Do Writers Need An Agent?

Stephen King, American author best known for h...

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Do we as writers, especially new writers, really need an agent right away?

I want an agent when I really have something to present that’s polished and well written. I feel that I would be spinning my wheels trying to get an agents attention if my project isn’t worthy. Not only that, I would have to share any profits. Is that me being cheap? Not sure about it, I haven’t had that experience yet.

According to an article from The Writer, Stephen King had this to say about agents in 1986:

An agent? Forget it. For now

Agents get 10% of monies earned by their clients. 10% of nothing is nothing. Agents also have to pay the rent. Beginning writers do not contribute to that or any other necessity of life. Flog your stories around yourself. If you’ve done a novel, send around query letters to publishers, one by one, and follow up with sample chapters and/or the manuscript complete. And remember Stephen King’s First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned by bitter personal experience: You don’t need one until you’re making enough for someone to steal … and if you’re making that much, you’ll be able to take your pick of good agents.

That was quite a while ago and so much has changed since then. I feel he has a valid point, new writers should wait and shop around with publishers first. None of us would be any worse for the ware.

Will you be shopping for an Agent first?


4 comments on “Do Writers Need An Agent?

  1. LOL! I think King may have been a little harsh on the agents, but everything we do revolves around the money. Thanks for stopping by Greg.


  2. Thanks Rebecca. I think that Agents have a tough role in who to pick. On the other hand, they do help authors go all the way. On the other hand writers can ride the wave of self publication and take their chances on making it big. Either way it can potentially be a win-win situation for the writer. Thanks for stopping by Rebecca.


  3. The only real issue is that the big publishers usually don’t look at a book unless an agent presents it to them. I was lucky to be spotted by 3 major publishers online, so I got around that, but most people do not. And to be honest, I think it hurts me in the end. If I had an agent, they could make sure my whole MS stands up to the test, and my shots with those publishers would be better. That said, I do think you offer an excellent view on things which shows there is definitely more than one approach to take 🙂


  4. Still not sure about agents. I like the idea of having someone to negotiate contracts on my behalf, offer a fresh editorial perspectiive, etc. There are things an agent can understand that Joe Lay Writer does not. On the other hand, King makes a lot of sense when he suggests agents won’t bother with new writers until they have something worth stealing (which suggests, of course, that he doesn’t think much of agents).


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