Hello, I am nearly done writing my first book, which is intended as a self-help book focused on philosophy. I am happy with the tone and content and such, and it has been well received by a few people who read it whose opinions I respect. In addition, they have credentials in the area, such that they would notice straight off if I was off the rails with my premises, or factually incorrect about important ideas. The problem is that I have no credentials, and further no experience with publishing of any kind. So, I have no idea what format to present to an agent, how many words my book should have (ideally), etc. I would like to know what an ideal submission would look like, and if my lack of credentials is a deal-breaker. It is possible I could find a collaborator with some credentials before submitting the work if it is truly important to have the stamp of P.H.D., or some prior works having been published in order to catch the eye of the agent. I may be jumping the gun assuming that an agent is in fact the best way to go. I am willing to pay the percentage in return for what I assume would be a better chance to catch the eye of a traditional publisher, to get a better deal, and even to possibly get a deal outside the U.S. I have little interest in doing the legwork to get a book deal as well, so the agent route seems ideal for me, but I would consider advice from anyone who thinks there is a better way to go. Thank you in advance for any advice.