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Should I Get an Agent for My Book?

Many new writers write their novel or manuscript, edit it as best they can, feel incredible--and then ask themselves, now what? How do I get my book published?

Well, there are two main routes to go, one get it published through a publisher or two self publish.

Let's start with a traditional publisher. To get a book published traditionally, it is recommended that a writer first contact an agent who will then pitch their book to a publisher. To contact an agent, a writer will first have to look up a literary site with agents, find the one they think they would fit best with, then send them a query letter. There are a lot of specifications when writing a query letter.

After a couple of weeks, the literary agent may send a letter rejecting the proposal or request the entire manuscript. More often than not, agents reject new writers unless they have a very high social media following with lots of engagement or have a doctor's degree with an impressive backstory. Or both. Again, even if a novel is fantastically brilliant, it is best to expect that there will be rejection. Agents want to find a book that is guaranteed to market well. However, if the agent accepts, they will sign on a writer and help them get a publishing contract.

Important things to know: A publishing company does not guarantee they will market a book; they often still expect it from the writer. It also takes about a year before your book actually gets published. Also, an agent will take 10 to 15 percent of a published commission, and a publisher will take about 50 to 60. In the end, with posting on Amazon and everything, an author might only get 10 to 15 percent of the royalties.

The second option is self-publishing. Self-publishing can definitely seem daunting. Not only does an individual need to be a disciplined writer, but a marketer and be willing to spend money and time.

Thanks to Amazon, anyone can self-publish. However, few succeed. It is important to format the book correctly, price low in the beginning, and then get as many reviews as possible in the first week. Amazon's algorithm will not promote a book will few ratings.

An author needs to continue marketing after the launch and perhaps have a website.

All of this sounds like a lot of work. And it is. However, the benefit is that the author's work is guaranteed to be published, and they receive the majority of their royalties.

While these are the two main paths, there are many others--such as going straight to the publisher, but that is a post for another day.



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