What are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing agents?


What are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing agents?

Trying to decide if you should invest time into finding an agent to represent your book? Are you worried about sending query letters to publishers because you’ve heard they only respond to publishing agents? This is not always true; several smaller publishing houses do accept queries from authors. Below are the pros and cons to finding or having an agent. I hope this helps my readers make the decision.


  • Agents know the publishing industry better than most writers. An agent would know if your manuscript was ready for publication or if it had developmental or grammatical problems. This could save you months of time sending query letters asking for publishers to publish your book.
  • They would know the best genre for your manuscript and which publisher might be interested in it.
  • Most large publishing houses do not deal with unsolicited manuscripts and unpublished authors. Agents would be a writers “in” with a big publishing house.
  • I think the best thing a good agent does is provide an author with more writing time! They will be spending the hours submitting your manuscript for publication. This frees up the writer’s schedule to start the next novel.


  • You still have to query for agents just like you would a publisher.
  • Many authors get published without a literary agent. I love having the ability to negotiate my contracts and book printing details with my publisher.
  • Publishing Agents get about 15% of the money from your book.
  • Some agents make empty promises and do nothing to get the books printed. Don’t get stuck in a contract with someone unless you understand what you are signing! Read every word of an agreement and ask questions.

    Books to be returned...

    Books to be returned... (Photo credit: Hash Milhan)

How to find an agent:

  • Ask published authors, maybe their agent is looking for another writer to represent? Published authors can inform unpublished writers about who to avoid.
  • Search online for an agent. This is a huge endeavor however, and very easy to find the wrong agent. If you do search online, look for agent blogs and other professional works they’ve successfully represented. Ask for references.
  • Go to the bookstore! I suggest buying a copy of the most current, Guide to Literary AgentsWriters Market or Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers Editors & Literary Agents. Herman’s book has entire lists of agents working in the industry, including information on submissions.

Watch out for these things:

  • No agent will contact you directly.
  • If it’s too good to be true, it is.
  • No agent or publisher would ask for money up front before looking at your manuscript. Click here for a complete list of warnings.

If the article above was helpful to you, I invite you to comment below.

Fill in the form above for free tips on writing or edit on three pages of your story! Learn more about my publications at: http://www.kaylahuntbooks.com/buy.

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