If you are an author who is shopping around for a publisher, you may find the phrase “agented submission only.” What does this mean? This means that the publisher in question will not even look at manuscripts that are sent in directly by the author. Instead, the approach must be made by a professional literary agent.
Since many large, well-known publishers only accept book manuscripts that are sent in by a professional literary agent, you may decide to use the services of one. If so, that will likely be a good choice on your part, but there are some important points that you will first want to take into consideration. Please continue reading on for information that you and all other authors should know about literary agents.
It is first important to know exactly what a literary agent should do for you. A literary agent will essentially submit your book to a publishing company for you. The whole process is just like what you would do at home, but it is different because new doors are opened for you. A professional literary agent is able to submit your book to publishers that wouldn’t even look at it if you submitted it on your own.
As for the benefits of using the services of a professional literary agent, they are experienced in the field. A successful literary agent has spent years, months, or at least weeks researching publishers. They should know what publishers look for, in terms of themes, and they know what publishers don’t want to see. This research allows many professional literary agents to know what publishing houses are likely to accept your book, often within a few minutes of reading it.
If you do decide to use the services of a professional literary agent, it is important to know that you may be screened. This means that a publisher may examine your book and then decide not to represent you. This often occurs for two different reasons. The first being that the publisher tends to specialize in a specific genre, such as children’s books. The second being that your book isn’t good enough. Having a well-known publisher stand behind your book isn’t enough to get it published; therefore, many well-known agents are picky with the clients that they choose to work with.
Speaking of being picky, you should also be careful with the literary agent or agency that you choose to work for. Many experts in the field of book publishing state that having a bad literary agent is actually worse than having no agent at all. This is because many well-known publishers are well aware of literary agents that have poor track records. In fact, some publishers may completely overlook manuscripts that are sent in by a bad agent and you do not want yours to be one of them. That is why you need to carefully find and choose a literary agent, should you wish to use the services of one.
When examining literary agents, examine specialties, success rates, reputation, and so forth. If you truly want to become a successful and well-known author, you should spend just as much time searching for a literary, as you would searching for a publisher. With that said, it is important to remember that there are publishers who will read your manuscripts even if you choose not to use a literary agent.