Q: If I am published or have been offered a contract for publication do I need an agent now?

ImageQ: If I am published or have been offered a contract for publication is it necessary to find an agent at this stage? Isn’t an agent’s job just to find you a publisher?

A: An agent does so much more than just match writers with publishers. Yes, you should still search for an agent because you want them to negotiate your contract in the works, future contracts, and be your business manager in all aspects of your literary career. An agent knows, from their experience in the industry, when to push for you and your offer and when to accept. So, just because you got your offer it doesn’t mean the work is over. There is so much to be done.

Agents’ specialties include guiding authors to publication, a career’s worth of knowledge in contract negotiation, editorial advice, rights sales, marketing and social media consulting among solving all the other issues that come up in the publication process. An agent is a liaison between you and your publisher so your agent will cross check your royalty statements, consult the designer on your cover, and all the other things that writers often don’t feel comfortable handling.

The same rules apply when you search for an agent at this stage versus when you are querying: find an agent that you align with, feel comfortable with, and see a future in business with.

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Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

4 thoughts on “Q: If I am published or have been offered a contract for publication do I need an agent now?

  1. My publisher offered me a three book deal from a direct submission. My work attracted an agent after my first novel was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger Award and was reprinted six times in the first couple of months. We worked together for a while but he was only really interested in editing my work, which he did very well. As my publisher already pays for an editor, my agent wasn’t bringing anything to the party so we parted company. I’m on my own again – still with my wonderful publisher who has offered me a second three book deal. I’d love to have an agent working on my behalf, but I don’t think it’s going to happen now.


    1. That’s interesting! Just shows how every situation is different. As long as you are okay with the rights you are granting, then it seems like a good working relationship between you and your publisher. Thanks, Leigh! Good luck on finding an agent!


      1. Well, what are you waiting for Carly? Our young lady writer states she is on her own and would love to have an agent working on her behalf.
        Instead of just offering good luck on finding an agent why don’t you represent her?

        Kon Mosh


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