Do You Need a Literary Agent – Book Agents

Do you need a literary agent?Do you need a literary agent? Read this article to find out what you need to consider, before making a decision about the best way to publish your book.

This article is part of a 9-part series in our Ultimate Guide to Literary Agents.

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Do You Need a Literary Agent to Get Published?

Whenever I talk to people about how to sell your book – or book idea – on radio, TV, or at an event… I always start by explaining the three different ways to publish a book.

There are a lot of misconceptions on this topic and authors often make bad choices, simply because they don’t know better (until it’s too late).

In other words many authors:

* Spend months or years going in the wrong direction

* Waste thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars

* End up feeling deceived and betrayed

Don’t be this guy…

Do you need a book agent - frustrated author
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Do You Need a Literary Agent – Misconceptions

You probably have people in your life who want what’s best for you… but they probably aren’t publishing professionals. They might ask you questions like, “Why do you need a literary agent when you can self-publish?” or “Why do you need a literary agent when you can pay someone to publish your book?” or “Why do you need a literary agent… can’t you pitch your book to publishers directly?”

Those are good questions…

In fact, they’re so good that you might be asking yourself those same questions. So why don’t I help you answer them?

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The Best Way to Publish – Do You Need a Literary Agent?

There are really just three ways to publish your book. You can self-publish, work with a vanity publisher, or get a traditional publisher. Read the following definitions to see which one is right for you. Do you need a literary agent? You decide.

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Do you need a book agent to get a publisher?Traditional publishing is when someone pays you for the privilege of publishing your book, and they do most of the work.

Getting a traditional publisher should be your first choice.

That’s because: 1) There is zero financial risk to you because someone else (your publisher) is financing everything, 2) You have the potential to make more money with a traditional publisher, and 3) You get the most credibility when you’re published by a legitimate publisher.

Do you need a book agent to get paid as an author?

Of course, it’s also nice to have the staff at your publisher doing all of the following for you as well (so you don’t have to): editing, formatting, cover design, production, distribution, sales, marketing, publicity, licensing, and dealing with any legal issues that might come up.

Do you need a literary agent to get a traditional publisher?

Yes.

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Do you need a book agent to self-publish?Self-publishing is when you pay for the privilege of publishing your book, and you do all the work.

Self-publishing should be your second choice.

If you’ve taken advantage of all the resources on this Literary Agent Undercover website, and you still haven’t been able to get a literary agent… you might be a good candidate for self-publishing.

Just keep in mind that you will have to pay for everything and assume all the financial risk. Plus, the average number of books sold by a self-published author is less than 80 copies. You will also have little credibility as a self-published author. And you’ll have to do everything yourself: editing, formatting, cover design, production, distribution, sales, marketing, publicity, licensing, and dealing with any legal issues that might come up.

Do you need a book agent for credibility?

Do you need a literary agent
for self-publishing?

No.

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Book agent - vanity publishingVanity publishing is when you pay even more for the privilege of publishing your book, and you still do some of the work.

Vanity publishing should be your third choice.

Working with a vanity press is like self-publishing in the sense that you have to pay for everything and assume all the financial risk. The main difference here is that you have to invest even more, because the vanity press will do some of the following things for you: editing, formatting, cover design, production, distribution, sales, marketing, publicity, licensing, and dealing with any legal issues that might come up.

However, most authors grossly overestimate the number of books that they’re going to sell with a vanity press. Traditional publishers are highly motivated to sell your book because they’ve invested tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to produce your book. Vanity publishers aren’t motivated to sell your book because they make almost all of their money off of the authors who pay them to publish their books. Vanity presses are also often criticized for deceptive advertising.

Do you need a book agent for a vanity press?

You should only consider vanity publishing if you have: 1) Taken advantage of all the resources on this Literary Agent Undercover website and haven’t been able to get a literary agent, and 2) You have a lot of money to invest in producing your book, and you don’t need to make a return on your financial investment.

Do you need a literary agent for vanity publishing?

No.

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Conclusion – Do You Need a Literary Agent?

So, do you need a literary agent to publish your book? That depends. If you want to get a traditional publisher, get a literary agent.

Decide do you need a book agent?

Why do you need a literary agent?

It’s the only way to have publishers read your work.

Why do you need a literary agent?

Get paid to publish your book.

Why do you need a literary agent?

You don’t have to do everything yourself.

Why do you need a literary agent?

Have real credibility and be taken seriously.

Why do you need a literary agent?

Reach more people with your message.

Why do you need a literary agent?

Make more money.

Take advantage of all the resources on this website so you can get a literary agent…
and a traditional publisher.

Now, click here to read the next article in this 9-part series
and see our Literary Agents Pros and Cons.

Learn about literary agents pros and cons

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