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Why It May Be A Bad Idea to Hire A Literary Agent
Posted by Michael Stickler on
Many authors feel the need (or have been told) to hire a literary agent to pitch their book to publishers. In days gone by, an author may have needed a literary agent to get past the guard dogs and gatekeepers at most publishing houses, but in today’s world that is no longer the case.
At the most fundamental level, a literary agent is the author’s business partner, tasked with finding a publisher who is interested in accepting a manuscript and then negotiating a book-deal between the parties.
Many new authors believe their work is finished once they complete their manuscript, but that is erroneous thinking, too.
There is a huge amount of work between a manuscript and a published book ‒ and then another huge effort in promoting and marketing it.
“It may take a village to raise a child ...
… but it took a tribe to get my book to its audience.”
Publishers offer these services and may provide the prestige self-publishing might not have ‒ of being published by a respected publishing house who devotes their resources and shares their reputation with you. While it is for these and many other reasons, that traditional publishing houses take on so few authors ‒ and pay so few royalties, mostly it’s because the publisher takes all the risk.
But today, it may be a bad idea to hire a literary agent for at least five reasons:
It’s like hiring a bookie to place your bets – Traditionally, you, the author, hired a literary agent to pitch your work and negotiate the best deal for you. Like today, finding a good one was always hard and still often produces lack-luster results. It’s difficult for the author to win here because the person at the publishing house only cares “how many books will this person sell for me?” Typically, publishing-houses still look for authors with a built-in audience who will buy the book, or at least, authors whose name recognition, alone, generates interest. But book marketing has leaped to the internet, more now done via social media and banner advertisements than traditionally, and authors going directly to their book-buyers. Amazon has turned the publishing and retail book business upside down, and the old-school publishing houses and brick-and-mortar outlets are struggling. Leadership Book distributes through both channels (each tuned-up). We work with savvy authors who understand this and how we sell books.
It’s very time consuming – As a starting author, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to find an agent who will take you on and who is the right fit for your work. Sadly, too many authors hire an agent without first checking credentials, references, or performance. This is extremely short-sighted. If you’re taking the agent route, check them out! And get their performance-record from their clients.
Little to no results– Don’t get me wrong: There are great literary agents out there, but it’s not likely the average author will ever get to know them. There are only a handful connected well enough to help you succeed, fewer who work on improving their capabilities ‒ the rest simply trying to make it. Leadership Book continuously improves our services effectiveness for our author-clients ‒ as we will for you.
Expensive – At Leadership Book we’ve done a lot to ensure that our price packages are very reasonable ‒ especially if you price-out all the services an author needs for success, alá carte. These include hiring an editor to oversee your manuscript’s tuning to your message and to your audience, a copy editor to edit your manuscript, one (or more) proofreaders, and your book cover’s design team, typesetters for the book, and then, the team who connects you and your book through its distribution and sales networks to your audience. Experts with all of these, Leadership Book is a one-stop-shop, saving you from shopping them all on your own.
Who can better pitch it than the one with skin in the game – As an author, you need to understand your audience and who is likely to buy your book. Not everyone understands that, but our team can help you ask the right questions and help you determine who your audience really is. Finally, no one is going to be as invested in your book’s success as you are, and no one else will have the passion for the project that you do.
Unlike most publishers who refuse to review or respond to manuscripts from unknown authors, Leadership Book will perform a good faith review with you to determine if it’s a book we can help you publish and sell successfully – or how it can be made to be. This is truly the kind of help that can change your life. You have a story to tell, there is someone who needs to hear it’s message ‒ let us help you tell it to them.
Leadership Books Publishing is an emerging powerhouse in book publishing. We’ve joined the two worlds of traditional and self-publishing into one company that can help do it all. Our capabilities and relationships allow us to create targeted and integrated book campaigns that mobilize high-profile contacts in your niche, capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing through social marketers, and extend your reach into the most prominent media publications. Our authors have the unparalleled service of an Executive Editor, one who will work with you in putting your story ideas into book form. Once that’s completed, our professional designers will work with you to design the cover and interior to make your book ready to sell.
Leadership Book markets your book by distributing to every major book seller on three continents.
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