Friday, September 5, 2008

Does this writer need an agent?

I am a newish writer of children’s books and I live in Sydney. I’ve had 3 trade titles published and a picture book contracted but I don’t have an agent. Could you please tell me the benefits of having an agent (other than negotiating contracts), and the likelihood of me being able to secure one. I ’d probably have 2 or 3 new manuscripts per year.

This ground has been covered a bit before on the blog (see this post) so I won't go into too much detail ...

Basically, if you've never felt the need for an agent, don't go looking for one. You do seem to be managing just fine on your own. However, if you feel that someone else should manage the business of your writing - dealing with publishers, negotiating contracts - then you should explore the idea of getting an agent. There's also the issue of 'creative support' - a lot of my time is spent just talking to my authors (on the phone or by email), sometimes about writing, often not; I think some authors have an agent more for this function than anything else. The agent understands what the writer is doing creatively but is not (hopefully!) competitive with them; they can offer advice and the writer can discuss things with them that they may not be able or wish to talk about with family and friends. But it's very much a personal decision - there is no absolute 'yes' or 'no' here.

I will say, though, that with your publishing record you would have no problem getting an agent if you wanted one.

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