Do You Need an Agent?


Today’s post is part of Indie Life, a blog hop hosted by the Indelibles.  Click here to see a full list of participating blogs.

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Two weekends ago, I attended the GLVWG (that’s Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group) conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  I’ve gone several years in a row now, and I always have a good time, meet a lot of fun people, and make a few new contacts in the publishing world.  If you’re a writer living in the northeastern US, you should consider attending (click here for more info).

Over the last two or three years, I’ve noticed a change in the way agents, editors, and presenters at the conference talk about indie authors.  For one thing, they call us indie authors now, not self-published or vanity-published authors.  For another, agents (some of them, at least) seem defensive about their role in the publishing business, as though they fear they’re about to lose their jobs.

But this year was different.  The agents still used the term indie author and still said it’s the wave of the future, but they didn’t seem so worried about their own futures.  Emily Keyes of the L. Perkins Agency claimed that independent authors who have agents tend to make more money than those without agents.  Sara D’Emic of Talcott Notch Literary Services explained that navigating all the issues of contracts and rights and fair use can get complicated, and at some point successful indie authors need help.  While talking about how authors can now take direct control of their careers, keynote speaker Jane Friedman referred to agents and the big six publishers as our “partners.”

So is this true?  Have agents and even the major publishing houses finally found their role in the brave, new world of independent publishing?  Are they no longer gatekeepers but our partners?  I’d love to hear from any indie authors who have agents or who have been published by a traditional publisher.

2 thoughts on “Do You Need an Agent?

  1. Sorry I missed you at the GLVWG conference, we must have passed each other between sessions. I think agents and editors have seen the “writing on the wall”, and come to grips with having to accept and deal with Indies. We’re still at a crossroads as it relates to how people find and buy books. The Indie business has forever changed the industry. That said, many “professionals” in the publishing industry will say the epubs have glutted the system, making it harder to decide which is worthy of reading. The majority still follows whatever is listed on various best seller lists. Agents are still the best avenue to traditional pub routes, which feeds the best seller lists. That too, will eventually change. to a readership rating process where good stories are recognised and passed along by virtual “word of mouth.”

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