Do I Need an Agent or an Attorney? - article

As an author, you may be wondering whether you should work with an attorney or an agent. An attorney can help you draft and negotiate contracts and can also advise you on intellectual property issues. An agent, on the other hand, will act as your advocate and liaison with editors and publishers. An agent will take an active role in helping you prepare book proposals and manuscripts and will be there with you throughout the process of submitting your book as well as negotiating a contract and figuring out how to monetize the rights to your work.

The disadvantage of an attorney is that he or she may not have the kinds of relationships with editors and publishers that will help you sell you work. An attorney can help you negotiate a contract, but when it comes to promoting and selling your work, you’ll be on your own. An agent can help you promote and sell your work and will have extensive knowledge of the publishing market. Most agents also should have experience working with intellectual property rights and negotiating contracts, but obviously they aren’t likely to have the same level of expertise in those areas as the right sort of attorney.

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  • Hey … Ms. Newman … Dana ...  if I may!?!  Would you or someone you know be interested in co-authoring or ghost-writing or other collaborative arrangement … I need someone to make my story come alive and become interesting.  Otherwise the book is largely together and consists of a potential of over 400 pages.  It needs to be told as fiction based on true story with names changed etc. etc.

  • Former Member
    Former Member
    Hi Angeline -- I think you are smart to consider the legal aspects of publishing this book. The best advice I can offer is to retain the services of a qualified Intellectual Property attorney. That attorney can evaluate the content of your book, the intent (i.e liable laws generally relate to INTENT to slander someone's reputation), whether it's necessary to change names, etc. Good luck with your book. One way to find an attorney is to search online for something like "intellectual property attorney media" and then add your city name to the search. It would likely be best to find an IP attorney who specializes in publishing, media, or entertainment. Also, note that most reputable attorneys will provide a short consultation for free so that you can evaluate whether they are right for you, learn their prices, explain your needs, etc.. If someone charges you for that initial consultation I'd recommend going elsewhere. I hope this works out for you.
  • I have written a book that is a true story about the hell one family went through with a county agency involved in " protecting children" in this story there is a lot of county wrong doing and child abuse, violation of court orders and fatal injuries involving a 2 1/2 year old and the sinister way the county covered it up. I am begging for advise before the final copyedit is complete on this project. I do not want to have any legal issues over the content of the truth in this book. Please help?