- They can handle all contract negotiations, taking on the "bad guy" role and getting you a better contract while you, the writer, can be the "good guy" and play nicey-nicey with the editor while you both happily revise your masterpiece.
- They can represent you on future projects, making submissions and contacting publishing houses on your behalf, thus saving you countless amount of time researching markets.
- They can bypass the slush pile.
- They probably get faster responses.
- Many publishers are closing their doors to unsolicited submissions.
- They take 15% of what is usually not a whole lot of pay to begin with.
- In children's books, an agent is not a requirement to getting published.
- According to Harold Underdown, in Five Reasons Why You Don't Need to get an Agent , not many agents specialize in picture books.
However, just because my first published book and this current one are picture books, and I'm working on a picture book project for Goosebottom Books, doesn't mean I specialize in them either. I have a multicultural Young Adult novel in progress and a couple of middle-grade fiction ideas/manuscripts sitting on the back burner. I'm definitely looking towards completing longer works. Which makes getting an agent more worthwhile.
The question is this: should I get one now? Would having an offer on the table make it easier for me to interest an agent? Agent Kristin Nelson said on her blog that she doesn't just accept a writer because he/she has an offer; she has to love that author's work. So, this reasoning is no guarantee I'll land an agent. At least not in time to negotiate this contract.
Should I go it alone? An editor friend of mine suggested that since I've waited so long and done all the work in getting the contract, I should keep the commission and try to negotiate this myself.
I have been waffling on this issue the past couple of days, doing all the research I can on publishing contract negotiations. Incidentally, anyone in this position MUST check out Kriston Nelson's Agenting 101 series on her blog where she breaks down the terms and terminology, what they mean, what to watch out for, danger signals, and tips for negotiations. It is great! Informative, helpful, and puts the legalese in words you can understand.
I've already spent two whole days on trying to figure out all this contract language and what terms they are actually offering me instead of finishing up the research on my Last Empress of China book. Which is making me lean towards the side of seeking an agent.
However, since I already have a contract, should I save the agent for my YA?
Anyone with comments or suggestions on this can contact me.
In the meantime, I should make a decision by Monday. Will let y'all know.