If you are reading this article you've probably just finished writing a book, are nearing the end, or maybe exploring the possibility of becoming a published author. No matter where you are in the process of your writing journey, one of the major questions you have probably asked yourself is, why does a writer need a literary agent?
You know your book the best, so why should someone else be an agent to sell your novel or book to a publisher who is looking for writers to publish? There are several reasons, that we'll explore in this article.
Requiring Representation is Vital
One of the biggest reasons that a new writer needs to have a literary agent is because most publishers and publishing companies will not accept any manuscripts that do not have literary agency representation. That means without an agent, you can’t even get in the door. An agent will not represent a book that they don’t believe in, or that they're passionate about and so publishers view this as a good way to filter out any material that they are not interested in.
Most publishers prefer to work with an agent as the process is simplified for all involved. With writers constantly submitting manuscripts to both literary agents and publishers, anything they can do to get a foot in the door will help a writer to get their writing discovered by a literary expert.
While you will occasionally find publishers that accept unrepresented work, it isn’t too common. Especially when you are looking at the bigger publishers. The one exception could be writers who are writing educational material or journal articles.
Years of Industry Expertise
Agents have had a lot of experience in the writing world and that means they have the skills need to navigate what is often a complicated industry. Your literary agent will know exactly what each publisher wants in terms of submissions and submission formatting. Not only that, they know terminology, legal information, and the process. While we recommend you read up on this too, you benefit a lot from having someone else on your side who is an expert in the genre you are writing.
A literary agent has also been in the industry for a while, long enough to get to know publishers. On top of publishers, they know editors, legal teams, and much more. Part of the literary agent’s job is to be the people person in the relationship, helping you to navigate the who's who of the writing world.
Before they even get to that point, they will work with you on the manuscript to ensure you are presenting the best story possible to the publishers they will approach. And of course, selling your writing (whether it is a fiction novel or a non-fiction book) to publishers who are actively looking for writers to publish, is their main task.
They do all of this without any payment! They get their payment as a commission when they sell your writing to a publisher, so you can see why a literary agent needs to believe - completely and utterly and passionately - in your writing before offering you literary agency representation.
Page Turner Awards Helps Writers Get Discovered
First and foremost, new writers have to make a living and that means working a job while you try to get your book published. That means you don’t have the time that is needed to get your book to where you want it to be in the literary world. Having someone take even just some work off your hands gives you time to focus on your passion, the book itself, the writing and how to hone the writing to give it the best chance of finding a literary agent.
Not only is an agent essential to getting your book out there, it will make the whole process a lot easier. Looking for a literary agent accepting submissions might not be the easiest thing that you have done because you have to do lots of research to find the right agent for your genre, but with the help of writing contests like Page Turner Awards, you will be well on your way to having your manuscript represented. Why? See our list of judges who are actively looking for writers to represent and publishers who are looking for writers to publish.
A literary agent will also help you to answer a lot of the other questions that come up along the way about what books to write and how to boost your writing career in other ways. They will also advise you on which writing contests or writing competitions to enter and submit your writing or novel to a writing award to receive global recognition.
Your literary agent, either in the UK or US, will become your friend and confidante. Someone you will rely on to guide your writing journey and turn it into a writing career.
Page Turner Awards has a fantastic panel of literary agents looking for writers to represent and publishers looking for writers to publish. Take a look at our 2021 Judging line up.