With the rise of self-publishing, and publishers accepting unagented authors, does an author really need an agent? In terms of support authors can have their friends, family, and fellow authors, so why does one need an agent?
Now all these points are true. However not every author has a large capital to produce high quality standard books. Yes you can do eBooks, which is cost effective, however the quality of self-published eBooks can be really poor, hence, the reason for low sales.
There are publishers that accept unagented authors, but whose going to fight your corner if you have problems with the publisher? If you have a complaint, don’t understand certain technicalities with the contract, or how to go about chasing royalties. Who can you turn to? Well a solicitor can be expensive, isn’t it better to have someone who has your best interest at heart, to explain things to you?
Yes family, friends, and fellow authors can support you, in terms of buying your books, but they are not who you’re writing for. You are aiming to attract a worldwide audience. Your family, friends, even fellow authors cannot keep buying your books.
Having an agent I believe is a great value to the author. An agent can handle the administrative tasks, such as chasing up royalties, most importantly finding the publisher, while you concentrate on what you love doing best, writing. You can focus better on honing your craft, building your credibility while the agent handles the rest.
An agent is the best investment an author can have, especially when they find a very good one, which is a Christ centred relationship. It is a partnership that is not only for the short term but also for a long time to come.