How do I Know if I Need a Literary Agent?

There are different kinds of publishers you can approach – from traditional, full-service publishers that operate on the advance + royalty model; to smaller publishers that use a co-op or hybrid model (author and publisher share costs); to self-publishing companies in which the author pays the costs.

Most of the publishers in the first group, the “traditional” publishers, don’t accept submissions directly from writers but require submission to come through an agent.

If you’re interested in going the traditional route, you’re going to want an agent. Additionally if you want:

-a partner for the publishing journey

-someone to answer your questions and advocate for you

-someone to handle the submission process and field your offers and negotiate your contracts

-someone to run interference whenever there’s a disagreement with your publisher… then you’ll want to try and get an agent.

It’s your choice… not everyone wants or needs an agent. But if you have certain goals, an agent can help you reach them.

What’s your perspective? Do you have an agent? Do you want one? Why?


If you should decide to invest in some personalized counsel, I offer coaching for unpublished authors here: My Coaching Services


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!