agent. I know that most publishers wont look at an unsolicited manuscript but I've found a few that will. Now, does an agent do anything else except find a publisher for your book? If a publisher is willing to publish my book but I don't have an agent is this a road I want to take? My second question is about manuscript assessments. On one publishers website they state that they do accept unsolicited manuscripts as long as it has had a positive assessment by an accredited manuscript assessment agency. I've look into this and understand what they're about and found a few places to get it done. However, the cost is between $450-$700 depending on where you go. My question is, are these manuscript assessment agencies legit? I don't mind spending the dough but don't want to get ripped off and find out they'll give anyone a 'positive review' (ie tell them what they want to hear) just because they paid them. Thanks for your time if anyone could help.