Writers often contact me asking, “How do I get an agent?” I often respond, “I’m not sure.” Because, like many of the curves on the path to publication, it’s tricky. It’s also competitive. Where I find myself is cheerleading the minority, those few publishing peers who think you can get a fair deal without an agent. I’ve spent most of my 25-year publishing career with small- to mid-list presses. Today I work in acquisitions with a nonprofit religious publisher. We do not offer what many would consider “big” advances. But nor do we, in my opinion, take advantage of authors.
I do not think authors should take “just anything” that is offered to them. And I agree with those who say having an agent is a great way to go. With the ever-changing landscape of royalties, as related to digital rights, etc., it will probably become even more advantageous to have someone who can help the author “figure things out” with regard to contracts. But I do want to encourage those who don’t have agents: They may be hard to find, but there are opportunities out there that can be beneficial for both the publisher and the author. As with everything in life today, or so it seems, you can find information online about agents. You could start here: http://guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/
Takeaway Tip: If you’re not already following agents, editors, publishers, and writers–especially those related to your genre–on Twitter, and reading their blogs, get busy.