Almost all writers ask themselves if they need an agent. The answer is variable. It depends. Let’s start out with who doesn’t need an agent. If you are an author with a regional book and are working with a regional press, or if you are an author who wishes to self-publish and you already have a built-in audience from a specific platform, you most likely do not need an agent. If you write experimental-out-there content and your goal is to make a splash with a visionary e-book, you probably don’t need an agent either, unless your stuff breaks down barriers and ends up mainstream. If your book does breakout, you might need to rethink your aversion to “the man,” and get an agent to navigate the high stress business waters of publishing on multiple platforms. The last group who doesn’t need an agent is a person who likes to be control of every aspect of a project from the writing, the editing, the production and the marketing. You probably don’t want an agent either. So who absolutely needs an agent? Agents are basically a sales staff for your book. Books are published on multiple platforms – print books, e-books, audio books, multiple translations… even apps, games, and movies are made from creative content that started as a book. If you are sure that your book belongs on multiple platforms, an agent is a necessary component. The publishing industry is changing, folks. And to find good success we have to continually reinvent ourselves. Many agents are taking highly editorial roles with their clients. Some agents will invest time in unpublished writers who they feel have a spark. Agents will help deliver your content to all the avenues available. Writers are becoming “content providers.” Agents in turn are becoming content facilitators. They take your work to multiple publishing platforms. Publishing is now a global market. Agents navigate these murky business waters. Authors with broad scope vision are the ones who most need an agent and should consider one. As the industry continues to evolve and more and more avenues come available for “content”, the need for agents will continue. Agents will continue to support high profile A-list clients but the mid-list author is going to have to go it alone more than in the past. As an author, be aware of the trends and revise your game plan accordingly.
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