Some people have asked me why go with a literary agent? There are lots of other alternatives to getting published. Places like Amazon’s CreateSpace or Barnes & Noble provide a way to market, promote, and sell your material. With the burgeoning e-reader market, these places would seem like a viable and easy way to get published. So, why choose a literary agent who gets a cut of 10-15% of your earnings?
The popularity of e-books have exploded in the past couple of years, but people continue to go to book stores and still buy books. Printed books may have competition, but they’re not dead yet. Depending on what source your looking at, ebooks only account for about three to five percent of the publishing market. A book in hard cover or paperback still has the greatest potential of reaching a larger audience.
While you can self publish and hope to reach your target audience, a literary agent’s job is to know the market. What’s trending and what isn’t. They have established relationships with editors and publishing houses, and can negotiate the best deal for you. After all they’re getting 10-15% of your cut too and often don’t get paid until you do. As a writer, I don’t have time to research the market, or get to know publishing houses, who more often than not, would only associate with literary agents anyway. The entire process may take well over two to five years before my book is actually published, but the relationships I will cultivate will be entirely be worth the wait.