Life on the Fringe
Bear in mind, all of these posts are my own opinion. Others may have differing advice and that’s fine, but I’m giving you MY opinion, based on my many years as a career author. Take what you will, leave the rest, and don’t bitch at me either way. I don’t self-publish and am not interested in it, so I’m not offering any advice on that, here. I also don’t use the term ‘indie publisher’ for self-publishing. To me an indie publisher is a traditional publisher not part of the big six (soon to be five).
Agents: a lot of writers now are having fun dissing agents. While there are some agents that do more harm than good, the fact is that, if you want to be a career author and you want to be with traditional publishers, a good agent can help make your career.
Yes, agents negotiate your advances for you, and yes, they help you avoid pitfalls in the massively bizarre world of contract negotiations (and there are many—like joint accounting. Dunno what this is? Neither did I. But my agent helped keep me from getting screwed by it).
But a good agent will be there in other ways—and while working with an agent is a business partnership, they can also be good friends. I’ve been with my agent since 2002 and I count my lucky stars. She earns every penny of her 15%, and I never begrudge her the commission.
Other than the obvious negotiations, etc. good agents can (and this is an abbreviated list):
As to how to get an agent, and what to expect, look for those in future posts.